This will be the fourth NFL season with the PointsBet Sportsbook available to New Jerseyans, so the “PointsBetting” concept isn’t exactly new to serious Garden State sports bettors. But it is still unique. At last count, there were 20 mobile sportsbooks in the state, and none of the other 19 offer these higher variance (in a sense) wagering markets.
You can engage in PointsBetting on baseball, basketball, and beyond, but as with all things in the modern American sports experience, football is king.
The NFL preseason begins this week for all three local teams. The Giants take on their occasional Super Bowl B-side, the Patriots, in New England on Thursday night, while the Jets and Eagles face each other in Philly on Friday. But it isn’t until Sept. 11, when the regular season begins (Eagles at Lions, Giants at Titans, Jets hosting Ravens), that the full PointsBetting menu kicks in.
So with a month remaining to strategize, here’s NJ Online Gambling’s refresher course on how NFL PointsBetting works.
For those totally unfamiliar with PointsBetting, the basic concept is that you can win or lose different amounts depending on how much you win or lose your wager by.
With traditional sports betting, if you wanted the Jets +6 vs. Baltimore, you could bet $11 to win $10 and the only three outcomes possible are that you win $10, lose $11, or get your money back if the Jets lose by exactly six points.
With PointsBetting, there’s a gap between the lines, which acts as the house’s vig. You can either bet Jets +5 or Ravens -7, with the sportsbook not charging that 10% fee on winning bets directly, but rather scooping both sides if the game does happen to land on 6 (and making the bettor use a slightly disadvantageous line in either direction). And you don’t bet $11 to win $10. You instead bet an amount per point.
For example, if you’re the type to bet $11 on a game, you’ll probably bet $1 per point. If the Jets win by 1, you win $6. If they lose by 20, you lose $15. Importantly, you can limit your potential wins and losses. The bettor may choose to establish a cap of, say, $20 in either direction, so even if the Jets lose by 40 points, you’re only on the hook for $20.
On paper, it sounds like a higher variance form of betting than just picking a side. But it isn’t necessarily. For every big $20 win you might score betting $1 per point, there’s a $2 loss or a $1 win or some other nominal amount that impacts your bankroll less than winning or losing the entirety of a standard bet.
You can also take a PointsBetting approach to other familiar markets, like total points scored in the game. For Eagles-Lions, the options are over 48 or under 46. Set your amount per point and your max win-loss, and every point counts until the final horn blows. You can also bet over 26 or under 24.5 for the Eagles’ team total, or over 22.5/under 21 for the Lions’ total.
Get out your calculator …
Then there are the more creative options, and a handful of them are already posted for games that are a month away.
For Giants-Titans, you can bet on the number of minutes elapsed off the clock when the first touchdown is scored — either under 12 or over 14. There are also three “multiplier” markets available as of this week for the Week 1 games:
- Cross team points: Giants points multiplied by Titans points, over 506 or under 446
- Win margin squared: Over 237 or under 203
- Largest lead squared: Over 395 or under 339
There will be plenty more PointsBetting multiplier markets to come as the games draw closer. A lot of them revolve around player props, an increasingly popular focus for sports bettors. Those offered last NFL season included a receiver’s yards multiplied by the number of touchdowns he scores, or one starting quarterback’s number of completions multiplied by the opposing QB’s completions.
Perhaps most fascinating of all are the “accelerator” bets. First touchdown scorer bets have become massively popular at most sportsbooks, and PointsBet offers a twist that allows the sweat to live on past the first time the ball crosses the plane of the goal.
With a first touchdown accelerator, the first TD of the game is worth 150 points for the player who scores it. If he scores the second TD, that’s 75 points. The third is worth 50, the fourth is worth 25, and the fifth is worth 10, and any subsquent TDs are worth 0.
And the points accumulate with multiple TDs. For example, say you bet on Saquon Barkley on the first TD accelerator in the season opener, and his lines are over 45 or under 36 (we’re just guessing here, as those lines are not out yet). If you take the over for $1 per point and he scores the first and third TDs, you win $155 (150 points for first TD plus 50 more for third TD, putting you 155 points over the line of 45). If you take the over and Barkley doesn’t score any of the first five TDs of the game, you lose $45.
NFL football is just around the corner, and for some, that marks the end of a seven-month stretch of needing to get creative to find sports to bet on. For them, NFL season means back to basics. But for others, especially gamblers who like to have 100 different wagers going on a Sunday, PointsBetting is one way to expand the options and extend most sweats.
Photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY