What Does Moneyline Mean And How Is A Moneyline Bet Used?
Moneyline odds, which are often called American odds as well, are set according to the likelihood that a team or player will win a certain matchup. Each matchup consists of two different moneylines - a favorite expected to win the matchup and an underdog expected to lose the matchup. There can be incredibly large gaps between those two numbers if one team is heavily favored, or the differences can be minimal in what is expected to be a closely contested matchup.
The Favored Team
Whether a team has more talent, is healthier, is playing at home or has a scheduling advantage, there will always be one favorite in every matchup. This is the team that is expected to win based on several different factors. The favorite is indicated at Arizona betting sites with a minus moneyline number, meaning bettors need to bet more money for a potential payout because of the expectation that the favorite will win. So, if the Kansas City Chiefs are listed as -150 against the Arizona Cardinals, they are the favorite.
The Underdog Team
Everyone loves a good underdog. There's one in every matchup, whether it's a slight difference in the moneyline or a matter of huge underdogs needing everything to go right to pull off the upset. Because these teams aren't expected to win, bettors need to bet smaller amounts to win a potentially big payout. The odds are against these teams but choosing the right moneyline wager can be profitable. If the New York Yankees are +150 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, they would be considered the underdog.
We all know those instances in sports betting where a matchup truly feels like a coin flip. In some instances, the moneyline bet can be as close as -110 to +110 if neither team has a true advantage. Typically, the point spread will be just a single point (or less), making a moneyline bet the preferred option to take out the spread altogether without losing too much value.
Outcomes On The Moneyline
What's nice about the moneyline is there's no math involved, no backdoor covers and no different winner based on sportsbook lines and odds. The moneyline is simply interested in which team wins and which team loses. That's it. Always.
And while that's simple enough, it's important to understand what that means in terms of odds and a potential payout for bettors. Different sportsbooks will provide different odds on moneylines, so it's important for bettors to shop around to find the best value to maximize potential winnings.
To win a moneyline bet, your team must win the outright matchup. No matter the score, the total points, the number of overtimes or individual performances, a team win on the scoreboard is a win in moneyline betting. Payouts are based on two factors: the moneyline of the team bet on and the amount wagered. This is like different types of bets like point spreads or totals that also have odds attached to them.
Because moneyline odds are so simple to understand, bettors will know when they've lost. As is the case with winning, a loss on the scoreboard is a loss on a moneyline bet. Whereas a bettor could win a point spread bet if a losing team covered, moneyline odds are only concerned with the final score.
Pushes will pop up from time to time when it comes to point spread bets or total bets. They're incredibly uncommon, however, in moneyline betting. Because a moneyline bet is choosing one side to win, the only scenario in which a draw would occur is if the game ends in a tie or draw and a tie or draw was not one of the listed options to bet on.
An example would be a moneyline bet on the Arizona Cardinals to win a regular season game over the Seattle Seahawks, only for the two teams to still be tied after the end of the first overtime. In that instance, a draw would return the wagered money back to the bettor.
Calculating Payouts On Moneyline Odds
Whereas it's easy to determine payouts on point spreads - the line effectively evens the playing field between the two teams, with typical betting odds ranging between -105 and -115 - moneyline odds are a bit trickier wager type. For almost every game, including Super Bowl game betting, there will be a favorite and an underdog. A favorite and its moneyline is given a negative number to show that bettors will need to wager that amount to return $100 on their bet. An underdog and its moneyline is given a positive number, showing that a $100 bet will return that amount on their bet.
If you're scrolling through an online sportsbook and see a team with a minus sign attached to its odds, they are considered the favorite and expected - based on the odds - to win. Any team with minus moneyline odds will always require that amount of money – $200 for a team that is -200, $450 for a team that is -450 – in order to win $100 plus the original amount wagered. Bettors can wager less (or more) than $100 and earn less (or more) on their total payout.
A plus sign next to a team indicates that they are the underdog and expected – based on the betting odds – to lose the game. Any team with a plus sign in front of their odds will always mean that betting $100 on that team to win will yield that same amount – $300 payout for a +300 underdog; $750 for a +750 underdog – plus the original amount wagered. Bettors can wager less (or more) than $100 and earn less (or more) on their total payout. While payouts are significant with plus odds, they're also more difficult to hit because it requires an underdog to win the matchup outright.
