Moneyline betting explained. Learn what positive and negative moneyline numbers mean. Know when to bet moneylines instead of spreads when you gamble on sports. Calculate ML payouts when you’re betting more or less than $100. Convert moneyline odds to their decimal or fractional equivalent.
Definition of Moneyline Betting
Bet is made on outright winner. A positive number denotes the underdog. A negative number denotes the favorite. Two -110 negative numbers indicate no specific favorite. This is a PK or pick ’em bet. Choose either selection.
- Review money lines for a matchup. See current money lines here.
- Positive numbers indicate how much you win for risking $100.
- Negative numbers indicate how much you risk to win $100.
- Bet wins if selection wins outright.
- Total Payout = Original Bet + Amount Won
$100 is a reference amount to determine payouts. Bettors can make any sized wager.
Popular straight Bet. Moneyline odds are available for all major United States sports.
Moneylines are best for sports with 1 unit scoring increments. This includes hockey, baseball and soccer. Individual sports like boxing, UFC and tennis also get moneylines.
Sportsbooks will offer moneyline odds for events with more than 2 competitors. Think golf, horse racing or the Olympics.
A clear favorite will have a negative value. All others will be positive.
Events with no obvious favorite will have all positive moneylines. The most likely winner will have the smallest positive number.
Moneyline odds are used for future and proposition bets.
Sportsbooks want to manage risk. They will adjust moneyline values to encourage gambling on one side more than the other.
Moneyline Gambling Example
Refer to SB3’s article “How to Read NFL Odds” for help understanding spread, total and juice numbers.
- Boston is the favorite. Bet $170 to win $100.
- Calgary is the underdog. Bet $100 to win $150.
Bettor chooses favorite Boston Bruins laying $170 to win $100.
- Chicago is the underdog. Bet $100 to win $130.
- Cleveland is the favorite. Risk $110 to win $100.
Bettor chooses underdog Chicago White Sox.
Premier League Soccer – 2 Way Moneyline: Draw, No Bet
Manchester United -550
- Manchester United is the favorite. Risk $550 to win $100.
- Newcastle is the underdog. Bet $100 to win $375.
Bettor chooses favorite Manchester United.
How Moneyline Betting Works
Bet wins if selection wins outright. Bet pushes if game ties. All push bets are refunded.
Positive numbers indicate how you win for risking $100.
Negative numbers indicate how you risk to win $100.
Final payout includes original bet plus winnings.
Payouts for Amounts Other than $100
See table below for formula and examples
Positive numbers multiply (ML/100) * Amount.
The product is the payout for taking the underdog.
Negative numbers drop negative sign. Divide Amount/(ML/100).
The quotient is the payout for taking the favorite.
Hockey Example – Favorite Wins
- Boston Bruins defeat Calgary Flames 3-1.
- Bettor wins $100 for $170 risked.
Baseball Example – Underdog Wins
- Chicago White Sox defeat Cleveland Indians 5-4.
- Bettor wins $130 for $100 risked.
Premier League Soccer – 2 Way Moneyline: Draw, No Bet
- Manchester United ties Newcastle 2-2.
- Bet pushes. Bettor’s $550 Manchester United bet is returned.
Pros And Cons
- Moneyline odds are available for leagues both team and individual. Future and proposition bets have moneyline odds.
- Easy to learn. Pick the outright winner. No need to consider spread or juice values.
- Winning underdog moneylines have higher expected value than underdog spread bets. Get rewarded properly for taking the dog!
- No juice on moneyline bets. Sportsbook builds juice into its ML odds.
- Moneylines don’t allow room for error. When in doubt consider betting the spread for football and basketball matchups.
- Taking an obvious moneyline favorite can be expensive. A -300 football favorite requires $300 to win $100. This corresponds to a -6.5 spread. It would be cheaper to make a $110 spread bet to win $100. Use the $190 elsewhere.
- Consistently breaking even on big favorites requires a high win percentage. See chart below.
- Sportsbooks may not offer moneylines for some NFL or College Football if spread is 8 or more. Review sportsbook odds carefully as lines more before kickoff.
- Compare numbers to find value. Shop moneyline values at different sportsbooks. One sportsbook might require less money to bet a favorite. Another may offer a greater payout for the underdog.
- Use the moneyline when you’re confident in the underdog. Money line underdogs offer higher expected value than a spread bet. A -110 underdog spread pays $90.91 for every $100 bet. But a +125 moneyline pays $125 for every $100 bet.
