Buying points in the NFL: The when and the why; Week 4 TSI Upgrades

September 29, 2023 09:52 AM

When To Buy Points in the NFL

We’ve all heard at some point in our betting careers that you should never buy points – what is essentially making an alternative spread bet; however, that advice might be slightly misguided. Today, I’m going to break down the math of the price equivalencies for the key numbers of 3 and 7 – the only numbers you should be looking to buy on/off of, as it doesn’t make sense on 10, 14, etc. To clarify, this is not a hit piece on the “Never buy points!” crowd, as they are in fact right sometimes, but sometimes they’re not, and I’m here to show you when each side is correct.

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Let’s say you like the Jaguars -3.5 vs the Bengals (made-up scenario). Standard juice is -110, but what if one of your books is offering Jags -3 (-125)? The “Never buy points” crowd would say to just lay the 3.5, but the math, based on historical scoring distributions, says otherwise. -3.5 (-110) is the same price as -3 (-135) in the NFL, so if we can find a -3 priced -134 or better, that’s increasing our expected value (EV) on the play. 

For another example, let’s say you want to back the Broncos +6.5 vs the Cowboys; +6.5 (-110) is the price equivalent of +7 (-126), so if you can find a +7 at -125 or better, that would be increasing your expected value. Price matters. As I mentioned in my “When to Buy Points in College Football” piece, if a dealership offers me a new Corvette for the price of a 1999 Honda Civic, I would take it despite there being a large contingent of “Never buy a brand new car!” people in the world. 

Check out this price equivalency chart below and save it as a useful reference when placing your bets, so that you can quickly see whether or not your books are offering fair prices on buying points. 


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Follow The Money: The Army-Navy game is the only CFB game this weekend. The total sits at 28 and has gone under 16 of the last 17 years with the one over happening because of overtime. Consider the under again Saturday. View more tips.

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