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Money Line Betting

Sports Betting: Money Lines

By Loot, Sports Handicapper,

Pretty much every sport offers money line betting. What is the money line? It’s a way to express odds. Once in a while, there may be two teams that are dead-even. The other 98% of the time, one team at least holds a small edge over its opponent, therefore bringing the element of odds into the picture. The money line is a way to express those odds.

In the vast majority of things we bet, there will be an underdog and a favorite. On the money line, an underdog is expressed with a plus-sign, while the favorite is shown with a minus-sign. Here is an example:

Floyd Mayweather (-800) vs. Robert Guerrero (+500)

Here we see an example for the sport of boxing, but the same principle applies to all sports. In this example, Mayweather is the favorite at -800, which essentially means he’s an 8-1 favorite. Just remember this: a minus-sign means you have to bet that amount to win $100. A plus-sign means that you win that amount if you bet $100. For Mayweather at -800, you have to wager $800 for every $100 you have to win. For Guerrero at +500, you would win $500 on a $100 winning bet. Here’s another example:

Toronto Blue Jays (+240) vs. Boston Red Sox (-260)

In the above example, Toronto is the underdog at +240, with Boston the favorite at -260. If you bet $100 on Toronto and they win the game, you win $240. To win $100 on Boston, you would need to bet $260.

Simply put, with a plus-sign, that’s how much you win if you bet $100. With the minus-sign, that’s how much you need to bet to win $100. Get it? It’s not that hard and understanding this will mean you just mastered a very important principle in sports-betting that will carry you through a lifetime of wagering.

Tip: The best site online to place your moneyline bets is 5Dimes. This is because they offer "wholesale" odds (reduced) where you end up risking less on favorites and winning more on underdogs. It pays to shop for the best price!

In sports like baseball, boxing, and MMA--the money line is the way you make straight bets. In other sports, namely football and basketball, a straight bet is when you bet against the spread. But you can also bet those sports on the money line. In other words, you can generally bet on simply who will win in all sports on the betting board.

That carries a certain appeal for many bettors. Some of us don’t like the spread. After all, the entities we are wagering on are just trying to win the game, rather than win or not lose by a certain amount. When we bet on the money line, we are betting on the precise thing that teams are trying to accomplish, which is naturally to win the game. Money line betting allows you to do that.

Money line betting may seem like a lower-risk proposition for those who like favorites. At the same time, a lot of us get in big trouble by habitually betting on favorites on the money line. For example, if we make 20 bets on -400 favorites, we would need to win 80% of our wagers just to break even. In other words, hitting a cold streak is a good way to go broke. The winning percentage you need to maintain to be ahead can fall into the category of “asking for too much.”

Betting on underdogs on the money line has a definite appeal. You can come out ahead without even winning 50% of your wagers. Unlike straight bets against the spread, you can win more than you wager when betting underdogs on the money line. A few well-placed underdog money line wagers can really give you a big boost.

There are pros and cons with any type of betting and that applies to money line wagering, as well. It’s nice to bet on the exact thing teams are trying to do, which is to win and not have to deal with the abstract point-spread. It can also be good to bet on favorites on the money line, especially if they wouldn’t have covered the spread and only managed to win the game outright. And when betting underdogs, it’s good to earn more than you risked.

At the same time, it’s not that great of a feeling to lay big odds on a favorite and either lose or see that they would have covered the spread for a far-higher payout. It can also sting when you lose a money line bet on an underdog that would have otherwise covered the spread. Still, there is no doubt that money-line wagers should be a key part of your wagering repertoire.

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