Buying and Selling Points
Keywords for this page:
Point buying = Changing the point spread in favor of the bettor's chance of winning. The odds will be proportionally lowered.
Point selling = Changing the point spread against the bettor's chance of winning. The odds will be proportionally increased.
To help us illustrate the proceeding discussions let us consider a 2004 Monday
Night Football game between the the Denver Broncos and the Cincinnati
Bengals. The following is an example simulation of a selection table displayed by
Game selection table
What is point buying?
Point buying is just changing the point spread specified by the sportsbook in
exchange for lower odds. One use of point buying is to avoid a push. As can be seen on the table, the DEN Broncos are
favored by 7 points. If they win by exactly 7 points then the bet will be a push
and all bets will be returned. In order for this not to happen, a bettor might
want to lower the -7.0 spread to -6.5 so that Bronco's win by 7 points
will make him win the bet. Consequently, since he is also making his chances to
win the bet more probable the sportsbook will lower the odds from 1.90 to
usually 1.83. So, we say that the bettor bought half a point. The second use of point buying is the more important one; it is
to increase the chance of winning the bet. The bettor may
still want to be on the safe side and buy 4.5 points (say, to target a field goal) thus
making the spread -2.5, whereby the odds will proportionally drop down to 1.42. You can also buy
points on Game Total (Over/Under) bets.
In order to buy points you have first to select either Broncos -7.0 or
Bengals +7.0. In the above discussions we assumed that the bettor
selected Broncos -7.0. He might as well have selected Bengals
+7.0, in which case point buying would be raising the spread to a value
greater than 7.0, say, to +7.5, whereby the odds will drop to 1.83. Note that making
the Bronco's spread -6.5 and making the Bengals spread +7.5 are
two completely different bets although both odds are adjusted to 1.83. For
example, if the Broncos win by 9 points, the first one (Broncos -6.5) covers the spread (wins), but
the second (Bengals +7.5) does not (loses). Both will be winners only if the Broncos win by
exactly 7 points.
If you viewed spread values as 'signed arithmetic numbers', then point buying
would imply increasing the arithmetic value of a spread (i.e., + increases and - decreases
when you buy points).
Many sportsbooks may not allow point buying, some allow only one half point buying, others allow up
to 3 points to be purchased. Very few allow up to 7 points.
What is point selling?
Point selling is the opposite of point buying. If a bettor feels that the
Broncos will beat the Bengals by much more than 7 points, then he/she can change the
spread to, say, -9.5; if he/she feels that the Bengals cannot lose by as much as 7
points, then he/she can change the spread to maybe +3.5. In either case the
sportsbook raises the odds since the bettor is putting himself/herself into a less
probable state of winning the bets.
Again, viewing the spread values as 'signed arithmetic numbers', point selling
can be translated as decreasing the arithmetic value of a spread (i.e., + decreases and - increases
when you sell points). Note that all the foregoing discussions can be applied in
principle to Game Total bets as well.
If you can exploit the situation very well, then point selling is a
fantastic way of maximizing your winnings in a bet. It is, in fact, one of the
key elements in forming winning parlays.
Here is what a smart bettor analyzed before placing his bets on the
Broncos-Bengals game: " It is very unlikely that the Broncos beat the Bengals
by 7 points or more. After all, this is not the good old Broncos team, and the
Bengals are not that bad either and, more importantly, they are playing at
home. Even if the Bengals lose, they may lose only by a couple of points. So, I
will go with the Bengals +2.5. Moreover, these teams are not high scoring teams;
I expect only five touchdowns. Therefore, I will make the
total points to be under 35 points; well, ok, there may be unexpected scores
like safety, going for 2-points, missed P.A.T's, so let me go with under 36
points." -- And he made a winner bet slip the image of which is shown below. (See how the odds change from 1.9 to 2.6 and 2.78 by selling points.)
As you can see, a $10 wager resulted in a payout of $72.28. Without point
selling the payout would have been 1.9 x 1.9 x 10 = $36.10. This is a 100%
increase in the payout!! A more aggressive bettor would probably have wagered
$200 to earn $1442.80. By the way, since the Bengals beat the Broncos
by a score of 23-10, the bettor could have still bought more points, sportsbook limits permeating, both on the
spreads and the Game Totals.
We have tried to go through the help sections as well as the rules and
regulations of several popular sportsbooks, and we have found out that not many allow point selling.
A word of caution: while buying points increases your probability of winning,
selling points may make you lose the selection which you could have otherwise won. For instance, if the total points of the above game were 40, the
above parlay would have been a loser just only because of the points bought.
Recall that the original total points were 43.
How to buy/sell points?
Each sportsbook has its own rules and mechanism of point buying and point
selling (if it supports it). Because of its simplicity, we will simulate here
the way you buy/sell points at on of the sportsbooks we have visited.
First you have to make your selection. Then based on your selection you'll
see something that looks like the following on your bet slip. Note that the values listed are just approximations of what to
expect and do not reflect any sportsbook's listing. Also, we have added the option of selecting the type of odds representation
you would like to see. In fact, you'll select the odds type of your choice at 'preferences' when you join the sportsbook, not at the betting pages.
Demonstration of how to buy/sell points at an ideal sportsbook
Both buying and selling of points are performed on the same list just by
clicking in the box or on the small arrow and then selecting the desired value __odds
combination from the drop-down menu. Couldn't be any easier.