Question: What is the “moneyline”? How does it work?
Answer: In last week’s article, we covered what “against the spread” means. Fortunately, the “moneyline” is a lot simpler in determining a winner. Unfortunately, its tougher to determine the amount a wager wins.
Simply put, the moneyline is who you pick to win a given contest,
Courtesy of our friends over at Sportsbook.ag, we’ll provide an example.
Focus on the game involving Northwestern and Michigan. First, the bottom team is always the home team. Focus your attention on the first column, where 741 is next to Northwestern and 742 is next to Michigan. This is the betting identifying number, more about this later. The first number to the right of the team names is what is called the “moneyline”. The team who is favored will always have a minus sign followed by a number; the team who is the underdog will always have a plus sign followed by a number.
If you thought Michigan would defeat Northwestern, you would check the box next to Michigan that says “-380”. If Michigan defeated Northwestern, you win the bet.
If, however, you thought Northwestern would defeat Michigan, you would check the box next to Northwestern that says “+310”. If Northwestern defeated Michigan, you win the bet.
Michigan defeated Northwestern, 66-64 in overtime, so a bet of Michigan moneyline was a winning bet; a bet of Northwestern moneyline was a losing bet. If you put $10 on Michigan, with odds of -380, you won $2.63, for a total of $12.63. If you put $100 on Michigan, with odds of -380, you won $26.32, for a total of $126.32. Finally, if you put $380 on Michigan, with odds of -380, you won $100, for a total of $480.
Here’s a simple trick to determine how much you can make on a bet. If the number is preceded by a minus sign, you need to bet that amount to win $100. For example, if you bet Michigan, you need to bet $380 to win $100, for a total of $480. If the number is preceded by a plus sign, you need to bet $100 to win that amount. For example, if you bet Northwestern, you need to bet $100 to win $380, for a total of $480. Of course, if you are going to bet more or less than that, you need to do a bit of math.
If you need to do some calculations, we suggest visiting http://www.parlaycalculator.com/. If you type in the moneyline in the first space under “teams/prices” then the amount under “Bet Amount”, and hit “Calculate Parlay”, the “Parlay Payout” will show the amount you stand to make, if you win, which does not include the amount you wagered. Of course, if you place a bet through an online sportsbook or in Las Vegas, your ticket will tell you the amount you stand to make.
Moneyline bets are most common in hockey and baseball contests, as well as soccer. Note that soccer’s rules are very different from other sports – we won’t cover them here, but refer to the sportsbook of your choice for their rules. They also are available in futures betting, which will be covered in a few weeks.
Other notes related to wagering on the moneyline:
- How do I place a bet in Las Vegas?: If you were placing this bet in Las Vegas, the proper way to place the bet is by the identifying number. You would NOT approach the bookmaker and say “I would like the Michigan moneyline”; instead, say “742 moneyline”, remembering that 742 is the unique identifier for Michigan. Be sure to indicate whether the bet is for a single game contest or whether it is part of another wager. Two things: (1) The unique identifier may be different from sportsbook-to-sportsbook, do NOT assume that they are the same; (2) The minimum sports bet at Las Vegas casinos varies, from $5-$10 a contest. Consult your sportsbook for exact minimums and maximums. Not all contests will have a moneyline available. Most contests where the spread is high, a sportsbook will not allow a moneyline wager.
- When can I collect my winnings?: Depending on the sportsbook, contests are collectable once a final result is posted. If you are placing a sports wager, other than online, you may be able to mail in a winning ticket. Consult the sportsbook of your choice as to whether that method is available.
- What if the game goes into overtime?: Remember that a contest generally includes overtime. So if the team you bet on wins, in overtime, you win. If that team loses, you lose. Consult the sportsbook of your choice for their rules.
- When does a contest go final?: It depends on the sportsbook and what sport you are wagering on. In baseball, a contest is considered final once a team wins, obviously. If however, the game needs to be shortened, it is considered final after at least five completed innings have been played, and where one of the teams is leading. Where an inning has not been completed or where the score is tied, in the case of baseball, the event will be suspended (picked up where it was left off) or cancelled (the event will start over from the beginning, but wagers placed on the original contest will be refunded). Consult the sportsbook of your choice for their rules.
- The moneyline changed since I placed by wager, what happens?: NOTE: Whatever your ticket says is the moneyline for the contest matters! Do NOT refer to a different moneyline. For example, assume you bet Michigan -380. Since you place your bet, Michigan moneyline moves to -350 (this would be due to more people betting Northwestern moneyline as opposed to Michigan moneyline). A Michigan win means your payout is based on the -380 line, not -350. Generally, you may not cancel and re-bet in order to gain the benefit of the more favorable spread. By contrast, a less favorable line that occurs after the placing of a wager does not affect your wager.
- I want to wager on a game, but I don’t see it as being available: Not all games will be available to bet on. Sportsbooks pick the contests that are likely to have the most action. Note that some sportsbooks will not accept bets on certain teams (The Palms will not accept bets on the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, because the Maloof family, owner of The Palms, owns the Kings; Harrah’s casinos will not accept bets on the NBA’s Boston Celtics because Harrah’s has an ownership interest in the Celtics).
- The game I wagered on says “refund” or is no longer on the board, what happens now?: Sometimes a sportsbook will remove a game which they had previously allowed bets on. This may occur due to an injury or some other concern. When this happens, sportsbooks will refund the amount wagered, and a new bet can be placed once the new odds are posted. Occasionally, a sportsbook will still honor the original bet; consult the sportsbook of your choice for their policy.
- I saw that The Palms Las Vegas had one set of odds listed, but Flamingo Las Vegas has a different set listed, will the Flamingo Las Vegas honor the odds listed at The Palms Las Vegas?: Sportsbooks may have various odds for a given game. Note that whatever sportsbook you place a wager at, those odds (which are listed on your ticket) govern the game. Generally, you cannot request different odds other than the ones that are posted.
Other questions related to betting the “moneyline” or another Sports Wagering question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.