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What are alternate spreads in betting? Understanding Alternate Spreads in Sports Betting

The sports betting landscape is constantly evolving, with various types of wagers offering bettors a plethora of choices. Among these, alternate spreads have become a popular tool for bettors looking to customize their betting approach. This article dives into what alternate spreads are, how they work, and strategies for using them effectively in sports betting.

What Are Alternate Spreads in betting?

In essence, alternate spreads are variations of the standard point spread that sportsbooks offer. The standard point spread is set to create an even playing field between two unevenly matched teams. By betting on the spread, you're not just betting on who will win, but by how much they will win or lose.

Alternate spreads, on the other hand, allow bettors to choose different lines from the main point spread with adjusted odds. These can be more or less favorable than the standard spread, and they give bettors the chance to capitalize on their predictions if they believe the game's outcome will be significantly different from what the oddsmakers predict.

Why Choose an Alternate Spread?

There are several reasons a bettor might opt for an alternate spread:

  1. Better Value: Sometimes, the odds attached to an alternate spread are more attractive based on a bettor’s analysis or a particular betting strategy.

  2. Increased Flexibility: Bettors can choose a line that they are more comfortable with, which aligns more closely with their prediction of the game's outcome.

  3. Risk Management: Alternate spreads can be used to manage risk more effectively by choosing a line that offers a higher probability of winning, albeit for a lower payout.

How Alternate Spreads Work

To understand alternate spreads, let's consider a hypothetical NBA game between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, with the Celtics as favorites. The main spread might be set at Celtics -7.5, meaning the Celtics need to win by 8 points or more for a bet on them to pay out.

Alternate spreads might include Celtics -5.5 or Celtics -9.5. If a bettor thinks the Celtics will win but not by 8 points, they might choose the -5.5 spread for a safer bet. On the other hand, if they believe the Celtics are going to win by a substantial margin, the -9.5 spread could offer a higher payout.

What are alternate points?

Alternate points have become more popular for parlay bettors who bet on the NBA player props. The sportsbooks have standard player prop point lines for bettors to bet on how many points an individual player will score in that game but there are also alternate point lines available. The odds are adjusted but you can take a lower point total for a lower payout or a higher point total for for a higher payout. Parlaying lower point totals has become extremely popular because you can increase your chances of winning by taking lower point totals but still get good payouts when you parlay multiple selections together.

Strategies for Using Alternate Spreads

  1. Research and Analysis: Understanding team performance, player injuries, and historical trends can help bettors make more informed decisions when selecting alternate spreads.

  2. Shopping for Lines: Different sportsbooks may offer different alternate spreads and odds. It pays to shop around for the best value.

  3. Bankroll Management: Because alternate spreads can either decrease or increase risk, it’s important to adjust bet sizes accordingly to maintain a healthy bankroll.

  4. Hedging: Bettors can use alternate spreads to hedge their bets, protecting against potential losses by betting on different outcomes with spreads that overlap.

Potential Pitfalls

While alternate spreads can be advantageous, they also come with potential downsides. Bettors may face worse odds for safer bets or might get tempted to take on excessive risk for a higher payout. It's crucial to balance the potential rewards with the inherent risks.


Alternate spreads offer sports bettors an added dimension of choice and flexibility, enabling a more nuanced betting strategy. Whether you're looking to take a conservative approach or capitalize on a confident prediction, alternate spreads can be a valuable tool in your betting arsenal. As with any betting strategy, it's important to approach alternate spreads with thorough research, disciplined bankroll management, and an understanding of the risks involved.

Best NBA Alternative Lines

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