Moneyline bets are the most common type of sports betting wager offered by any online sportsbook. As you explore betting options for your favorite events, you will almost always see moneyline odds. So, what are moneyline bets, how do they work, and when should you use them?

All sports bettors need to understand how moneyline bets work, as they are the most fundamental type of wager. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about creating a moneyline bet.

What Is a Moneyline in Betting?

A moneyline bet is a simple wager where you bet on the outright winner of the event. Rather than betting on points scored, flags thrown, podium places, or complex props, moneyline bets simply involve correctly picking which player or team wins the game.

You can create a moneyline for just about every sports betting market, including the NBA, NFL, MLB, UFC, NASCAR, tennis, soccer, and more. Because you’re picking the player or team to win, you will be given odds showing which team is favored to win based on previous data.

Moneyline Bets – How To Bet the Moneyline

If you want to bet the moneyline, you have a few options with varying degrees of risks and potential payouts. You could bet that the underdog pulls off a win or that the favored team sticks to expectations. In many cases, though, moneyline wagers are not this simple.

an example of moneyline markets for tennis and table tennis.

When you open your preferred local or offshore sportsbooks, you’ll find a lot of confusing numbers with plus sign and minus sign odds and potentially additional letters. All of these numbers and letters usually boil down to three potential moneyline bet options:


The favorite is the player or team that the sportsbook believes has the highest chance of winning the game outright. These odds are calculated from enormous data sets surrounding the player or team’s previous performance history. Moneyline favorites are almost always depicted with a minus sign, except for in a few scenarios, like NASCAR events.

Usually, you will see moneyline favorites set on the American odds format with a $100 basis. The number next to the minus sign indicates how much you need to wager to win $100.

For example, if you see moneyline odds of -220, you would need to wager $220 to leave with $320, meaning your profit is $100. You don’t have to bet a full $220, though. It could also be $110 to win a profit of $50 or any other number you choose.

You may also bet more than the set number as well if you want to profit more than $100. Remember that if your team does not win, you will not get any of your initial wager back.

In some scenarios, multiple players or teams can be favored to win an event. Picking your moneyline wager in these close matches can be quite challenging, but you have another option which we will get to later on.


The underdog is the team or player with the lowest chance of winning the event. If the underdog pulls ahead and manages to win outright, anyone who took the risky bet can enjoy much larger rewards. Because underdogs have worse odds, they provide bigger payouts.

Underdogs usually have a plus sign next to their odds, except for in a few scenarios, like NASCAR, where moneyline odds are opposite. In most cases, plus odds show you how much money you can win if you bet $100.

For example, if the Buffalo Bills have moneyline odds of +220 to win the Super Bowl, you would have to wager $100 to profit $220, meaning you would leave with $320 after only spending $100. Again, you can wager less or more than $100, depending on the risks you’re willing to take.

Plus odds come with inherent risks because you’re betting on a team with calculated odds of losing. With that being said, you have a much greater potential payout if the underdog pulls ahead. Assuming you’ve done your due diligence, researched all potential outcomes, and believe the underdog could win, plus odds could be a smart bet.

Even Money or Pick ’em

Even money or pick’em bets work the same as +100 odds where both sides have even chances to win the game outright. Essentially, any amount you wager is the same amount you stand to win because the odds are even.

For example, if you bet $70, you could win $70. If you bet $1,500, you could win $1,500, or you might lose it all if your team loses.

Pick’em bets may be listed as a +100 in the moneyline wager, or you might just see a “PK” if you’re betting on a point spread (more on that later). You’ll rarely see two pick’ems listed on each side of a moneyline bet because sportsbooks still need to account for their vigorish. Instead, underdog teams will usually have even money bets while moneyline favorites will have the applied vig.

Again, you may also place a moneyline wager on a draw. The draw option could be a favorite, underdog, or pick’em bet, depending on all of the sportsbook’s data. For example, one team may be favored to win at -165, the other may be the underdog at +155, and the odds of a draw could be -200.

3-Way Moneyline Betting Explained

Every moneyline bet has two or three possible outcomes, depending on the type of sport you’re betting on. If a tie is a possibility, you may have the option to place a three-way moneyline bet. In this scenario, your possible outcomes aren’t only win or lose, but you could also bet on a draw or your bet could push.

