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Moneyline Betting

Moneyline betting is a form of wagering where there is no point spread. You are simply picking the winner based on the outcome of the game.

Most betting sites will offer their users moneyline wagers in addition to point spreads. The odds will be minus when taking a favorite in the event, and you will be risking more money to win less. The odds on the underdog will be a plus wager, and you will be risking less to win more.

Read on to learn more about how moneyline betting works.

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Moneyline betting

Which Sports Support Moneyline Betting?

Baseball, soccer, and ice hockey are mostly moneyline betting, since these sports do not have point spreads moneylines are the default forms of wagering.

Football and basketball have moneylines in addition to point spreads. In recent years, football moneylines have become extremely popular among sports bettors. Moneyline betting is based on the amount bet per $100.

Let’s look at look an example of a baseball moneyline:

Pittsbugh Pirates +140 vs St. Lous Cardinals -150

In this baseball matchup, the St. Louis Cardinals are favorites to win. To win $100, you must wager $150, risking $150 to win $100. If the Patriots lose, you lose $150.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are the underdogs in this matchup. A successful $100 wager returns $140, meaning you risk $100 to win $140. Again, if the Pirates lose, you lose $100.

Here’s an example of an American football moneyline:

Buffalo Bills +285 vs New England Patriots -330

The Patriots are massive favorites in this AFC East matchup.

To win $100 by backing the Patriots, you must risk $330.

If you placed the same $100 on the Bills and they caused a surprise upset, your return would be $285.

Tips for Moneyline Betting

Moneyline betting can be tough to tackle for some bettors, but it is truly a balance of risk vs reward.

For instance, a large favorite of -300 or more is most likely to win going to win their matchup, but that large price means you’ll be risking a lot for a small payout.

On a moneyline bet of -300, you’ll need to win your bet 75% of the time just to break even. When your odds jump even higher to -400, you’ll need to win your bet 80% of the time to show a profit.

You are risking a lot to win very little and even though a large favorite will win most of the time, when they do lose, you will find yourself out a lot of money. We try to stay away from large favorite moneylines, because the amount you must risk is very high and the payoff is low.

On the other hand, underdog moneylines can be lucrative wagering opportunities.

Upsets happen more often than some of us think and moneyline betting is a great way to take advantage.

For example, for a moneyline wager of +250, you only need to win about 28% of the time to break even. For a +300 wager, you only need to win 25% of the time to break even.

If you can spot upsets even decently well, moneyline wagers on underdogs can be profitable bets.

In cases when there is a point spread and moneyline offered on an event, such as an NFL football game, many bettors will place a wager on the moneyline and point spread of an underdog they feel has a chance to pull the upset. They will safely bet the point spread because they feel the game will be close, but will also put themselves in line for a nice payday if the underdog wins straight-up.

$100 bills inside pitcher's glove

Final Thoughts on Moneyline Betting

There is no magic formula for moneyline betting, you’ll simply need to pick your spots wisely and balance your risk versus your potential reward.

In general, I think this means taking higher upside picks, such as underdogs rather than taking large favorites. However, you should analyze each game independently looking for value in both favorite and underdog moneylines.


What is a moneyline bet?

A moneyline bet is a wager on the outcome of an event. It is the simplest and most straightforward wager in all of sports betting. There is no point spread or any other advantage or disadvantage – you simply pick an outcome and hope for the best.

How does the moneyline work?

Betting the moneyline requires you to pick a winning selection. You could bet on a player’s performance in an NFL, an MLB team to win the World Series, or an MMA fighter to win a five-round war. If your selection wins, the sportsbook will pay the amount due when the final result has been confirmed.

How does a moneyline payout?

Moneyline bets are based on a $100 bet, with a minus symbol (-) representing the favorite and a plus symbol (+) representing the underdog. Betting a favorite at -150 moneyline odds means you win $100 for every $150 bet. Betting an underdog at +150 odds means you win $150 for every $100 bet.

Should I bet the moneyline?

Moneyline bets are easy for beginners to understand, and they are also heavily used by professional sports bettors to rake in huge wins. The moneyline is the most popular bet in low-scoring sports like baseball and ice hockey, while the point spread is most popular in higher-scoring sports like football and basketball.

About the author

Alan Penny


Alan hails from Northern Ireland and is an avid fan of all sports. He has been with us since 2017 and serves as SBO’s Editor-in-Chief. Alan passionately covers everything from the latest regulatory developments across the globe to tips on the latest football matches.

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