What is a Moneyline Bet?

Justin Mihalcin


August 15, 2023




A Moneyline Bet is a wager placed on the outcome of a sporting event, focusing solely on which team will win. Simply pick the winner of a specific game and you are wagering on the Moneyline. This offers a straightforward approach to betting, making the act of sports betting accessible to new and seasoned bettors.

Basics of Moneyline Betting

Breaking it down to its simplest form, placing a moneyline bet allows users to disregard the margin of victory and/or the total score of a game. The simplicity is one of the reasons why it is favored over other forms of wagers.

Placing a moneyline bet for the first time? While choosing the winner of an event is simple there are certain factors that will be included with the odds. Odds will be presented as positive (+) or negative (-) numbers.

The odds assigned to each team or individual are based on their perceived chances of winning. Bookmakers and sportsbooks analyze various factors such as team performance, player statistics, and historical data to determine the odds.

These odds represent the amount of money you would need to wager to win a certain amount (if the odds are negative) or the potential payout if you wager a specific amount (if the odds are positive). Positive odds indicate the potential profit on a $100 bet, while negative odds signify the amount you must bet to win $100.

Key Terms in Moneyline Betting

The two main terms you'll encounter are "underdog" and "favorite." The underdog represents the team or individual that is less likely to win, while the favorite is the one with a higher likelihood of winning.

Identifying the underdog and favorite in a moneyline bet is crucial as it helps you assess the potential risks and rewards associated with each bet. Betting on the underdog can yield higher payouts if they win, but the chances of them winning may be lower. On the other hand, betting on the favorite may offer a higher probability of winning, but the potential payout may be smaller.

For example, if a team is considered the underdog, they will be assigned positive odds. This means that if you were to place a bet on the underdog and they win, you would receive a payout based on the positive odds. On the other hand, if a team is considered the favorite, they will be assigned negative odds. This indicates that you would need to wager a larger amount to win a smaller payout if you bet on the favorite.

Additionally, the term "juice" or “vig” is often used to refer to the commission, or take, sportsbooks charge on your bets. This ensures that sportsbooks make a profit regardless of the outcome of the game. It's important to consider the juice when calculating potential payouts and determining the overall value of your bet.

How Does Moneyline Betting Work?

Let’s say there is a basketball game between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat. The moneyline odds for the Nuggets are -150, while the odds for the Heat are +130. In this scenario, the Heat are considered the underdog, and a $100 bet on the Heat would yield a potential profit of $130 if they were to win. On the other hand, the Nuggets are the  favorite, and a $150 bet on them would result in a potential profit of $100 if they were to win.

Calculating potential payouts in moneyline betting is straightforward. For positive odds, your potential pay out is determined by multiplying your wager amount by the odds and then dividing by100. Meanwhile, negative odds indicate the amount you need to bet to win $100.To calculate potential profit, simply divide 100 by the negative odds and multiply by your wager amount.

Betting on the winner or loser offers a simple and straightforward way to bet on sports and other events. Whether you're a seasoned bettor or new to the world of sports betting, understanding how moneyline betting works is essential for making informed decisions and maximizing your potential profits.

Strategies for Moneyline Betting

Now that you have a thorough understanding, let's explore some strategies that can help you maximize your chances of success.

Evaluating the Underdog and Favorite

When engaging in moneyline betting, it's essential to carefully evaluate both the underdog and the favorite. Analyze factors such as team or player performance, injuries, historical data, and other variables that may influence the outcome. By thoroughly assessing each side, you can make more informed betting decisions.

Balancing Risk and Reward

Striking a balance between risk and reward is crucial in moneyline betting. While betting on underdogs can yield the potential for significant profits, the risk of losing is higher. On the other side, betting on favorites may offer lower payouts, but the chances of winning are higher. Finding the right balance that aligns with your risk appetite is key to successful moneyline betting.

Pros and Cons of Moneyline Betting

Advantages of Moneyline Betting

One major advantage of this type of bet is its simplicity. Since it solely focuses on the outcome of the event, anyone new to sports betting can easily grasp the concept. Additionally, when there is a significant skill or talent gap between teams or players, offers a straightforward option for wagering.

Disadvantages of Moneyline Betting

Despite its simplicity, betting also has some drawbacks. One major disadvantage is the lower probability of winning since you are solely relying on the team or individual to win outright. This higher level of risk can lead to potential losses, especially when betting on strong underdogs. Additionally, it may offer lower potential payouts compared to other bet types.

Hopefully, this comprehensive guide has shed light on what a moneyline bet is, how it works, and its pros and cons. Remember to always conduct thorough research, stay updated on relevant sports and events, and exercise responsible gambling practices. Good luck with your wagering endeavors!

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