Moneyline Meaning – Master Money Line Bets and Win More Often

7 minutes

Last Updated: September 12, 2022

moneyline betting

Online betting sites offer thousands of different betting markets across all sports. Types of markets change depending on the sport, and the competition offered.

However, there is one betting market that is available across all sports, leagues, and competitions. It is the moneyline market.

Understanding what is moneyline and how moneyline betting works is one of the basics of sports betting. For this reason, we have prepared everything you need to know about this bet.

What Is a Moneyline Bet?

The moneyline bet is the most basic and the simplest bet a player can place. By betting on the moneyline, punters are essentially betting on the outright winner or the full-time result.

Depending on the sport, the moneyline market gives players the opportunity to choose between two or three outcomes.

For sports like football, bookmakers offer three options when it comes to the moneyline. Football bettors can wager on the home team, the away team, and the draw.

what is moneyline betting

Basketball moneylines usually have only two outcomes: home and away. This is because, even though basketball games can finish in a draw, the moneyline bet in basketball always takes in consideration the possible overtime.

And finally, there are racing sports in which the moneyline bet is also called the winner. In these sports, bettors can place a bet on the winner. The number of winners on offer depends on the number of competitors.

How Do Moneyline Bets Work?

Each moneyline market consists of two picks, the favorite and the underdog. In sports where there are three options to bet on, there is the additional draw pick.

The favorite is the team that bookmakers believe has a higher chance of winning the games, while the underdog is the team that has a lower chance of success.

On some occasions, in sports where there are two moneyline markets on offer, bookmakers will offer even betting odds on both teams or players. This is their way of saying that both teams or players have an equal chance of winning.

Unlike the other two popular options, the handicap and the over/under, moneyline markets in most cases have unequal odds since most sports games have a clear favorite.

How the Moneyline Impacts All Other Markets

In the sports betting industry, bookmakers adjust the odds and lines all the time. The odds and lines that are on offer before a certain game starts are rarely the same odds that were released in the first place.

This is because odds for most games are released several days before the kick-off. With every piece of news that comes out from when the odds are released to when the game starts, bookmakers make adjustments to maintain their edge.

Since the moneyline market is the basis for most other markets, each shift in the moneyline odds affects other markets.

This means that if the moneyline odds change it will have an impact on the handicap lines, the over/under lines, both teams to score, etc.

For example, bookmakers release the following moneyline odds on an NBA game:

DAL Mavericks PHI 76ers
Money Line 2.35 1.64

Based on these odds, by default, the handicap market will be as following:

DAL Mavericks PHI 76ers
Spread +3.5 1.90 -3.5 1.90

Let’s say news comes out that the best player for the Mavericks is out. Bookmakers will immediately adjust moneyline odds:

DAL Mavericks PHI 76ers
Money Line 4.20 1.25

As a consequence of the moneyline adjustments the handicap lines will move also:

DAL Mavericks PHI 76ers
Spread +8.5 1.90 -8.5 1.90

As you can see, the moneyline might be the simplest betting market but it lays the foundation for all other markets.

Odds Shopping

Odds shopping is a term used to describe the process in which players use multiple bookmakers to find the best betting odds.

This betting strategy is in direct correlation with odds and line movements, which connects it direclty to the moneyline market.

Players use this betting strategy to try and exploit bookmakers who are late with adjusting odds or that have a different view of the game than the rest of the industry.

moneyline bets

For example, if five online bookmakers offer the same odds and lines on a match but the sixth bookmaker has different odds there is probably some value to be had on that match.

When it comes to odds shopping, the moneyline is important for two reasons. The first reason is that the moneyline market is the first market bookmakers adjust in most cases.

The second reason is that betting on the underdog can create the most value in situations when bookmakers don't adjust their odds.

Moneyline Parlays

Parlay bets are bets in which players pick two or more selections and create a single bet. For his kind of bet to win, players must successfully predict the outcome of every selection.

In the betting industry, moneyline bets are often associated with parlays and vice versa.

This is since bettors who like betting on the favorites use parlays or accumulator bets to create betting tickets with bigger potential payouts.

Putting moneyline bets on a parlay instead of handicap bets or over/under bets also gives amateur bettors an easier time tracking their selections.

Moneyline parlay betting has become popular in Europe and Asia thanks to the football accas that allow players to combine multiple football selections into one ticket.

This kind of betting is especially popular on weekends when European and Asian football fans have the opportunity to choose from hundreds of football matches all across the continent.

In the US, this trend has transitioned to major leagues like the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB. These leagues have dozens of matches on offer at least once a week which makes them perfect for moneyline parlay betting.

Advantages of Moneyline Betting

Moneyline bets are one of the three most popular bet types along with handicap bets and the over/under bets. There are two major reasons for this:

  • They are simple to understand and implement
  • They make it easier to find value


The simplicity of moneyline bets is one of its main virtues. This attribute makes moneyline bets the perfect choice for someone who is just starting with sports betting as well as for someone who is an experienced bettor just looking to have some fun.

Moneyline markets make it easy to understand who is the favorite and the underdog, as well as how much of a return player can expect if they place a winning wager. All of this is possible without any complicated formulas and strategies.

Finding Value

In today's betting world, it is pretty hard to find value. And while moneyline betting won't make finding value easy, it will make it easier than if you used other markets.

This is for the simple fact that we mentioned in the previous section, and that is that odds and probabilities are calculated the easiest with the market.

Disadvantages of Moneyline Betting

Like all other types of bets, moneyline bets also come with a few disadvantages. While these disadvantages might seem insignificant, they are worth mentioning.

  • Low odds
  • High variance

Low Odds

If you are betting on the favorite, the moneyline odds will always be lower than the odds for the handicap or the over/under.

This means that your return on investment will significantly drop which will result in you adding more selections to your bet. By doing this you will lower your chances of winning the bet.

money line betting

This is one of the main reasons why seasoned sports bettors don't like betting on the moneyline and look to place handicaps and over/under bets.

High Variance

On the other hand, if you use the moneyline market to bet on the underdog you will experience a pretty high variance for the simple fact that you are betting on an unlikely outcome.

And while you might be buying value with this approach, you still need a big bankroll to support this kind of strategy.

This is the second reason why bettors choose the handicap and over/under markets because they have less volatility.

Should I Bet on the Moneyline

Betting on the moneyline is a great choice both for both amateur punters and seasoned bettors and you should incorporate it in your betting portfolio.

By doing so, you will set a great foundation for your sports betting game. Furthermore, understanding and betting on the moneyline will help you become more knowledgeable about the whole betting system.

Additionally, learning how to find and extract value from the moneyline market will make you a better sports bettor overall.

And if you get bored with strategy from time to time, you can still use moneyline markets to create Hail Mary bets and go for a big-time payout with your favorite online sportsbook!

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