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How to Bet on Alternate Yardage Totals for Football — NFL Alt Lines Betting Explained

<p>AP Photos</p>

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With the increased popularity of sports betting throughout the world and particularly in the United States, sports books are getting increasingly creative in the lines and odds that they’re offering to potential bettors and users.

Nowhere is that more obvious than in the world of American football, the most popular sport by a significant margin in the U.S.

With the NFL dominating TV screens and multiple nights of the week for almost half of the year and college football filling in the rest of the weekend and the other nights of the week, football is absolutely still king in America. As a result, the betting opportunities on football are highly varied. 

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That variety can be most easily found in the availability of prop bets for every NFL game. With bets that range from the highly simplistic (such as the results of a coin flip) to the relatively niche (such as expected yardage for a backup quarterback), opportunities abound for educated sports bettors looking to find the best value to bet on.

When looking for that best value, it’s key to also consider the importance of alternate Lines, as they can significantly shift the odds of a particular result in your favor, or, for those who crave greater risk (and greater reward), they can shift the odds further in the sportsbooks favor and increase the potential profit available to a bettor if their prop bet hits.

Three of the most common and widely utilized alternate formats are Alt Receiving Yards, Alt Passing Yards and Alt Rushing Yards.

What are the Differences Between the Alternate Yards Formats?

When considering which bets to place and whether to take advantage of alt-line formats, being educated on the teams you’re betting on is key, as is understanding the difference between the alt formats.

By using the tools and line listings available with OddsJam, it’s simple to find the most positive value and the best alternate lines. 

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Alt Receiving Yards

This entails betting on a different set of total receiving yards than the one listed by the sportsbook as the main line. You could bet on a greater number than what they have listed, which would give you longer odds and a greater payout, or you could bet on a lesser number than they have listed, for likelier odds and a lower payout.

For example, if the main line was set at 230 receiving yards for the Washington Commanders in a game between them and the Dallas Cowboys, and a bettor feels that the Commanders are going to have a strong passing day with a good wide receiver core, they could bet an alternate line of 260 receiving yards and be able to obtain more desirable odds for that bet.

Alt Passing Yards

Similarly to alt receiving yards, alt passing yards involve betting on a greater or lesser number of yards specifically from passing. As with receiving yards, the odds would fluctuate based on the likelihood of the bet. While receiving yards are going to be based on both the distance of the throw and the distance covered after the throw, passing yards are only based on the distance of the throw, and thus are highly quarterback-dependent.

As an example, if the main line for Patrick Mahomes’ passing yards in an early-season game were below what his average passing yardage is, a bettor could utilize a greater expected number of passing yards to obtain more profitable odds.

Alt Rushing Yards

The final type of alternate yardage, alt rushing yards are for alternate totals either on team rushing yards, or player rushing yards (if betting on a player prop rather than a team prop). A bettor could find less profitable but safer odds by betting on a lower alternate number of rushing yards than the main line, or they could find more profitable and riskier odds by betting a higher total.

As an example, if the Miami Dolphins had an average rush game throughout the season, but are taking on the best rushing defense in the league, a bettor could take a lower expected rushing yards total in order to ensure a safer bet with a higher likelihood of hitting. They’d receive less profitable odds, but their chances of being successful would increase.

Finding Value in Alternate Yardage Lines

One of the keys to being a successful sports bettor is to understand which lines are positive values, which are negative values and which can be modified in order to fit the outcomes that a sports bettor may be looking at. The main lines offered by sports books may be the best lines to draw the greatest number of bettors in, and they may be the most expected outcomes (although they can vary by book), but that’s not to say that they’re the best individual lines for each individual bettor.

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By utilizing alternate lines, bettors can ensure profitability and minimize risk on the bets that they’ve properly educated themselves on. As always, we recommend utilizing the OddsJam platform in order to find the best lines at a wide variety of sports books, whether you’re betting on a listed main line or looking for alternate lines. 

Places to Bet on Football

Most importantly, in order to bet on football, you need to be signed up for sportsbooks to be able to actually place some bets! We recommend joining as many sportsbooks as possible to ensure you’re getting the best odds and opportunities every time you place a bet:


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