When betting sports, there are a ton of different things you can bet on, offering a wide variety of odds per each wager. Bettors will lay money down on all kinds of outcomes they think gives them their strongest shot at victory. One of those outcomes is buying points. This is when you can move the line in your favor so as to give yourself the best shot at winning you think you need. Because over the course of sports betting, sooner or later you are going to come across a line that is almost exactly the one you want. But, almost doesn’t count. The line does not feel right to you, and you still don’t consider the line favorable enough to be worth betting on.
Say you were looking at a line and you were interested, but not convinced in taking the underdog at +3. If only they were +3.5, you would be all over them. If and when this happens, you can tell the sportsbook you want to buy the extra half point. This is also known as buying the “hook”. If you buy the hook, you get that extra half point with the spread moving to +3.5. It’s a very significant half point to have on your side since now you can lose by up to 3 points instead of 2, and you eliminate the possibility of a push. In certain scenarios, buying points can be advantageous. In others, they may not be worth the trouble, as we will discuss later on. You are already aware that all of the lines released are meant to be razor sharp accurate, so accurate that there is no clear advantage either way unless you buy point(s).
When you buy the half point, typically you will pay an additional ten cents on the dollar. So if the line was set with the standard -110, buying the extra half point will raise the vig to -120, forcing you to have to win this bet that much more often to yield a long term profit. It does present you with quite a dilemma since in many cases the outcome will be the same if you buy the hook or not. It’s not the sort of thing you will find yourself doing all the time as the risk you are incurring is too great. You also do not have to buy the hook in your favor. If you love the favorite at -3, you can essentially sell a half point, and have the line now go to -3.5. This way if you win, you will now win more money than the payout given by the original spread.
Buying points for football begins with half point increments. The more you buy, the more vig you pay. The 3 is always the big number surrounding NFL lines since many games are decided by a field goal or less. 7 is also a big one because of touchdowns. Whenever the lines are involving 3, 7, or 10, this will be when the lines are most worthwhile to consider buying the hook for. Going from 3 to 3.5 or 2.5 can be huge, as it would be for 7 going up to 7.5 or down to 6.5, and 10 to 10.5 or 9.5.
The line, known as the run-line for baseball betting is always going to be set at 1.5. You cannot move this line in any way like you can with football. The same goes for the moneyline as well. These payouts remain unaffected. However, you can buy runs for the total. If a line opens at 7 runs and you like the under, but wouldn’t mind some insurance, you can get the line raised to 7.5. Since runs are relatively scarce, this could affect the payout by more than the usual extra 10 cents.
Like baseball, the line, known as the Goal-line or Puck-line is set at 1.5. Neither this or the moneyline can be moved as well. You can buy the half point for the total. But once again, this will dramatically move the line since totals are even lower in hockey than in baseball. Goals are hard to come by, so if you buy a half point, it will be expensive. In most cases I can it imagine it discouraging someone from taking it.
Basketball has by far the most scoring out of all of the sports. You can buy points in half increments, up or down, like you can in the NFL. Since in basketball you can always score in fashions of 1, 2, or 3 points, this will leave you with quite a number of things to think about.
Like the NBA, while you will not see as much scoring since college games are 8 minutes shorter, college basketball will still produce substantially more scoring than the rest of the sports. Buying points works the same here as it does for the NFL and NBA. Depending on if you want to make the spread more or less in your favor will determine if the payout shifts to a greater reward for less risk, or a lesser reward for a greater risk.
Like the NFL, you can buy the points in increments of one half point. As you may already know, the oddsmakers are quite proficient in nailing the spread, and often times the outcome of a game comes within one half of a point of the spread. The advantage they have comes from lots of research, same as you will have to do if you have any hope of overcoming their advantage. College football specifically can yield a greater variance since you will come across some tremendous mismatches. Teams are liable to be favored upwards of 4 or 5 touchdowns. To an amateur bettor the underdog must look enticing when all you have to do is not get completely manhandled by the other team. But, the line is set that high for a reason, and favorites will cover it.