Moneyline Betting How-To
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Sportsbooks offer many different types of wagers. Moneyline betting is perhaps the most straightforward and easy to understand of all the different types of bets.
A moneyline bet is simply a wager on which team will win the game. What the final score is, or any other circumstances of the game, don’t matter. As long as you pick the correct winner, your bet will pay off.
So how does placing a moneyline bet work? What strategies can you use to improve your odds of this kind of wager paying off? And how do you even place a moneyline bet? Take a look below for answers to these questions and more. You can also check out our moneyline calculator.
- What is a Moneyline Bet?
- Minus (-) and Plus (+) Odds
- Where to Place a Bet
- Situational Moneyline Betting
- How to Handicap Moneyline
- FAQ - Moneyline Betting
- Final Thoughts
WHAT IS A MONEYLINE BET?
A moneyline bet is one of the most straightforward types of wager in sports betting. You place a wager on which team you think will come out on top of a particular game.
To give you an example of moneyline betting, you might see an NBA game where the Los Angeles Lakers have -175 odds to win and the Milwaukee Bucks have +150 odds. You place your wager on the team you’re backing to succeed. If you predict the outcome correctly, your bet will pay off.
You’ll get a better sense of how to understand odds like those from later sections in the guide. For now, the vital point to understand is that moneyline betting is simply wagering on which team will win a game.
HOW TO MAKE A MONEYLINE BET
You may be wondering how to place a moneyline bet. Before making a moneyline bet, you’ll want to consider which team is the favorite and which is the underdog.
Sometimes, playing it safe with the favorite is the way to go, while other times, you’ll want to back an underdog. You’ll see more on how to identify the underdog and tips for when to bet on them later in this guide.
The other important step in moneyline betting is shopping around to make sure you have the best odds available. Take a look at multiple different sportsbooks before placing your wager to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.
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HOW TO CALCULATE MONEYLINE ODDS
Odds for moneyline betting might display in different formats. American odds, where you see a plus or minus sign along with a number, will be explained in detail later in the guide. Let’s look at two other common formats: decimal odds and fractional odds.
Decimal odds are relatively easy to calculate. The decimal shows how much profit will be paid for every dollar wagered on a correct bet. To calculate your winnings, multiply your wager by the odds, then subtract your wager from the result.
Fractional odds show two numbers separated by a backslash. The first number shows how many times the bookie predicts the outcome will succeed, while the second number shows how many times they expect it to fail.
To calculate your winnings with fractional odds, multiply your wager times the number you get from dividing the numerator of the odds by the denominator.
WHY WOULD I BET A MONEYLINE?
Moneyline betting is attractive because there are no gimmicks or strings attached. You don’t have to worry about any other games, what the final score totals to, or the margin of victory the winner takes. All that matters is the one game and who wins or loses it.
This simplicity is desirable to many sports bettors. It’s straightforward to see the outcome of your wager just from watching the game or the scoreline. All you need to decide is how to place a moneyline bet.
MONEYLINE STRATEGY: BETTING FAVORITES VS BETTING UNDERDOGS
Successful moneyline betting comes down to knowing when to play it safe with the favorites and when to bet on the underdog pulling off an upset. Moneyline betting on the favorite is, of course, more likely to pay out. But backing the underdog creates the chance for a more lucrative win.
There’s always luck involved in betting, but you can develop a skill for when to bet on an upset. Recognizing patterns and trends is crucial to successful sports betting.
For example, a team having a poor season is likely to be the underdog in any matchup. But if they are in a run of good form while the favorites are struggling lately, it may be a good game to place a moneyline bet on the underdogs.
WHAT DO MINUS (-) AND PLUS (+) ODDS MEAN?
You will often see bookies offer moneyline betting with positive and negative three-digit numbers, with either a plus or minus sign. This format of betting odds is called American odds. American odds are one of the most common formats of odds you’ll see on popular sportsbooks.
Looking at the plus and minus signs will tell you which team the bookie views as the favorite and which they predict to be the underdog. The favorites are displayed with a negative number for their odds, while the underdogs show a positive number.
The plus and minus numbers also tell you what you can expect as a payout for a correct wager on these odds. Negative odds tell you what you need to wager to win $100 in profit. Positive odds show what a bettor can win on a wager of $100.
For example, a hockey match between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning may see the Blackhawks get odds of -275, with +230 odds for the Lightning. A $200 bet on the Lightning would get you a $660 payout ($460 in profit). Meanwhile, backing the favored Blackhawks with the same wager would get you a payout just shy of $273 ($73 in profit).
WHERE TO PLACE A MONEYLINE BET?
Here is our expert selection of the bookmaker where you can place an Moneyline Bet right away :
*In-person registration and betting only in MS.
**The BetMGM app is available for mobile wagers in Washington DC, but only at Nationals Park.
Updated on : 11/28/2023
SITUATIONAL MONEYLINE BETTING
Recognizing the favorites and underdogs and understanding odds are a significant first step towards effective moneyline betting. Here are some guidelines for deciding how to place a moneyline bet in more specific situations you may come across.
