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Gambling 101: What is Taking Points?

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a look at the sports betting term “taking points." How do bettors take points and which sports markets offer odds that allow players to do so?

Give and take opportunities are available in a variety of competitions. Gamblers who take points are backing the underdog while bettors who give points are betting on the favorite. Players can take points with basketball and football point spread odds. Run lines are offered in baseball and puck lines are available in hockey. Players who take points receive a “head-start” prior to a competition and their side must win or stay within the spread to cash winning wagers.

How Do Bettors Win When Taking Points?

Different from moneylines, which require selecting a winner without a spread, taking points gives bettors two chances to win. From the NFL odds example below, players receive +8 points to bet on Cleveland. If the Browns win, or lose the game by seven points or less, bettors receive $100 on every $110 bet. A Ravens win, by nine points or more, results in a loss. If Baltimore wins by exactly eight points all bets are graded as a PUSH and original wagers are refunded.

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Shop Around For The Best Odds When Taking Points

As is the case with game totals and moneylines, shopping for the best priced odds is important prior to taking points. Players are advised to open accounts at more than one sportsbook in order to compare the various odds available. Comparing the DraftKings odds above, with the FanDuel lines below, bettors receive an extra half-point hook if they place their bets at FanDuel. With the +8.5 point spread a PUSH isn’t possible and the juice is the same at both sites.

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Factors to Consider When Taking Points

When taking points, bettors are wagering on an underdog that’s perceived to be inferior to the favorite. Along with odds shopping, players need to follow a proper research path prior to betting on underdogs. Recent history is the best place to start since it will show bettors how teams are performing on offense and defense. A team playing decent offense, that has struggled but is improving on defense, deserves consideration when taking points on underdog bets.

Recognizing current betting trends is also important. Bettors need to understand how each side is performing against the spread when taking points. Arizona offers a good example as the Cardinals went 5-10-1 straight up but were 9-4-2 as underdogs during the 2019 NFL season. Key injuries, plus match venue and weather, should also be considered prior to taking points. A balanced mix of taking and laying points can help bettors achieve point spread betting success.