Is There Value Buying Half Points In A Sportsbook?

There’s rampant debate in sports betting as to whether buying a half-point is worth it. So what’s the answer to the age-old question?

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The majority of the best betting sites offer their customers a chance to buy half points on any football game they would like to bet on. That alone should indicate that it doesn’t provide members with a huge advantage.

After all, if giving up a half-point were very advantageous to the player, the book wouldn’t allow it. Buying a half-point might seem like a very good idea in all situations. However, any veteran – or maybe even novice – will tell you that you only want to buy half-points around key numbers.

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How Buying Half-Points Works

The premise behind buying the half-point is simple. The player is able to buy 0.5 and apply it to a spread or total that they want to bet on. In exchange, they're risking more money on the wager.

For example, if the player wanted to bet the New England Patriots at -10.5 against the New York Jets, they could pay a little more in order to adjust the odds to -10.

The advantage would be that if New England won by 10, it would be a PUSH instead of a LOSS. Now what you might need to know is what is the frequency that games land on key numbers.

Margin of VictoryFrequency
13.91%
23.80%
314.82%
45.03%
53.25%
66.03%
79.89%
82.99%
91.46%
105.68%
145.10%
Data From 2000 Through 2020 Season

As you can see, the highest percentages are right around three, seven and 10. Maybe you don't want to buy points around 10 but at three and seven it seems to make sense. At least, if you're going to do it, that's the time.

One thing you DON'T want to do is buy half-points around dead numbers. A move from +1 to +1.5 doesn't do much for you but it will cost you more.

While there are situations where buying a half-point makes sense that isn’t necessarily all of the time and depending on the spread for the game the price for buying points could vary.

Is Buying A Half-Point Smart?

While buying the half-point is the difference between a PUSH and a LOSS in the situation above that game could also very well end with New England winning by 12 or more points or the Patriots winning by nine or less points.

There is also a chance the Jets could shock the world and win the game straight up. Suddenly that half-point is completely irrelevant except for the fact that the player lost more money than they would have had they not done it. Then there is the fact that the sportsbooks tend to charge even more money to buy a half-point on key numbers like moving +2.5 to +3 or moving -7 to -6.5. That is because these half-point situations are more likely to have an effect in comparison to the Patriots moving either way at -10.

And when it comes to betting NFL totals, the data shows it's mostly not worth it.

Summary

The only time that a bettor should buy a point is when the line is at a key number where it could make a big difference. For example, if the Baltimore Ravens were listed at -3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the player liked Baltimore then buying a half-point would move the line to -2.5 and ensure that if the Ravens won by a field goal then he would WIN rather than PUSH. However, it’s also important to note that the player will have to pay more in this situation to get the half-point because of the fact that the spread is on a key number.

The situation listed above for the game between the Patriots and Jets would be that much less enticing to buy the half-point. That's true even though it is available at a lesser cost than it would be if it was on a key number.