5 Tips for Betting the Moneyline

Moneyline Betting Tips On Sportsbook Board

Value. Risk. High payouts. Betting on the moneyline combines all the factors that make gambling on sports such an exciting venture.

If you’re not familiar with the term, the moneyline is best described as the odds you get when you bet on who will win a game straight up. When you take the spread out of the occasion, betting becomes less about luck and more about spotting your opportunities and taking advantage of them.

The unfortunate reality is that most amateur bettors ignore the moneyline because of the risk involved.

Either you bet on a favorite and risk losing more than you stand to gain, or you bet on the underdog and have a much higher chance to lose your bet.

With that being said, the moneyline presents a unique chance to win big if you have the right strategy in place. In this article, I’ll lay out the factors to take into consideration that could help you capitalize on moneyline bets in all sports.

1 – Selection Is Key

In the same way the real estate is about location, location, location, betting on the moneyline is all about selection, selection…you get the point.

Whereas betting on the spread can leave more opportunity to win bets when you don’t really know what you’re doing, consistently adding to your bankroll via moneyline bets requires you to be picky when deciding which games to play.

Obviously, the trick in finding the best value is identifying games in which the underdog has a chance to win, or betting on a favorite isn’t too costly. However, if you’re playing multiple games at once, you can take a few more chances.

It’s important to keep in mind that sportsbooks adjust their moneylines in accordance with the public’s action, so you can find instances where the odds actually lean slightly your way if you have more knowledge of a game.

MLB Moneylines Changing

Research is key when deciding which plays to make, so do an adequate amount of homework and carefully choose which underdogs you think have a chance to win a game outright.

2 – Long-Term Approach

I can’t stress this enough—betting on the moneyline is a long-term game. Evaluating your success or failure after just a few games, or even a few weeks, isn’t going to help you gather an accurate assessment.

Because the best value in betting moneylines is found on the underdog, you’re almost always going to lose more bets than you win.

The key is recognizing that you can lose more than half of your bets and still make a ton of money if you win the right games.

One of the best ways to stay on top of how you’re doing is by creating a tracking system so that you’re aware of the money coming in and money going out. Because, as previously mentioned, you’re likely to lose more bets than you win overall, it can create a distorted picture if you don’t monitor things correctly.

Let’s say that over the course of an NFL weekend you bet on $50 on each of 10 games. You might lose six games, which would put you at -$300. But if you win four games at an average of +170, you’d still come out ahead.

3 – Don’t Neglect Favorites (But Choose Carefully)

Many bettors think that unless you only bet favorites, moneylines aren’t worth the risk. However, that’s not always the case.

It’s probably best to stay away from favorites in the -250 to -300 range, as this is the spot where upsets are still entirely possible and it’s not worth it to make a bet where you’ll only return a third of your money.

If you’re the type of bettor who wants to play the favorites, consider giving away some points, even if it’s not the full spread. This will increase your payouts and slightly close the gap between risk and reward.

Another move that can be profitable is a multi-team parlay with moneyline favorites.

NFL Parlay Betting

In any given NFL week, you can choose the top three or four most lopsided games and still get a nice haul if you hit on each. While you might only win the same amount you bet, meaning $100 to win $100, it’s not necessarily too big of a risk. Just keep in mind that, as the cliché goes, anyone can win on any given Sunday.

The best odds for betting favorites exists in the -150 to -200 range. These lines present an opportunity to win back decent money for your bet. Obviously, you’re going to suffer some losses that will make you feel like it’s pointless to bet on the favorite, but that’s the price you pay for picking the team that “should” win.

4 – Consider the Sport 

Bettors who like gambling on baseball and hockey games are acquainted with the power of the moneyline in a unique way. Unlike basketball and football, baseball and hockey’s “default” play is who will win the game outright.

Most baseball betting purists will contend that it’s always a smarter move to put your money on the underdog.

After all, even the worst teams in the league win about 60 times per year. Because of the unpredictability of who will win is so high, when you’re able to find an underdog at -200 or more, the value is hard to resist. Though the winning percentage numbers are slightly different, the same philosophy holds true for hockey.

Baseball Betting Moneyline

Things are a little different when it comes to betting on football and basketball moneylines. In football, if there’s a favorite of -200 or more, statistically, they’re much more likely to win the game outright than in other sports.

Basketball can be a bit more difficult, as good teams are susceptible to upsets, but only in certain situations. If you’re betting on the NBA, do your research to find out which scenarios create a better chance for the underdog to win and you can make educated plays with high value.

Determining the likelihood of underdogs winning outright is always going to be a complicated proposition, so make sure to do research specific to the sport you want to bet on before taking the leap.

5 – Assess Value

All gamblers know that the key to a good betting strategy is making plays with good value. Finding value is a concept that’s easy in theory, but extremely difficult in practice.

Sportsbooks put a value on each time via the moneyline, and while this is a good starting point, it isn’t necessarily always accurate. This means that you’ll have to do some work on your end to see if your prediction of the potential outcome of a game align with the odds presented.

The best way to do this is by first evaluating each game without looking at the moneyline.

Take all factors into account such as injuries, whether or not a team is hot or cold, past history between the two teams, and obviously overall team talent. This will help you decide if a team is over, under, or properly valued.

You’ll find that an undervalued underdog is attractive because you can bet less to win more. Although this is absolutely true, bettors have a tendency to overlook undervalued favorites. If there was ever such thing as a “safe” bet, it’s a moneyline favorite when you can get odds better than -150.

Remember that public action impacts odds, so doing your own research to assess value is crucial.


It’s unlikely that you’ll give up betting on spreads entirely, but adding the moneyline option to your betting strategy can have huge benefits. It’s a good way to recognize that not only do favorites not always cover the spread, but they often lose outright.

Find a specialty, whether it’s finding value in favorites or underdogs, and see if you can steal a few games without worrying about covering.

About the Author
Rick Rockwell profile picture
Rick Rockwell
Sports/Casino Writer
Blog and News
Rick has been a professional writer for over 14 years with an extensive resume spanning projects and clients from around the world. But, his passions have always been sports and sports betting. Whether it’s being a credentialed media member to major sporting events, climbing into a racecar or a pro wrestling ring, Rick’s sports and sports betting knowledge, passion and versatility is on display with each article he writes for TSG.

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