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Moneyline Betting

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One of the most common forms of betting.
Easier to understand than it looks.

What is a Moneyline?

The moneyline bet might just be the easiest betting term to understand. Simply put, if you are betting on the money line, this means you betting on a specific team to win a game or a specific person to win an event.

There are three possible results for a moneyline bet; your team wins and you win the bet, your team loses and you lose the bet, or the game ends in a tie and the bet is fully refunded to you.

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Looking at the “Moneyline” section, we can see a +275 beside the Bengals, which tells us that they are the underdog (less chance to win). The -350 beside the Chiefs indicates that they are the favorite (most likely to win).

Unlike a point spread, the margin of victory in a money line wager is irrelevant. 

Let’s assume you want to bet on the Chiefs to win this game. You have the option of betting them to win outright (the margin of victory does not matter) at -350, or betting them to win via the point spread at -7 (must win by 8 or more points to win the bet).

Obviously, It is more likely that KC were to win on the moneyline rather than forcing them to win by 8 to cover the spread. This is why the odds for the moneyline (-350) and the odds for the point spread (-110) are drastically different.

Advantages of the Moneyline Bet

One of the advantages or allures to the moneyline bet is betting on the underdog. Why is this an advantage? Simply put, it pays more.

Let’s continue to use the above example:

To win $100 on the Chiefs moneyline (ML), you must risk $350.

To win $100 on the Bengals moneyline (ML), you would only need to risk $36.36.

There are plenty of examples of heavy underdogs winning the game outright, and paying off with great odds. In the 2021/2022 NFL season, we saw the Jacksonville Jaguars upset the Buffalo Bills 9-6. The Jaguars were listed as +650 underdogs. This means if you would have bet on Jacksonville moneyline, a $100 wager would have netted $650!

Underdogs win at a different rate depending on the sport, but it's definitely not rare to see days or nights where multiple underdogs pull through on the moneyline. 

Can the Moneyline Change?

Undoubtedly the money line will vary throughout any given day or week. There are a number of factors that could result in the shift of a line towards one team or another. This might include injuries, the weather, or an uneven amount of money being wagered on one team over the other, as sportsbooks try to balance their liabilities.

In Week 7 of the 2021/22 NFL season, The Kansas City Chiefs opened as a -115 favorite against the Green Bay Packers. When news came out that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was going to miss the game due to Covid-19, the line moved quickly and Kansas City was then adjusted to a -350 favorite. This happens to be an extreme case. It is more common for lines to move in the range of five to 20 cents. Example: the Lakers open up at -120, and by game time they close at -135.

Does Every Sportsbook Offer the Same Moneyline Odds?

Absolutely not, it is very common for different sportsbooks to offer the same wagers at a different price.

Generally, these prices will be in the same neighborhood, but often not exact. Thanks to powerful utilities like betstamp, you are able to browse different sportsbooks to see what the best moneyline price may be. This is commonly referred to as line shopping.