Betting Guides

Betting Guide: The Moneyline Bet

The Moneyline Bet is the Most Basic Wager in Sports Betting

The Moneyline Bet is simply picking the team you expect to win a sporting event.  Nothing more complicated than that for almost every sport.  You do not have to count points and there are no special conditions to meet.  This is great to know and it is considered a good wager to take for those just starting out or for those who want to simply bet on the team that they believe will win.

Let’s Start by Taking Baby Steps with the Moneyline Bet

Above is a line that you would find at YouWager, where you can claim your $1,000 reward with the promo code ‘PICKPUB’.  

You’ll see that Arkansas is the Home Team and also happens to be the Favorite in this game.  What is the Favorite?  The team that is expected by bookmakers to win the game.  Missouri, the Road Team, is designated as the Underdog, which means that they are not expected to win the game.

How do we know that Arkansas is favored to win and that Missouri is not?  The Moneyline can give us that clear idea.  When you see that one team has a ‘+’ in front of the number for the amount you would get in return for wagering on them, they are the underdog.  When a team has a lesser likelihood of winning, the incentive to get you to bet on them is a more favorable payout.  In this case, betting on the underdog Missouri at +450 will result in you receiving $4.50 for every $1 wagered.

The favored team, Arkansas, has Moneyline odds of -600.  Why is this the case and what does it mean?

Arkansas is expected to win and the greater likelihood of them winning means that those wagering on them on the Moneyline would not receive as much of a payout in the much more likely event that Arkansas wins this game.

You are risking $6 for every $1 that you receive in return, if you wager on Arkansas on the Moneyline.

Don’t worry too much about doing all the math here because the sportsbook of your choosing will show you the amount you wager and the return on your investment should your pick be correct.

Let’s Talk About the Vigorish (AKA The Juice)

Betting both teams on the Moneyline will result in you losing money.  Guaranteed.  The Moneyline odds are devised in a way that the sportsbook takes their share of the wagers in the betting pool.

Let’s take the example odds above for this Kentucky-Louisville College Football Game.  It’s a rivalry game and the expectations are that this would be a close one from the sportsbook’s perspective.

The implied probability that Kentucky will win this Football Game is:  43.478%

The implied probability that Louisville will win this Football Game is: 60%

How do we know the implied probability?

  • Kentucky’s implied probability of winning is (100/(Odds+100).  That’s the implied probability for an underdog.
  • Louisville implied probability of winning is -(Odds)/(-(Odds)+100).  That’s the implied probability for a favorite.

The amount that the sportsbook takes as their cut on this game is 103.478% – 100% = 3.478%.

However, there’s always more to it and the Moneyline Bet can be an intriguing part of your betting strategy.

Introducing the Three Way Moneyline Bet

If it is a sport that commonly features TIES or DRAWS, namely Soccer.  Soccer has a Three Way Moneyline.

The Three Way Moneyline enables you to bet on either team to win and then adds another choice into the mix, that the match will finish in a draw.

Here’s our example courtesy of our friends at MyBookie, where you can get up to a $1,000 Deposit Bonus with the promo code ‘PICK50’.

You’ll see that in the center column for this Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders match are the Moneyline Bet choices.  In this match, the Seattle Sounders are the favorite to win at -178 and Real Salt Lake are the underdog at +440, then there’s the third row.  In that third row, you’ll see that there is an option for the match to finish in a draw.  It does not matter how many goals are scored or if the goals are scored in stoppage time, all that matter is that the match ends in a draw. That simple.

But what if I bet the draw and one team wins?

You lose.  Plain and simple.  Picking the draw does not cover any other circumstance, just the way picking a squad to win does not cover the scenario where a squad finishes their match in a draw.

So if I bet a squad to win on the Moneyline and the match ends in a draw, it does not result in a ‘No Action’?

This is correct.  In the example above, if you bet on Real Salt Lake or the Seattle Sounders and the result ends up being a draw, you lose.

Are there available bet types to cover that a squad will at least not lose the match?

Yes, but they will not be on the Moneyline, you will have to find that particular type of bet.  That’s a great segue into the next topic.

The Moneyline Bet Gets Even More Involved for Soccer

There’s a particular bet called ‘Draw No Bet’, which simply allows you to bet on a particular team to win and if the match ends in a draw, you get your wager back as if there was No Action.

