What is a Moneyline Bet? What Does Moneyline Mean?

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Matt ModiJune 1, 2022 at 10:00 AM

What is a Moneyline Bet?

A moneyline bet is the simplest bet in all of sports – you just bet on who you think is going to win that event.

How Does a Moneyline Bet Work?

The odds that you will see for a moneyline bet are formatted in American odds, and they are centered around winning or wagering $100 per bet.

When betting on a favorite, the odds will have a minus (-) in front of the number. This indicates the amount of money you’d need to risk to win $100.

When betting on an underdog the odds will have a plus (+) in front of the numbers. This indicates the amount of money you’ll win per $100 risked. 

The only catch is that the odds are adjusted based on the matchup, so the winnings are greatly impacted by the matchup and what the odds are. 

What is a Moneyline Bet? What Does Moneyline Mean?

Take a look above. The moneyline odds are on the far right.

The -475 for the Chargers means that you would have to risk $475 to win $100.

The +350 for the Texans means that you would win $350 if you risked $100. 

How to Place a Moneyline Bet

Placing a bet is very easy regardless of which sportsbook you use. All you need to do is find your desired bet, click on the moneyline odds next to the team you want to bet, and then from there it will be on your betslip. Click “Place Bets” and you’re there! 

How to Calculate Moneyline Odds

No matter which sportsbook you use they will always make the calculations easy for you to read. But, if you want to know the formula for favorites and underdogs behind the odds please see below.

Moneyline Favorite:

Multiply the amount you want to win by (moneyline odds / 100)

So, for that Chargers -475 example, let’s say you want to win $50.

$50 * (475/100) = $237.50. 

So, you would need to risk $237.50 on the Chargers moneyline at -475 odds to profit $50.

Moneyline Underdog:

There are two ways to calculate the odds for an underdog, depending on what number you want to get – the amount you will win based on a wager, or how much you need to wager to win a specific amount.

Multiply your wager by (moneyline odds / 100), OR divide the amount you want to win by  (100 / moneyline odds).

So if you want to bet $50 on the Texans, the formula would be the below.

$50 * (350/100) = $175

So, a $50 bet would win $175.

Now, let’s say you want to win $100. That would look like the below.

$100 * (100/350) = $28.57

This means that you would need to risk $28.57 to profit $100 with the +350 odds. 

What is the Juice in Moneyline?

As detailed in our article on juice in sports betting, juice is essentially the tax that sportsbooks charge on a given bet to ensure they remain profitable. And yes, there is juice in moneyline bets. It is essentially the difference between the two moneyline odds. 

Generally, sportsbooks are going to have higher juice on the favorite because they understand the psyche of a bettor is to want to bet on the favorites. Let’s choose a different game where the odds aren’t as dramatic.

What is a Moneyline Bet? What Does Moneyline Mean?

The Colts moneyline is +100, which has an implied winning probability of 50%

The Cardinals moneyline is -120, which has an implied winning probability of 54.55%

That adds up to 104.55%, which means that the juice for this game is 4.55% 

When to Bet Moneylines

There are plenty of strategies surrounding when and how to bet moneylines. As a general rule of thumb, it is not advisable to consistently be betting on huge favorites straight up. We’ll get to parlaying them together in another section.

It might sound counterintuitive to advise against betting on favorites, but the goal of sports gambling is to make money, NOT to win the highest % of bets. 

For example, if you are betting on a favorite at -300 odds, using the OddsJam Odds Converter Calculator that bet has an implied winning percentage of 75%. This means if you bet on 4 favorites at -300 odds you would need to win 3 of those 4 bets just to break even. Conversely, if you bet on 3 underdogs at +200 odds you only need one of those bets to hit in order to breakeven. 

While there are some scenarios in which it might be worth it to bet on a heavy favorite, the easiest way to profit over time on straight up moneyline bets is to bet on “plus money” underdogs. Everybody has heard the term “anything can happen on any given Sunday”, and while that might sound like a cliche, it holds true. And not just for the NFL, but for every sport.

There are always going to be upsets, and if you identify which underdogs you think you are going to win you won’t need to even win half of your bets to profit. Take week 1 of the 2020 NFL season for example, underdogs went 6-7. Despite that, if you had blindly bet $100 on each moneyline underdog you would have profited $552. 

Can you Parlay Moneyline Bets?

Yes! This is another strategy that was referenced earlier. Obviously upsets do happen, as the previous section detailed, but another way to be profitable long-term betting on moneylines is to parlay heavy favorites together.

Again, it is on the bettor to decide which heavy favorites aren’t on upset alert, but parlaying 3-4 favorites can make the odds much more palatable by removing the juice or even getting plus money odds.

What is a Moneyline Bet? What Does Moneyline Mean?

Above shows 4 teams that are heavy favorites to win. Individually, you would have to risk a lot on these teams to make any meaningful profits, but having them parlayed decreases the juice increases the odds all the way up to +130. 

Do Moneyline Odds Move?

Yes, betting lines move all the freaking time.

The lines can move for a number of reasons. Like any other type of bet, the lines change based on how the money comes in. So, going back to the Colts/Cardinals game, that screenshot has the Colts at +100. But as the week goes on if more people are putting money on the Colts you will see the odds move to -110 or -120.

Another reason that odds could change is based on a player being ruled out due to illness, injury, or suspension. Unfortunately, COVID has made this more frequent than ever. As of the time of this writing, we’ve already seen two NFL teams missing their top TWO quarterbacks, and we’ve also seen stars such as Aaron Rodgers miss time due to illness as well, which drastically impacted moneylines.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to protect yourself regarding the illness aspect, but getting in on early lines is a legitimate strategy. If you think a team is being undervalued and that the odds are going to swing, then it would be beneficial to place a bet before the odds change.

Learn also, how does line shopping works!

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