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Understanding Moneylines

If you’re just getting into the world of sports betting, then you’ve probably already heard the term ‘moneyline’ being used. It’s an important keyword in the gambling realm as it’s used in almost every sport. It’s one of the basics that you’ll have to know if you’re going to play, so let’s take a closer look at what it means and where its used.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

– Leonardo Da Vinci

It's pretty clear here that Da Vinci was talking about betting moneyline bets. If you've made even a handful of wagers in your life, you're already well aware of the moneyline play as the standard bet type across the vast majority of professional sports. But for those of you new to the space: hello, friends! And welcome to what should be the first step on your sports betting journey.

What is a Moneyline Bet?

If we're comparing wager types to games, moneylines are like Pong. Or Legos. Or Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots. In other words, they're as simple as they come. The point of a moneyline bet is to choose the winning side. If the team or player wins, you win! If the team or player loses, you do NOT win!

There is, however, a need to clarify the difference between a moneyline and a moneyline bet. Moneylines on their own are attached to literally every wager you'll make. It's the plus or minus figure next to the wager you're making, and the odds are listed with a base of 100. In other words …

Screen Shot 2022 10 28 at 9.56.44 Pm

– If you bet on an outcome with -110 odds, you'll need to bet 110 dollars to win 100. This is referred to as "betting on the favorite". As you might expect, these odds suggest that this outcome is more likely to occur than the alternative outcome – and that losing on a bet like this is going to make you really unhappy. So have a stress ball handy.

– If you bet on an outcome with +120 odds, you'll win 120 dollars on a 100-dollar wager. This is called "betting on the underdog", not to be confused with “betting on Underdog, the flying cartoon canine from the 1960s.” The odds suggest that the side you've bet on is not expected to prevail – so if it does, you should definitely share your epic victory everywhere (except for maybe a public bathroom).

Where things might get a bit confusing is when you look at other bet types and see a moneyline attached. This occasionally happens with spread bets; here's an example:

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So. Many. Numbers.

But this isn't as intimidating as it might seem. All you need to know here is that, by taking the Steelers against the spread, you'll make slightly less than if you were to take the Ravens and they prevail. Usually spreads feature identical -110 odds, but in this case, the public has put more money on Baltimore, so the sportsbooks have adjusted the moneyline.

Moneylines As Primary Options

Moneylines are the primary betting option in a number of sports.

In sports like baseball and hockey, that’s the main way the betting goes, as players simply decide which team will win the game. There is some spread betting with runlines and pucklines, but that is a distant second behind moneylines.

In fight sports, moneylines are the primary way of doing business. You’ll see two fighters with moneylines next to their name. The same goes for tennis. When you browse around the sportsbook, you’ll see this in many sections.

Moneylines As Secondary Options

In sports like football and basketball, the moneyline is considered as the second option next to point spreads.

Points spreads are the way that most people get their action in on basketball betting and football betting because the payouts are near doubling your money and it’s a fun way to handicap the game.

Betting the moneyline in those sports is less popular because you might have some significant mismatches, and then it becomes too challenging to have faith in the underdog winning outright or too costly to bet the favorite.

Moneyline Betting Tips

Here are some basic suggestions to help you become the best moneyline bettor you can be:

– Keep in mind that the favorites have the minus symbol beside their odds, while the underdogs are identified by the plus symbol. This is probably the most important thing to remember; it's the "always wear clean underwear" of the sports betting world.

– If you're the kind of better who wagers $1,000 on a team that is listed at -5000 just so you can take home an easy 20 bucks of profit, remember that if you lose, you're almost certainly going to end up in an Action Network tweet and will probably have to change your name, address and job.

– Hitting a +5000 underdog pick doesn't make you good, it makes you lucky. That said, you will also end up in an Action Network tweet and will become an instant hero, so enjoy your 15 minutes!

– Shop around for the best moneylines you can find (you can do that here!) (LINK). We're not saying that one sportsbook will have your pick at +200 when the rest of the betting world has the same pick at -400, but it's still worth finding the best play to maximize profit.

– Ground your moneyline picks in solid reasoning. Don't be the sports bettor who chooses teams based on jersey colors, or tennis players based on their IG activity. Do the research! You might still lose, and you won't necessarily feel better about it, but it'll be easier to explain when your friends inevitably tear you to pieces.