What is a Moneyline Bet?

Bettors can get a money line or “straight up” price on all sports and many prop bets. Football and basketball always have wide ranging money lines like the Patriots -2700 moneyline vs. Colts back in 2011.

Sports such as hockey, baseball and soccer have shorter money lines as those games tend to be lower scoring and more closely matched in those sports. Baseball contests, for example, rarely have money lines much greater than -250. Money lines are also used with offerings on Over/Under game total wagers, proposition prices, as well as always popular futures betting.

How Moneyline Bets Work

A money line is a $100 increment on a likelihood of an event. The more something is favored to occur, the higher the negative moneyline  and vice versa. A line set at -200 would pay $100 on a $200 wager while a +200 underdog returns $200 on $100. 

The table below shows a number of online sports betting sites that offer moneyline betting. Which will you choose?

      Bet money lines when you are not sold on the point spread odds

      Let’s say you are a Miami Heat fan and are extremely confident they will beat the New York Knicks in an upcoming NBA playoff game, but you aren’t so sure that the Heat will cover the spread as 9-point favorites (this means Heat have to win by more than 9 points in order for the spread to be met and your bet to be paid out.) There’s little doubt that the Heat will win the game at home, but certainly possible that a big game from New York's players could keep the Knicks close and within 9 points at the end of the fourth quarter. NBA games are notorious for big underdogs covering at the end of a game thanks to points given up easily when the leading team lets their foot off the gas.

      The best betting option here on Miami wouldn’t be the spread but instead on the moneyline. The biggest positive for this wager is that it doesn’t matter at all how much the Heat would win the game by. However, the bigger a favorite a team is on the spread, the more you would have to spend on the moneyline to win your $100. So in this example, the Heat could be -285 favorites. That would mean spending $285 to win $100 back. The bigger a team is an underdog on the money line, the more the bet returns. 

      You do not have to bet in increments of $100 to bet on the moneyline, this amount is used to help make it easier to understand the odds at a glance. Using the above example, if you wanted to make $10 profit betting on the Heat, you would have to wager $28.50 to do so. If you bet $10 at -285 and your bet won, you would make $3.51 profit and receive your original stake back.