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What Does It Mean to Take the Points?

by January 18, 2022
Derek Carr

In sports betting, “taking the points” is a phrase used to describe the spread you took for an underdog team. I will walk you through an example below:

Say the Raiders go on the road to face the Chargers. The Raiders are +3.5 while the Chargers are -3.5. If you want to bet on the Raiders spread, you would be taking 3.5 points. Taking these points means that the Raiders would have to lose by three points or less (or win outright) for the wager to hit, as you are essentially adding 3.5 points on the Raiders’ final score.

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Taking the points allows you to bet on an underdog and still win the bet even if that team does not win the game. If the Raiders are +3.5, you will pay the juice of (-110) but have the opportunity to win the bet even if the Chargers win outright. This bet is less risky than taking the Raiders moneyline, though betting the moneyline would be more profitable if the Raiders win as the sportsbook would give something around (+165) odds.

The opposite of taking the points is “laying the points”. Going back to the example above, if you bet on the favorite Chargers at -3.5, you are laying 3.5 points as the sportsbook is essentially taking those points from the Chargers’ final score.

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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.

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Betting 101, Betting Tips