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The Moneyline Explained

Featured image of The Moneyline Explained

Nothing beats the simplicity, thrill, and earning potential of Moneyline betting. Just pick the right winner in a given contest and walk away with winnings. Whether you're a seasoned bettor or a newbie, money line bet connects you to the game like no other. 

However, behind the simplicity, there’s a complete science that goes into moneyline betting. Let’s elaborate on all things moneyline wagers, from concept and application to jargon and tips. The idea is to boost your understanding and chances.

Moneyline Betting Explained With BaazigarSports

Moneyline is the most basic of all bets where you need to pick the winner of the two competing teams or players in a given contest. For your bet to succeed, your chosen team or player has to win, irrespective of the victory margin. A successful moneyline wager pays you as per the associated odds. 

Oddsmakers determine the odds based on each team’s probability of succeeding in a given match. The team most likely to win is the “favorite” while the least likely one is the “underdog.” Since the odds are heavily stacked in favor of the favorite, the underdog offers you massive payouts if it pulls off an upset.

Simply put, you decide between the favorite’s “safety” and the underdog’s high earning potential. Let’s introduce a caveat. Sports are highly unpredictable and have the knack of pulling up surprises. No matter how unevenly poised the two teams or players are, the underdog can pull off an upset on a given day. When that happens, the seemingly safe bet on the favorite becomes less certain, and the riskier bet ensures a big payday. 

Moneyline Betting: How it Differs 

Beginners often kickstart their betting journey with moneyline betting before graduating to advanced options like point spread and over/under. Moneyline is all about predicting the right winner without considering the victory margin. On the other hand, the point spread takes the margins into account, alongside the winner. Likewise, over/under bets push the winner out of the equation. Instead, they involve preempting whether the total combined score of both teams will be over or under a set number. 




Point Spread


Betting on 

The outright winner

The victory margin

Whether the total points will go over or under a set number

Representation of Odds   

Positive (+) for underdogs, Negative (-) for favorites

Points given to the underdog, taken from the favorite

The numbers exceeding the set number are represented with O. The ones under the set number are represented with U

Winning Criteria  

Your chosen team must win

The team must win by a certain margin (cover the spread)

Total points scored in the game must be over or under the set number

Risks & Returns 

High return for underdogs, lower risk for favorites

Balanced odds with almost equal potential for returns for both sides 

Balanced odds with almost equal potential for returns for both Over and Under


How Moneyline Betting Works? 

Imagine this. Manchester United takes on Manchester City in a league match. Here, Man U is the favorite with 78 wins in 191 contests between the two in all competitions ever. 

The American odds for the contest look something like this:  

  1. Manchester City: +120
  2. Manchester United: -150

How to read moneyline odds?

Manchester United has a negative value of -150, which indicates its favorite status. Now, you have to place a wager of $150 to earn $100 on a successful moneyline wager. 

As an underdog, Manchester City has a positive value of +120. Your successful wager of $100 will deliver a profit of $120.  

Possible Scenarios:

What happens if you bet $100 on a money line? Well, the following three scenarios unfold. 

1. You Bet on Manchester United

When Manchester United wins, you can expect a total payout of $250 ($150 - stakes) and ($100 - profits).  

However, if it loses, your bet is unsuccessful, and you lose your stakes.

2. You Bet on Manchester City

If Manchester City wins, a $100 bet would yield a $120 profit, and the total payout would be $220.

Conversely, if Manchester City loses, the bet is unsuccessful, and you lose the stakes.

The Bottom Line

When rooting for Manchester United, you would require a larger wager for a smaller potential profit. It is perceived as a safe bet since Manchester United is the favorite. 

On the other hand, Manchester City, the underdog, delivers a higher potential profit for a smaller wager. However, the risk is greater, as Manchester City’s chances of pulling off a win are lean. 

Having a hang of the odds makes sense to assess the likelihood of a selected outcome in moneyline betting.

Other Popular Odds

The odds can also be represented in fractional and decimal formats. 

Fractional Odds

As the name says, Fractional odds are represented in a fraction, for example, 5/2 where 5 represents the favorite and 2 is the underdog. People also refer to them in ratios, for instance, five-to-two. 

