If you’re anything like me, when it comes to betting on sports for the longest time, all you heard about was the spread. If the New England Patriots are -6 home favorites that means they need to win by seven or more points for you to win by betting on them.
A moneyline ignores the spread. You use the moneyline in order to place a bet on the team you expect to win, regardless of the final score.
A moneyline will either have a positive or a negative number attached to the digits.
The team with a plus sign (+) in front of the price is the underdog. The higher the number the bigger the underdog. In the eyes of the oddsmaker, the higher number also indicates their unlikelihood in winning.
That number is also very important because it helps you do the math in knowing how much you’d win if you bet $100 on the result.
If for example you want to bet $100 on a +200 underdog, that means if it goes your way you would win $200.
You will also see a plus moneyline in sports that are harder to predict a winner. For example, in this weekend’s NASCAR race, the Quaker State 400, the driver getting the best odds is Martin Truex Jr. and he’s +380 for the win. He’s the two-time defending champ of the race, but you would still earn $380 for your $100 bet due to the sheer number of drivers where there can only be one winner.
When there’s a negative number (-) attached to a team that means they are favorites and that is now the amount of money you need to bet in order to win $100. As such if your favorite has a -200 moneyline, you then need to bet $200 in order to make a $100 profit.
Sometimes you’ll hear favorites referred to as “chalk” bets. In that case they are heavy favorites to win. Usually that’ll mean seeing odds of -300 or more. Clearly it takes a lot of coin to make a little bit of profit on those chalk bets and as you’re probably very aware of, there are very few guarantees in sports betting.
In a sportsbook you could see the “moneyline” written up in a few different ways, including as two words: “Money Line” are abbreviated as “ML”
To recap with a real-world example, this Saturday, the Yankees are -270 on Bovada to beat the Toronto Blue Jays with ex-Toronto pitcher JA Happ on the mound in Yankee Stadium. The Blue Jays will counter with journeyman starter Clayton Richard who is sporting a 6.23 ERA in nine starts this season. The team is 3-6 when he takes the mound and the Blue Jays are +225 underdogs after losing 4-0 on Friday night.
So who do you prefer to bet on? $270 on the Yankees will win you $100. $100 on Toronto will net you $225.