Occasionally you may find yourself in a situation where you strongly feel that the favorite is actually the underdog, and vice versa. When this happens, you do have some options. You can take the alternate lines, which will drastically affect the payout. Depending which side you take, you will stand to win significantly more money if your wagered outcome is more difficult to achieve, or less if it’s easier.
In baseball, the standard spread is always going to be -1.5 runs for the favorite. Betting them means the only way you can win is if they win by at least 2 runs. If you take the favorite to win outright, or what is otherwise known as the moneyline, the payout offers less, but now you can win the game by any margin. This is a nice thing to have on your side considering about a quarter of every team’s games are decided by one run.
Suppose on a particular day you really loved the favorite. You can lay 2.5 runs, now requiring you to win by at least 3 runs. This is obviously a more difficult task, but will produce a much higher payout, therefore need a lower success rate to yield a long term profit. Situations that warrant this kind of risk are not going to come up on the regular, but you may be tempted when you get an ideal matchup. An example of that could be if the team you like is pitching their ace that day as he’s been on a nearly unhittable stretch. Then on top of that the lineup he’s facing that has some bench players getting a start over the every day players. Baseball starting lineups are released well before the first pitch of the game, so it is vital for you to check and make sure you know if anyone you would consider a catalyst is getting the night off.
You might also want to use the alternate run line where you really love the underdog. The underdog is paying above even money just to win, but it will pay even more if you decide to make them the -1.5 favorite, instead of taking them on the moneyline or the +1.5. If the dog was +145 to win the game, it would be in the neighborhood of +210 on the -1.5 alternate run line. It’s all a matter of whether or not you think there’s enough value on the payout. The question you have to ask yourself is, will this team win this game by this many runs often enough to justify taking the risk?
This is probably the least appealing out of all of the choices, but you can take the favorite at -1.5 and flip it around and take the 1.5 runs. This will make the payout much lower since you are wagering a team that is already expected to win, to only not have to lose by at least 2 runs. You would have to feel supremely confident that their opponent is not going to do much hitting. If the favorite is -110 just to win the game, an approximated vig for them would be around -210 when you give them 1.5 runs on top of that.
Along with a nearly endless list of other types of props, the Super Bowl will also offer alternate spreads. If the team you want to bet on is listed at -2.5, you will find them offered at lines much higher than that. They can get as high as 14.5. Conversely, you can also take an alternate line that could have them getting points, such as 3.5.
Whether you’re betting online or in a casino, what alternate lines are offered on what games will vary. But there are some things to think about when choosing up an alternate line. If you are considering laying extra points on the favorite, you may have a better shot at games that have a high total. In that case you figure it’s because you have 2 teams that don’t consistently play good defense, and like to rely on the passing game which leads to explosive amounts of scoring. With a matchup like that one, the outcome is likelier to be something really extreme, like 42-17. But if the game has a low total, that tells you that this game has teams that depend more on defense and running the ball. Under those circumstances, you may want to think about buying extra points as the underdog, giving yourself a bigger and perhaps safer cushion since the score is likely to be low scoring to begin with.
Alternate lines are offered in basketball as well. The easier way to remember what alternate lines are is they are basically the same as buying points. Having the alternate line already made for you is just to make it easier. But again, the main thing to consider is determining when the value actually exists. Sometimes the alternate line does in fact give you a slightly better opportunity than the standard spread. But in a lot of cases, the alternate line isn’t going to be any better or worse than the original line, it’s just different. In those instances it is essentially nothing more than another piece of variety as it will serve as something to keep casual bettors interested, and exploring other ways to get their adrenaline pumping.
The alternate lines in hockey are where you’re likely to see the most drastic changes in the payouts. The total is always going to be relatively low compared to all of the other sports. But like baseball, the favorite on the original line is always going to be offered at -1.5 and for a nice payout. More than what you average in baseball since baseball has a lot more high scoring affairs, and games that are decided by multiple runs.
Hockey will have close games; so winning a game by 3 goals is that much less likelier to take place, therefore the payout will be large. If you take the alternative line by turning the favorite into the underdog, you stand to win very little. The sportsbook knows it is unlikely that you lose, so they need to offer you a deal that isn’t very appealing, because if you do lose, you will have to make that bet successfully many more times in the future to make all that money back, which of course, does not sound very worthwhile.