You can create your own synthetic form of a ‘Draw No Bet’ wager with the Moneyline.

You will be comparing the above odds for this more exotic bet that is conveniently offered to you by your sportsbook to the standard issue Moneyline odds.  Creating your own Synthetic Draw No Bet wager may provide you with more value in return than what is offered to you as a convenience by a sportsbook.  You can compare the Synthetic Draw No Bet wagers and the offered Draw No Bet wagers to get the best line for this type of bet.

How would you calculate it?

The Synthetic Draw No Bet odds are:

Home = Home Odds * (1 – 1/Draw Odds)

Away = Away Odds * (1 – 1/Draw Odds)

To make a Draw No Bet wager on the home side you would place the following Three Way Moneyline bets:

  • Step 1:  Wager Amount * (1 – (1/Draw Odds)) to be wagered on the Home squad
  • Step 2:  Wager Amount / Draw Odds to be wagered on the Draw

To make a Draw No Bet wager on the away side you would place the following Three Way Moneyline bets:

  • Step 1:  Wager Amount * (1 – (1/Draw Odds)) to be wagered on the Away squad
  • Step 2:  Wager Amount / Draw Odds to be wagered on the Draw

That’s how you can use your knowledge of the Moneyline Odds to determine the highest return for yourself should you wish to pursue the Draw No Bet wager.

It gets better as there’s another Synthetic Wager you can make for Soccer.

You can create a Synthetic +0.5 Handicap Wager with the Three Way Moneyline.

You would do this for the same reasons as you would for the Draw No Bet Wager.  This is a wager that says, “I’m picking this squad to do anything but lose this match.”

The effective odds are calculated as such:

Home/Draw Odds (Home Team +0.5) = 1 / ((1/Home Odds) + (1/Draw Odds))

Away/Draw Odds (Home Team +0.5) = 1 / ((1/Away Odds) + (1/Draw Odds))

To make this synthetic wager on Home/Draw you would place the following Moneyline bets:

  • Step 1:  Wager Amount / (1 + (Home Odds/Draw Odds)) on the Home team
  • Step 2:  Wager Amount / (1 + (Home Odds/Draw Odds)) on the Draw

To make a Double Chance wager on Away/Draw you would place the following Moneyline bets:

  • Step 1:  Wager Amount / (1 + (Away Odds/Draw Odds)) on the Away team
  • Step 2:  Wager Amount / (1 + (Away Odds/Draw Odds)) on the Draw

We have gone from the very basics to some complex stuff, let’s discuss situations where you would want to make a Moneyline bet over a Spread bet.

When is it Advantageous to Bet the Moneyline?

Each sport offers a Moneyline bet, so you will find that this particular bet may be useful to you in different situations and you may even have some tough decisions to make.

American Football and Basketball

You’ll want to bet the Moneyline when…

You are 100% confident a team will win, but you’re not confident of the margin of victory.  This is the most basic reason to bet the Moneyline.

Sportsbooks have the game as +3 or less on the spread and you do not see the value of betting the underdog as games that are that close are not as common.  You are not confident in the favorite to cover the spread and you decide to get more of a payout value on the Moneyline.  You may view lines that are less than 3 points as basically a Pickem (which means that you are picking a winner).

Baseball

You’ll want to bet the Moneyline when…

You are betting on a team that has a tendency to win one run games.  There are teams that are have a propensity to win one run games and have walk-off victories.  The opponent may have a propensity to lose one run games as well.

You are confident that the underdog will win.  These payouts will often be quite good and there’s often some great value on the Moneyline for Major League Baseball games as particular pitchers will attract great favorability without regard for the matchup.

You don’t want to think about the runs aspect of the game.  Your focus is only on which team you think will win the game, not the Run Line.

Hockey

You’ll want to bet the Moneyline when…

You are betting on a team that has a tendency to win games by one goal.  There are teams that are have a propensity to win games in shootouts or by one goal.  The opponent may have a propensity to lose one goal games as well.

You are confident that the underdog will win.  These payouts will often be quite good and there’s often some great value on the Moneyline for NHL regular season games.

You don’t want to think about the goals aspect of the game.  Your focus is only on which team you think will win the game, not the Puck Line.

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