Quarters? Halves? Alternate lines? With a full month of the season behind us, perhaps you’re feeling a bit adventurous when it comes to betting on NFL Week 5 this weekend.
After all, with Virginia sportsbooks entering their busy season, sports bettors have seemingly countless ways to bet on football.
And as the Washington Football Team (2-2) prepares for Sunday’s game against the visiting New Orleans Saints (2-2), perhaps you spot an opportunity.
Are the lines off? Think a slightly different number could give you a winning bet? Do you predict the first quarter or first half could look completely different from the rest of the game?
Well, you’ve got betting options.
What are NFL alternate lines?
You’re probably familiar with the usual ways to bet on football. You can bet the point spread, in which one team is the favorite (designed with a minus number, such as -3) and the other is the underdog that gets points (+3).
You can also ditch the spread and bet a team straight up on the moneyline. And, of course, you can bet the over/under on the game’s total number of points scored. Perhaps you’ve done some prop betting or even put together a parlay.
But in some sports, especially the NFL, you’ll often find special markets in which you can bet on a specific timeframe or segment of the game, including:
- First quarter
- First half
- Second half
- Second quarter
- Third quarter
- Fourth quarter
At most VA sportsbooks, you simply click on the game you want to bet on, and then you’ll find a cornucopia of various betting options and markets.
For Sunday’s game against the Saints (1 p.m., CBS) at FedExField, Washington was a 2-point underdog at BetRivers as of Thursday afternoon. The total, meanwhile, was 44.5.
But what if you want the WFT to be 3-point favorites so a potential Saints’ field goal doesn’t burn you? What if you think the total is way, way off? What if you expect one team to start strong and finish with a whimper?
In those cases, the sportsbooks have options for you. But they come at a price.
How and why to bet an NFL half
The Saints are a game out of first place in the NFC South. Washington, meanwhile, faces the same situation in the NFC East.
However, that’s where many of the similarities end. For example, the Saints come into Sunday’s game off a crushing 27-21 overtime loss to the formerly winless New York Giants. Washington, meanwhile, is riding high following a 34-30 OT triumph over the Atlanta Falcons.
No one would fault you for thinking that maybe Washington feeds off last week’s momentum and starts strong this weekend against the Saints. After all, with a home crowd behind them, things should be rocking at kickoff.
However, even if you’re a WFT supporter, you might worry about a second-half letdown. Maybe the adrenaline wears off. The crowd quiets down. The cream rises to the crop, and you’re concerned that maybe the Saints take over in the second half.
In that scenario, perhaps you want to consider betting the WFT for just the first half. Or maybe the Saints in the second half.
At BetRivers, for example, Washington is +2 (at -108 odds) for the full game. However, you can bet the WFT at +1.5 (at -132 odds) for just the first half. In that case, as long as Washington isn’t losing by more than one point at halftime, you’ve got a winning bet. You could even bet on a tie at halftime, which offers odds of more than 10-1 (+1050), if you think it’ll be super close.
Also, though bettors often like to check the live odds at halftime, you can bet the second half even before the game starts. In the above scenario, the Saints are -2 (at -113 odds) for the entire game. But if you specifically like their chances in the second half, you can get them at -1.5 (+100). So, regardless of what happens in the first half, as long as the Saints score at least two more points than the WFT in the second half, that bet is a winner.
Of course, the other usual betting options are available for each half, including the first half:
- Moneyline: WFT +100, Saints -130
- Total: 21.5 points (-115 for over and -113 for under)
A look at alternate lines
Let’s consider another way to bet on the Washington vs. New Orleans game, namely alternate lines.
Saints QB Jameis Winston has struggled to get in gear this year and has thrown for over 150 yards just once. Washington, meanwhile, is a bit banged up and dealing with injuries.
For those reasons and others, you might expect Sunday’s game to be a low-scoring affair. Granted, oddsmakers have already given the game one of the week’s smallest totals (43.5 at BetMGM), but maybe you think it’s going to be even lower. Much lower.
In that case, sure, you can bet the normal total and choose under 43.5 (-110). However, if you want a bigger payout by taking on more risk, consider betting an alternate total. You’ll get rewarded for taking an even lower number or penalized for taking a bigger one with corresponding odds.
At BetMGM, for example, instead of a total of 43.5, you could go lower and reap better odds by betting “under” on these totals:
- 43: -105
- 42.5: +100
- 42: +105
- 41.5: +110
- 41: +115
- 40: +135
- 38: +165
- 35: +230
The same concept works for each team’s spread, too. At BetMGM, the WFT can be had at +2 for -110 odds. But if you think they can easily cover the spread and then some, you could use an alternate line and get rewarded:
- +1: +100
- -1: +115
- -1.5: +120
- -3: +155
- -3.5: +180
- -6: +240
- -7: +310
- -9.5: +400
Alternately, you could “buy” points and get WFT at +3, but you get worse odds (-135) because of it.
Betting options vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, so be sure to make sure one of yours offers these types of bets if you’re interested. And if they don’t, check out the VA sportsbook reviews in the site’s header to find one that does.