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A Guide to Buying (and Selling) Points

by January 8, 2022
Trae Young

First things first, sportsbooks would not exist if they did not think that their models and platforms give them an edge over the betting public. With that being said, they do present options of different spreads than their calculated one at reduced or increased lines to cater to any line that the bettor would want to bet, but they come at a price. In betting alternate spreads, there are two options that you can take, either buying or selling points.

Check out all of our Sports Betting 101: Strategy Tips & Advice >>

Buying Points

Let’s take this game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Portland Trail Blazers for our example for buying points. The line is currently -5 at -110 in favor of New York, with the Over/Under set at 225.

What if you think the Hawks will not cover that but think that they will still win, there are options. With asking for a lower line, you must “buy” the points that are being added. For example, to take the Hawks to win by three or more, or -2.5, the line is -175. It is clearly jucier, but the sportsbook clearly thinks there is a better chance for you to win, so they need to be incentivized to take the bet on. This works as well if you think that the total will be near the projected number but just want a cushion, for example, with the line set at 225, to get it down to Over 221.5, the line jumps to -155.

Selling Points

There is an alternative to lowering the spread if you are feeling confident in the team, this is called selling points. When selling points, the sportsbook is incentivizing taking a line that requires the favorite to win by more (or the loser to lose by less) than the projected spread. Selling points works the same sort of way in totals, however, the line moves more in your favor in selling points off of the spread as opposed to the total.

Using the same Hawks @ Trail Blazers game, let’s say that you think the Hawks win by at least ten points, the line -9.5 is available at a price of +170. A $55 bet on -5 at -110 will win you $50 and make you a net return of $105, whereas selling the points turns a $55 bet into $93.50 in winnings for a net return of $148.50. The financial incentive in doing this is there, but there is obviously risk in doing this.

All in all, these sportsbooks give you a ton of flexibility, but the lines and spreads they put out in all games that they offer are usually fair value, but in putting time into doing research, there is definitely value in buying or selling points to make sure that you get the line that you want.

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Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.

Josh Weil is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @Josh_Weil.

Bet Types, Betting 101, Betting Tips, How-To