NFL Buying Points Betting

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A half-point can make a world of difference in NFL betting. Back at Super Bowl V, the Dallas Cowboys were 2.5-point underdogs to the Baltimore Colts, and the Cowboys were on their way to victory until things went sideways in the fourth quarter, allowing the Colts to score the next 10 points and win 16-13, covering the spread by a half-point in the process. If Dallas had been +3 instead, at least the result would have been a push instead of a losing bet for Cowboys supporters.

Imagine being able to “buy” that extra half-point ahead of time and turning that loss into a push. No need to imagine: Buying points in the NFL is a real thing. Anytime you&rsquo betting on football (or basketball), college or pro, you have the option of moving the spread by a half-point, as long as you’re moving onto a “flat” number – a whole number, in other words. For example, at Super Bowl V, you could have bought a half-point and moved the Cowboys from +2.5 to +3 (a flat number), or the Colts from –2.5 to –2. That would have been incredibly valuable for Baltimore supporters if their team had won 16-14.


What Does Buying Points Mean?

Buying points lets you shift the point spread to lower risk in your NFL wager. Although it’s called “buying points,” you can only buy the single half-point when you bet on NFL football. In exchange for lowering the risk on your wager, you have to pay a price – and that price changes depending on the number you’re moving to. Because more NFL games end in a winning margin of three points than any other result (roughly one in six), moving from –3.5 to –3 or from +2.5 to +3 will cost you the most: 25 cents of juice, based on the standard –110 line. In other words, instead of betting $110, you’ll be betting $135 to win $100.

The next common winning margin in the NFL is seven points, which happens about once every 10 games. If you want to buy a half-point and move from –7.5 to –7, or from +6.5 to +7, you’ll have to pay 15 cents of juice. That means you’ll be betting $125 to win $100. Every other half-point will cost you 10 cents in vig, so you’re betting $120 to win $100. These prices are for betting on the NFL; buying points costs less in college football, where the “magic” numbers 3 and 7 don’t carry the same weight, and even less in basketball, where the scoring is spread out more evenly.

The prices change somewhat when the spread in question doesn’t come with the standard –110 line attached. When the line is less than –110, you have to pay the difference in cents on top of the original cost; for example, if the NFL line is +2.5 (–105), you’ll pay 30 cents instead of 25 to give you +3 (–135) as your new bet. When the line is –110 or greater, you simply add the usual price to your vig; for example, buying a half-point from +2.5 (–115) will give you +3 (–140) when you tack on the standard 25 cents.



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NFL Buying Points Explained

So why would you pay the price on this “buying points” bet? There are two good reasons. One, by turning some of your losses into pushes, you can protect your bankroll by lowering risk. Two, there will be some instances where you’ll get a good price on your half-point; that is, you’ll make a bit more money in the long run than you’ll spend.

To get those bargain prices, you’ll want to focus on the third most important magic number in NFL betting: the number 10. While around 6% of NFL games end in this margin of victory, buying that half-point down from –10.5 or up from +9.5 will only cost you 10 cents in juice, which turns out to be a small edge in your favor based on the math. You won’t get the same edge paying 10 cents for the next magic numbers, 14 and 21, but you will be getting close to a fair price – it’s like free insurance to help protect yourself from a major downswing.

If you want to buy more than a half-point, you’ll need to place an NFL teaser bet, where you can move multiple lines in a parlay-type bet by 6, 6.5 or 7 points; make it a sweetheart teaser, and you get to buy 10 or 13 points. However, in single-game situations, you only get one shot to buy that half-point when you’re betting on the NFL, so make it count.



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