Guide to Betting on Sports: What Does it Mean to Buy Points?

At most sportsbooks, bettors have the option of “buying points” on certain sports, which entails accepting worse odds in exchange for a better line. This option is typically available on sports like football and basketball-sides and totals-but not sports like baseball and hockey.Generally, you are charged 10 “cents” for each half point move, with a cap on how many points are allowed. Which is to say if the odds on your game are the standard -110, you can move the line a half point in your favor if you’re willing to bet at -120 instead, a full point if you’re willing to bet at -130, etc.

So let’s say the total on the Bulls-Knicks game is 188 at a sportsbook that charges -110 for straight bets, and you are interested in betting $50 on the Over. You can bet Over 188 at -110 of course, meaning you’d put up $55 to win $50. But by buying points, if you preferred you could also bet Over 187.5 at -120 risking $60 to win $50, Over 187 at -130 risking $65 to win $50, Over 186.5 at -140 risking $70 to win $50, etc.

So when, if ever, is it a good idea to buy points like this?

How much a point is worth depends on how likely the game is to land on that point. The best evidence to use in estimating this probability is generally historical data for that sport. So if you want to know how much better Over …

NBA Draft Lottery Settled

The NBA draft lottery was pretty exciting, the Washington Wizards now hold the #1 pick overall in the 2010 NBA Draft.The Wizards had a 1 in 10 chance to win the #1 pick.

The top 3 goes as follows:

  1. Washington Wizards
    2. Philadelphia 76ers
    3. New Jersey Nets

Washington Wizards

After a dramatic season involving star Gilbert Arenas who was suspended for the last 50 games of the regular season due to charges brought against him for having weapons… guns, in the team's locker room. They were very fortunate to grab the #1 overall pick, as they only had about a 10 % chance to win it. It's accepted by most analysts and sports fans that John Wall of Kentucky will be the first overall pick. Despite only being a freshman, Wall showed how dynamic of a player he could be, and is already the consensus best prospect in the nation.

Philadelphia 76ers

A team that doesn't look like they're going anywhere anytime soon. They have some pieces in place, such as Andre Iguodala. But Iguodala and co. in Philadelphia haven't been able to make much noise in the Eastern Conference, having missed the playoffs in consecutive years. Assuming Wall goes #1 overall, most agree that Evan Turner will be the next player taken. Turner, a SG from Ohio State has put up great numbers in the three years he has played for the Buckeyes. Turner could be the spark for Philadelphia.

New Jersey Nets

New Jersey is another team …