Betting Basics

What is a moneyline bet?

The Moneyline

Understanding the simplest bet in sports betting

While some bets ask you to predict the final score and others ask you to estimate how many points will be scored, there is one bet you can make that involves nothing more than determining a winner and a loser. This is called the moneyline.

In this article we will dive into all of the ways you can bet on a moneyline, and how much money you can win. We’ll use American odds to discuss moneyline betting, and if you need a refresher, use this link.

The moneyline

The simplest bet in sports is the moneyline bet. Unlike the point spread, where you have to determine the final outcome and guess the winning team’s margin of victory, the moneyline bet is simply a bet on who comes out on top in the end. Sounds easy, right?

MONEYLINE: A bet on who wins the game.twitter-icon

Still confused?

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Quiz: The Point Spread 101

Your thesis paper is due in two months, how are you game planning?
My outline is already done, and I’ll have the first draft finished by tomorrow
I’ve started some research
Two months? That’s a lifetime. We can pull an all-nighter
Damn, there’s a thesis paper? I haven’t been to class yet



Your car breaks down on a deserted road with no cell service – what do you do?
You sit and wait … someone’s got to drive by, right?
It’s time to go search for service, but the car has to stay in your line of sight
Sneakers were a good shoe choice because it might be a long walk ahead
Time to pull out the toolbox and fix the problem yourself



What’s the most satisfying play in football?
Lockdown defense in the red zone
Escaping the pocket and connecting with a wide-open receiver
A huge 3rd-down sack to shift the momentum
A game-winning Hail Mary as time expires



Do you eat oysters?
The snotty thing that comes in a shell? PASS
Only if it’s a special occasion and I’m at a nice restaurant
Anytime they’re on a menu
You can find me every Tuesday at 50 cent oyster night at that place under the interstate with no air conditioning



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No math is needed to determine whether you’ve won or lost this bet, just pick a team and hope they come out on top. All that changes in moneyline bets are the odds, which will determine how much money you profit should your team win their game. In the end, however, you’re still just rooting for your squad to win straight up.

STRAIGHT UP: When a team wins a game outright.twitter-icon

Moneyline odds

Picking a team to win can be easy when betting on a heavy favorite, while selecting the underdog can involve big risk. The odds even out the risk to the sports books and put the onus on you, the sports bettor, to make the correct decision

Let’s use an example to further explain moneyline odds.

The Moneyline - Board 1

The bet on the moneyline for Kansas City involves odds of -850. The ‘-’ sign in front of the odds means that Kansas City is the favorite.

FAVORITE: The team that is expected to win the game.twitter-icon

The ‘-’ sign also means the Chiefs have negative odds on their moneyline. If the odds have a ‘-’ sign, then you must wager the amount that follows in order to profit $100. In this example, if you bet the Kansas City Chiefs’ moneyline then you would get odds of -850. 

To profit $100, you would have to bet $850. That’s not exactly the best return on investment.

Conversely, the moneyline for the Jacksonville Jaguars involves odds of +900. The ‘+’ sign in front of the odds makes the Jags the underdog — sorry Trevor.

UNDERDOG: The team that is expected to lose the game.twitter-icon

The ‘+’ sign also determines that the Jags have positive odds on their moneyline. If the odds have a ‘+’ sign, then the number that follows is how much you profit if you wager $100. So in this example, if you bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars to win the game and hit their moneyline, you would get plus money odds of +900. 

Therefore, if you wager $100 on +900 odds, you stand a chance to profit $900. This seems like a gold mine right? Well don’t count your millions yet because this bet involves the very unlikely scenario of the Jaguars beating the Chiefs, hence the large odds. There aren’t many plus money bets that are guaranteed hits. Many are built to draw you in as you hope to hit the lottery and get rich quick.

Now it is very important to note that you do NOT have to risk $100 on a moneyline in order to make a bet. That is just the simplest way to explain American odds and how they work. You can bet any number you feel comfortable with, and as always, bet responsibly.

Moneyline parlays

Another way to use moneylines is to tie a few games together into a sportsbook special, the moneyline parlay

PARLAY:  A single bet that ties together two or more wagers.twitter-icon

In a parlay, you can tie together multiple moneylines in order to improve your odds. The difficulty with a parlay is that ALL of your bets, or legs, must hit in order for you to win. Let’s use three upcoming games as an example of how a moneyline parlay works and whether the risk is worth the reward.

The Moneyline - Board 2
The Moneyline - Board 3
The Moneyline - Board 4

The three favorites in these games have heavy negative odds on their moneyline. Betting on any of those games individually wouldn’t net much profit. 

  • Chiefs : -850 (bet $850 to win $100)
  • Packers: -350 (bet $350 to win $100)
  • Rams: -200 (bet $200 to win $100)

Tying all three games together on a moneyline parlay, however, leaves you with increased odds all the way up to +115. Therefore, if the three heavy favorites win their games like they are predicted to do, you would win $115 if you wagered $100.

Obviously, betting one outcome is difficult enough with all of the possibilities a football game presents. Betting three at the same time is near impossible to predict. Over time, parlays are not a profitable endeavor.


Simple and easy, right? That’s what moneyline betting offers you. For more information, keep reading our other articles on sports betting or test your knowledge and win prizes by taking a pass on our betting academy courses.

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