Decimal Odds

These odds tell you the amount there is for the taking for each dollar wagered. Suppose the odds read 4.00 for a given team. You can earn $400 for each $100 you wagered.    

Interestingly, these odds are interconvertible. 

- The formula for Converting Fractional Odds into Decimal Odds: 

 Decimal Odds = Numerator / Denominator + 1


Let's say you have fractional odds of 5/2.

- Decimal Odds = 5 / 2 + 1 = 3.5

 - The formula for converting Fractional Odds into American Odds

  1. If the numerator is greater than the denominator (e.g., 3/2): (3 / 2 − 1) × 100
  2. If the numerator is smaller than the denominator (e.g., 2/3): (−3 / 2 + 1) × 100

 - The Formula for converting Decimal Odds into Fractional Odds: 

 Fractional Odds = Decimal Odds − 1 / 1

Example: Let's say you have decimal odds of 3.00.

- Now, Fractional Odds = 3.00 − 1 / 1 = 2 / 1

The Formula for converting Decimal Odds into American odds


  1. If the decimal odds are greater than or equal to 2.00 (e.g., 3.00): (3.00 − 1) × 100
  2. If the decimal odds are less than 2.00 (e.g., 1.50): (− 100 / (1.50 − 1) ) × 100

The Formula for Converting American Odds into Decimal Odds  

  1. If the American odds are positive (e.g., +150): 150 / 100 + 1
  2. If the American odds are negative (e.g., -120): 100 / 120 + 1

 - The Formula for Converting American odds into fractional odds:  

  1. If the American odds are positive (e.g., +150): 150 / 100 + 1
  2. If the American odds are negative (e.g., -120): 100 / 120 + 1


How to Calculate the Implied Probability in Moneyline Betting?  

Since you bet to make money, knowing the implied probability of an outcome is vital. Like odds, the implied probability expresses the likelihood of a given outcome but as a percentage. The idea is to help you spot a value in your moneyline bet. Here’s how to calculate it. 

Positive Moneyline Odds: Implied Probability (%) = 100 / Moneyline Odds + 100

Negative Moneyline Odds: Implied Probability (%) = Moneyline Odds / Moneyline Odds + 100


  1. If the moneyline odds are positive (e.g., +150): 100 / 150 + 100
  2. If the moneyline odds are negative (e.g., -120): 120 / 120 + 100

The percentage, thus achieved, will help you find value in moneyline betting. The higher percentage denotes greater chances of your bet’s success and vice versa. Note that, the implied probability exceeds 100%, regardless of the outcome. That’s because sportsbooks take their cut (vig or juice) in the offered odds. 

Since the larger cuts eat into your profits, you are better off with Baazigar Sports, one of the leading online sportsbooks. With the best odds, lowest juice, instant withdrawals, and proactive 24/7 customer service, it elevates your sports prediction experience. 

How to calculate payouts and profits in Moneyline betting? 

In betting, it all boils down to your payouts and profits. Profit means the potential earnings from a successful bet, minus the stakes. Payout, on the other hand, stands for the total amount you receive for a successful bet, including the invested amount + the profit. Here’s how to calculate them. 

Formula for Positive Moneyline Odds:

  1. Profit = (Bet Amount × Odds / 100)
  2. Payout = Bet Amount + Profit


Let’s revisit the Manchester United and Manchester City example where Moneyline Odds for the former stood at +150. Now, if you bet $100 on Manchester City: 

  1. Profit: (100 × 150 / 100) = 150
  2. Payout: 100 + 150 = 250

Formula for Negative Moneyline Odds

  1. Profit = (Bet Amount × Odds / 100)
  2. Payout = Bet Amount + Profit


If you wagered on Manchester United with Moneyline Odds of -120: 

  1. Profit: (120 × 100 / 120) = 100
  2. Payout: 120 + 100 = 220

Types of Moneyline Bets

If you think moneyline betting is monotonous, think again. It offers a whole variety of options to cater to your individual betting preferences and goals. Here are a few types. 

1: 3-Way Moneyline Betting

Sportsbooks offer 3-way moneyline bets in sports where draws are common. Think of a 3-way moneyline as an extension of a moneyline wager with an added element of a “draw.” In essence, a 3-way moneyline involves betting on three outcomes win, loss, and tie, each option having an approx. 33.34% chance of succeeding. Interestingly, the sportsbooks factor in the outcomes achieved in the regular game time only.   