Moneyline markets affect playing odds. Knowing which possibilities you’re getting into and how it affects your odds can help you make smart betting decisions. Here is how three-way moneylines work.


Your team must win outright for your bet to pay out in any moneyline bet. If two teams tie or if your player comes in second, your bet will not pay out.

With games like basketball and football, moneylines can include overtime outcomes. If your team wins by the end of the game, your bet wins as well.

A winning wager in overtime does not count in events like soccer. In soccer, the score at the end of regulation time is the score that will determine your potential winnings.


If you don’t bet on the winning side, your moneyline bet will lose. In events like football, your team could lose during overtime. In soccer, all that matters is the final score at the end of regulation time.

You also have the option to bet on a draw occurring. In this scenario, if one player or team wins, your bet will lose because a draw did not occur.

Draw or Draw No Bet

So, what happens if you place a moneyline bet and both teams tie? If you bet on a two-way moneyline and the game ends in a tie, your bet money will be returned. If you bet on a team winning in a three-way moneyline where a draw was also an option to bet on and the teams do end up in a tie, you will lose your bet.

In some cases, betting on a draw can be more logical than an outright winner. For example, if two teams are equally matched with positive odds, it may be unlikely for either team to win. In this scenario, the odds of a tie are often higher than the odds of either team winning, so you may want to bet on a draw.

The Moneyline Bet and Implied Probability

Moneyline odds show you the most valuable betting options based on which team is more likely to win. While these odds are highly valuable for novice and professional bettors alike, they can also be quite helpful for fans who simply want to see how their team may play this week. Because moneyline odds follow the standard American odds format, they’re quite simple to read and easy to convert to a percentage format.

By converting moneyline odds to a percentage, you can see the implied probability of a team or player winning any given event.

To calculate implied probability using moneyline odds, use the following equations, replacing the “X” with the odds:

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

Multiply your final result by 100 to see the answer in a percentage format. After completing your calculations for any given event, you may notice that the implied probabilities add up to more than 100%. This is simply a tactic that different sportsbooks use to ensure that they profit.

The number above 100% is often referred to as the vigorish or the bookmaker’s juice. Moneyline wagers usually have a lower “vig” than many other betting options, making them a favorable choice. Still, you should shop around for the best odds from different sportsbooks to ensure that you’re getting the highest payout possible.

Let’s consider a hypothetical NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. The sportsbook provides the following moneyline odds:

  • Los Angeles Lakers: -150
  • Boston Celtics: +130

The implied probability for each team winning is calculated as follows:

  • For Lakers, it works out to 150/(150+100) = 0.6, which translates to a 60% chance of winning
  • For Celtics, it is 100/(130+100) = 0.435, which implies a 43.5% chance of winning.

The total implied probabilities exceed 100% (60% + 43% = 103.5%). The extra 3.5% represents the vigorish or the bookmaker’s juice, a tactic used by sportsbooks to ensure they make a profit.

Understanding Moneyline Betting Odds

Moneyline odds follow the American 100-point system rather than decimals or percentages, as you may see elsewhere. The numbers and the plus or minus signs you see resemble how much you need to bet in order to win certain amounts.

To make things less complicated, all moneyline odds are referenced to $100.

Let’s look at a real-life example of moneyline odds for an NFL football game:

Team Odds Amount to Bet Implied Probability Potential Profit Total Returns
The San Francisco 49ers +150 $100 40% $150 $250
The New York Jets -225 $225 69% $100 $325

You likely won’t always want to bet exactly $100 or exactly the set odds amount. You can easily calculate moneyline odds to determine how much you’d win for any given wager. To do so, use the following formulas:

  • Favorite: (Your wager amount) x (100 / the odds) = how much you can win
  • Underdog: (Your wager amount) x (the odds / 100) = how much you can win

Following the same example by considering a wager amount of $40 instead, we get:

  • New York Jets: 40x(100/225) =$17.7; that is, your total return on a $40 bet would be $57.7.
  • San Fran 49ers: 40x(150/100) = $60; in this case, backing the 49ers with just $40 could lead you to net total returns of $100.

