Points Betting Guide

Editor’s Note: PointsBet is currently not operational in Tennessee, so this guide to points betting is based on how the concept works in New Jersey, Indiana, and Iowa.

The sportsbook PointsBet rolled out its own twist on the age-old pastime of betting on sporting events. That twist, points betting, is a unique spin that can up the stakes of your wagers.

The essential difference is that your odds aren’t fixed throughout the sporting event. Rather, they’re fluid right up until the event concludes.

You could say that fixed-odds markets are black and white while points betting has shades of gray. This way to wager on sporting events borrows some elements from another type of financial “gamble”: the stock market.

PointsBet refers to your wager as a stake and each unit you gain or lose in a market a point. You’ll find that same verbiage used by media covering the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

This accurately points out the many similarities between betting on sports and playing the stock market. While it may not be the wisest strategy to look at wagering on sporting events as an investment strategy, there are many parallels in how both exchanges work.

Many bettors have found points betting a fun alternative since it keeps them engaged in their favorite sporting events throughout the contest. At the same time, these markets can deliver quick results within minutes of a match’s opening if that’s what you prefer.

Understanding how these markets work is quite simple. It’s simply a matter of grasping the fact that it isn’t over until it’s really over.

How points betting works

Points betting is most popular for point spread bets and point total wagers on team sports like basketball and football. You can find such bets for individual sports like golf and tennis as well, however.

To demonstrate how this works on spread bets, let’s use a real line from an NFL game during the 2019-20 season. The fixed-odds market looked like this:

Tennessee Titans at
Jacksonville Jaguars

Just like if you were placing a fixed-odds bet on this market, you need to pick a side. You also need to determine how much you want to stake in the market, namely how much you want to bet.

Let’s assume you’re confident Tennessee will win this game by at least four points and you have $10 to put on this market. You then stake $10 on the Titans -3.

You might have noticed that there are no odds next to the spread. That’s because how much you win depends on how well Tennessee performs in this game.

Suppose the Titans put on a clinic in Jacksonville that day and end up winning by 24-3. To determine your winnings, subtract the original line of three from Tennessee’s margin of victory, which is 21. That gives you 18.

That number of 18 is what determines your winnings. Multiply your stake, which was $10, by that number. That product is 180, which is your payout.

So to review, your $10 bet on Tennessee -3 pays out $180 because the Titans won by 21. Put more simply, for every point above the line, you win 1X your stake.

So what if I guess wrong on a points betting bet?

To demonstrate what happens here, let’s take a few steps back with our example. Let’s say instead of winning 24-7, Tennessee gets upset 17-10. The same formula applies for determining the outcome of the market.

Because you bet the Titans -3 and they lost by 7, your multiplier in this case would be -4. The sportsbook would keep your entire wager because 40 is greater than the $10 you staked.

Don’t worry, the sportsbook doesn’t demand the $30 difference from you. You can’t lose more than your original stake regardless of how far off you are.

Another popular way to do points betting is with point total markets. We’ll use real odds from a Memphis Grizzlies game during the 2019-20 season as an example.

Points betting on totals markets

Again, you’ll notice how the totals markets here lack odds. That’s because in just the same way, how the game goes will determine your payout. The over/under on this game is as follows:

Memphis GrizzliesO 200
New Orleans PelicansU 200

For the sake of example, assume you opted for the over and staked $10. Then the final score of this game was 111-109. That adds up to a total of 220.

Subtract the line from the actual total, which gives you 20. That is your multiplier. So a $10 points bet on the over of 200 would pay out $200 in this case.

Going the other direction, let’s change that final score to 95-93. That adds up to 188. You bet the over on 200 and the teams failed to reach that mark.

Do the same math as above, which gives you -12. The sportsbook would keep your entire wager because 120 is greater than 10. Again, you don’t have to pay the sportsbook the difference.

Although point spreads and totals are the most popular forms of points betting, those aren’t your only options. Points betting also offers a great variety of in-game and proposition markets.

How points betting works for in-game and prop bets

PointsBet is also well-known for its great wealth of live and prop bets of this type on NBA games. These markets include but aren’t limited to:

  • How many minutes or seconds into the game it takes for the first point to be scored
  • The percentage a player shoots from 3-point range during a game
  • How many assists a player will make during a game

The sportsbook also offers these markets for football, ice hockey, and soccer. You can also find these markets for individual sports like golf and tennis.

For these markets, units of statistical achievement and time instead of units of the score are what determine your potential loss or win. The time markets can be either minutes or seconds.

Let’s assume you’re considering a market on the seconds it takes for the first goal to be scored in a Nashville Predators game. That market could look like this:

First goal scored (Min)under 5over 8

Those numbers represent minute marks in the game. You can choose under five or over eight for the number of minutes that will pass before either team scores a goal.

Notice that there’s a gap between the over and the under in this market. If the first goal is scored during that gap, the sportsbook will grade your bet a push.

Assume you took the over and staked $10. Then assume the defenses were stingy to start this game and a puck didn’t cross the crease until 12 minutes into this game.

Because you took the over on eight, you won. Each minute over eight becomes your multiplier. Therefore, you would win $40 off this bet in this case.

If a player’s shot was dead-on in the fourth minute of this game, then you would lose your wager. The formula is very similar for points betting on individual player stats.

How stats-based points betting markets work

Say a market on the total score from four rounds of golf by Dustin Johnson caught your eye. Such a market on Johnson’s performance at a recent major looked like this:

Dustin Johnsonunder 311over 315

Again, note that if Johnson scores anywhere from 311-315, your bet is a push. Your options are a score of less than 311 or more than 315.

For the sake of example, assume that you’re confident about Johnson on this course so you stake $10 on the under. Further, suppose Johnson rewards your confidence with a 309.

Subtract his actual score from the line, which gives you two. That’s your multiplier, so you would win $20 from this market. If Johnson had ended up with a 317 instead of a 310, the sportsbook would keep your wager.

So now that you understand how these markets work, the next piece of pertinent information is how to actually make such a wager. That’s a pretty simple process even if you’re a new bettor.

How to place a points bet

Download the PointsBet app on your Android or iOS device. Alternatively, you may visit PointsBet’s website on your desktop computer if you desire. As we’ve mentioned, this type of bet is unique to that sportsbook, so it is the only app they are available on.

If you’ve already registered with PointsBet in another state, you can simply log in to your account with your existing credentials. For those new to the brand, registration is easy and quick.

PointsBet offers great bonuses and promotions for new customers upon registration and your first deposit, so look out for those if you’re new. Even returning customers can take advantage of other promotions, however.

Once you’ve deposited, you’re ready to consider the available markets and put in your stakes. Just like with fixed-odds markets, doing so successfully depends on doing your research about the sporting events.

The unique twist of points betting is that athletes and teams have a large role in determining not just whether you lose or win but exactly how much you lose or win. Because of that, it’s become a popular way to bet on sporting events.