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Moneyline betting is one of the simplest and most lucrative types of bets in the sports gaming world. No adding up points, evaluating the point spreads at the end of the game, just one simple question: who do you think will win?

Moneyline bets are popular in all types of sports betting, so understanding them is a great way to get into some sports wagering action. At TopBet, we have you covered for all things betting, including the comprehensive breakdown of how to assess and lay a moneyline bet below.

Three Keys to Moneyline Betting

What is the moneyline?

A moneyline bet is a bet placed on one side or the other of a game, match, race, or any other sports event. The moneyline represents the value, or price, that a bettor is a paid out at if the competitor or team they bet on wins the game or match.

It will be easier to understand how a moneyline works if we look at a specific example.
In 2013, the moneyline on Game 1 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals looked like this:

St. Louis Cardinals (+111) at Boston Red Sox (-120)

As with all betting lines, on the moneyline, having a “-“ before the price means that the team with that price, in this case the Boston Red Sox, who were starting ace John Lester, are favored.

Betting on the moneyline means picking a team (or in other sports, a player) to win, plain and simple. The actual number (+111 and -120 in this case) affects what is paid out, not how the bet is graded. Your bet either wins or loses based on if the side you picked wins, simple as that. If the game or match is delayed or canceled for any reason, the bet will generally be graded as a push, and your wager is returned to your account.

How Moneyline Bets are Paid Out

Moneyline bets are set in relation to how much a bettor would have to bet to win $100 if betting on the favorite, or how much they’d win if they bet $100 on the underdog.

So, for example, to win $100 on the Red Sox in game 1, bettors had to risk $120. Meanwhile, because the Cardinals were considered less likely to win, a bettor would only have to bet $100 to win $111, meaning they would win more back than they had wagered.

Note that even though moneylines are expressed in relation to $100 bets, you may bet any amount on a moneyline. A $20 moneyline bet on the Red Sox in this game, for example, would have paid out $16.66, as Lester held the Cardinals scoreless through seven innings on the way to an 8-1 Boston win.

The Difference Between Moneyline Bets and Point Spread Bets

Moneylines are quite different from point spreads, and it’s important to understand the difference. A point spread bet involves accounting for an adjusted win or loss than the players in the game will be playing for.

A point spread accounts for the favorite having a greater chance of winning by handicapping the amount of points or goals a team must score for bettors on the spread to win. A moneyline, by comparison, adjusts the value of a winning bet (rather than the definition of a win) to account for uneven games or teams.

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