Moneyline Betting Guide

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What Is A Moneyline In Sports Betting?

A moneyline bet, in simpler terms, is a bet on one team or player to win a given match. Moneyline bets are most common in major team sports: football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, etc.

When you visit your preferred sportsbook to find a match you’d like to bet on, chances are moneyline bets will be some of the first you see, alongside totals and point spreads (which we cover on separate pages).

The primary thing to know about moneylines, however, is that they’re simply bets on one side to win a game or match. As you may guess, then, the odds on moneyline bets can vary based on the skill, track record, and performance of the teams in question. This results in clear favorites and underdogs in many moneyline bets.

A “favorite” is, unsurprisingly, the team expected to win a match-up. The “underdog” is the team expected to lose. Other moneyline bets, however, are tight match-ups, and you’ll see that both sides are even (or very close to it).

Though they’re simple on the surface, moneyline bets come with various complexities, so it’s important to brush up on the specifics before diving right into a wager. This page will provide everything you need to confidently place a moneyline bet.

Vikings

MIN

-189

Saints

NO

+155

NFL | Sun 10/02, 1:30 PM
Bears

CHI

+125

Giants

NYG

-149

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Bills

BUF

-161

Ravens

BAL

+135

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Browns

CLE

-120

Falcons

ATL

+100

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Chargers

LAC

-250

Texans

HOU

+200

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Commanders

WAS

+140

Cowboys

DAL

-167

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Jaguars

JAX

+220

Eagles

PHI

-278

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Jets

NYJ

+150

Steelers

PIT

-182

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Seahawks

SEA

+165

Lions

DET

-200

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Titans

TEN

+155

Colts

IND

-189

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM

How To Bet The Moneyline

In terms of the steps required to wager, moneyline bets are some of the easiest to place. This is because they’re most often the first odds you’ll see listed for a particular game or match.

Head to your favorite sportsbook and navigate to the game you’d like to bet on. In this case, we’ll use an NBA match-up: the Chicago Bulls vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. Under “moneyline,” you’ll see the odds listed:

  • Chicago Bulls: +235
  • Philadelphia 76ers: -300

We’ll cover this in more detail further down, but those odds indicate that the 76ers are favored to win the game (the - symbol indicates the favorite, while the Bulls are the expected underdog (the + symbol tells us this). In some cases, both teams will have odds with a “-” attached, which means it's expected to be a close game.

To place your bet, just select the odds of the team you want to win, then click “place bet” in your betslip. It’s really that simple. If the team you bet on wins, you’ll get a payout.

Three-Way Lines

Some sports are low-scoring and often result in ties. Soccer is a prime example. It’s possible (and often likely) for a draw to occur, so moneylines on soccer matches often include three options. Here’s an example:

  • Tottenham: -145
  • Draw: +280
  • Everton: +370

In this Scenario, Tottenham is generally favored to win the match, while Everton is the underdog. But a draw is distinctly possible, and the odds for that outcome sit right in the middle.

Three-way lines function much the same as traditional moneylines, but you’re throwing a third outcome into the mix. Odds can then be higher as a result, because you’re attempting to pick the correct outcome out of three instead of only two options.

How To Read Moneyline Odds

At a baseline level, if you see a minus symbol (“-”) in front of the odds for a given team, that team is the favorite. A plus symbol (“+”) means that team is the underdog. Let’s dive deeper into what these mean with an example:

  • Atlanta Hawks: -305
  • Detroit Pistons: +240

Here, the Hawks are moderately favored to beat the Pistons. The “-305” means that you’d need to be $305 in order to win $100 (you’d receive the $305 back plus an additional $100 if you won this bet).

Meanwhile, betting $100 on the Pistons would get you a win of $240 (plus your original bet back). It’s less likely to occur, and therefore the possible payout on this bet is far higher than the Hawks moneyline.

For this reason, moneyline bets can either be relatively safe (when betting on the favorite) or very risky (when betting the underdog).

Finding Good Odds

Not all moneylines are created equal. In fact, sportsbooks can often compete with one another to offer better lines on certain teams in order to win more of your time and betting money. To find the best odds, take a look at multiple sportsbooks. Look for the ones with slightly better odds on your preferred bet.

With various sportsbook options at your disposal (depending on your state), you can almost always find a competitive moneyline if you take the time to shop for it.

Which Sports Can You Bet The Moneyline On?

Most professional team sports offer moneyline bets. This includes the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, and many others.

There’s not really a single best scenario to bet the moneyline. You should rely on your research and knowledge (or our many picks pages) to help you make informed betting decisions. That said, there are a few cases when moneyline bets are particularly advisable, especially if you are confident in your choice.

As mentioned briefly above, soccer has three-way moneylines. Because there are three options instead of the usual two, the odds (and payouts) will generally be slightly higher for these bets. Use that to your advantage.

In other leagues, look for an underdog with long-ish odds that you think will upset the favorite. Take into account injuries, home-field advantage, roster, and past performance. A smart bet on an underdog can net you some great wins.

Yet in other specific scenarios, moneylines aren’t as advisable. This happens a lot in the NFL, where coaching and rosters can have a massive impact on team performance. If a proficient and successful team, say, the Chiefs, meets a fledgling quarterback at the heart of an ongoing rebuild (let’s say the Bears), it’s likely that the Chiefs will have very high odds to win. The resulting payout would then be very low. On the other hand, an ill-advised bet on the Bears to win would be highly unlikely to hit, even if the promised payout was massive. In these types of match-ups, it’s best to steer clear and go for the totals or point spread bets instead.

Moneyline Parlays

Can you include moneyline bets in parlays? Absolutely, you can.

This can be particularly advantageous if you’re looking to group a handful of favorites together and thus get yourself a higher possible payout.

For example, grouping the following moneyline NBA bets together gives a much better overall payout:

  • Miami Heat: -1500
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: -1200
  • Denver Nuggets: -365

The odds on that parlay are -217, a much better payout than any of the legs individually. Of course, the higher risk means that if only one of those individual selections loses, the whole parlay is a bust.

In other words, moneyline parlays are a high-risk, high reward play, and you should take steps to carefully research your picks if you’re grouping them together for better odds.

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