Sports Gambling 101: What Is Laying Points?

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a look at “laying points.” How do bettors lay points and what are some key factors to consider?
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Part of the standard big three betting options, which also includes moneylines and game totals, laying points is a form of spread betting. Unlike total bets, which offer OVER and UNDER options, or moneylines that have a favorite and an underdog, players must decide to lay the line or take points when spread betting. While points involved vary by sport, bettors that lay points are wagering on the favorite and players who take points are betting on the underdog.

How Do Bettors Lay Points?

When betting on point spread odds, players laying points begin the match with a deficit. Point spreads can range from a half point, in sports like baseball, hockey and soccer, to 21 points or more on basketball and football contests. In the example below, from Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season, bettors are laying -6.5 points to bet on the Bills at home against the Jets. By laying points, Buffalo backers are trailing by 6.5 points prior to the start of that AFC East battle.

Jets vs Bills FanDuel Odds

Shop For Value When Laying Points

Since bettors begin with a handicap when laying points, shopping for the best odds and lowest juice is important. That’s illustrated in our odds examples as Buffalo spread bettors are paying $100 to win $100 at FanDuel. Over at DraftKings, players are paying $110 to win $100 on the Bills. The same applies to buying points, as the New York Jets are +6.5 at -110 at DraftKings as opposed to +6.5 at -120 at FanDuel. Best price shopping is quick and simple.

Jets vs Bills DraftKings Odds

Factors to Consider When Laying Points

There are several factors bettors should consider when laying points. Research keys include current form, caliber of both sides, plus which side is at home. Points for and against averages should also be checked. Laying -6.5 odds with a side that wins by a 3.5 point average should be noted when spread betting. Scheduling oddities, like back-to-back games in the NBA and NHL, or playing on reduced rest in the NFL, deserve research and consideration as well.

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