Most of us, at one point or another, have experienced both the drastically different feelings of winning a game by a half point or losing a game by a half point. When half points are involved in the over/under game totals or spreads, the option of pushing is no longer available – you will either win or lose your wager. As a result, when faced with game totals or spreads concerning half points, the question of whether to buy an additional half point at a lower payout often arises.
The example below provides an illustration after-the-fact of when it would be useful to purchase an additional half point:
Suppose you place a wager on the Packers at +2.5 points but are feeling iffy about this spread and instead, decide to buy an additional half point for Packers +3.0. If the Packers end up losing by three points, you would have been saved from a loss and instead, would receive your money back. If this half point had not been purchased, you would have lost your wager ATS by half a point along with the entire amount that you placed on your wager – quite a saddening event.
Here’s when it would make sense to buy points in the NFL.
Payout Rises To EV Or Higher
When the payout on one side of an over/under game total or spread rises to an even payout or higher, it may be sensible to purchase an extra half point or a whole point. This is because a half point can usually be purchased for a payout of -113 to -117, which isn’t too bad considering the payout for game totals or spreads is usually -110. Additionally, purchasing an extra half point or whole point may save you the agony of potentially losing out on a win or getting your money back via a push. It makes sense to purchase a half point when the game totals or spreads are not whole numbers – that is, the game totals or spreads end in .5. On the other hand, it makes sense to purchase a full point when the game totals or spreads are whole numbers – that is, the game totals or spreads end in .0.
Predicting A Game That Will Be Decided Very Close To The Game Total Or Spread
If, based on your analysis or intuition, you feel that a game that you wish to bet on will be decided by a very slim margin on the game total or the spread, it would be wise to purchase an extra half point or full point. This way, if the game actually ends up going just as you had predicted, you will likely either win the wager by a small margin or end up pushing on the game instead of losing simply because you had purchased additional points.
Scenarios Where Points Should Be Purchased
Since NFL scoring typically takes the form of a field goal (three points) or a touchdown (six points) or a touchdown with a field goal conversion (seven points), some game totals or spread outcomes are more common than others. Based on historical data, here are the push probabilities for the following point spreads:
-1 = 2.50%
-2 = 1.98%
-3 = 9.80%
-4 = 3.00%
-5 = 1.68%
-6 = 3.40%
-7 = 5.72%
-8 = 2.14%
-9 = 0.90%
-10 = 4.92%
-11 = 2.22%
-12 = 0.44%
-13 = 1.33%
-14 = 4.90%
-15 = 1.46%
-16 = 3.48%
-17 = 4.55%
-18 = 2.33%
As you can see, it makes the most sense to buy additional points in order to obtain the five bolded point spreads.