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Sports Gambling 101: What is Buying Points?

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with an explanation of buying points. How is it done and how it can help cash winning wagers?

Bettors are always trying to gain any edge they can get when betting on sports. In addition to proper research and shopping for the best prices, players can adjust betting lines by buying points. Most bookmakers offer alternative odds, on a variety of competitions, and players can buy points to move betting odds up or down. Bettors can buy several points on sports like football and basketball, or a limited amount of runs/goals on baseball, hockey and soccer matches.

How Do Bettors Buy Points?

Players can buy alternate odds, which are listed as props, once point spread and game total opening lines are posted. They are also available on teaser cards issued by bookmakers. Bettors can buy points on a single game or multiple contests on a parlay ticket. Buying points to avoid a hook is a common betting strategy. If San Francisco is a -3.5 (-110) point NFL favorite, buying one point moves the line to -2.5 (-125) and tickets cash if the 49ers win by three or more points.

When buying points, bettors pay added juice to receive better odds. In the example above, it would cost $110 to win $100 on the 49ers' original line. It costs $125 to win $100 with the new odds after one point was purchased. 

The price to buy points varies by sportsbook and bettors are advised to shop around to find the best value. The same applies to game total betting, as bettors can buy points/goals/runs to move the total odds to a more favorable number.

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How Many Points Can Bettors Buy?

How many points bettors can purchase depends on the sportsbook, the sporting event and the odds format. During the NFL season, for example, bookmakers at DraftKings offer more than 40 different point spread lines on a single game. 

In the example below, if a player believes underdog Green Bay will defeat Seattle by a touchdown, they can move the line by buying nine points. The juice changes significantly as a $100 bet returns a $270 profit if the Packers win by seven or more points.

NFL Buying Points