Moneyline Betting Guide

Check out our comprehensive guide to moneyline betting below, featuring what it is and how you can participate yourself at Offshore Sportsbooks.

There are three main types of bets players can usually make when wagering on sports betting sites. These bets are moneyline bets, spread, or total bets. While there are several other types, these three are the favorites. As such, every bettor needs to know how they work and make an accurate decision on what type of bet to make. This is even more important since not all the bet types are suited for betting on all sports, so you should know when to make what specific bet and why.

Within this article, we will be discussing moneyline bets and how they work. We’ll be looking at how to read and understand odds, as well as strategies for moneyline bets and how to bet on sports. But first, what is a moneyline bet?

What Is Moneyline Betting?

A moneyline bet is, simply speaking, betting on one team defeating another team. There is no other angle or catch to consider, you just simply have to bet that one team will win the match and one team will lose the match. As such, it’s elementary to make a moneyline bet, as you just read the odds for a given match and decide whether you think the favorite or the underdog will win.

Straightforward, correct? However, because it’s such a straightforward betting method, there is no saving grace for the bettor. You are either right or wrong; you’ll win or lose money. As such, there are some things to consider before making a moneyline bet.

To make a moneyline bet, you must select the sport you want to bet on and find the specific match. For moneyline bets in matches, there will be two betting lines, the favorites and the underdogs. You need to click on which one you want to bet on, enter the amount you want to bet, and add it to your bet slip. Easy, right? However, before making that bet, you need to look at the odds and calculate what you’re risking and what your possible profit is.

Moneyline Odds and How To Read Them

Moneyline odds are shown with a plus and a minus sign, the default American way of reading odds. The odds with a plus in front of them are the underdog odds, while the odds with the minus before them are the favorites to win. This is because most people bet on the favorites to win, and as such, their odds are lower to prevent the bookmakers from losing a large amount of money and unbalancing the books. The less likely a team is to win, the better their odds are and the better profit you can make if they do win.

But how do you read odds? In this example, Team A has odds of -200, while Team B has odds of +150. Based on their recent play, skill level, and other factors, Team A would be the favorite to win the match, while Team B is the underdog. The odds of -200 means that a player has to bet $200 to win $100. On the other hand, +150 means that the player has to bet $100 to win $150. The golden rule in moneyline betting odds is that a minus number means you have to bet that amount to win $100, while a plus number means you have to bet $100 to win that amount.

You can also figure out the exact risk/return number, which you can use to calculate how much you need to bet if you want to bet over or under $100. When you divide the moneyline by 100, it gives you the risk/return figure, which you can multiply with your bet to see your possible profit. Using our above example, you would use the formula -200/100 = -2 and +150/100 = +1.5 to get your risk/return figure. That means you would have to risk 2x what you’re going to receive if betting on the favorite, while you would get 1.5x what you betted if you bet on the underdog.

Let’s say you want to bet $30 instead of $100. If betting on Team A, you would bet $30 and stand a chance to win $15 ($30/2 = $50), while betting $30 on Team B would give you a return of $45 ($30×1.5 = $45). Once you understand this basic principle, it’s easy to read odds and see at a glance who the favorite and underdog is and the bookmaker’s and market’s expectancy of how the match will go.

Of course, there are situations where the odds aren’t as clear-cut as in the above example. The outcome isn’t as sure for some matches, and bookmakers can give both teams similar odds. For example, Team A could have odds of -100, while Team B has odds of -120. Instead of just making a decision and hoping for the best, you can handicap the game to try and determine a winner.

How To Handicap Bet

Handicapping in sports refers to when you research the game, the matchup, and teams and the odds to determine a winner. Looking at team advantages and other factors before making a bet isn’t a step-by-step guide to assured victory, but it gives a better idea of what to expect.

Starting Odds

Before a match starts, bookmakers will release odds on how they believe the match will turn out. The market of that match influences these odds and it constantly shifts as the public opinion on the winner shifts. It’s important to know what the opening odds were and to look at what they are by the time you place your bet and then when the match starts.

Home vs Away

Generally, it is believed that a team plays better on their home turf than away from it, but it might also be the other way around. While this factor doesn’t always have a play in whether one team has an advantage or not, it is something to be considered. Looking at both teams’ recent history, has one of them performed better when at home or on the road? Are they playing at home or on the road in this match? This can provide a slight edge to one team over the other, especially if their odds are close.

Matchup Edges

Another factor is looking at the specific matchup for the game. While this might be more complicated for new bettors vs. experienced bettors, as long as you understand the game and know your teams, it shouldn’t be too difficult to understand. You can look at the team members, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opposing team’s strengths and weaknesses. If one team has an apparent strength where it’s the other team’s weakness, then it could influence the match in their favor. This is referred to as a matchup edge, as one team holds an edge over the other.

Recent Games

Looking at the recent play history of the teams can also influence their chances to win. While it’s not always an indicator of their performance in the game, it can help give you an idea of what to expect. Often the most recent games of a team or individual will influence their current games, as it can indicate where that team is currently performance-wise. Look at their last three to ten games and see where they struggled, how they played, and whether you believe it’ll continue in the same direction or make a turn.

Profit in Sports

While moneyline betting is a popular betting type, it’s not equally suitable for all sports. For sports such as football and basketball, being popular sports with a wide field of interest and high scoring in games, moneyline betting is not the way to go. Often, the returns on your bet are not worth it and in some cases, even if you win, you might still make a small loss.

If Team A is a 10-point home favorite in football, they’ll have odds of around -700. This means you have to bet $700 to win $100 possibly. On the underdog side, if Team B is a 10-point underdog, the odds are around +480, so you would bet $100 to get a return of $480. As the odds for plus and minus don’t work entirely the same way, a 10-point favorite and underdog isn’t calculated the same.

Instead of betting on a sport where it’s difficult to predict a win or have good odds, it’s better to use moneyline bets for low-scoring sports. The favorites to bet on are hockey, soccer, and baseball, as very few goals or runs are scored in these sports. This makes the outcome more uncertain and allows for more evenly spread odds. The same can be said for boxing or tennis, where individuals play against one another instead of teams.


When making a moneyline bet, there are some strategies to use and factors to keep in mind. Experienced bettors will know how the market moves and the teams they bet on, but it’s important that new bettors get a better idea before making their bet. Watching and learning your chosen sport is key to success!

Favorites vs. Underdogs

Simply looking at the odds, you might think it’s better to bet on the underdogs, as you have a higher profit on them than on the favorites. However, it’s not always best to exclusively consider your possible profit, as the goal is to win your bet at the end of the day. Unfortunately, underdogs are the underdogs for a reason. 

This means even if their odds are better and you bet on them if they lose, you’re not receiving any profit anyways. In that case, it might be better to bet more for less profit but still receive some profit. This isn’t always the case, and underdogs can always snatch that surprise win, so make sure you handicap the game and know what your chances are.

Odds Shopping

The thing about having access to many different sportsbooks is that they all have different odds. While the odds might not vary by high amounts, it can make a difference when betting. Moneyline odds shopping refers to looking at the various real money sportsbooks and comparing betting line odds. Not only is this a way to find the best odds in your favor, but it can also give you an overall idea of the market’s opinion on the match.

This means that you can end up betting less for more returns at some sportsbooks. The difference in odds comes in not only because of differences in opinions in sportsbooks but also because of bets already placed on the site. Even if one sportsbook started with the same odds as another sportsbook, if they receive many bets and their books become unbalanced, they’ll adjust the odds to balance it again. 

Place Your Moneyline Bet

Having looked at the main elements of moneyline betting, you can now see when it’s best to make this particular bet and when not to. Understanding the odds is crucial, but so is understanding the matchup. With moneyline betting, seeing as you’re betting on a simple win, knowing the participants and their expected performance is vital. While there are some strategies for moneyline betting, it still needs you as the bettor to do some research. This is to ensure you know your chances before placing your bet. 

While moneyline bets might not be suitable for extremely popular sports with high-scoring games such as football and basketball, it’s still a good bet for lower-scoring sports where games usually end 3-2 or similarly close. This also includes individual matches, where the match outcome depends entirely on the capability of a single person.

Having read this article, we hope to provide you with the know-how to make a moneyline bet and when to make it. So now is the time to look at those sportsbooks and peruse the matches, knowing you can make an informed decision.


What’s the difference between making a moneyline bet or a point spread bet?

Moneyline refers to making a bet on whether a specific team will win, with no other factors in place. On the other hand, point spread refers to a bet made where you state which team will win or lose and with how many points. This means if your team wins when making a moneyline bet, you’re guaranteed a return, while that is not the case with a point spread, as they might not have won with the right amount of points.

Can I parlay moneyline bets?

Yes, you can parlay a moneyline bet. You can also add a moneyline bet to a parlay bet together with a points spread bet and totals bet.

What payout will I get if I bet $100 with -160 odds?

Your return/risk figure is -160/100 = -1.6, so if you bet $100/1.6 = $62.50, meaning you will make a profit of $62.50. When it comes to payout, you will receive your initial bet and the profit you made, meaning you’ll get a total payout of $162.50 in the end.