Remember when you got into arguments with your friends about which superhero would win in a fight?
How about which person on your team is the fastest runner from one end of the court to the other?
If you want to bet on which team or player will win a contest, you are placing a moneyline bet. You place a wager on which team will be awarded a victory, and you do not care how much they win by. As long as you picked the winning side, you win the bet!
Sportsbooks are not dumb, however. They realize that usually one team is more likely to win the game, and they set the odds so you need to risk more on the better team (the favorite) or risk less on the worse team (the underdog) to win the same amount of money.
For American Odds, the favorite will have odds listed with a minus. The minus means you need to bet more money than you will receive as profit. The underdog will have odds listed with a plus. The plus means you will receive a larger profit amount than your bet amount if it wins.
American odds are listed to show you how much you need to bet to win $100 profit if you bet on the favorite and how much profit you receive if you decide to bet $100 on the underdog.
Most bettors place moneyline bets on the final outcome of a contest, but you can place bets on which team will be leading after quarters, halftime, and more.
Here’s an example of a moneyline bet:
The Duke Blue Devils football team is scheduled to play the Boston College Eagles football team.
The linesmaker at the sportsbook decides Duke is more likely to win.
They decide to list the moneyline odds as Duke -191 and Boston College +160.
If you want to win $100 profit by betting on Duke, you have to bet $191 to receive $291 back. If you bet $100 on Boston College, you will profit $160 and receive $260 back.
Q: What if I am betting on a sport that can end in a tie or a draw?
A: Sports that commonly end without a clear winner will list 3-Way Moneylines if you want to include the possibility of a draw and Draw No Bet (sometimes called Tie No Bet) lines if you want to remove the possibility of losing due to a draw.
Q: Can I bet the same amount on the moneyline for each team before the game starts and come out ahead?
A: The answer is usually no! The difference in odds, nicknamed the juice, keeps the sportsbook in business and almost always prevents you from simply betting both sides to make a profit. However, there is a way to bet both sides before or during a match to lock in a profit no matter which team wins.
Q: What if I think Team A is going to win, but I want better odds than the moneyline?
A: You can try placing a spread bet, where you bet whether or not a team will be able to outscore their opponent by a certain amount.
Q: How do I know which team to bet on? Always bet the favorite since they win more often, right?
A: Not always! See Common Betting Strategies for more helpful information.
Please note: if you think your gambling is becoming harmful or you think someone you know is having a hard time dealing with problem gambling, please click here to learn more about obtaining help.