Moneyline Bet Explained | Learn the Most Common Type of Bet

If you are just starting to learn about sports betting, then you are absolutely in the right place. Getting familiar with sportsbook lines can be very difficult, especially when there are over 400 different lines for just a single game. 

This is precisely why the perfect place to begin is learning about the moneyline bet. The moneyline is not only the most common type of bet, but also the most popular and arguably simplest to understand. Its actually likely you have already made a moneyline bet sometime in your life. 

In this article, we will talk about the basics of the most basic of bets, the moneyline. We will go through the meaning of the moneyline, strategies and how to place a moneyline bet.

What is a Moneyline Bet?

A moneyline bet is a wager that is made directly on which of the two opponents will win the game. This is perhaps the most popular type of betting in sportsbooks which does not require any special knowledge from the player.

For nearly every competition, this bet will be offered on the main line. Here we will simply bet either on which of the participants will win, or on whether there will be a draw in a match.

In bets on soccer, hockey or basketball games sportsbooks will usually offer three outcomes and usually list this in the line as 1X2 (these symbols will mean possible outcomes).

  • 1 or P1 –First (away) team will win
  • X – draw
  • 2 or P2 – Second (away) team win

In some sports, a draw is not necessary (for example, in tennis), and in these lines the sportsbooks will offer a bet on only two outcomes: in this case it will either be the home team or the visitors for the win.

This line is also offered by sportsbooks in the event that the competition must have a winner (overtime, extra innings, etc).

Please note that bets on the outcome of a soccer or hockey game are valid only for the main time of the game (unless the rules stipulate otherwise): if the final outcome is decided from the results of additional time/overtime it is usually not taken into account by the sportsbook. In this case, the original bet will be a loss. 

Most often, bets on the entire match, taking into account extra time/overtime, are also available in the lines of most sportsbooks.

This betting line can be called "Passage" (we bet that the team will pass to the next stage of the competition) in different tournaments or "Game Victory", and this bet differs by the fact that there are only 2 outcomes, as there can be no tie.

How to Bet on the Moneyline

In theory, everything is simple. The player needs to predict the winner of the game and bet on it. If the opponent you have chosen ends up winning the competition, then you will receive a payout for the bet, the size of which depends on the odds and the amount of money you staked. 

As a rule, there is always a favorite in the competition, whose chances of winning are considered higher.

Accordingly, the odds for this team or athlete are lower than for the opponent. 

Some players try to play only on favorites with odds of -200 and below, thinking that the chances of these teams winning will be 100%. 

Unfortunately, this tactic usually leads to a loss: firstly, because the favorites can lose, and secondly, because the size of the odds is subject to the betting margin, which may well lead to losses in the long term.

Another common misconception is betting only against the favorite (on the underdog winning). Many people think that if the odds on the favorite are understated, the odds on the outsider and the draw result are significantly overstated.  

This is not the case because there is also a margin present in the odds for the underdog and the draw. 

What is Double Chance Betting?

When betting on the outcome of a game, despite its simplicity, there are some things you should know. Such a phenomenon as a double outcome (also often called "double chance") implies two possible results of the match. Examples of double-outcome bets:

  • 1X – First (away) team will not lose 
  • 12 – There will be no draw
  • X2 – Second (home) team will not lose

And if the first and third options are clear (the bet will be successful if the team wins or draws), the outcome of the 12 bets for the newcomers raises the question: what is it?

It's quite simple, there are also two outcomes which will result in a win.

In short, a double chance of 12 is a bet that there will be no draw, that is, either the first or the second team will win the game. These bets are safer than regular moneyline bets, but will generally have lower odds as well. 

Finding the Moneyline in Period Bets

The interim outcome includes only a certain time period of the game/event. The sportsbook at its discretion indicates in the line specific minutes of this time segment and challenges the player to predict the outcome of this time period of the game.

For example, it could be an outcome "from the 1st to the 5th minute," "from the 45th to the 60th minute" or at any other specific time interval. In the sportsbook lines, these will often be called period bets.

Whats important to know for now about period betting is that moneyline bets can also be made here. For example, which

Also, available in the some sportsbooks are bets on the outcome of complete halves in football or periods in hockey. There are the same rules as in the main outcomes, only the bet is made not on the result of the whole match or a segment of a few minutes, but on the result of a certain time/period.

Using a Moneyline Calculator

While moneyline calculators are an option, these bets can be calculated using a simple formula. 

Select the moneyline bet odds that you want to wager on, choose an amount to stake on the event and click confirm. If your selection wins, your payout will be calculated by the following equations depending on whether the odds were positive or negative.

Positive Odds FormulaNegative Odds Formula
Stake x (Odds/100) = Potential ProfitStake / (Odds/100) = Potential Profit

Since there is the possibility of overtime in almost every sport, sportsbooks will take this into account. It is different at each sports betting site, but one of the more common ways to do this is to make separate lines.

Moneyline bets can also be made on competitions such as the Indy 500 just by predicting the winner. 

Moneyline bets will almost 100% of the time be the main market listed for every game. Sometimes listed by itself, but oftentimes accompanied by the main total and handicap markets. The odds for moneyline bets will be standard American odds.

For every $100 you stake on the underdog to win, you will return the odds listed. So in this example you will make $300 for every $100 you wager. For the favorite, the number listed is how much money you have to stake in order to win $100. So here you would have to stake $240 to win $100. 

MoneylineStake Formula Profit
New England Patriots -210$10$10/(-210/100) $4.76
 Atlanta Braves +210$15$15 * (210/100)$31.5
Los Angeles Lakers -140$20$20/(-140/100)$14.29
Minnesota Wild +165$25$25 * (165/100)$41.25

If the calculations become tedious with time, there are also moneyline calculators available online. These will be much quicker and will give accurate results. All you will need to do is enter the odds and the amount you want to bet, and the moneyline calculator will give you the potential payout and profit. 

Pros and Cons of Moneyline Bets

Moneyline Pros

Easily the biggest advantage to using moneyline bets are their ease of use. To make a decent moneyline bet the player only needs a limited amount of knowledge about one or both teams.

Any bettor, beginner or experienced, has the ability to confidently choose which team will win, assuming they at least have basic knowledge of the sport and teams/league.

There is no need to factor in other variables such as handicaps. Betting on the underdog can actually be very profitable using moneyline bets. Every good team has bad days, meaning that the loss column in the team’s record is not imaginary.

Favored teams will lose, and when they do you should be there to profit. Odds on underdogs will always be higher than the favored team. One strategy that can be applied is find two or three underdog teams who I think have a good chance to win.

If the odds line up right, bet on all three and make a profit even if only one of the teams wins. 

Moneyline Cons 

One of the cons of this type of bet correlates with the advantage of betting on the underdog. If you decide to instead take the favored team, you will be given low odds. When you factor in the chances of the favored team losing, it can be difficult to make confident and profitable bets.

The player needs to have a high win percentage to break even betting this way, which is difficult to achieve even for professional bettors.

There is also no variation with this bet which can make things even more difficult. If the player makes a moneyline bet, then they need that team to win no matter.

The chances can become even slimmer when you factor in the possibility of a draw.

Most sportsbooks will offer separate markets for games with one including overtime and the other without. To avoid the possibility of a draw, you will need to take the bet with overtime included, which means taking lower odds as well.  

Moneyline Betting Conclusion

Moneyline bets are simple wagers that require a more complicated approach when using them. They are easy to win only in theory, because games are influenced by so much more than just the quality of the two teams.

In addition to the tips provided in this article, you should be prepared to do as much research necessary on your own in order to find value. This could mean looking at statistics for multiple games or comparing the odds at different sportsbooks.

Including going to multiple sports betting sites to find the best odds. Beginners can also get valuable experience starting with moneyline bets. The most important thing is to have fun while betting, and to enjoy it responsibly. 

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