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Moneyline Betting Guide: What is Moneyline Explained

19.04.2024, 09:03

We are all familiar with the concept of betting on the outcome of an event. Whether you're betting on a simple coin toss or the outcome of a sports event, all these have something in common: They are examples of the simplest form of wagering—the moneyline. Moneyline bets are the basic building blocks of betting.

TIPS.GG Betting Moneyline

But what exactly is a moneyline bet? In this article, we'll explain moneyline bets in more detail, highlight their advantages, and compare them to other betting markets.

What is a Moneyline Bet?

A moneyline is a term that covers any kind of a straight-up wager on the game's outcome. It's the purest, simplest form of betting - in this bet, we're picking the outright winner (or, sometimes, if a match ends in a draw).

This has both upsides (the intuitive simplicity) and downsides. The most obvious downside is that few matches, regardless of the sport, are even, so nearly every match has a clear favorite and an underdog. Bettors might vary in betting on the underdog even with better odds balancing the potential winnings, so if the skill gap is too strong, the interest in betting on that particular match might fizzle out.

Figuring Out Underdog vs Favorite

It's easy to determine the favorite and the underdog by looking at the match's odds (more on that in our sports betting odds guide). Let's examine how we spot the underdog in the three most popular odds formats.

Underdog vs Favorite in American Odds

On North American bookmakers, we would see something like this:

Sydney Roosters +125 -167 Brisbane Broncos

In this American odds format, the underdog is represented with a "+" sign (indicating a higher potential payout if you bet on it), and the favorite with a "-" (lower payout, but lower risk).

Underdog vs Favorite in Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are most popular among European bookmakers. There's no indicator for underdog or favorite in them, but it's still pretty easy to tell which one is which.

A.J. Cunningham 7.18 1.07 Ludovit Klein

In decimal odds format, the underdog will have higher odds than the favorite. In our example, we see that Ludovit Klein has nearly 1.0 odds, which means he's a heavy favorite for this event.

Underdog vs Favorite in Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are popular in British bookies. Always trying to be different from the rest of Europe!

Nottingham Forest 459/100 361/100 12/25 Liverpool

Similarly to decimal odds, the underdog has higher odds, meaning their numerator will be bigger than the denominator, and vice versa for the favorite. Applying this knowledge we see that Liverpool is the heavy favorite for the event.

What is Pick'Em In Moneyline Bet Odds

Sometimes, the event does not have a clear favorite or underdog. This is called even money, or, if you want to sound cooler, pick 'em bets. However, due to the bookmaker's margin, even pick 'em bets don't feature equal 2.0/2.0 odds on both sides of the match-up. Learn more about sports betting terminology with our guide.

Types Of Moneyline Bets

Despite being the simplest form of betting, Moneylines aren't just a proverbial coin-toss. Remember, in many sports disciplines, there are more outcomes than a simple win or loss - and Moneyline bets have to account for that.

Three-Way Moneyline Bet

Since there are three possible outcomes of a, say, football game - Home Team Win, Away Team Win, or Draw, a three-way moneyline is the logical way to cover it. It's exactly as its name implies - sports bettors can bet on any of these outcomes.

Football Stadium TIPS.GG

Two-Way Moneyline Bet

Beginner bettors often think two-way moneyline bets only exist in sports betting, where draws are impossible. That is not true - two-way money lines bets are also a nice way to minimize risk even in three-outcome types of sports.

There are two types of two-way money line bets. They're pretty similar in their mechanics but still differ slightly.

Double Chance

Double Chance is the safest way of betting since it covers 2/3rds of a match outcome. While it's safe, it conversely offers minimal betting odds compared to other betting options. It's not as flashy and profitable as other betting markets in the short term.

Draw No Bet

As its name implies, the Draw No Bet Moneyline betting market cushions the stake by eliminating the possibility of the draw outright. If the match ends in a draw, the bet becomes a push bet, is refunded completely, and gets recorded as a neutral draw in the punter’s win-loss history. While it's possible to waste time with Draw No Bet since draws are common, it offers higher odds than Double Chance Moneyline bets.

Moneyline Bets vs. Point Spread Bet

However, Moneyline doesn't just mean betting on two or three outcomes at a time. While it's easy to confuse the two, we need to reiterate that moneyline is simply betting on the winner.

The only difference between these two is that Point Spread bets also consider the final margin of winning. The most obvious example of that is handicap bets, where the bookmakers try to fix the skill discrepancy between the two teams and turn otherwise impossible bets into viable betting options. Point Spread odds are going to be worse, though, because the risk is decreased.

A money line and point spread bet betting markets are correlated. Irrespective of the sport, a team that's likely to win outright is also likely to win by a certain amount, and this amount is going to be the handicap the bookmaker will give to the underdog. Bookmakers set this point spread depending on statistics as well as the overall volume of bets.

Moneyline Bets In Different Sports

Different sports disciplines affect the way a moneyline bet can be presented by bookmakers. Some sports are score-heavy, some sports have different rules that make it hard to determine the winner, and in some types of sports, like esports, entire game outcomes (like a tie) can be completely missing.

Football Moneyline Bets

Just like football betting itself, moneyline betting in this sports discipline is incredibly popular. The combination of football being a low-scoring game, plus the very high possibility of any given football game ending in a tie after 90 minutes of play, a three-way moneyline bet is the preferred wager for this sport.

Basketball Moneyline Bets

Basketball is a high-scoring type of sport, so moneyline bets aren't as popular as point spread here. Still, it's a decently valuable way of betting on the winning side, especially for players who are good at tracking the NBA (or other popular leagues). Knowing about roster swaps, starting lineup changes, etc., can help pinpoint a winning bet even in this harder-to-get-right market.

Ice Hockey Moneyline Bets

Moneyline is the preferred bet type for ice sports because of how many hockey games end in one goal (at least, before overtime). The slow pace of ice hockey scoring makes point spread pretty meaningless in many cases, so just the standard favorites betting on ice hockey is more attractive most of the time.

Esports Moneyline Bets

Esports is a particular case of money lines for one simple reason. The vast majority of esports titles simply do not feature the possibility of tying the match, so the concept of three-way or two-way moneyline betting markets simply doesn't apply to them. Betting only on the team winning simplifies the market a lot.

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