The Importance of Line Shopping

Not every sportsbook sets the same odds. Each sportsbook uses unique calculations to set odds and determine profit levels, so you will see varying levels. For example, if the Dolphins and Cardinals are playing in the Super Bowl, one sportsbook may have the Cardinals favored at -325 while another may have them set at -375.

So, why does line shopping matter? Odds don’t impact the actual probability of a payout. Instead, the odds affect the price you pay and your potential payout.

In the example above, -325 and -375 odds mean a $50 payout difference if you’re playing for the standard $100. If you’re betting on the underdog to win, line shopping can impact how much you must spend. For example, +125 and +175 odds mean the difference between spending $125 and $175 to win $100.

If you want the highest earning potential and best value for your wagering funds, you must compare the odds set by each popular sportsbook offering your event. Bettors refer to this tactic as line shopping, as it allows you to shop for the best price for your bet. For this reason, it is often recommended to have betting accounts with several leading online sportsbooks.

Advantages of Moneyline Betting

Bettors interested in sports betting have many options to choose from beyond moneylines, so why are they the most popular bet type? Moneylines come with numerous advantages, including the following:

  • Simplicity: Moneylines are easy-to-understand wagers, as all you need to do is put money on who you think will win. With this simplicity, you can easily calculate the payout percentage and probability terms for moneyline odds to determine bet viability.
  • Low vigs: When you place a moneyline wager, you’re betting in a lower-vig market, which is always more favorable for bettors. While the sportsbook still must keep a profit margin, the vigorish is much lower on moneyline wagers than other lines.
  • Interest-aligning: When you bet on a team to win, your interest aligns with the sport, so you can increase morale. Rather than betting on negative events like flags thrown, car crashes, etc., you can align your interests with positive outcomes.

Moneyline Betting Examples by Sport

Moneylines can work a bit differently, depending on the sports betting market. Here are examples of moneylines for different major sports:

Moneyline Bets in NFL Football

In the NFL, the odds of an upset are a bit slimmer, so you’ll typically find steep odds for minimal returns on favorites or big risks on underdogs.

Here’s an example of how the odds might look at most NFL betting sites:

  • Kansas City Chiefs -325
  • New England Packers +125

You can find moneylines for football draws in a three-way market, but in most scenarios, a standard NFL moneyline will result in your money being returned if the game ends in a tie.

Moneyline Betting in NBA Basketball

NBA games move fast, though the odds still look similar to football. You may see tight matchups or steep odds, depending on the teams in the game. Basketball cannot end in a tie, so you will not see wagering options for a draw available on the basketball betting sites.

Here’s an example of an NBA moneyline:

  • Dallas Mavericks +135
  • Oklahoma City Thunder -160

Moneyline Betting in NHL Hockey

NHL moneylines work similarly to the NBA and NFL. Odds are usually relatively tight, allowing you to bet on either side. Hockey games during the regular season cannot end in ties, so you will not see the draw option available on NHL betting sites.

Here’s an example of an NHL moneyline:

  • Carolina Hurricanes +215
  • New York Rangers -265

Moneyline Betting in MLB Baseball

MLB teams typically play multiple games over the course of one weekend, so their performance during each of these events can impact momentum. While MLB moneylines work the same as the previous sports, the odds can change a lot more in the days leading up to the game as the teams play over the weekend.

Here’s an example of an MLB moneyline that can be found on baseball betting sites:

  • Chicago White Sox -130
  • New York Mets +110

Moneyline Betting in Other Sports

Moneylines extend to many more sports, including NASCAR, horse racing, golf, soccer, and more. In sports with individual players rather than teams, you will bet on one person winning, which can be more challenging as you must choose from a large group. To help, the sportsbook may present you with a group of three or more players to choose from when picking your bet.

Moneyline vs. Point Spread Bets

Moneyline and point spread bets work quite differently, so it’s important to understand the difference before wagering on such bets. While moneyline bets consider the winner of the game, point spread betting considers the final margin between the teams.

When you place a point spread bet, you’re wagering on the final margin that the winning team will emerge victorious by. To win a point spread bet, you don’t always need to know who wins the game. Instead, you need to be on the correct side of the point spread set by the sportsbook.

