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Betting on the moneyline is the easiest way to bet, simply picking a winner. Moneyline outcomes vary with sports and markets. Most sports offer two moneylines, but some such as soccer and UFC offer three moneylines with the ‘draw’ or ‘tie’ also in play.
Because there is no spread when betting the moneyline, it is considered the easiest market to bet on. Other sports, such as golf, may offer as many as 140 moneylines if betting on an event winner.
Let’s break down what a moneyline is, the importance of understanding it and how to bet on them.
What Is a Moneyline?
The moneyline is the given betting odds for one side to win a game. The side doesn’t have to win by any certain amount of points, it can be a one-point win or a 100-point win. When betting on the moneyline, you are simply wagering on a win.
The most popular form of moneyline betting is the two-way market, picking between a favorite and an underdog. Favorites cost more money to win back less because they have a higher probability of winning. Underdogs cost less money to win back more because they have a low probability to win.
The three-way market is also a popular moneyline to bet on, seen in sports such as soccer and UFC. The three-way moneyline offers bettors a chance to take the favorite, the underdog or a draw.
How Does a Moneyline Work?
Let’s use the example below to see how moneylines work.
If a bettor wanted to bet the Packers’ moneyline, then it would cost $170 for the bettor to win back $270 ($170 wagered + $100 in winnings). For a bettor to win this, the Packers would have to beat the Vikings by any amount of points.
If a bettor wanted to bet the Viking’s moneyline, then it would cost the bettor $100 to win back $300 ($100 wagered + $200 in winnings). The Vikings would have to beat the Packers by any amount of points for the bet to win.
The favorite is always represented by a negative number, such as the Packers -170 in the above example. The favorites are expected to win, which is why it would cost $170 to only net a $100 profit. As a bettor, if you wager on the favorites you would be paying the negative moneyline number to only win back $100.
The underdog is always represented by a positive number, such as the Vikings +200 in the above example. The underdogs are expected to lose, which is why it would only cost $100 to profit $200. As a bettor, if you wager on the underdogs, you would be paying $100 to win back the positive moneyline number.
- Even or Pick ‘em
Sometimes there is no favorite or underdog, where the odds are the same for both sides to win a game. When this occurs, the moneyline is as ‘EVEN’ or a ‘Pick ‘em’. Let’s use the example below to see what an EVEN moneyline looks like.
In the example above, both the Dodgers and the Brewers have a moneyline of -110. Because neither team is the favorite nor the underdog, this is an EVEN moneyline or a Pick ‘em. If a bettor wanted to wager on either side, it would cost $110 to win back $210 ($110 wagered + $100 in winnings).
So, How To Bet Moneyline?
Now that you understand what a moneyline is and what the numbers represent, it’s time to wager! How do you go about betting on a moneyline?
- Pick a sportsbook online site.
First, see which sportsbook is legally available in your state. Once you have a list of sportsbooks available, shop accordingly. Sportsbooks will have different moneylines, so as a customer you want to find the best price to wager on.
If DraftKings is offering the Braves to win a game for -130 but BetMGM has the Braves’ moneyline at -120 instead, as a bettor you would want to bet with BetMGM to pay $120 instead of $130. Always remember that you are the customer when betting, so find the best price available for you.
- Choose your sport.
If you have a sportsbook selected, then pick a sport. Most books have the leagues and sports listed on the left side menu, vertically. There is typically a navigation bar on the top of the site that is horizontal. There you can find your sport to wager the moneyline with
- Find what you are betting on.
Once you have selected the sport or league you want to bet on, simply find the player or team you want to select. Most books list daily moneylines under ‘Game Lines’ or ‘Game Odds’. If wagering on a player for an individual sport, simply clicking the sport or league event will populate moneylines.
- Log in and place your bet.
If you haven’t deposited with the chosen sportsbook yet, you’ll need to sign up and do so. If you already have an account, simply login and place your bet on the moneyline!
How To Read a Moneyline? Here’s an Example
Reading a moneyline is important when betting on them. The further a negative moneyline is from zero, the more likely the moneyline is to win. A moneyline of -150 is less likely to hit than a moneyline of -350.
Because a -350 moneyline is more likely to win than a -150 moneyline, it is more expensive to bet on. It will cost a bettor $350 to profit $100 if taking the -350 moneyline, as opposed to paying just $150 to profit $100 if taking the -150 moneyline.
The further a positive moneyline is from zero, the more likely the moneyline is to lose. A moneyline of +150 has a better chance to win than a moneyline of +350.
Because a +150 moneyline is more likely to win than a +350 moneyline, the winnings aren’t as much. If a bettor wins a +150 moneyline bet then they make a $150 profit. If a bettor wins a +350 moneyline bet then they make a $350 profit.
Underdogs are less likely to hit however, so despite the larger payout you have a greater chance to lose the bet. Favorites are more likely to hit, but if you miss on a favorite then the loss is much greater.
Moneyline parlays are a combination of different moneyline to create one ‘total’ moneyline. As an example, let’s say you want to put $100 on Knicks at a -150 moneyline, Bulls at a +170 moneyline and Lakers at a -120 moneyline – your moneyline for the parlay would be +725. That means if all three teams win, then you would win back $825 ($100 wagered + $725 in winnings).
The reason the moneyline is so valuable is because all three teams have to win in order for the bet to hit. If the Knicks, Bulls or Lakers lose then the bet is a miss and no money will be collected or returned.
FAQ About Betting Moneylines
What is a +200 moneyline?
A +200 moneyline is the betting odds for an underdog to win. As mentioned, a moneyline represented by a positive number is the underdog. It will cost a bettor $100 to profit $200 if the +200 moneyline wins.
How are moneyline odds calculated?
Moneyline odds are calculated by implied probability of the betting odds hitting. This differs from the actual probability.
Since it’s impossible to predict the outcome of an event, sportsbooks develop an implied probability for an event to occur based on various factors such as stats, trends, home field advantage, etc…
The implied probability is always over 100% when combining the two moneylines, as the sportsbook’s goal is to make a profit from bettors wagering on both sides of the moneyline.
How are moneylines and spread bettings different?
As mentioned above, when betting the moneyline a bettor simply needs the favorite or underdog to win the game. When betting on spreads, the favorite has to win by a certain amount of points or the underdog has to not lose by a certain amount of points.
Taking the Packers spread means the Packers must win by the same amount of points as the spread. If the Packers spread is -5 then they must win by five points in order for spread bettors to win. If the Packers win by four points or less then spread bettors would lose, but moneyline bettors would win.
Why do moneylines odds change?
This could be for a number of reasons, but the most common reason moneyline odds change is due to injuries or roster changes. The Lakers might open with a moneyline of -200 to win a game, but if LeBron James announces he is sitting out then the moneyline might drop to -150 with the Lakers best player not playing.
Another reason moneyline odds change is in live betting. Once a game starts, the moneyline changes based on the live outcomes. If Novak Djokovic sees an opening moneyline of -200 to start a tennis match, his moneyline might move to -400 after he wins the first set.
Which sports use moneyline betting?
Every sport offers a moneyline for bettors to wager on. Soccer and UFC offer three-way moneylines, as does some NHL. Mostly one-vs-one sports such as the NFL, MLB, NBA, college sports and tennis offer two-way moneylines by picking a favorite or an underdog.
Other sports like golf and NASCAR offer more than one moneyline, also known as ‘Group Betting’. These sports feature a large field of contenders to win a one-off event. Golf and NASCAR do offer one-on-one matchup odds for traditional moneyline bettors, however.