What Does Alternate Mean in Betting?

Many people who enjoy sports betting will tell you that their primary goal is to make money from wagering. While this may be true, it can be difficult to understand how betting works if you don’t know what some of the terms mean. Here is a short guide to what some of the terminology used in betting might mean, and how to interpret them correctly:

Smart Money, Big Wins, And Biggest Losers

One of the first things you will learn when entering the world of sports betting is that the lines move. These are the odds that bookmakers—the folks who take your bets—give for events like NBA games or World Cup matches. Essentially, the lines change over time as more and more people bet on one side or the other. Eventually, the bookmakers will reach an equilibrium and the line will be where it needs to be to ensure that both sides break even—or more realistically, that the house (the bookmaker) wins.

When you place a bet, you are either matching wagers made by other people or you are adding your own. If you choose the first option, you will likely see the winning side quickly while the losing side takes longer to accumulate. For the second choice, you can expect to see outcomes unfold more slowly. Of course, this can vary from game to game and even from event to event. But as a general rule of thumb, the slower the action, the more money you will make (and, thus, the larger the payout when you win).

Money Management

One of the most important things for any sports bettor is money management. Simply put, you will lose more money than you can afford to lose. It doesn’t matter how good your system is or how careful you are, luck inevitably plays a part in how well you perform. When you are betting with real money, this becomes all the more important. Otherwise, you may just be fooling yourself into thinking that you can predict the outcome of an event when, in fact, you are ruining your chances of winning.

That being said, there are a variety of ways to manage your money when betting. You can set a daily or weekly budget and stick to it, refrain from wagering on certain days or weeks, or place limits on how much you can lose in any given day or week. These are just a few examples of what you can do to manage your money responsibly and still have some fun with a side bet or two. You should also take some time to read our tips on how to bet smartly, which may help you avoid many of the costly mistakes that most people make when gambling. These tips will help ensure that you win more consistently and, in the long run, make more money than you would otherwise; you may even learn something new that will help you place more precise wagers next time around!


Another key concept to understand when entering the world of sports betting is volatility. Essentially, volatility measures how likely an event is to change in the given direction (either up or down) at the end of a set period of time. For example, the odds of an NBA game ending in a particular way (e.g., a four-ball shot by the home team) will decrease over time as more and more people bet on that event going in that direction. However, the odds of an NBA game ending in a three-ball shot by the home team will increase over time as fewer and fewer people choose this outcome and subsequent gamblers don’t want to risk losing money on a bet that could go in either direction.


Probability measures the likelihood that an event will occur or, in other words, the percentage of outcomes that favor the occurrence of the given event. For example, the odds of an NBA game ending in a given score, in favor of the home team, is a measure of the probability that this will happen. In general, the longer the odds, the greater the likelihood that the event will happen. Conversely, the shorter the odds, the lower the probability that the event will occur. For example, the odds of an NBA game ending in a tie are very short—which means there is only a small chance that this scenario will happen.


If you are new to the world of sports betting, you will soon learn that lines are everywhere. These are the odds that bookmakers give for each team to win an event like an NBA game. They will also change depending on the time of day and, sometimes, even the weather. For example, early morning games in the winter are often more competitive than afternoon games in the summer, so the lines for those games may differ. In addition, lines can sometimes change in unexpected ways. This happened last year when both the Colts and the Ravens were heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season. However, as the season wore on, the lines began to shift in favor of the Patriots, who eventually won the Super Bowl.

Over Under

Another type of wager that you will encounter is an over under wager (also known as an under/over wager). Basically, this is when you choose to wager on whether the total number of points in an NBA game will be above or below a certain amount. For example, if the line for the game is 10 points for the home team and you decide to bet on whether the total score will be above or below 15 points, you will be placing an over under bet. If you get both the under and over parts of your wager correct, you will win the bet, but if any part of your wager is incorrect, you will lose it.

As with any type of betting, odds, and line movement, knowing how to read and react to these are essential if you want to make the most out of your betting experience. With a little bit of effort and research, you will be able to fully understand and successfully navigate the wide world of sports betting—and have a good time doing it!