What Are Alternate Lines In Betting?

Online sports betting is not yet active in Florida. This page will be updated with the latest promos, news and odds once Florida sportsbooks launch.

Legal sportsbooks are nearly upon us in Florida, and that is going to open up betting options in the state. There will be online sportsbooks and apps as well as brick-and-mortar retail locations. With all of the sports to wager on, there will be more than enough betting options to check out.

You might even find yourself spotting a bet that you’d be interested in wagering on if only the line were a little different. That’s when alternate lines can be a boost to your betting strategy.

Below we’ve assembled a guide to betting on alternate lines for when Florida sportsbooks become available.

What are alternate lines?

Legal online sports betting in Florida will provide more than just the individual standard lines for many games. As the lines shift, the odds are going to adjust, too. The more the line moves in your favor, for instance, the smaller amount of potential profit you’re going to see as the odds shift. Alternatively, you could make the line tougher in exchange for better gambling odds.

You have to decide if you’re more willing to wager on a higher-risk/higher-reward scenario, or if you’d rather play it safer in exchange for a lower potential return.

Alternate spreads

Let’s give you an example of alternate spread betting: You are looking at the upcoming Miami DolphinsNew England Patriots game, and Miami is favored by 6.5 points at Hard Rock Sportsbook Florida. You do think the Dolphins are going to win, but you aren’t quite convinced that they are going to cover the betting spread.

Let’s say Miami has -110 odds with a 6.5-point spread. The sportsbook could offer a 3.5-point spread at -200 odds. It could even offer a tighter spread at 1.5 points but have the odds at -310.

The odds can also move in the other direction. Maybe you believe Miami will win by 10 points, and the sportsbook is offering a -9.5-point spread at +170 odds.

You can also make those alternate line wagers on the underdogs. The Patriots could get better lines, as well. As in the above example, you will see the odds shift with each alternate line.

Alternate totals

Alternate totals are much like the example of alternate point spreads that we gave above. Sportsbooks offer variations of the original over/under bet that they predicted.

For example, let’s say the football game between the Florida Gators and the Miami Hurricanes has a total line of 49.5 points with -110 odds for either choice at BetMGM Sportsbook Florida. But the sportsbook may offer an alternate line of over 40.5 points at odds of -400. Or under 40.5 points at +265.

The more those numbers change, the more the odds are going to shift, as well. In the case of totals betting, the more unlikely it becomes (such as an under for fewer points), the better the odds are for you. You might see over 38.5 points at odds of -450, but under 38.5 would be at +325.

Alternate parlays

Alternate betting lines that are part of a parlay are known by a specific industry name: a teaser. You can often “tease” the line to be a better fit for what you’re looking for in a parlay wager, giving yourself a better chance of winning while diminishing your potential return as the odds change. Keep in mind that parlays require two or more wagers on a single bet slip, and they all have to be correct for you to cash out.

Where to find alternate lines in a sportsbook app

At most legal and regulated online sportsbooks in Florida, you’ll find the game lines under the tab for the sport you’re looking to wager on. Next to those are often a tab that reads “alternate point spread” or “alternate total points” that you can simply click on to view a selection of alternate lines.

Basics of alternate line betting

Alternate lines can become a regular part of your betting strategy, depending on how you approach sports wagers. The simple fact is that not every line that a sportsbook puts out is going to be one that you’re comfortable with. That’s where alternate lines in sports betting can be so attractive.

To better understand betting on alternate lines, you need to keep in mind that you are essentially buying or selling points in exchange for odds. The easier it becomes to win a bet, the worse the odds will become for you and the smaller your potential profit margin is going to be. The more difficult the line becomes, the better the potential return.

There are times that an alternate line may make sense in your betting strategy, especially if you’re not worried about the odds moving. For example, if your research on the Miami Heat vs. the Orlando Magic game comes up with the Heat eking out a win by just a few points, but the sportsbook has the game a bit more one-sided, you could take an alternate line that gives you better odds with more of a chance of getting a larger return on your wager.

Or, if you aren’t sure the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets can combine to reach a predicted total, you could take a better line for that game while accepting the reduced potential profit.

