How To Bet Alternate Lines With Betscope

Getting into the details of a great new source of betting value.

By | March 30, 2022

If you haven’t heard: Betscope now supports alternate spreads/totals! This is the market we have been most excited about adding, as there is nearly always some value spot to be found. We’re honestly more excited about alternate lines than props in terms of the market inefficiencies that can be found: unlike props, which only support one line related to a single outcome, alternate spreads and totals by definition support multiple lines for a single outcome, providing an enormous surface area to attack all books and find discrepancies. Anecdotally, since we’ve launched this feature, the number of value spots we’ve been surfacing has exploded, both in quantity and frequency: you can find value pretty much any time of day instead of the far more common window right before tip-off (which, to be clear, is still the overall greatest time to attack the market- more on that in a future article).

Here’s a pretty typical set of results that running our correlations engine/ROI calculator will produce- in this case, the Hornets/Nuggets game with a consensus “regular” spread of Nuggets -3.5:

There are two concepts worth highlighting that you should be aware of when folding in alternate spreads/totals into your betting portfolio. We’ll talk about them below.

Alternate Spread Bets Are Extremely Correlated

This one may sound obvious- of course Hornets -3.5 is very correlated with Hornets -2.5 and Hornets -4.5, they’re talking about the same outcome! In practice, this has some implications on the bets you might want to make. In previous versions of Betscope, all the +EV bets surfaced, while they are definition correlated according to the calculations we run, have low to medium correlations with one another. In the case of alternate spreads, they have extremely high correlations, since as mentioned above, they’re in reference to the exact same outcome, not the general outcome of the game. This means if you bet all of the top +EV bets from the alternate spreads markets for this game, you’d have a lot of exposure to a single outcome. In practice, this can overweight your betting results on a single outcome, which introduces a lot of volatility and can make tracking things like closing line value and ROI a little more complicated. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend only picking the top ROI option from all the alternate spread markets and limit your exposure. And if you’re feeling a little more advanced, you can construct portfolios when you can have both sides, which leads us to the next concepts:

You Can Still Get Value On Two Bets Where Both Cannot Win

You may notice that there are two bets in that example table, Hornets -3.5 and Nuggets -10.5, that are mutually exclusive with one another, and yet both show value. How can this be possible- if one of those bets hits, by definition, the other has to lose. How does it make sense to bet both?

Let’s construct an example table to show how this could play out and still make sense. Here are some rough probabilities for the 3 outcomes related to these bets, along with how much you would make in each scenario for the prices listed above: 

40% of the time, you lose both bets, but 60% of the time, you win one of the two. And when you win one of the two, the gains from one are more than enough to offset the loss from the other. This example takes some time wrapping your head around if you’re used to thinking of your betting results in terms of how many bets you won or lost, and is illustrative of why that’s the wrong way to track your results. It doesn’t matter how many bets you win or lose over the long term, it matters how much money you made off of those bets, and if the price you got for those bets gets you enough value to turn a profit. Going back to the above example- the prices on the Hornets and Nuggets alternate spreads are high enough that it warrants placing a bet on both and still expecting to turn a profit. In a ridiculous hypothetical example, if you were offered 100-1 on each of those bets, you would probably take both of them in a heartbeat even knowing that one of them can’t win, because the odds are so good. In real life, the examples are never as obvious as that, and you have to be more critical about knowing when the prices are good enough to fire on both sides. This is exactly what Betscope is built to do: make those price evaluations for you, so you can be confident that you’re attacking the market through mispriced lines.

Go check out our new additions if you haven’t already, and let us know how it goes!