Buying Points

Everything has a price these days. If you’re so inclined, you can buy things you normally get for free, like air and water and dirt. Or you could buy yourself one of the most valued commodities in NFL betting: half a point.

Risk management doesn’t get much easier. Have you ever looked at the NFL betting lines and seen something like this:

  • Cleveland Browns +3.5
  • Arizona Cardinals -3.5

It can be a bit frustrating when you’re dealing with an NFL point spread that’s at or near three points. Maybe you want to bet on the Cardinals, but you’re worried that they’ll only win by a field goal – and roughly one in six NFL games will end with that margin of victory. Fortunately, you can improve your chances by buying half a point and betting Arizona -3. That way, if the Cards do win by three, it’s a push instead of a loss.

You could also buy a half point on the Browns and make them +4 if you choose. As long as you’re moving the point spread to a round number (i.e. not from -3 to -2.5, or +3 to +3.5), you can do this with any NFL bet that involves a spread, including parlays and Round Robins.

Because three and seven are “magic numbers” in NFL betting, you have to pay a little more to move onto those numbers. Looking at our example game, if you want to buy half a point on the Browns, instead of wagering the standard $110 to win $100, you will have to wager $120. However, to buy that extremely valuable half-point on the Cardinals, you will have to wager $135 to win $100. Moving from +6.5 to +7, or -7.5 to -7? That’s only $125 to win $100, since seven is not as common a winning margin as three. Magical, yes, but not quite as magical as the almighty three points.