NO OBVIOUS FAVORITE
You might come across a game where you feel neither team has an obvious edge. Sometimes bookies feel the same and you may see offers where there is barely a difference between the two teams’ odds.
For instance, let’s say there was a meetup between the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers. The Bruins are given -110 odds, and the Rangers have +105. While the Bruins are seemingly favored, the odds are nonetheless extremely close.
With odds this close, you can tell the bookie doesn’t see much of an edge between the two teams. You should still follow our tips later in the guide to handicap the bet. If you don’t see a clear winner, it may be a bet you would want to pass on to find better odds on another game.
Moneyline betting is common in sports like baseball, soccer, or hockey, where games typically end with a low score. It is usually too risky for bookies to offer a point spread on such a sport when most games are won by a difference of one or two points on the scoreline.
You wouldn’t need to bet on a spread for a moneyline betting offer on a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers. Simply back which team you expect to win. If the few moments in the game that determine the scoreline go your way, your bet will pay off.
HOW TO HANDICAP MONEYLINE BETS
You can handicap your bets just like sportsbooks do in order to know how to place a moneyline bet effectively. Follow these tips to recognize when the underdog might have a better chance than the odds suggest or when you can play the odds to your advantage.
As soon as matchups are announced for major sports events, sportsbooks will already have started to post their odds. Keep an eye on these opening odds and watch for any changes to the offers made.
Understanding the change in offers from these opening odds to when the game gets closer will give you an insight into how both sportsbooks and the betting public feel about the game. Reading these changes will help you figure out how to adjust your own bets accordingly.
HOME VS ROAD PERFORMANCE
Certain teams are known for being nearly unbeatable on the road. Others are known for traveling well and beating other teams in their own stadiums. Conversely, some teams are known to only play well at home, or vice versa.
Knowing a team’s ability to play at home or on the road is valuable information in moneyline betting. If a team is an underdog against one of the league’s top teams, but they are known for being tough to beat at home, it may be a good time to place a moneyline bet on the underdogs.
Another effective way to handicap a bet is to look at the history between the two teams involved in the game. Some teams may have a solid overall record, but struggle with certain teams in particular.
This could lead to a situation where a team is given underdog odds because of their overall record despite playing a team they have won most of their matchups against. Recognizing these patterns will help you place wagers that have lucrative odds and have a good shot of paying out.
Pattern recognition is key in sports betting. In the same way that you notice if one team has a good record against another with matchup edges, considering the recent form of both teams in a contest can also give your moneyline betting an edge.
You might see moneyline betting odds for a team considered an underdog in a matchup despite being on a recent run of wins. Furthermore, the favorites, even though they have a better overall record, have been struggling in recent games. This would be a prime opportunity to back the underdog and try to get the more lucrative odds.
FAQ - MONEYLINE BETTING
Here’s a quick guide to some questions you may have on how to place a moneyline bet.
HOW DO MONEYLINE PAYOUTS WORK?
Moneyline payouts in American format are in terms of $100 bets. For example, betting $100 on a +100 would win you $100, and you'd walk away with $200 (the money you came with plus the money you won). Betting $100 on a -120 would win you $83 dollars, so you'd walk away with $183 (the money you came with plus the $83 you won).
IS IT SMART TO BET THE MONEYLINE?
The sharps and expert bettors would probably say no, as there are only two outcomes: win or lose. With spread or totals betting, your preferred team can lose but you'll still win a bet. However, betting isn't a moneymaking strategy, so if you bet safely and you have fun, it's smart to bet whatever you want.
WHAT DOES +200 ON THE MONEYLINE MEAN?
+200 is the American way of displaying odds, and it's in factors of $100 bets. If you win a $100 bet with +200 odds you'll get a payout of $200 and get to keep the $100 you bet, for a total of $300 back.
IS IT BETTER TO BET MONEYLINE OR SPREAD?
This is a complicated answer. For the most part, spread betting is smarter: if you know your stuff and you bet the spread, you have slightly increased chances of hitting a payout, because your underdog team could lose but still cover, giving you more options to win. However, a moneyline bet on the underdog might have a much higher payout, so if you don't mind dropping some money, you might hit a bigger win.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU BET $100 ON A +200 MONEYLINE?
Well, if you lose, you're out $100. But if you win, you'll get $200 in winnings plus your $100 stake back, for a total of $300 in your pocket.
Moneyline betting is a simple way to get in on the action of sports betting. We’ve shown you how to place a moneyline bet by reading the odds to see which team is favored. If you back the correct team, your moneyline bet will pay off. It really is that straightforward.
The complexity comes with understanding how to handicap your bets. Developing this skill helps you know when to keep your money safe with the favorite, or when to try to win big on the underdog.
Like any skill, you’ll get better at this pattern recognition as you get more experienced. So get out there and start moneyline betting. With such simple rules, you’ll be able to watch the game, and your bet, simultaneously.
Other great betting types you can learn how to place thanks to our betting experts:
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