Ask the Capper: Worth it To Buy Points?
by Robert Ferringo - 02/20/2008
THIS WEEK'S ASK THE CAPPER QUESTION:
Marc G. from Texas asks: "What is your advice on buying points? Can this help your bankroll in the long run?"
You are always going lose games by half a point. That's a given in sports betting and it comes with the territory. Those losses always sting a bit more and they tend to be the ones that stick in your memory banks longer, so they may seem to be more frequent than they actually are. You may then think you are reducing the likelihood of that happening by buying points. Not true. All you're doing is making it more difficult to achieve long-term success by messing with the percentages.
The generally held theory is that it doesn't make sense to buy points no matter what sport or what game you are playing. Te reason is that if you buy point you often have to play a higher juice, anywhere from -120 to -150 instead of the standard -110, and all that does is increase the percentage of plays you have to win in order to make a profit. Most professionals agree that you're just taking a hard thing and making it harder in the long run.
My personal stance on the matter is a bit softer and I don't like to deal in absolutes. I think that it depends on the situation and the sport. In football, I think there are instances where buying a half point make sense because there are several key numbers - like 3.0, 4.0, or 7.0 - that it makes sense to get on or off. However, there are no key numbers in basketball so I think that, generally speaking, you're doing yourself a disservice by consistently buying points.
I, personally, will buy the occasional point on a Game of the Year or a very large individual bet. That doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do, but I'm also not going to be a hypocrite and say that you should never buy points. Also, I do think that a half-point has infinitely more value in February and March in college basketball (and May in NBA basketball) then it does in November or December. The reason is that the lines are much, much sharper and you see a higher percentage of games ending within 1.0 and 2.0 points of the closing number.
So my answer is that if you buy a few half points on a few different bets over the course of the year it's not going to kill you. Football is a separate issue and should be addressed differently. But in basketball it's really not going to help you as much as it can possibly hurt you, so, no, it's not going to help you bankroll in the long run. Also, if you really feel like you need to buy a half-point on a basketball game then maybe you shouldn't be playing that game. It's not exactly a high value situation if you feel that strongly that a single point could determine the game.
To learn more about Robert's member college basketball picks, click here.