How Do Moneylines Work?

Your complete guide to moneyline betting. Everything you need to know about the most popular form of betting in the world.
Thu, March 3, 6:45 AM EST | 5 min read

Moneyline bets are the easiest type of wager you can make. If you're new to sports betting, moneylines are likely the best place to start. While other types of wagers, such as totals, spreads, parlays or propositions, are pretty simple when you understand how they work, moneylines are intuitive and easy to calculate.

If you'd like to start betting on sports but are unsure what a moneyline is or how to make a bet, then you've come to the right place. In this guide, we've answered all the most common questions about moneyline bets to help you get started.

What Is The Moneyline?

Moneylines are the easiest type of bet. If you've ever made an informal wager with a friend, like who can run the fastest, who can get the highest score on a video game, or who can eat the spiciest chilli, you've made a moneyline bet.

Put simply, a moneyline is a bet where you pick the team you think will win a game. If they win, the bet pays out. If they don't, it doesn't.

There's no points spread to cover, no predicting the game's score, and no forecasting which player is going to score first. This simplicity makes them popular among people that are new to betting on sports.

American bettors have traditionally preferred spreads when making wagers, whereas moneylines are the most popular type of bet outside of the US. However, that doesn't mean moneylines aren't popular, you'll find that sportsbooks offer this type of wager on every sport you can imagine.

They're most common in sports that have low scores, such as soccer, baseball, and hockey, but they're also popular among football bettors.

Because they're so simple, moneylines are great to use with free bets offered by sportsbooks.

How To Make A Moneyline Bet

Making a moneyline bet is easy. You just need to choose a game to bet on, pick a team to back, pay the bookie and wait for the game to be played. If the team you selected wins, then you'll receive a payout, if it doesn't, you won't.

Different sportsbooks may offer different odds for the same bet. This means that you'd win more from one bookie than another for the exact same wager. Therefore, it's best to shop around to see where you'll get the best value.

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How To Work Out Moneyline Odds

Working out moneyline odds is simple. There are three different ways that a sportsbook may express its odds: a fraction (1/5), a decimal (1.2), or "American" (-500). All three of these odds are the same and indicate an implied payout probability of 83.3%.

Here in the US, you'll usually see them displayed in American format by default, though you can usually choose the one you prefer.

In American format, the odds will be displayed as a three or four-digit number with a - or + in front of it.

The favorite to win will be shown with a -, while the underdog will have a +.

For example, if one team has odds of +150, a $100 bet would pay out $250 ($150 of winnings + your $100 wager). Whereas, you'd have to bet $150 on -150 odds to receive a $250 payout ($100 of winnings + your $150 wager).

Moneyline betting: Which Sports Can You Bet The Moneyline?

Moneyline bets are available for almost all sports and you'll find them offered by practically every sportsbook. They're most popular in soccer, baseball, hockey, and football, though you can also find moneyline bets in basketball, tennis, golf, rugby, and more.

NFL Moneyline

Moneylines are popular among those that bet on NFL games. Bettors who look for great bets that offer the best value may compare NFL moneylines and spreads. If one team is a heavy favorite, the spread may be as high as -8.5, in which case the team would need to win by 9 points or more for the bet to payout.

However, in the same circumstances, a moneyline bet may have very short NFL odds, it's more likely to pay out as the favorite doesn't need to put in a dominant performance.

Football moneylines aren't only available on NFL games either. In states where it’s legal to bet on college games, you'll find many sportsbooks offering college football moneylines.

If you're looking to make NFL moneyline bets, you can find plenty of great NFL picks from our experts in our daily football picks.

NBA Moneyline

Moneylines are an easy way to place bets on the NBA. In addition to their simplicity, the great thing about placing this kind of bet on NBA games is that they can't push (where a bet doesn't win or lose and the wager is returned) because NBA rules do not allow for ties.

In states where betting on college games is permitted, you can find moneylines for college basketball. These are particularly popular during March Madness.

MLB Moneyline

Moneylines are one of the most popular ways to bet on MLB games, in fact, you'll find that most wagers placed on baseball games are of this type because games tend to be low-scoring.

What does -100 and +100 actually mean in NFL moneyline betting?

In the US, most sports betting odds are shown in the American format which uses a three or four-digit number preceded by a plus (+) or minus (-) sign.

The + sign is used to signify the underdog, while the - shows the team that is favorite.

For numbers preceded by a -, the number shows you how much you need to stake to win $100. So on a wager with -100 odds, you'll need to stake $100 to get $100 in winnings ($200 altogether). For odds of -150, you'd need to wager $150 to win $100.

For odds that have a + before them, the number shows how much you'll win on a $100 bet. So a $100 wager at odds of +100 would yield a $200 payout ($100 wager returned + $100 winnings). For a $100 bet at odds of +150, you'd receive a payout of $250 ($100 stake + $150 of winnings).


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