Though unusual, there are instances in which AZ sportsbooks will determine that neither team has a true advantage in what is a completely even matchup. In those instances of +100 (or even) moneyline odds, sports bettors win the exact amount they wager on (plus their original wager). For example, if the Phoenix Suns are even money to beat the Golden State Warriors, a $100 bet on the Suns would yield a $100 win. The same goes for a bet on the Warriors, as there is no favorite or underdog.
The NFL is the most popular sport in the United States, meaning moneyline bets are commonplace every fall and winter. Many of the NFL moneylines are relatively small because of the parity around the league. The difference between the best and the worst teams in the league isn't all that great and home teams have a significant advantage that oddsmakers take into account when forming moneylines. Betting on NFL games can have nuances you need to be familiar with.
For example, if the Arizona Cardinals are a -250 favorite against the +180 San Francisco 49ers, a bettor would need to wager $250 on the Cardinals to win outright to win $100. A $100 bet on the Niners to win outright would yield $180.
The NBA continues to soar in global popularity and it's one of the most viral leagues in the world on social media. This has made NBA moneyline betting a popular form for all sports bettors. The outburst of scoring over the last few years and the distinct homecourt advantage that home teams share has made for some steep (but relatively safe) moneyline odds. The harsh difference in odds while betting on the NBA can often lead to betting on underdogs.
For example, if the Phoenix Suns are a heavy -450 favorite against the +300 Toronto Raptors, a bettor would need to place $450 on the Suns to win the game to earn $100 for a winning wager, while a $100 bet on the Kings to win the game would yield $300.
Given the 162-game season and the importance placed on starting pitching, baseball moneylines can be more complex than football and basketball moneyline betting. The league's worst team could be favored against a contender simply because of a pitching matchup, so bettors will always want to consider who is on the hill before placing their moneyline bet. Knowledge of how to bet on MLB games and how odds can affect payout is very crucial in this league.
For example, if the Arizona Diamondbacks are a -160 favorite against the +130 San Francisco Giants, a bettor would need to wager $160 on the D-Backs to win to earn $100. Likewise, a bettor could earn $130 if they bet $100 on the Giants to win the game.
Because of late empty-net goals and the difficulty in picking out significant differences in hockey teams, an NHL moneyline is often a popular form of betting. Bettors will want to check on who is in net for both teams, as that can swing moneyline odds significantly one way or the other when betting on the NHL. For example, a bet on the -120 favorite Arizona Coyotes to beat the Chicago Blackhawks would require a $120 wager to earn $100.
Moneyline Parlay Bets
Parlays are becoming an increasingly popular form of wagering among the betting public, and moneyline parlays are a great way to improve betting odds within them. Bettors can add multiple bets together in a single parlay that produce new betting odds, with the caveat being that all moneyline legs in the parlay must hit to earn a payout. For example, a three-team moneyline parlay on the Suns (-200), Cardinals (-150) and Coyotes (+200) would have +650 betting odds, with a $100 bet yielding $650 if all three teams won their respective games.
How Is Moneyline Related To A Spread Bet
While a moneyline and spread are two separate bets, they're also linked. A favorite that has a minus moneyline (-320, for example) will also be giving points on the spread, meaning points will be subtracted from that team's final score to determine whether they covered the spread. Likewise, an underdog that has a plus moneyline (+220, for example) will be getting points on the spread, meaning points will be added to that team's final score to determine if they covered the spread.
The only difference is that most spread odds are between -105 and -115 because oddsmakers have effectively evened the playing field with the spread, whereas moneyline bets can have significant odds one way or the other because the bet is only concerned with the outright winner.
Moneyline Betting FAQ
Moneyline bets are placed on which team a bettor believes will win. The point spread and game total do not come into play with a moneyline bet, with either the favorite or underdog winning the game outright.
A +200 moneyline indicates how much money a bettor would win with a $100 wager. It means that a bettor who wagers $100 would win $200 (plus the original $100 wagered) if that team wins the game outright.
A moneyline pays out based on whether a bettor wagered on the favorite (minus odds) or the underdog (plus odds). For instance, a $100 bet on a -400 moneyline would pay out $25 (plus the original $100 bet) while a $100 bet on a +300 moneyline would pay out $300 (plus the original $100 bet).
The moneyline is a bet on which team will win, whereas the point spread considers the final score of the game and adds points to the underdog's final total while subtracting from the favorite's point total to determine the betting winner.
Yes, bettors can parlay a moneyline bet the same way they would a point spread bet.
Mark Strotman writes about the NBA and sports betting for BetArizona.com. He is a veteran sports journalist who covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago for about 8 years. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports.