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Mastering Moneyline Wagers: A Comprehensive Guide to Betting on Sports

One of the most popular and straightforward forms of sports betting is the moneyline wager. It is a straightforward bet that involves predicting the outcome of a sporting event based on which player or team will win. Moneyline bets do not consider the margin of victory or the total score, unlike point spreads or totals. They solely focus on selecting the winner of the game.

Moneyline bets are different from point spread bets, which use a handicap to level the odds on both sides.

Once the game ends, the moneyline bet can have three outcomes:

  • The team you selected won and the sportsbook returns the amount bet plus the winnings
  • The team you selected lost so the sportsbook keeps the amount of the wager
  • The game ended in a tie so the sportsbook returns the state to you and the bet is neither a win nor loss

Understanding Moneyline Odds

The odds are presented as a positive or negative number which indicates the potential payout for a successful bet. These odds vary depending on the perceived strength of the teams involved.

Positive odds indicate the potential profit that you can earn from a wager. For example, you bet $100 on a +200 odds. If you are successful, you would receive a profit of $200, plus the return of your initial $100 bet for a total of $300.

On the flip side, negative odds represent the amount of money you need to wager in order to win $100. If the odds are -175 you would need to bet $175 to win $100. This would lead to a payout of $275 if your bet is successful.

The difference in the odds is the vigorish, commonly referred to as the “juice” or vig. This is what the bookmaker charges for accepting your bet. Moneyline betting has a fairly low vig compared to bets like futures and props, making the moneyline more bettor friendly.

Consider the Factors

When betting on moneylines, you need to evaluate the perceived strength of the players or teams. The favorite is the team or player considered more likely to win. They are almost always indicated by negative odds.

The underdog is indicated by positive odds. They are less likely to win, but if they win there is the potential for higher payouts. When considering who to pick, research the risks and potential rewards associated with betting on the underdog vs the favorite.

In an individual sport such as NASCAR or golf, it is much harder to predict a winner than a game with only two teams. Because of this, the “favorite” often has a plus sign instead of a negative sign in individual events. The same thing can happen for futures wagers as well.

There are also even-money odds where the moneyline is listed at +100. This is the case if oddsmakers believe the matchup to be a 50/50 chance of winning. With even-money odds, whatever amount you wager is the amount of money you will win.

Live Moneyline Betting

As technology has improved, so has online sports betting. Live betting has become more popular over the years as bookmakers’ tech has enabled them to post in-game lines more efficiently. During breaks in action, like half time or intermission, sports betting sites will post in-game lines. These in-game lines tend to include moneyline among the markets.

Bettors could have the winning edge in live betting because sportsbooks don’t have as much time to produce a sharp line. However, this leads to the sportsbook to include more vig than usual in the lines. This is something to keep in mind when looking for value on live betting the moneyline.

Canceled Moneyline Bets

Moneyline bets can sometimes be canceled, even though it is far less common than in teaser bets or totals. Tied games are the most common occurance of a canceled bet. In certain sports, like the NFL, ties are possible. If a game ends in a tie, your wager is returned to you.

However, in a sport like soccer where ties are common, there is a three-way market that books offer. In a three-way market you must decide between the two teams who will be the winner, or if they will tie. If you bet on a team to win and they draw, you will lose your bet.

Another instance that can lead to a canceled bet is an unfinished game. This is most commonly caused by a weather disruption. Each sportsbook has different house rules for a canceled game, such as a minimum inning threshold that counts as a “game”. If a game is not played on the originally scheduled day due to weather or other circumstances, the bet will also be canceled.

Consider specializing in a sport or league where you have a deeper level of understanding and expertise. By focusing on a specific sport, it allows you to gather more in-depth information and identify potential value moneyline bets.

The moneyline is generally a good option for bettors, especially if you are just starting out. They are an easy way to learn the market for new bettors.

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