Buy and sell points
Your predictions for the proportion of the talent of the playing teams may be different than the bookmaker’s. Then, it is only natural for you to want to change the amount of the spread the bookmaker has chosen. As we have already clarified, the bookmaker uses the spread to try to equalize the teams’ chances and balance out the line. Let’s see the circulation of the NBA match between Detroit and Indiana:
In order to balance out the line, the bookmaker chooses a spread of 9.5 points which has to be overcome by the favorite. It is possible that, according to your calculations or just following your intuition, you decide that this spread is too high. Let’s assume that you are inclined to bet on the favorite but, for instance, on -9 or -8.5 points. In this case, the difference between the bookmaker’s offer and your expectations is not big and you can certainly reach a consensus; i.e. you are given the opportunity to change the spread from 9.5 to 9 or 8.5, or to an even lower value. In return for it, the price is changed - the more favorable the spread is to you, the lower its corresponding price. This is called “buy points”. For the following instance you can see how the price is changed according to the spread:
Buying points is typical of American sports, mostly NBA and NFL, but can be also found with rugby and Australian football (AFL).
However, it is absolutely possible that your expectations for a match are opposite, i.e. you think that the favorite will overcome a spread, higher than the one the bookmaker has set. You would be inclined to bet on a higher spread in such a case, if this would lead to a raise of the price. This shift of the line is called “sell points”. It is offered by a small number of bookmakers; the following example presents the change of the price for the sale of points:
The buying and selling of points may be applied not only to the spread, but also to the total in a totally analogous manner. This is how the possible values of the total and their correlating prices would look like: