Arguably the most accessible form of betting, money line is what most regular bettors use as well as the preferred choice for newcomers. Below you’ll learn the fundamentals of money line betting.
Of all types of betting, money line is perhaps the most straightforward: to win you must bet on the competitor that will win the contest. Unlike point spread betting, money lines doesn’t add or subtract any points from the outcome of the game. The final result is all that matters.
Money line is used for all manner of sporting events, which either rely or don’t rely on a point-based scoring system. Basketball, football, and handball are examples of team-based games in which results are presented as a score. Note that money line is frequently used as an alternative to point spread for these games.
The following money lines rules are by far the most commonly encountered.
Bookmakers use the signs “+” and “-” to denote how the betting is carried out. In order to win $100, the bettor must make a bet that matches the figure which comes right after the “-” sign. To win the amount shown after the “+” sign (which is more than $100) you must bet at least $100.
To win, your the competitor or team you’ve chosen must win the game.
Usually bookmakers declare contests that end in a tie as no action.
Point spread bets and money line bets cannot be used at the same time on the same team or competitor. On the other hand, totals bets and money line bets can be combined.
The first example is about a supposed tennis match, say a Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The bookmaker advertises the following bet: Nadal (-140) to beat Federer (+120). Under these circumstances, you must bet $140 to win $100 if Nadal beats Federer. On the other hand, you must bet $100 to win $120 if Federer wins the game.
The second example is about a supposed Champions League encounter between F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid, where the bookmaker features the following bet: F.C. Barcelona (-160) to beat Real Madrid (+160). In this case you must place a bet of $160 to win $100 if F.C. Barcelona wins. Alternatively, you must bet $100 to win $160 if Real Madrid wins.
Note that “$100” is given as a reference by bookmakers. The sum you can bet and your possible winnings are scalable. For example, you can bet $10 on Real Madrid and win $16.
As it has been made clear above, money line is entirely about who wins the game – the difference in the final score doesn’t matter. The way money lines works puts emphasis on the underdog, and bookmakers tend to earn substantially only when the underdog wins. Therefore, they have to take far greater risks with money lines than with point spread. This is the reason why the winnings that come with money line, though undoubtedly attractive, tend generally to be somewhat lower when compared to those of point spread betting.