- Use moneylines for hockey, baseball and individual sports like boxing, UFC, golf or tennis. NHL spread betting takes the form of puck lines. MLB spread betting is known as the run line. These two bets are less popular than hockey and baseball moneyline bets.
- Bet football underdogs on the moneyline when you’re confident they can win outright. Moneyline payouts are greater than a successful underdog spread bet.
- Bet heavy moneyline favorites against the spread to conserve bankroll. Don’t risk $300 or more to win $100 when you could bet $110 to win $100. Save your money for other opportunities.
- Combine multiple money line bets into parlays, progressive parlays, if bets and reverses.
Bets to Try
- Baseball 5 inning – Choose winning team after 5 innings. Compare each team’s starting pitchers to determine the likely winner. Sportsbook refunds bet if a starting pitcher scratches. Tie results produce refunds. Bettor cannot list alternate starting pitchers.
- Hockey 1st Period Moneyline – Choose winning team after 1st period. Sportsbook refunds bet if score is tied. Ideal for fast starting favorites or underdogs. Late match fatigue, line changes, etc. do not matter.
- Fight night Bet – Bet your favorite boxer or UFC fighter. Heavy favorites will have small payoffs. Those taking big underdogs will be rewarded handsomely.
- Soccer 3 way – Decide which team will win or if the match will draw (tie). The favorite, underdog or draw will each have their own moneyline.
- Soccer 2 way – Also known as a “Draw, No bet”. Decide whether the favorite or underdog will win. A tie means your bet will be refunded.
- Football Underdog – Confident in the underdog? Bet the moneyline instead of the spread. Successful underdog ML bets pay more than spread bets.
- NHL Underdog Parlay – Combine 2 or more hockey underdogs into a parlay bet. Successful parlay bets pay more than separate successful straight bets.
Moneyline Betting History
Moneyline or fixed-odds betting has existed since sports betting began. It later made its way to the United States in the late 1800s.
Interest in bookmaking increased as the first amateur sports leagues and racetracks organized in the United States. It wasn’t uncommon to find bookies around early ballfields offering bettors game odds or parlay cards.
Bookmakers occasionally struggled to turn a profit with moneyline bets. Sportsbooks must balance their action. Bookies quickly learned to set lines based off probabilities totaling more than 100%. This meant they could make a profit no matter the result.
Yet the occasional bad line bankrupted a budding bookie. Paying out heavy favorites was difficult if few bettors were attracted to the underdog line. Likewise, paying out a longshot underdog was hard if the bookie’s favorite line didn’t collect enough money.
The arrival of the spread bet in the 1940s remedied this situation. Bookmakers could finally generate long term profits.
Moneylines are still extremely popular for their simplicity. Well managed sportsbooks rarely have problems paying winning customers.
- Fixed Odds Bet
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Tables and Reference
Moneyline Break Even Win Percentages
Moneyline Payout Calculation
|+Num||(ML/100) x $Bet||+150, $20 Bet
(150/100) x $20
1.5 x $20 = $30
|-Num||Drop – Sign
|-160, $20 Bet
$20 / (160/100)
$20 / 1.6 = $12.50
Convert Moneyline to Decimal Odds
|(ML/100) + 1||225/100 =
2.25 + 1 =
|(100/ML) + 1||(100/555) =
0.180 + 1 =
Convert Moneyline to Fractional Odds
Quotient Over 1
Convert Decimal to Fraction
3.5 / 1 =
1 Over Quotient
Convert Decimal to Fraction
1 / 2.5 =
Note: (ML/100) recurring number quotients become approximate fractions. Ex. -225 = 0.444… = 4/9. Use a converter when in doubt.
NFL Spread to Moneyline Relationship
NHL Puck Line Bets, MLB Run Line Bets, Soccer Goal Lines Bets
Hockey Puck Lines, MLB Run Lines and Soccer Goal Lines work like spread bets.
All spreads are 1½.
Favorites win if final score minus 2 is greater than underdog’s score.
Underdogs win if final score plus 2 is greater than favorite’s score.
There are no ties unless bet is graded no action.
ML Odds are assigned to each team’s line.
Positive numbers indicate how much you win for risking $100.
Negative numbers indicate how much you risk to win $100.
Puck Line, Run Line, and Goal Line bets are considered secondary to moneyline bets. These lines often take longer to post than game moneylines.