The simplest and clearest wager in all of sports betting is a moneyline wager. Depending on the sport, there could be two or three outcomes to this wager. Bettors select one player or team to win when there are two players or teams mentioned on a moneyline wager.
Moneyline bets may also feature a third alternative, called a “draw,” in sports like soccer (European football) or boxing matches or mixed martial arts fights. In a “draw,” there is neither a winner nor a loser.
Some sportsbook applications will let you choose a draw as an option on a moneyline wager, while others will let you choose a player or club that will win instead of a draw outcome, known as a “Draw no bet” option.
A sportsbook will compensate bettors with the odds owing them when they accurately predict an event.
The absence of a point spread makes the moneyline a plain and easy wager. All bettors need to do is select the victor in a soccer or European football match, or if a draw is a possibility, a boxing or mixed martial arts contest.
Al Davis, the late, great Raiders owner, once said, “Just win, baby.”
The link between the point spread and the moneyline
The moneyline bet is tied to the point spread in terms of its possible payoff even if it does not involve making a selection based on the point spread. For instance, choosing a 3-point favorite (i.e., -160 ML) will result in a higher payoff than choosing a 7-point favorite (ie: -350 ML).
A 3-point favorite in an NFL game, for instance, may have a moneyline status of -160 per $100 bet, reflecting a projected relatively tiny differential in team levels; the underdog in this scenario would be priced around +135. To get the same return while placing a moneyline wager on the favorite, the point spread must be increased. On the moneyline, a club that is a 7-point favorite might be -350, while the underdog on the opposite side might be +285.
Keep in mind that from spread to moneyline translation differs from sport to sport. A 7-point victory in the NBA is not nearly the same as a 7-point victory in an NFL game.
In the NFL, for instance, really strong favorites can have a moneyline as high as -700, which means you’d have to wager $700 to win $100. However, as a result, upsets frequently occur, and a win for the underdog would pay roughly +500 if you play that route, risking only $100 to gain $500. The point differential unquestionably acts as a great leveler.