Sportsbooks use a structure similar to classic moneyline odds for 3-way moneyline betting. The favorite has negative odds, the underdog has positive odds, and the draw is assigned positive odds as well. Soccer and hockey are the most popular sports for 3-way money lines. However, in other sports where ties are far too rare, sportsbooks offer them as a prop. Punters prefer three-way moneyline bets for higher potential payouts than traditional moneyline bets. Thanks to the introduction of draw as an outcome, the odds are higher and so are the potential payouts.   

2: Double Chance Moneyline Betting

When it comes to covering risks, it is hard to look beyond Double Chance Bet. Instead of a single outcome, you can bet on two in a single Double Chance bet to hedge against losses. Here are the three different outcomes.   

3: Manchester United Wins or Draws (1X)

For your Double Chance bet to succeed, Manchester United has to win or the contest should end in a tie. If Manchester City wins or the game is tied, you lose. 

4: Manchester City Wins or Draws (X2)

You choose to bet on Manchester City or Draw. If that happens, your Double Chance bet succeeds. But if Manchester City wins or the match is tied, you lose.  

5:Team A or Team B (12): 

You can even choose to bet on the ‘match not ending in a tie’. Regardless of the team winning, your bet is safe unless the contest ends in a draw. 

While Double Chance Bet lowers the risk by covering multiple outcomes, you have to put up with lower odds compared to traditional moneyline bets.

6: Period Moneyline Bets

If you lack the patience to bet on the game’s final outcome, Period Moneyline betting is for you. It allows you to place a wager on a given period of a game, pushing the final outcome out of the equation. Period bets are offered in sports where the play proceeds in periods, such as football and hockey. 

Suppose you choose to go with the NFL moneyline in a hockey match. Your options would be: 

Team A to Win a specific Period:

If Team A scores more goals than Team B during the specified period, your bet wins.

- Team B to Win the Period:

If Team B outperforms Team A in goals during the designated period, your bet is successful.

- Draw for the Period:

Some sportsbooks may offer odds for a draw in the period, especially in low-scoring sports like soccer.


Moneyline betting presents a simple and rewarding way to test your sports prediction skills. While the onus of picking the winner of a given contest keeps you closer to your favorite sport, the anticipation of raking it adds to the excitement. Whether you're a seasoned bettor or a novice, moneyline bets cater to your specific needs and goals.         

How to bet the moneyline successfully is the big deal in a deceivingly simple betting format. Well, line shopping could be the answer. Instead of relying on one sportsbook, shop the market for the best odds. This will help you minimize risks and maximize profits. 

Remember, odds vary from one sportsbook to the other. Even a seemingly minor variance in odds often leads to a huge difference in your actual earnings.     


  1. Explain Moneyline Betting in 1 sentence

Ans- Moneyline betting means, you need to pick the winner of the two competing teams or players in a given contest. For your bet to succeed, your chosen team or player has to win, irrespective of the victory margin.

  1. Is Moneyline betting different from regular betting?

Ans- Yes, moneyline betting is different from regular betting because it focuses only on choosing the winner while placing the bet and not the victory margin. 

  1. What does moneyline representation look like?

Ans- It’s simple! The Positive sign (+) is for underdogs and the Negative sign (-) is for the favourites.

  1. How do I know the winning criteria for moneyline betting?

Ans - The criteria is pretty simple. All that is needed for winning the moneyline betting is, your chosen team must win. 

  1. What are the risk and returns in moneyline betting?

Ans- In moneyline betting, there is a high return for the underdogs and comparatively lower risk for the favourites. 

  1. Types of moneyline betting and what are they?

Ans- There are 3 types of moneyline betting and they are- 3-way moneyline betting, double chance moneyline betting and period moneyline betting.

  1. How are payouts and profits calculated in moneyline betting? 

Ans - Profit means the potential earnings from the successful bet, minus the stakes. Payout, on the other hand, stands for the total amount you receive for a successful bet, including the invested amount + the profit. 

  1. What’s the key to a successful moneyline betting?

Ans - Line shopping is the key to a successful moneyline betting.

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