How Moneyline Betting Works

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A moneyline bet is the simplest type of sports bet. You simply choose who will win the game.

There is no spread or anything else to worry about. If the team you placed a moneyline bet on wins the game, you win your bet.

This guide will go over everything you need to know about moneyline betting including what the payouts are, how moneyline parlays work, how odds are set, and more.

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Reading Odds & Calculating Payouts on Moneyline Bets

When you bet the moneyline, the payouts work just like any other type of bet. You can use our Betting Payout Calculator to find your total potential payout and profit on any bet or read on to learn how to calculate these manually.

In the United States, most sportsbooks use American odds. These are always a number of 100 or greater with a + or – sign in front.

• For underdogs, there will be a positive sign in front of the number. The number shown reflects how much you would win from a $100 bet.
• For favorites, there will be a negative sign in front of the number. The number shown reflects how much you would have to bet to win $100.

If you’re betting on an underdog (+ sign), you simply have to multiply the amount you wagered by the odds divided by 100 to calculate your winnings. Here’s an image that shows the math:

Winnings on Underdog American Odds

If you’re betting on a favorite (– sign), just divide the amount you bet by the odds divided by -100. Here’s an image that shows the math:

Calculate Winnings on Favorite American Odds

Let’s go through a quick example from the FanDuel Sportsbook:

moneyline bet example

You’ll notice that the numbers aren’t even (not counting the sign). Actually, there will never be a scenario where the positive number is larger than the absolute value of the negative number unless a sportsbook is running some kind of “no juice” promotion.

In the above example, the Clippers are the favorite to win the game with -142 odds. The Mavericks are the underdog with +120 odds.

  • If you bet $50 on the Clippers moneyline, you would profit $35.21 for a total return of $85.21 including your initial wager.
  • If you bet $50 on the Mavericks moneyline, you would win $60 for a total return of $110 including your initial wager.

The numbers on moneyline odds aren’t even because the sportsbook charges a “vig” to take your bets. Just like the standard odds on spread bets is -110, sportsbook gives you slightly worse odds than what would be considered exactly fair because they need to make money.

To learn more about how to read sports betting odds (including Fractional and Decimal odds), check out our How to Read Betting Odds Guide. You can also use our Odds to Implied Probability Calculator to easily find the implied probability of any bet.

>> Read More: What does +200 and -200 mean in sports betting?

Importance of Shopping for the Best Moneyline Odds

Unlike the odds on spread bets which are typically close to -110, the odds on moneyline bets vary drastically. It’s not uncommon to see lines anywhere from +500 to -500.

Because of this wide range of possible odds, there is often more variance when it comes to the odds sportsbooks offer on moneyline bets.

For example, one sportsbook may have the Eagles at +140 to beat the Cowboys while another may have them at +160. This is a large difference that can have a huge impact on your profitability over time.

To make sure you are making the best decision when it comes to moneyline betting (as well as any type of betting), it’s crucial to shop around for the best odds.

It’s always a good idea to use a few different sportsbooks so you can compare lines and odds to make sure you are getting the best deal. Before placing a bet, check your other sportsbooks to see if another is offering better odds.

We make it easy to shop around with our free Betting Odds & Lines Comparison Tool. You can quickly compare current meyline bets for most leagues. Our tool updates every minute so you can always see the most up-to-date information.

How Odds Are Set on Moneyline Bets & Change Over Time

Odds on moneyline bets often change from the time they are first released to when the game starts.

To create the opening odds on moneyline bets, bookmakers use tons of data, complex algorithms, and more.

Once bets start rolling in, sportsbooks will change the lines to keep their positions relatively in the middle of the two sides.

For example, if a lot of bets come in on the Eagles in the same Cowboys vs. Eagles game mentioned above, sportsbooks will start offering worse odds on the Eagles relative to the opening line and better odds on the Cowboys to entice bettors to take the Cowboys.

Odds on moneyline bets will also shift if there are large amounts of spread bets coming in on one side. Since the spread and moneyline are connected, they typically will move in unison. If the Eagles move from +7 to +6.5, the odds on the Eagles moneyline will also get worse.

Moneyline odds don’t stop changing just when the game starts either.

All major sportsbooks offer live betting now, including moneyline wagers. Though sportsbooks often charge more juice on live bets than pregame bets, you may be able to get an advantage if you notice something going on with the game that isn’t baked into the current odds

2-Way Bets vs. 3-Way Bets & How Ties Work

Unless you are betting on soccer, you are most likely making a 2-way moneyline wager.

With 2-way moneylines, there are 2 betting choices—Team A to win and Team B to win. In the vast majority of cases, one of these outcomes will happen. 

The only major sports outside of soccer that has ties is football, though they are extremely rare. In the case of a tie on a 2-way moneyline wager, the bet pushes. This means you get your money back.

The other type is a 3-way moneyline. In this case, you have 3 betting choices—Team A to win, Team B to win, and a draw.

This is the standard for soccer since draws are so common.

Because there are 3 options as opposed to 2, you receive higher odds (less likely to happen) as compared to if there were only 2 options with a draw resulting in a push.

Moneyline Parlays

Just like most types of sports bets, you can combine moneyline bets together in a parlay. You can also typically combine moneyline bets with other types of wagers (such as a spread or total) in a parlay.

With a parlay, each individual wager must win for the entire parlay to win. Because of the lower chances of this happening as compared to betting each individually, you receive a much higher payout.

There is no correct answer to whether moneyline parlays are a good idea or not. Just like with any other bet, the odds are based on the sportsbook’s perceived chance of the bet winning. If there are a few teams you expect to win, combining them in a moneyline parlay can provide a great payout if it hits.

Want to see how much you could win from a parlay? Check out our Parlay Calculator to quickly do so.

Dave Rathmanner

Dave Rathmanner is the Founder & CEO of Odds Assist. After struggling to find helpful sports betting resources and honest reviews when he first started betting, he decided to create the site he always wished he had. Dave has been betting on sports since NJ legalized it in 2018 and regularly analyzes sportsbooks to find the best options for bettors. Aside from creating new content for OA readers, Dave is also passionate about researching betting markets, creating models, and developing profitable betting strategies.