How to Bet an Alternate Point Spread

Learn how to bet on an alternate point spread.

Key Points

– There are situations where an alternate point spread makes sense.

– Bettors will pay a premium for an advantageous alternate point spread. 

How to Bet an Alternate Point Spread

Whether you are a novice or seasoned sports bettor, it’s likely that you have run into the following situations when betting against the spread. 

You see a spread for a game and are seriously torn between picking the correct side. You might feel more confident placing a wager if the spread was just one or two points higher or lower in either direction.

What if you came across a spread that seemed obvious? You would feel comfortable betting on the same side even if the spread was significantly different. 

In both of these cases sports bettors would be wise to bet an alternate point spread. The majority of sportsbooks nowadays offer the alternate point spread.

In this post, we will define an alternate point spread and discuss how and when to place such a bet.


Alternate Point Spread Defined

The lines that oddsmakers provide that are different from the original point spread for a game are known as alternate spreads. It’s possible for some alternative spreads to be as much as 10 points off of the original.

Of course, sportsbooks are in the business of making money. Therefore, there is a cost to buying or selling an alternate spread. Look at this way. When there is less risk to the sportsbook, the payout is going to be lower. 

Let’s use a betting on football example. If the Dallas Cowboys are favored to beat Philadelphia by three points at odds of -104, the price will be higher to get Dallas -2 or -1. If the Cowboys have to cover fewer points, it only makes sense that the better would pay a premium to do so. At Dallas -2, the odds might be -111 where a bettor must wager $111 to win $100.

Likewise, the Eagles are a +3 underdog at -118 odds. Maybe you like the Eagles to keep it fairly close but not by a field goal. You like Philly to cover by a touchdown so you take the Eagles +7.5. However, the price will be higher (-215) and you’ll have to bet $215 to win $100.

How It Looks

If we stick with the Cowboys-Eagles from above, the alternate point spread might look like this.

Eagles +16 (-1000)Cowboys -16 (+540)
Eagles +14.5 (-770)Cowboys -14.5 (+440)
Eagles +13 (-590)Cowboys -13 (+360)
Eagles +11.5 (-455)Cowboys -11.5 (+300)
Eagles +10 (-375)Cowboys -10 (+250)
Eagles +9.5 (-315)Cowboys -9.5 (+225)
Eagles +9 (-305)Cowboys -9 (+220)
Eagles +8.5 (-286)Cowboys -8.5 (+205)
Eagles +8 (-275)Cowboys -8 (+200)
Eagles +6.5 (-210)Cowboys -6.5 (+160)

The original line set by the oddsmakers is Dallas -3 with odds of -104. If you really like the Cowboys and think they have a great chance of covering by at least a touchdown, you can go to the alternate point spread market and view the odds.

In this case, you find that Dallas -6.5 is priced at +160. That means you will make $160 on a $100 wager if the Cowboys win by at least seven points. 

Available in All Sports

Depending upon your choice of sportsbook, you will be able to find alternate spreads in most every sporting event on a betting board. You will find alternate spreads for college football, college basketball and the NBA. They will look just like the example above.

Using alternative spreads is almost like the best kept secret in sports betting

In the NHL and MLB, the point spread is known as the puck line hockey and run line in baseball. In baseball, the run line is 1.5. In hockey, the puck line is also 1.5. There are alternate run lines and puck lines in these sports.

Again, bettors will pay a premium for the alternate spread. The odds for these alternate lines will adjust accordingly. 

How to Bet an Alternate Point Spread

Alternate Spread Strategy

Knowing that alternate spreads are available doesn’t mean you should rush to bet them all the time. The smart way to use the alternate point spread as a betting strategy is to use it when you have extreme confidence in one of your picks.

You can increase the line for better odds and a larger payout if you think a favorite has a great chance to win by a large margin. It’s also wise to use an alternate spread on an undervalued underdog on the moneyline. You’ll get great odds and a nice payout. 

Many sportsbooks will also offer an alternate point spread on quarter and half bets. For example, the Sixers are -3.5 favorites to win the first half against the Lakers. You see that Anthony Davis is out and LeBron James is questionable. The Lakers just played the night before and Philadelphia has an average +5.2 first half scoring margin.

Instead of taking the -3.5 at -120 odds, you head to the alternate spread market and lock in Philadelphia at -6.5 at +145 odds. Your $100 bet pays out $145 now. 

When used wisely, betting alternative point spreads can be part of a successful betting strategy.