What Does Hook Mean In Sports Betting?
It doesn’t matter if you are a novice bettor just learning the ropes or a professional bettor that’s seen everything in their 25 years in the business, at one time or another (more like several times in your life time) you will have to throw away a ticket in which a team failed to cover the point spread by a half point. It is one of the more frustrating losses in the industry, right next to the classic ninth-inning bullpen collapse in baseball. Some would say losing a bet by the hook is the bettors fault, not the actual players or coaches in the game, but I will get to that later in the article.
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What Does “Losing by the Hook” Mean?
When looking at the point spread line for any lined game, the hook is that extra half-point in the line. There is a very big difference between a three-point spread and a spread that is 3.5. That extra half point ensures that there will in fact be a winner and loser in regards to the point spread. If you hear someone say that they “lost by the hook” they are referring to a bet they made that lost by that half point via the point spread.
As an example, lets pretend you decide to bet on the Green Bay Packers and they are three-point favorites in their game against Minnesota. If the Packers win by a score of 20-17, the wager would be graded as a push and both sides of the bet would get their money back. If the spread was 3.5, your bet on the Packers -3 would lose – which brings up the term, lost by the hook.
Can You Avoid the Hook?
It’s pretty hard to bet on the point spread and avoid the dreaded half point hook. Linemakers love adding the hook to spreads that fall on the most common outcomes in games. For example, the most common winning margins in football is three, four and seven points and by adding a hook to each of those numbers would ensure both a winning and losing side, with the ultimate goal being balanced action.
When the hook is added, there isn’t a significant reaction from the betting public either way. The majority will look at the spread and enjoy the fact that their ticket will either be a winner or a loser. The betting public also fails to shop around at different sportsbooks for the best line they can possibly find. Avoiding the hooks in game is possible, but only if you are willing to spend a bit more on your bet and buy a half point when the situation calls for it.
Is Buying the Hook Worth It?
Depending on who you ask, some bettors will tell you to always buy the hook (either up or down) to avoid tossing your ticket away, while some bettors swear that buying the hook is a waste of your bankroll. We live in a world where sportsbooks offer a plethora of options and most of them give us the option to buy a half point on the favorite or underdog.
Remember our example from above? If you were to buy a half point on the underdog Vikings and make the spread +3.5 instead of +3, a 20-17 loss would now give you a winning ticket. You wouldn’t have wasted three hours of your life to get your money back.
However, if you are prepared to buy the hook, you must be prepared to pay a premium price for the better line. Because of this, the cost of buying the hook can be higher than the long-termcost of betting with the hook on a normal line. You must pick your spots wisely and shop around before committing to this way of betting. I can almost assure you, if you want that 3.5 spread to go down to a three so you that you can be the favorite and you look hard enough, you will find it at another book for -110, instead of paying -125 to buy the hook and get it at -3 at your current book.
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