What Is A Moneyline Bet: Definition & How to Bet

By:
Jake Brannen
Betting Education
What Is A Moneyline Bet?

If you are confused about the term moneyline or looking for an optimal moneyline betting strategy, then you have come to the right place. We answer every moneyline question you can think of and highlight our best tips and strategies.

Moneyline Bets Explained

When you place a bet on the moneyline, you are simply predicting who will win the game/match with no stipulations. The game does not need to be decided by a specific margin or within regulation time.

The winning team can win by 20 in regulation or by one in overtime or a shootout. In the most basic terms, if the team you bet on is credited win a win, you win your wager. 

How Does the Moneyline Work? 

When placing a moneyline bet, simply click on the team you believe will win and type the amount you wish to bet. There are three different terms you should be aware of before placing a wager. 

  1. The favourite

    This is the team that odds makers view as the most likely to win. You can identify the favourite when the team/athlete has a minus sign (-) before the given odds number.
    Ex. The Leafs are the favourite to win at -150 over the Canadians at +130. Bet $150 on the Leafs to receive a $100 profit ($250 payout).


  2. The underdog

    This is the team that odds makers view as the least likely to win. You can identify the underdog when the team/athlete has a plus sign (+) before the given odds number.
    Ex. The Canadians are +130 underdogs to win over the Leafs at -150. Bet $100 on the Canadians to receive a $130 profit ($230 profit).


  3. Even or Pick ‘em

    If two opposing side are evenly matched and odds makers view the game as essentially a “toss up,” this is deemed a pick ‘em game. You will receive the same payout no matter which side you choose to wager on. You will often see the word even (EV) or pick’em (PK) which represents odds of +100.
    Ex. The Leafs and Oilers game is place at pick’em odds (+100). You will profit the exact amount that you choose to wager. Place a $100 wager and win $100 ($200 payout

Moneyline Outcome

In most sports there are only two potential outcomes (Win or lose) however - Soccer (European Football) and boxing/MMA offer a third option to “Draw.” Here are the three potential outcomes of a moneyline bet.

  • Win: You will receive a payout if you correctly wager on the winning team, or correctly wager on the match to result in a draw.
  • Lose: You will NOT receive a payout if you wager on the losing team or wager on a specific side when the result is a draw. You will also not receive a payout if you wager on a draw and there is a winner.
  • Push: This occurs when a bet does not count and is officially voided. The amount you staked on the bet will be returned to your account.

    Examples:

    - The game/match is cancelled
    - A draw occurs when the option to wager on “draw” was no offered on the moneyline
    - A specific pitcher listed as the starter on the sportsbook does not start

Implied Probability

Based on the odds that each sportsbook sets, you can calculate the implied probability of either team/athlete winning. This can be useful information even for non-bettors who might be interested in knowing the likelihood of their team winning.

Basic calculation:

To calculated implied odds, substitute the American odds number value for Z in one of the equations below (Ignore +/-).

  • Negative odds: Z/(Z+100) x 100
  • Positive odds: 100/(Z+100) x 100

Example – Leafs (-150) vs. Canadians (+130)

  • Leafs: 150 / (150 + 100) x 100 = 60%
  • Canadians: 100 / (130 +100) x 100 = 43.48%

Vig calculation:

You might be asking yourself, how could the total implied odds add up to over 100% (103.48%). This overage of 3.48% is caused by the vigorish (“vig” or “juice”), which is the cut a sportsbook takes for accepting your wager.

In the above example, 3.48 represents the overround which is very similar to the vig. To calculate the vig simply divide the overround by the total implied odds.

  • Ex. 3.48 / 103.38 x 100 = 3.37%

True implied odds calculation:

To get the true implied odds of an event without the vig, simply divide the implied probability by the total implied probability.

Example - Leafs (60%) vs Canadians (43.48%)

  • Leafs: 60 / 103.48 x 100 = 57.98%
  • Canadians: 43.48 / 103.48 x 100 = 42.02%

Understanding Moneyline Odds and Line Moves

Moneyline odds now change up until the final seconds of a game in many cases due to the explosion of live betting over the past few years. Whenever new information comes through, you will see a shift in the odds. 

