Moneyline Bet – Predict Which Side of the Match Is the Winning One

Moneyline betting is the most popular way of wagering on sport among US punters. It is the equivalent of the European match outcome markets, in that a sportsbook prices up two competitors in a match, and you have the choice of backing either side at the available odds.

With no point-spread or other kind of handicap to weigh up, moneyline betting is the most straightforward type of bet you can make on a US sportsbook. That said, there is a minor complication in the way that the odds are displayed, which might cause confusion to newcomers or to European sports punters who are more familiar with the traditional fractional or decimal odds.

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The Moneyline Meaning in Sports Betting

Moneyline in sports betting

In a moneyline market, there are usually two competitors, and different odds are offered for each. These odds are not simply a mirror image of one another, as you might find in a European match outcome market. For example, you might have a tennis match between Player A and Player B in which both players are quoted at 11/10. The way moneyline markets express odds is different.

In a moneyline market, the favourite will be quoted with a minus sign in front of the odds, while the underdog is quoted with a plus sign. These signs effectively signal to punters how each side of the bet will pay, with the favourite paying out at less than your stake and the plus side more than your stake. Since moneyline betting is most common in relatively low scoring events such as baseball and ice hockey, here is an example of an NHL Moneyline market:

In this case, Washington Capitals are being quoted as the favourites, with Buffalo Sabres the outsiders. If you were to place a £100 bet on Buffalo and they won, you would win £143. If you were to stake £175 on Washington and they won the game, you would win £100. So, you can see that with moneyline betting, the betting odds on the underdog work in a similar way to European betting markets, while the odds on the favourite show how much money you would have to wager to win £100.

What Is the Moneyline Payout Like?

Another important factor to bear in mind with moneyline bets is that when a winning wager is paid out, the original stake is also handed back to the punter. So in the case of the example above, a successful £100 bet on Buffalo would see a return of £243, while a successful £175 bet on the Capitals would produce a return of £275. Working out your returns from this type of bet isn’t that complicated, but it may take a while to get used to.

Sports and Markets

The Moneyline markets on football and basketball fixtures are often closely related to the point spread or handicap on those games. So, if a game has a big point spread, the moneyline will also usually be large. You will often find the moneyline, and the point spread markets quoted next to one another in online sportsbooks, enabling you to determine which offers the best bet.

Place Bets on Basketball

Moneyline betting is particularly popular in basketball. In the regular NBA season, each team plays 82 games in the space of six months, and that means that no matter how strong a team is, they will lose their share of games along the way due to fatigue or to prioritising certain games. NBA also sees a number of teams fielding weakened line-ups at the end of the season as they hope to finish in an optimal position to have the best pick at the next season’s draft.

Whereas the volatility of the NBA season can make point-spread betting nerve-wracking, moneyline betting offers you the chance to profit by correctly picking those games when the underdog has a better chance than what people anticipated. This form of betting also ensures that you aren’t ever at risk of the menace of ‘point-shaving’, which from time to time has affected college basketball, resulting in failed bets and disappointment for point spread basketball punters.

Popularity of Moneyline Bets in American Football

Moneyline betting is also popular in American Football events, although it is often harder for NFL punters to find an edge as the games are so heavily scrutinised and analysed in public, while there are plenty of big hitters who are capable of skewing the moneyline markets with monster bets. Some US sportsbooks even avoid offering such bets if the point spread suggests that the margin between the teams is lower than 3 or higher than 10 points.

That’s why some American Football punters prefer to focus on the NCAA competitions as profitable upsets in college football are more frequent than in the NFL, and results can be more volatile as younger players develop and learn their game.

Why not Ice Hockey?

In a low-scoring game like ice hockey, backing in the moneyline markets makes sense, as the points spread markets often offer little value. As with the NBA, the busy NHL schedule leads to upsets and surprises during the regular season, which is when many well-informed NHL moneyline punters can cash in. The odds get tighter during the Stanley Cup playoffs as every team is going all out to win, and there is often a string of closely matched games.

Moneyline and the Parlay

An increasingly popular variation on the moneyline bet is the moneyline parlay. A parlay bet is one that is made up of a number of separate selections, and because it is based on more than one bet, the potential payout is much bigger. Many punters like to combine moneyline selections into parlays, particularly if they are betting on short-priced favourites, in an attempt to increase their rewards, although the risk of the entire bet failing is also greater with a moneyline bet.

The Successful Moneyline Strategy

Ultimately, betting profitably on the moneyline depends on spotting occasions when the sportsbook odds are wrong. These opportunities may not come along very often, so patience is required, but you can increase your chances of success by shopping around different sportsbooks. Not every operator provides the same odds on a moneyline market, and it is possible to increase your edge by scouring the market in search of the best prices. And remember not to be seduced by the big prices on outsiders. A short-priced favourite can often represent value to the sports betting expert.

To Sum Up

To those who come from a European betting background, the moneyline bets may take some getting used to, but the principles remain the same. To succeed at this type of betting, you need to find those situations when the prices are wrong and then ruthlessly exploit them. But by studying moneyline markets, you will also increase your understanding of how odds are calculated and add a new dimension to your sports betting skills.

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