How to Bet on the Moneyline

How to Bet on the Moneyline

Published Date · July 20, 2022 · Last Updated · Sept. 26, 2022 ·Read Time · 6 mins

What is a Moneyline Bet?

Moneyline betting is the simplest bet you can make at an online sportsbook. When they start getting into sports betting, most people start with the Moneyline bet. From beginners to experts, the Moneyline sports wager is the most popular bet out there. The Moneyline bet is wagering on which team will win the matchup. If your pick wins the game, then you get a payout. If your pick loses, you do not get a payout, and the bet is counted as a loss. Although Moneyline bets are simple on the surface, many factors go into the bets that don’t make the wins come easy. Our guide below will help you navigate the Moneyline bet and learn all you need to know. 

The Benefits Of A Moneyline Wager

Keeping It Simple

Online sports betting can get incredibly complicated, and many pro bettors tell newer players to keep it simple. And in the sports betting world, there’s nothing simpler than the Moneyline wager. The formula to a successful sports betting career is finding value in the picks and winning as often as possible. The more complicated your bet becomes, the greater the possibility that you could be adding negative value to your picks by making wagers too complicated. The Moneyline wager is the epitome of simplistic sports betting. When you find the value in the picks and see if the wager is worth the risk, you just pick on how you believe the game will end for that wager. There’s nothing else to it but that. 

There’s Value In Simple

It may sound like a broken record, but going off the last point, the simpler the wager, the easier it is to assess the value in your picks. While it is never truly easy to find value in a sports betting pick, because if it were easy, then everyone would be doing it. A more simplistic bet gives you the best chance of analyzing the bet and making the wager easier on yourself. 

For wagers like the Spread, Over/Under, and Prop bets, there are many more layers and complexity when it comes to seeing if your wager has enough value to place a bet. With the Moneyline bet, all it takes is a simple math formula or the “eye test” to see if there’s value in your sports betting selection.  With the simplicity of the wagers, Moneyline bets are also a great way for new sports bettors to get in on the action without overloading themselves with too much information at first. It’s a great way to get your feet wet with sports betting and can get you excited for more types of betting options in the future. 

In-Depth Look At Moneyline Betting

Every Moneyline bet is going to be different based on the teams that are playing. When a sportsbook determines its lines, they do so to ensure that there is action (also known as bets) on both sides of the wager. The sportsbooks do this to ensure that no matter who wins, they come out on top. For example, let’s say that the New England Patriots, with a record of 15-0, are playing against the 0-15 Atlanta Falcons. If the lines were even on both sides of the wager, most if not all of the wagers would be on the Patriots to win. The sportsbooks don’t want this to happen, so they put an enticing payout on the Falcons’ end if they were to win the game and a minimum payout if the Patriots win the game. 

Because of the scenario above, there will always be a favorite and an underdog in a Moneyline bet. Let’s look at our example again, but how it would look at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook or an online sportsbook site:




Breakdown of the Moneyline Bet

  • The first column is fairly obvious, showing the teams that are playing in the matchup. So let’s focus on the second column. The Patriots have the number with the negative sign (-) in front of their odds, which means they’re the favorite. The sportsbook is thinking that they will win. The Falcons have the plus sign (+) in front of their odds, meaning they are considered the underdog. The larger the number for the favorite, the more likely the sportsbook believes that the people betting on the game will think they will win. The same goes for the other side of the wager. The higher the number is for the underdog, the more likely the sportsbook thinks that people will avoid placing a bet on them unless they make the odds have a better payout.
  • For simplicity’s sake, the odds should always be viewed as a $100 wager. Betting on the favorite’s side with a negative sign shows you how much to wager in order to pay $100. In the example above, you would have to wager $500 (from the -500 odds) in order for the sportsbook to pay out $100 should you win. For the favorite, if you made a $100 wager that ended up winning, your payout would be $425 (from the +425 odds). Sportsbooks will continually adjust the line all the way up to the start of the game or until they close all bets for the game. They will continually adjust to ensure that there is as close to even money as possible on both sides of the matchup. There can be much value to be found in line movement as well.
  • Before we get into the top tips for making a Moneyline wager, there can be a third option when betting on a golf or soccer Moneyline, a tie or a draw. The odds for a tie vary depending on the teams or people that are playing. Sometimes the odds for a tie will be longer than the underdog while the odds can also be longer for the underdog as opposed to the draw. It all depends on how evenly matched the teams are and how the bets are being placed by the general public.

Tips For Moneyline Betting

Be Wary Of Heavy Favorites

While a heavy favorite can be enticing for a quick yet small payout, make sure you have a gauge of how big of a favorite you are willing to bet on. In order to receive a payout that’s worth it, you have to put up more money that keeps going up the bigger the favorite is. If a team is favored by too much, the risk will more than likely not be worth the reward at a certain point. Make sure you don’t take on too much of a liability by betting on a massive favorite for the Moneyline.  

Pay Attention To Line Movement

One of the best ways to find value in a Moneyline wager is to monitor how the line moves and to which side. Analyzing the line movements can show if the picks are becoming more aligned with one side or the other. For example, if the odds start shifting to make the underdog more enticing, you know that the majority of the bets are going to the favorite’s side, thus making the favorite side of the Moneyline a more enticing bet. 

Stay Up To Date With Your Research

There are tons of factors that can influence how a game plays out. If a star player is out, for example, this could sway the lines one way or the other. Knowing which team is the home team is especially important with these bets to establish whether or not there’s any home field advantage that’s swaying the bets. Stay up to date with the weather as well, especially when wagering on a baseball game Moneyline. There may be history between the two teams that are playing or the two teams can be divisional rivals. Long story short, there are numerous factors that can sway a game so make sure you do your homework. 

Choose Your Favorite Carefully

There are many in the sports betting community that believe that only betting on favorites for Moneyline bets. This isn’t always the case. Favorites that are in the range of -250 to -300 aren’t very heavy favorites and the possibility of an upset is much more likely. It may not be worth the risk when analyzing how much the payout will be. While the chance of an upset is still very present, the best odds for wagering on favorites is around the range of -150 to -200. Not every favorite is going to win but their payout is much better than the -250 to -300 range. 

What Next?

Now that you know the ins and outs of Moneyline sports wagers, you’re ready to start your sports betting career. Don’t forget that Moneyline bets are just about as simple as you can get and are a great way to learn the online or in-person sports betting world. The next steps on your journey after getting comfortable with Moneyline bets diving into the Spread and Over/Unders. 


Ian Dincuff

US Content Writer