Buying Points in the NBA
One of the questions that I'm always asked by NBA bettors is whether or not they should consider buying points off of the point spread. If you don't already know, most NBA betting sites will let bettors purchase points off of the point spread. If you bet on the favoured team the point spread will become smaller and if you bet on the underdog the point spread will become better. It costs the bettor an extra $.10 to purchase each .5 point in the NBA.
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We're going to look at a quick example below to show you what I mean by buying points in case you don't understand before we talk about whether or not buying points in the NBA is actually worth it. The majority of NBA betting sites use the same rules when it comes to buying points although some sportsbooks may have slightly different rules.
- Toronto Raptors -4 -110 vs. New Orleans Hornets +4 -110
In the example we're using above, the Raptors are favoured by -4 and the odds are -110, which would simply mean that you need to bet $110 to win $100 on the Raptors at -4. Let's say you like the Raptors, but you want to move the spread down to -3. It would cost you $.20 to purchase a full point off of the spread, which would bring the adjusted point spread odds to -3 and -130. You'd now have to bet $130 to win $100, but the Raptors only need to win by -3 points rather than -4 points.
To determine if buying points off of the spread in the NBA is worth it you need to decide how valuable the point is. If you think you'll increase your chances of winning by 20% than you should purchase the full point. However, clearly buying a full point in the NBA isn't going to increase your chances of winning by 20% the majority of the time. Most sharps don't buy points on most of their NBA bets, but it'd be wrong to say that they never buy points.
Many sharps with big bankrolls to bet with will buy points in the NBA, but they don't just buy a .5 point or full point. The best NBA sharps will use historical data to determine if buying points if worth it or not. Generally they'll be purchasing 3+ points on the spread, which would make the juice incredibly high, but they have the bankroll to afford buying points. Generally if you're thinking about buying points in the NBA it isn't a winning proposition and should be avoided.
There aren't that many NBA games that fall within .5 - 1 point of the actual point spread, which means that as a generalization buying points isn't something you should do in the NBA. In the NFL buying points off of key numbers can definitely be smart and in many cases profitable, but a point in basketball isn't nearly as valuable as a point in football. Online sportsbooks also charge the same amount of juice regardless of whether you're buying a point off an NBA spread or NFL spread, which in my opinion doesn't make any sense at all.
When you buy points in the NBA you also need to consider how many more games you'll need to win. For instance, if you wager on 10 NBA games at -110 odds you only need to win 52.38% of your picks to turn a profit. If you bet 10 games at -130 odds you'd need to win 56.52% of your picks to turn a profit. If you think buying 1 point off of the point spread on your NBA bets will increase your winning percentage by roughly 4% you're crazy. There is a time and place to buy points in the NBA, but for the average NBA bettor it isn't recommend to purchase .5 - 1 point off of the spread because the juice will kill you.