There are many NFL betting types — point spread, over/under, parlay, futures, live betting, and a few more. However, the most straightforward type of bet is the moneyline. In this article, we’ll explain what is a money line bet in football, plus a whole lot of tips that’ll help you win thhis type of bet.
After you’re done understanding the football moneyline, you’ll be able to place bets at any of the sites below. Moneyline is a core bet offered at just about any sportsbook so it won’t be hard to find during a regular NFL week. However, we recommend starting with the bookies below, which we’ll get into later in this article.
What Is A Moneyline Bet?
When we said moneyline bets were straightforward, we meant it. Here’s a one-sentence recap on what is a money like bet in football: pick who wins the game. Really, it’s as simple as that. This goes for a regular-season game or Super Bowl bet, it's all the same with moneylines.
Sportsbooks will give each of the two NFL teams playing a moneyline to win the specific game. You, the bettor, just decide which one wins at the end. Zero need to worry about how much points a team wins by (leave that worry to NFL point spread betting folks).
Many new NFL bettors can overcomplicate gambling at first. Spreads, moneyline, odds — the different terminology can all seem like a lot when starting out. However, knowing what is a moneyline bet in football, and how simple it is, can stop that in a hurry.
How Do Moneyline Odds Work?
So you understand the purpose of the football money line, but next is realizing how much these bets actually pay out. For this part, you must understand sports betting odds.
Each team will have an odd associated with its moneyline, along with either a plus or minus/negative sign. A team can only have one of those signs, not both. For example, say the Packers are playing the Bears. You might see Green Bay at -140 on the moneyline, whereas Chicago could be +120. Whole numbers like -140 are American odds. In Europe, odds are reflected in fractions but if you're gambling on NFL, chances are you're from the States, so we'll stick with American odds in this example.
First things first, those signs indicate who the sports betting favorite is and who’s the underdog. Favorites get minus signs, ‘dogs get plus. So in the above example, oddsmakers believe the Cheeseheads will win.
When it comes to the potential payout, the easiest way to calculate a winning bet is around a $100 denomination. If you were to risk $100 on the underdog Bears, you’d make $120 profit on their win with +120 odds. But the favorites are flipped. So in order to win $100 off a -140 betting line, you’d need to wager $140.
Get it? And this applies to all minus and positive bets. If a team was favored at -200, the amount needed to be risk for $100 profit would be $200. Since more money needs to be bet to make $100, this -200 odds means that team has a higher implied probabity of winning than the -140 one. The higher these lines go, the more of a heavy favorite or underdog that NFL team is.
On some occasions, you’ll get an NFL moneyline where both teams are exactly -110 to win the game. This means the NFL matchup is at 'pick em. All that says is sportsbooks don’t have a favorite or underdog in that game. It’s expected to be close so players have an equal 'pick em of both. You might get one 'pick em bet a week as it's not super common.
How Are NFL Moneyline Odds Made?
Oh, boy, explaining the process behind making the money line football odds is complex. Honestly, it could be an entire article in of itself. But we’ll give you a high-level look at how the “sausage is made.”
First of all, it’s not typically a man-made process. Not for the NFL, not for MLB, not for NBA, not for the NHL, not for UFC, not for any sport. Odds are typically spit out by computer models or algorithms. These machines are fed data on games — how a team plays at home, weather conditions, passing performance against top defenses, etc. All this data then informs bookies who should be favored, who should be the underdog, and by how much.
There are specific companies that handle this odd-setting process. Don’t think that every bookmaker has its own process. No, there are a few third parties that lead the way and then supply the lines to bookies. This is a major reason why NFL moneyline odds are consistently the same across the board with almost no variance from site to site.
Be aware that moneyline odds will change from the time they’re first released until the kick-off time for that game. Two things lead to swings in moneyline. The first is new information. If a star quarterback is suddenly ruled out of the game, that’s going to influence the odds. The better the QB, the more so it will change (Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes would swing the NFL game odds wildly).
The second reason why moneyline odds will fluctuate is sports betting activity. If a sportsbook is getting an overwhelming amount of bets one way, say the favored team for example, the lines will change to try to attract more balanced activity. Most of the time, bookmakers don’t want to risk getting overly beat in one direction. If a 50-50 split in bets is more ideal so the odds will change to try to incite that balance.
The thing is, once you’ve made a moneyline bet, you’re stuck with that line. If you took the Patriots as -140, but its odds dropped to -120, you’re still getting -140. Odds changes only affect new bettors.
Betting Moneyline Favorites vs. Underdogs
Many new NFL bettors can become entranced with betting only one side — as in only favorites or only underdogs. We get it too. Favorites are the “safer” pick since computer models think they’ll win. It’s safe to bet alongside a computer, right? Or on the flip side, underdogs pay more. The potential payout of going “against the grain” is tough not to get charmed by.
Listen to us when we say don’t do this. Just don’t. The phrase “any given Sunday” exists for a reason — because anyone can get beat. So that’s why you don’t fall in love with favorites. At the same time, underdogs are underdogs for a reason. More times than not, they’ll lose when they’re supposed to.
Our piece of advice is to avoid this one-sided thinking. It’s way too simplistic to work over a long period of time. To consistently win NFL moneyline wagers, you’re gonna have to do research and actually pick a side. If you're ever making parlays — as in multi-leg bets — it would be smart to mix in favorites and underdogs. You're asking for trouble by parlaying all favorites or all underdogs.
All of this leads us to our next portion of sports betting tips. Read closely because if you really take this in, you can make a huge amount of money from moneyline betting.
What Tips Are There For NFL Moneyline Betting?
Alright, this is what most bettors care about: how do you actually win NFL moneyline bets on a regular basis?
The most important thing you must do is research the game. We know this sounds obvious but you’d be shocked how many bettors “go with their gut.” They’ll see a line and bet then and there. Or worse, if they have an inkling of who will win or lose, they’ll see our information that confirms this. Folks, that’s what we call confirmation bias and we’d caution against it.
What we say is every NFL moneyline bet should start as a clean slate. When researching the specific game, you should really look at the matchups more than anything else. Matchups as in what is a team’s strengths and weaknesses — because every team will have each. So do this for both sides playing.
Once you know this, you can pinpoint possible mismatches. For instance, say the Jets are a strong rushing team. They might be playing the Bills this weak, who struggle to stop the rushing attack. See the mismatch? New York’s strength can exploit Buffalo’s weakness in a head-to-head battle.
You can spot these mismatches by running down a team from top to bottom — coaching, pass offense or defense, rush offense or defender, special teams, and so forth. The more research you do, the more you’ll understand how a particular team fares at all these phases. This is why we harp research so damn much because it’ll reveal insights that’ll help you pick the moneyline.
How To Bet NFL Moneyline?
If you’ve read every word on this page, then you should be ready to bet on NFL moneyline. Remember, you’re just making a bet slip with straight-up winners — that’s all. Any unanswered questions are probably covered in our FAQs section.
Scroll back up and hit one of our recommended sportsbooks (based on our newest sportsbook reviews). Creating an account takes a few short minutes. From there, you can go to the NFL betting menu and see moneylines listed right then and there. After doing some research, pick your side and you should be good to go. Now you wait on the final outcome to know whether you won or lost.
The sites even have a promo or two for sports bettors. With a promo, you could bankroll your first bet and more — for free! Bonus bets could last for a week or even a month so don't overlook this chance for free sports betting!