Moneyline Betting Guide

If you look at the odds on the markets for most sporting events at Tennessee online legal sportsbooks, you will see moneyline wagers available. For bettors who are new to the game, the term can be confusing.

Moneyline bets are the simplest wagers out there, however. When you bet on a moneyline, you’re merely choosing one side of the market to win. If the athlete or team you put your money down on wins the contest, the sportsbook will pay out the quoted odds. You don’t need to worry about the spread of points or over/under total; all you need to do is pick the winning side of the market. While these bets are simplistic in their form, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are easy to win. The likelihood of winning a moneyline wager depends on many factors. 

To do this well, you still need to do your research and understand all of the factors that could affect the outcome of the contest you are sports betting. Each moneyline market will indicate which side the oddsmakers favor, how strongly they do so, and what the payout will be if you win. 

It’s pretty simple once you learn how to read the odds as sportsbooks present them.

What is a moneyline bet?

To get a better understanding of how moneyline markets work, let’s use an example. 

Let’s say DraftKings Sportsbook in Tennessee has moneyline odds on a game between Alabama and Southern Cal currently sit at:

TeamOdds
USC+510
Alabama-770

You can bet on either side of this market, but not both. What will determine your wager is which team wins this game outright. It doesn’t make a difference how many points both teams score, how much one wins by, or whether the game goes into overtime. The only thing that matters is the final score. If you pick Alabama and the Crimson Tide win the game, you win as well.

You may be wondering what the minus and plus signs in front of the numbers mean. That’s pretty simple, although maybe a bit contrary to what you might think it means. The minus sign indicates which side of the market the sportsbook expects to win the contest. That side is called the favoriteThe side with the plus sign is the underdog, which is the side the sportsbook expects to come up short in the contest. In our example, Alabama is the favorite, while USC is the underdog.

The lines with the plus signs in front of them are called positive odds. The converse is also similar to your algebra lessons, as the lines with the minus signs are called negative odds. The third component of these markets, those numbers indicate two different things. They tell you how confident the sportsbook is about who will win and how much money you will win if you place the correct wager.

Let’s start with win probability. That is the likelihood of one side of a market winning the event in question. The simple rule of thumb is that the larger the number, the more confident a sportsbook is in its prediction. There is a way to use these odds to figure out an exact percentage, however. It’s pretty simple math, but the formula differs based on whether you’re figuring the probability for the favorite or the underdog.

How to figure win probability from moneyline markets

For the underdog, in our example, USC, take the number, which is 550. 

First, add 100 to that number. That gives you 650. Then, divide 100 by that number. That gives you 0.153. Then, multiply that number by 100. That product is 15.3, which is your percentage. Therefore, DraftKings believes USC has a 15.3% chance to win this game.

For favorites like Alabama, the formula changes a little bit. Again, isolate the number, which is 770, in this case. Add 100 to it, which gives you 870. Then divide your original number, 770, in our example, by that number. That would give you 0.885. Then just like in the underdog formula, multiply that by 100 to get your percentage.

DraftKings believes the probability of Alabama winning this game is 88.5%. The other, and probably more important, piece of information you get from these odds is the payout if your bet wins. Again, figuring that out is simple, but the formula differs based on whether the odds are negative or positive.

The easiest way to calculate your potential winnings is by assuming your wager is $100. Using that as a reference point, what these odds tell you is pretty simple. It’s also important to remember that your bet and any profit are not the same things.

  • Negative odds tell you how much you need to bet in order to make $100 profit if your bet wins.
  • Positive odds tell you how much you would profit if you wager $100 and your bet wins.

So again, in our example, you would need to wager $770 on Alabama in order to profit $100 off your bet, should the Crimson Tide prevail. On the other side of the market, if you put down $100 on the Trojans and they pull off the upset, you would profit $550.

If your bet wins, you will always get your original wager back, plus any profit, based on the odds the sportsbook offered at the time you made your bet. If you lose, the sportsbook keeps your wager.

How to figure payout and profit from moneyline markets

Total payout is the total amount of money the sportsbook will give you if you win your bet, including both your original wager and your profit. Profit is exactly that, only the part of your payout that is above and beyond your returned wager. If you bet less or more than $100, obviously, the potential payout adjusts accordingly. 

Let’s use an example of a $50 wager to show you how to figure your payout and profit using the same Alabama-USC market as an example. To figure payout on positive odds, take the number from the positive line and divide that by 100. Using our Bama-USC game, that would be 550/100=5.5. Then multiply that number by your wager, which would be 5.5×50=275.

If you want to determine your profit only, then subtract your wager from that amount. So, 275-50=225, which means you would make $225 in profit on a $50 wager at these odds. Of course, if you win, you get your bet back as well.

To figure payout on negative odds, take the number from the negative line and divide it by 100. Continuing with our example, that would be 770/100=7.7. Then divide your wager by that number, which would be 50/7.7=6.49. That only shows what your profit would be on this bet. To determine your total payout, you would need to add your wager to that number. So, 50+6.49=56.49. If you put a $50 bet down on the Tide at these odds and you win, your total payout would be $56.49 with a $6.49 profit.

Now that you understand how to read these markets, it’s time to do your research on your event of choice. Several factors could affect the contest you want to bet on, depending on the sport. 

These include but aren’t limited to:

  • The weather forecast if the event is outdoors.
  • The surface of the event.
  • The history of contests between these two athletes/teams.
  • Does one of the athletes/teams have a home-field advantage, and if so, how crucial is that?
  • How long has it been since the athlete/team last competed?
  • Are there any recent injuries?

Once you feel confident in your choices on these markets, then it’s time to place your bets. While these markets are normally based on a single sporting event, sportsbooks can get creative on how they offer them.

Moneyline parlays at TN online legal sportsbooks

Many sportsbooks also offer moneyline parlays, which allow you to place a wager on multiple markets at the same time. 

They are called parlays because you are parlaying the results of multiple events into one bet. The advantage of parlaying your moneyline wagers is that the payouts for winning such bets can be much higher than if you just bet on each market by itself. The degree of difficulty and risk goes up exponentially, as will your reward if you pull off the feat.

For example, let’s assume you wanted to place a moneyline wager on the Bama/USC game and three other college football games happening the same weekend. To win your bet, you would have to pick the winners of all four games.

If you miss on just one of the games, the fact that you accurately predicted the winners of the other three no longer matters. The sportsbook grades your wager as a loss and keeps the amount you wagered. Finding the best odds on the contests you want to bet upon is a matter of shopping around. Sportsbook operators compete with each other for your betting dollars, and that makes you the winner in that situation.

Take advantage of bonuses, guarantees against lost bets, and odds boosts that sportsbook frequently offer to both new and returning customers.