Very few sportsbooks set their own lines. The majority base their lines on market setting books that accept high roller wagers. Odds will shift up until game time for the following reasons:

  • Injuries 
  • Lineup decisions 
  • Information revealed in athlete/management interviews 
  • Weather changes 
  • Top sports bettors placing wagers 

Odds are perfected up until game time, and sportsbooks will increase their wager limits as more information becomes available. They will shift during the game as well based on the results for sportsbooks that offer live betting.

Moneyline Bet and Point Spread

The moneyline is a simple win/loss wager with no point spread stimulations, however - the odds for moneyline bets are directly correlated with what the point spread is set at. For example, a team that is favored by a field goal (3 points) will have better odds to win than a team that is favored by a touchdown (7 points).

It is important to note that point spreads differentiate between sports and the same increase in one sport will not create as large as a shift in moneyline odds as another. For example, a touchdown is not the same as seven points scored in the NBA. Almost every Hockey and Baseball game will have an opening point spread of 1.5, making it rare to see heavy favourites in the -600 range. The NFL moneyline commonly has these large favourites.

Moneyline Betting Tips and Strategies

No matter how much more talent a team possesses over their opponent, sports can be random, and upsets happen all the time. It may be difficult to convince yourself to bet on an underdog but profiting in the sports betting industry is incredibly difficult when you are only placing moneyline bets at minus (-) odds.

We are not saying going out and bet on every underdog each week, but find a good balance and make sure to capitalize on the opportunity to take a few underdogs that you believe in.  
Before placing bets on the moneyline, we recommend following this list of tips and strategies that our experts have developed over years of experience:

  • Always check the injury report
  • Prioritize recent trends
  • Analyze matchup specific statistics (How a team performs against left-handed pitchers)
  • Take lineup decisions into account

In order to be profitable in the betting world, you need to make use of the information you have available to you. The more research you can do on the event, the better the chance you have of making the correct decision. 

Moneyline Betting Parlays and Single Betting

Moneyline betting is not limited to single bets. You can parlay multiple moneyline bets on the same bet slip. This is not limited to the same sport either. You can create a bet slip with multiple different moneyline wagers from multiple different sports.

A fun bet that many people from Toronto like to do is parlay each Toronto sports team to win if they are playing on the same day (Raptors, Jays, Leafs). Parlaying different sports is not necessarily something we do or do not recommend. If you are confident in each bet, the fact that they are two different sports doesn’t decrease your likelihood of winning.

Single bets are much safer than parlays, and they are something we recommend if you have the bankroll to justify placing a decent size wager. You can place multiple different single bets throughout a week and still be profitable winning 55% of the time.

If you are wagering in very small amounts, parlays can be worth it. The issue with parlays is so many different outcomes need to come true, and you miss out on potentially profits when you go 2/3. We don’t recommend parlaying more than three wagers – two or three is generally the sweet spot.

When to Know If You Should Bet on the Moneyline?

We only recommend betting on the moneyline if the odds are worth it. If you need to wager a ridiculous amount to earn a respectable profit, then you need to consider increasing your odds and switching to a point spread wager. The best wagers are when a team you believe should be favoured has even or positive moneyline odds. You can place your normal wager size and receive a much larger payout. 

Sportsbook Rules

Each sportsbook had their own specific set of house rules. It is important to read through and comprehend each of these rules before placing any moneyline bets. Here are a few general rules you should be aware of. 

  • Bets will remain in place for slightly delays however - bets will be voided and you will receive a full refund in the event of a cancellation.
  • All bet results are based on officially league statistics.
  • Games/matches that do not reach the requirements for completion will be voided and you your wager will be refunded.
  • Some moneyline wagers will be voided even upon completion if stipulations were placed on the wager (ex. Listed starting pitcher does not start the game). 
  • Moneyline odds may shift significantly from their initial amount, but the odds you place your wager at are final.
  • Some sportsbooks offer cash out opportunities while others do not. Cash outs will not be available at all times for the sportsbooks that do offer them.