Before the event, the sportsbook will set the most likely point spread between each team based on cumulative data. For example, in NFL games, the point spread could be 14 points. Bettors can then wager on one team winning by more than 14 points or one losing by less than 14 points.

To place a winning bet, either of those outcomes will need to come true. If the victorious team wins by exactly 14 points, all money will be returned.

Point spread betting comes with favorites and underdogs to dictate likelihoods, prices, and payouts. The odds for a point spread look the same as they do for a moneyline, using plus and minus betting signs.

The Correlation Between Moneylines and Point Spread Bets

Moneyline and point spread wagers have a natural correlation. If the San Francisco 49ers are favored to win an event, they should also be favored to win the same game by a decent number of points. Understanding the point-spread-moneyline correlation can help you locate valuable wagers and create same-game parlays (multiple bets combined into one wager) as you advance your strategy.

For example, most NFL teams that are favored to win a game by 7 points are also set for a moneyline of at least -350. So, if you see that the spread for the upcoming 49ers game is -7 but the odds for the 49ers moneyline is only -300, you might have a valuable bet on your hands.

When using the point-spread-moneyline correlation for parlays, you can ensure that all of the numbers add up in your favor. Oftentimes in sports betting, odds can become skewed when bettors heavily wager on a team with market excitement. Just because the bookmaker has adjusted the odds does not mean the matchup has changed in any way, but you can view correlation data for a more well-rounded perspective.

Moneylines and Parlays

Moneylines are one of the most popular wagers to be included in a parlay, so what is a parlay? Parlays are wagers that include multiple “legs.” In order to receive your payout, each bet must win.

Payouts can look very appealing to bettors because they offer a much higher earning potential than a typical singular wager, though they come with increased risks. For example, if you combine a moneyline with a point spread in a parlay, not only does your team need to win, but they must win by a certain amount for you to get your payout.

In most cases, parlays are highly risky and end with the sportsbook taking your money. In some scenarios, though, you can find perfectly correlated wagers that will all pay out if one does. Combining these wagers into a parlay can increase your payout potential with less added risk.

Moneylines and Live Betting

Live sports betting allows you to watch the odds update in real-time as the event unfolds. Many factors can affect the outcome of any given event. From a player getting hurt to crowd morale, you never really know how the big game will play out.

With live sports betting, you receive highly accurate odds representing how each team and player is doing play-by-play. In-game lines typically have more vig than pre-game wagers because the sportsbook cannot react to real-time events immediately. For example, if a player scores a touchdown, you may be able to quickly sneak in a bet before the odds get pricier.


Moneylines are the simplest type of wager you can place in sports betting. With a moneyline bet, you simply wager on the outright winner of the event, which eliminates many of the potential complexities that can arise when wagering on things like point spreads or props.

To learn more about different sports betting markets and strategies, we recommend you visit our sports betting guide. Here you will find a wealth of information that can help you become a successful, profitable bettor.

Moneyline Betting FAQs

What Does Moneyline Mean in Sports Betting?

How Does a Moneyline Bet Work?

Can You Parlay Moneyline Bets?

Are Moneyline Bets Good?

What Does a +200 Moneyline Mean?

What Does a -200 Moneyline Mean?

Do Moneyline Odds Change After They Are Set?

Author photo
Chirag Dubey
Sports Editor

Chirag Dubey brings to the table a combined expertise of iGaming, poker, and sports. His passion runs particularly deep with soccer and tennis, but he is open to following other games as well. Poker and sports betting are also two strengths of his, and he is now leveraging his experience into providing best value for all readers on the site. With an emphasis on quality, minute details, and user experience on Sports Casting, Chirag strives for excellence through his content.

Get to know Chirag Dubey better
Author photo
Chirag Dubey Sports Editor

Chirag Dubey brings to the table a combined expertise of iGaming, poker, and sports. His passion runs particularly deep with soccer and tennis, but he is open to following other games as well. Poker and sports betting are also two strengths of his, and he is now leveraging his experience into providing best value for all readers on the site. With an emphasis on quality, minute details, and user experience on Sports Casting, Chirag strives for excellence through his content.

All posts by Chirag Dubey