The key to using alternate lines is your research and betting strategy and understanding that the more you change the lines, the more the odds are going to shift.

Alternate lines for the NFL

With the NFL being the most popular sport to wager on in North America, it’s no surprise that sportsbooks offer multiple options when it comes to bets.

Alternate lines are almost always going to be available, and if you’re betting on the NFL, they’ll likely be useful in many cases. Let’s say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has been stout all season long, with a lot of yardage coming out of the backfield, as well. They are playing the Miami Dolphins, who also have had a lot of success on the ground and some strong defensive showings.

Say the Bucs are favored in the game, but the point spread has them as 7.5-point favorites with -110 odds, and you just don’t see that happening. You decide to take an alternate line, dropping the point spread down to 4.5 points. Sure, your odds are going to get worse and your potential payout is going to be smaller, but it helps you avoid a losing wager while still adding a bit of profit if you’re correct.

Conversely, maybe your research indicates that the Dolphins have a solid chance at winning the game. You’ll be able to find lines that increase the odds in favor of Miami as the underdog, giving you a chance to get additional value. Instead of betting at +7.5 points and -110 odds for Miami, you go with +2.5 points at +225. If Miami loses by fewer points, or wins outright, then your payout will be much more impressive.

Alternate lines for the NBA

While the NFL and football may be the king in terms of sports betting, NBA betting is not far behind. You can definitely use alternate lines to add value to your NBA bets. Let’s take a look at a fictional example of a game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets.

The sportsbook has the original line as -4.5 points for Miami at -112 odds and +4.5 for Charlotte at -109 odds. That’s a pretty tight game between those two teams, and you have done your homework only to come to the conclusion that Miami is likely to win by a bit more. Your sportsbook might have an alternate point spread at -6.5 for Miami that moves the odds to +110. Sure, that’s not a giant leap by any means, but it can make a difference over a season of betting.

You would also have the opportunity to tighten those lines up with fewer points to have to overcome, which would shift the odds in the opposite direction. We’ll go with a small number of points for our example between the Orlando Magic and the New York Knicks, which has Orlando favored at -2.5 points and -110 odds. By shifting that to -1.5 points, you make it an easier bet to win, but the odds also shift to -125 in the process. You have to determine if the reduced risk is worth the smaller potential payout.

Alternate lines in other sports

The above two examples illustrate just a couple of examples. In many sportsbooks, you’ll find alternate lines for the NFL, college football, the NBA, college basketball, Major League Baseball and the NHL.

Not every sportsbook offers alternate lines, so it’s a good idea to keep yourself fluid by having multiple accounts across several sportsbooks in order to allow you to not only shop for the best sports odds, but also to take advantage of alternate lines when available.

Strategies for betting on alternate lines

Understanding the basics of alternate lines is important before you begin betting on them. As you become more familiar with sports betting, you may find times when they give you an edge.

Sportsbooks often list point spreads and totals with half-points, such as 3.5 points for an NFL or NCAA football game. That guarantees winners and losers on each bet, but it also is key to recognize the importance of a field goal (aka three points) in point spread betting. In those cases, using an alternate line to push the point spread to 2.5 can make the difference between a winning slip and barely losing out.

When betting on the favorite, it typically makes more sense to use the alternate line to get a lower number. You always hope that a team that is favored to win (and that you bet on) is going to get out to a hot start and stay in a significant lead throughout the contest, but if you’re looking to play it a little safer, you’ll want to reduce the points just in case the team struggles, falls behind early or has to fend off a furious late-game run by the underdog.

In some cases, such as during the postseason, the teams may be a lot closer than during the regular season. That being the case, you may want to consider giving yourself more value by tightening up the point spread for an underdog team to give yourself better odds. If you’re absolutely certain the underdog is going to win, you could even change the spread to favor that team over the favorites. In those cases, the odds will shift strongly toward a big payout if you’re right.

One piece of advice to keep in mind is that in sports like football and basketball, there are key numbers when it comes to the spread. In football, two key numbers are three and seven, because those are the points from a field goal and from a touchdown and point-after.

Using alternate lines to avoid those key numbers can be a big part of your betting strategy, though it will come with a shift in the odds each time you go that route.