The moneyline bet is the most simple form of sports betting. Chances are, you’ve probably had about 200 of these types of wagers with your Uncle Frank on the Thanksgiving NFL games over the years, and you didn’t even know it. Unlike betting on a point spread, a moneyline bet is simply a wager that is placed on a team one believes will win the game outright. There are no points a team needs to cover, but there are, however, still favorites and underdogs.
Merely picking the winning side is quite easy. Understanding how the moneyline is set and will pay out is a bit of a different story for some. Let’s take one of those Uncle Frank Thanksgiving NFL games for example. Let’s say the Dallas Cowboys are hosting the New York Giants. The moneyline might look something like this:
New York Giants (+200) vs. Dallas Cowboys (-200)
The Giants are represented as the underdog by having the plus next to their number (+200). The plus number indicates how big of an underdog a team is, so if they were +300, +400, or +500, they would be more sever underdogs to win the game. The number also indicates how much money would win in comparison to every $100 you wager. So, the Cowboys are the favorite at (-200). That number also tells you how much money you need to wager in order to win $100.
If you were make a $100 moneyline bet on the Giants to upset the Cowboys and the G-Men won the game, you would receive $300 in return ($100 for your original wager, plus the additional $200 profit for the 2:1 odds). If you made a $200 bet on the Cowboys to win and they did, you’d receive the same $300 in return ($200 from your original wager, plus the additional $100 for the profit).