Top Sports for Moneyline Odds

The moneyline is one of the most popular forms of betting due to its simplicity. For an average bettor just looking to make their sports viewing experience more exciting, it is easy to understand and doesn’t have to require a significant amount of thought. Here are the top six leagues to place moneyline bets on.

NFL

While Canadians have their own football league in the CFL, betting on the NFL is still incredibly popular amongst Canadian bettors. Teams only play once a week over an 18 games season, but Football Sunday is treated as a holiday by sports junkies. The Superbowl is also the most bet on sports event each year worldwide.

NHL

The most popular sport in Canada, Hockey has been beloved by Canadians since the late 1800’s. The sport is full contact and aggressive, making it incredibly exciting by nature. An 82-game season, 16 team playoffs, and the league expanding to 32 provides more than enough moneyline betting opportunities.

NBA

A sport growing significantly in popularity amongst Canadians thanks to groundwork laid by Steve Nash and rising stars such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Andrew Wiggins. The sport is filled with highlights where players showcase incredible displays of athleticism. An 82-game season and new playoff format that includes 20 total teams gives sports bettors more NBA betting opportunities than ever before.

MLB

America’s pastime has its limitations in Canada with cold temperatures and only one Major League team in the country. This is a great sport for moneyline betting with teams playing nearly every day during the 162-game season.

College Football

College sports in America hold no comparison to college sports in Canada. College Football ranks behind only the NFL in popularity amongst Americans. That popularity carries over to Canadian viewers as well who are looking to witness the top rising stars dominate before turning professional.

College Basketball

The popularity of College Basketball is largely centered around the March Madness tournament that consists of a single elimination bracket featuring the top 68 teams in the nation. Similarly to football, fans enjoy watching the sports top young starts dominate prior to the draft.

Conclusion

The moneyline is great place for new bettors to start. Placing a bet on a team to win or lose is as simple as it comes, but moneyline odds are much more complex than even some experience bettors realize.

Like many things in life, placing a moneyline bet is simple, but becoming a true expert and profiting on moneyline betting long term is another story.

Moneyline Betting FAQs

What does the term moneyline mean? 

Moneyline is one of the most fundamental terms in the sport betting vocabulary. If you place a moneyline wager, you are predicting the final outcome of the game with no other stipulations. Some sports provide a tie option however – in most cases you are just picking between one of two team to win.

What do the plus and minus symbols represent?

The plus (+) symbol next to the moneyline odds is used to represent the underdog while a minus (-) sign represents the favourite. A higher the number indicates a lower chance to win but a larger potential payout.

Why was my moneyline bet voided? 

There are multiple reasons your moneyline bet may have been voided. Some of the most common include:

  • Cancelation of the event.
  • The event not meeting full completion requirements.
  • The event resulting in a tie when that was not a provided wagering option.
  • A listed starting pitcher not starting the game if that was a listed requirement.

Can you place moneyline wagers after a game has started?

Most of the time yes. Almost all sportsbooks are now offering live betting and moneyline odds will shift during the game based on the results.

Can you place a moneyline wager on a draw?

For sports such a soccer or boxing/MMA, yes. It is common for these events to end in a draw, so sportsbooks provide that as an option on the moneyline.

What does the term “vig” mean?

“Vig” refers to the term vigorish which is a term that represents the cut a sportsbook takes on the odds for processing your wager. Another commonly used term for this is “juice.”

What causes moneyline odds to change?

Moneyline odds can shift based on numerous factors. Some of these factors include:

  • Injuries
  • Lineup decisions
  • Information revealed in athlete/management interviews
  • Weather changes
  • Top sports bettors placing wagers

What does implied probability mean?

Implied probability refers to the likelihood of your wager winning based on the sportsbooks given odds.