Learn to Bet on Sports: What is Buying Points?

In this guide, we’re going to discuss the topic of buying points for football and basketball Against The Spread bets.

You can buy points off of a game total (over/under) as well, but that’s never a smart idea. How often do you lose an over/under bet by a ½ point or full point? Not very often. 

What Does Buying Points Mean When Betting on Sports?

Bettors will commonly buy points off football spreads, especially at key betting numbers (3, 7, 10, 6, etc).

Buying points is exactly what it sounds like. You buy points off a spread (½ point at a time). However, for every ½ point you buy, the odds get worse and the amount you need to risk increases proportionately.

In many cases, you pay $0.10 extra vig for every ½ point you want to buy. For example, moving KC from –5.5 to –5 would push the odds from –110 (standard) to –120 odds.

In the NFL, online sportsbooks will charge even more vig when buying off key numbers. The standard price for buying off a spread of –3/+3 is $.25 per ½ point and $.15 per ½ point for spreads of –7/+7.

An example would be buying the Patriots from –3 (-110) to –2.5 (-135). As you can see, you end up paying a lot more vig when buying points off key numbers in the NFL.

Should You Ever Buy Points When Betting on Sports?

While I won’t say you should never buy points, it’s not a wise investment over the long run.

If we could buy off key numbers at a cost of $.10 per ½ point then it’d be +EV, but since we’re having to pay upwards of $.25 for a ½ point, there’s simply no value buying points when betting on sports.

You could make the case for buying a ½ point off a key number if you do it very rarely and don’t mind paying the extra vig for a better line, especially if you’re making a big bet.

However, historically, you end up losing more money when buying points in football or basketball.

Here’s an example. Between 2003-18 betting on every –3 NFL favorite would have generated a record of 286-316-61 ATS (-55.12 units). If you bought a ½ point on every one of these games, you would have ended up going 347-316 ATS (-58.24 units). You win more bets, but lose more money.

There are some cases where buying points has been slightly profitable. However, after analyzing all of the key numbers in the NFL, buying points is definitely not a profitable bet long-term.


Sports Betting 101: Buying Points Basic Do’s and Don’ts


Buying Points in Sports Betting Isn’t Profitable

Statistically, if you bought points for every game played, you’d lose a ton of money.

Therefore, buying points is a losing proposition and should be avoided. Bookies love bettors that buy points off spread wagers and totals because they know those bettors will lose more long term.

To conclude, buying points is never a smart investment.

Don’t become one of those bettors that always wants to buy a ½ point or a full point. You may win a few more bets than you would normally, but because of the cost of buying those points, you’re going to end up losing more money. The data proves that you shouldn’t blindly buy points ever.

About the Author

Scott is one of our newest writer and handicapper here at ScoresAndStats.com, but he has been writing sports betting content for more than a decade online. His work has been featured on many websites.


Scott is a millennial (born in 1989) who grew up in Toronto, Canada and he has never left the big city. He grew up playing a few sports (hockey, soccer and baseball) when he was younger. His favorite sport was hockey and he played goalie. He still likes to get out to the rinks to play some pick-up with his buddies.


Growing up in Toronto, Scott is a huge fan of all Toronto teams.


He watches the Maple Leafs and Raptors religiously. Scott also enjoys watching the Blue Jays, Argonauts and TFC.


His best sports memory was when the Raptors were crowned the 2019 NBA Champions. Unfortunately, he’s still waiting for the Maple Leafs to win a Stanley Cup during his lifetime.


Scott may be a diehard fan of Toronto sports teams, but he loves watching all sports. He’s a huge UFC fan (look for his UFC betting articles for most events) and he’ll watch just about anything, including tennis, golf, soccer and cricket.


Scott is a numbers guy and he likes digging deep into the statistics when handicapping games. He also likes to identify value bets in markets most bettors overlook, including player/team props.


When he’s not handicapping and watching sports, he enjoys golfing in the warmer months. He also loves burgers and poutine. Not only is that his favorite meal, but he has tried over 100 burgers in Toronto and he’s constantly looking for the best new burgers in the city.