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Money Line Betting

With money line bets the goal is to pick the outright winner of a game or event without the use of a point spread. While money line betting is available for sports where point spreads are used, they’re most popular in sports like baseball and soccer where very few points are scored. Money lines are also used for sports where points do not determine the winner or loser, as in auto racing or tennis.

Money line bets are displayed as negative or positive, like -140 or +140. Negative money lines indicate which team is the favorite, and the positive money line is the underdog.

For example:

Los Angeles Angels -140

Baltimore Orioles +130

In this example, the Los Angeles Angels are the favorite and the Orioles are the underdog.

Money lines use the sum of $100 as a basis point. Here’s how it works.

Money Line Payouts

Negative money lines show the amount of money needed to wager in order to win $100 in profit. So, the -140 money line on the Angels would require a $140 bet to win $100 more. Since the Angels are expected to win, the payout is less then the amount wagered. The opposite can be said for the underdog.

Since the underdog is not expected to win, the return is better than even money. So, the +130 for the Orioles means that a $100 bet would return $130 in profit.

Football & Basketball Money Lines

Since football and basketball are high scoring games, the most standard type of bet is a straight bet using a point spread. With that said, money line bets can also be made can also be placed on these sports – without the use of a point spread.

These types of sports bets are made just like they are in any other type of money line bet. Bettors simply pick the team they believe will win. If they’re right, they win. If they’re wrong, they lose. The closer the opponents, the closer the money line. The more one team is favored over an opponent, the larger the money line.

For example, a close game like the Saints at the Cowboys may have a money line like this:

Dallas Cowboys -140

New Orleans Saints +120

The Cowboys are a slight favorite here, requiring a $140 wager to win $100 in profit. A $100 bet on the Saints would pay out $120 if they were to win.

However, if the Cowboys were playing the Detroit Lions at home, a team the Cowboys should easily win, then the money line would more like this:

Dallas Cowboys -240

Detroit Lions +220

In this case it would take a $240 wager on the Cowboys to win $100 in profit. A $100 wager on the Lions would result in a $220 profit if they won (don’t count on it).

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