Betting on the moneyline

Moneyline betting is one of the simplest sports betting types you can find. This specific term is mostly used in American Sports where the common type of bet is the point spread. Instead of placing bets on the final point (or goal) difference, you just try to guess which team will win the match. It may look easy, but when you’re used to backing the favorite the odds seem lower compared to betting on the point spread.

Moneyline odds are favored by American bookmakers and are usually presented in American odds. These odds are either positive or negative. The favorite is represented by negative moneyline odds and the underdog by positive odds.
Negative figures indicate how much money you have to wager to win $100. European (decimal) odds of 1.50 are quoted as -200. On the contrary, positive figures indicate how much money you can win if your wager is $100. A 3.00 “European style” odds is quoted as +300.

How does the moneyline work

The money line uses odds, instead of a points (or goals) handicap, to balance the theoretical strength difference and winning chances of both teams. The bookies attach lower odds to favorites and far higher than expected to underdogs. The purpose is obvious: to create as balanced a betting market as possible by reducing the payout to the favorite and increasing it to the underdog, given that is backed by far less money. This means that a money line bet could be far more profitable even if you have a decent winning percentage when backing underdogs.

Moneyline vs Spread

This is a totally different type of betting, that consequently requires a completely different approach in order to be profitable in the long-term. Moneyline betting looks easier to understand and far less stressful, as all that is required is that your team wins the match, even with the slightest margin. This way you can stop worrying about your selected team winning the match, but not breaking the point (or goal) spread needed for you to win as well.

If you’re good at finding underdog upsets, then money line betting is for you. When your selected underdog wins, even by one point or goal, you get far more money compared to betting on a positive spread line. A basketball underdog on 3.50 odds is a far better pick than the same team having a +9,5 points spread at 1.92 odds. Sure, you might get a bit anxious during the last minutes, however, it really is worth it.

Moneyline strategy

It’s all about finding winners. If you put your money on picking winning teams, so that your winning margin exceeds the losses, moneyline betting will be profitable for you. You can earn money even by betting on extremely low odds, such as 1.15 or 1.20, as long as you pick winners in 80% of your selected matches.

The Moneyline strategy looks like it’s facing a single way: Backing underdogs. Although this might seem like the easiest and most profitable way, it is not the only one you can follow. When the average odds of your winning bets stand at 4.00, you need to win only 26% of your bets to have a profit. With a 30% winning percentage you could earn a lot of money. However, you shouldn’t be overly optimistic. It’s really difficult to hit such a winning percentage on moneyline betting.

To put it plainly, your strategy depends on two variables: winning percentage and average winning odds. If you pick favorites on 1.20 average odds, you need to have a 84% winning percentage to be profitable in the long run. This means winning five out of every six bets. On the contrary, with 3.00 winning odds average, the winning percentage needed to be profitable falls to 34%.

You just have to study a little bit about implied probability. This term is used in sports betting to convert odds into a percentage. This makes easier for you to compare bookmakers’ odds (eliminating the edge) to your own estimated percentages, based on your match analysis. If your expected percentage exceeds the bookmakers’, you have just busted the odds. You’ve found a value bet, regardless of the odds offered.

NBA Moneylines

When it comes to NBA moneylines, or basketball moneylines in general, this is the safest possible bet. When betting on regular season matches, you know that every team has a challenging series of 82 games in less than six months, meaning that bad nights are a common occurrence, even to heavy favorites. You can bet on underdogs to win on the road and profit from major upsets.

Pick matches between teams with similar winning records and try to bet on the away team, which has higher odds by default. Don’t mess around with the point margin, as it will not only trim your profits, but also prove to be nerve-wracking in the end. Suppose your team needs to overcome an 8,5 point spread, how would you feel if they lead by 8, but decide not even take the last shot in the last remaining seconds?

Point-shaving scandals are far more common in college basketball as well. When choosing college basketball betting lines, you just pick a team to win and wait for them to confirm their superiority.

NFL Moneylines

Moneylines are popular in football betting too. Bookies expect high rollers to place massive wagers, especially in Super Bowl money lines, where the finalists are usually among the top US teams and the difference between them is insignificant. NFL betting lines are also popular, even if some US-based bookies avoid offering moneylines on NFL matches where the margin is usually lower than 3 points and higher than 10 points.

Bookies keep offering NCAA football odds during the whole season. Upsets are more common in this league, as players are still developing their game before going pro. Betting on underdogs in football moneylines is considered a profitable strategy by many punters.

NHL Money lines

Ice hockey is very popular in USA and Canada, where it is considered a national sport. The number of goals are fewer than football, basketball or even baseball points, so it’s more tempting to choose betting on the moneyline as opposed to spread betting. In many ties the NHL betting lines are almost identical to spread odds, as the handicap assigned to the favorite is minimal (0,5 or 1,5 goal).

Bets are generally higher in NHL playoff odds, where teams are totally focused on winning and advancing to the next round. Stanley Cup odds are usually hit by high rollers, as the best-of-seven series require a lot of tight games between teams of equivalent strength.