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.