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Money Line betting explained: What is a Money Line bet?

by: BENJAMIN CRONIN for Pinnacle.com - posted on: 16-Jun-2020

This article appears originally on Pinnacle.com. Read and comment on the original.

  • What is a Money Line bet?
  • How does Money Line betting work?
  • Money Line betting strategy

Money Line betting is the most common type of sports bet. The simple format ensures it’s a popular choice for beginner bettors. However, more advanced bettors will still turn to this market to find value. What is a Money Line bet? How does Money Line betting work? Read on to find out.

What is a Money Line bet?

Money Line betting is one of the simplest and most common ways to bet. There will usually be two options presented in a market and all you have to do to place a Money Line bet is choose who you think will win and place a bet on them. The easiest way to describe what a Money Line bet is, is to think of it as a “match winner” bet.

If you place a Money Line bet and the team or person you have bet on wins, your bet will win. If the team or person you have bet on loses, your bet will lose. In order to calculate the potential return from your Money Line bet, simply multiply your stake (the amount you bet) by the decimal odds of the option you are betting on.

How does Money Line betting work?

Money Line betting is most prevalent in sports like baseball, tennis and UFC. While it is still a popular choice for betting on the NBA and NFL, the high scoring nature of sports like basketball and American football mean other bet types are more widely used (such as Totals or Handicap).

Although Money Line betting is most common in sporting events that feature two teams or competitors where the result cannot be a draw or tie, people may also refer to a Money Line market in soccer or other sports that can end in a draw.

This could either be a three-way Money Line market (which includes the draw). However, this is more commonly referred to as the 1X2 market (1 representing the home side, X the draw and 2 the away side). Alternatively, there is a more standard two-way Money Line market in soccer which will adjust the odds to remove the option of the draw and simply “push” (return your stake amount) if there is no winner.

Unlike other markets like the Over/Under (Totals) or Handicap, Money Line bets are settled solely on the result of the match – it is not impacted by the winning margin or points scored. The odds offered will reflect who is most likely to win (the favourite) and who is likely to lose (the underdog).

Although the Money Line is different to the Handicap market, there is a clear correlation between the two. The higher the Handicap mark is on the favourite, the more likely they are to win. This means the higher the Handicap is, the shorter the Money Line odds will be on the favourite (meaning the odds on the underdog will be bigger).

Handicap betting is often a popular alternative to the Money Line when there is a large disparity between the quality of two teams or competitors taking part in a match. If you are confident enough in a team winning that you think it will be greater than a specific margin, this is a case where a Handicap bet might more sense as it will provide you with an opportunity to make more money from your bet (picking a team to win by more than a certain amount of points is harder than just predicting them to win by any margin).

What is the difference between the Money Line and 1X2 betting markets?

As previously mentioned, the difference between the Money Line and 1X2 betting markets might appear to be a relatively minor difference, but it will have a big impact on the odds you bet with and the result of your bet.

The key difference between the two market types is the availability of the draw option. The Money Line traditionally only offers two options, Team/Player A to win and Team/Player B to win. However, the 1X2 market (most common in soccer) has both of these options, plus the draw.

Some people believe the difference is simply down to a preference of terminology, and that is why it’s important to know what you’re betting on if you’re talking about the Money Line if a draw is a potential outcome. You need to determine if it’s another way to refer to the 1X2 market (a three-way Money Line) or the traditional Money Line that doesn’t include the draw. If you’re betting on the 1X2 and think it’s a normal Money Line bet, you will be in for a surprise when your stake isn’t refunded if the result is a draw.

Money Line bet example

While the concept of a Money Line bet is simple to understand, it can still be useful to go through an example to help those new to betting. Below is an example of a Money Line market for an NFL game at Pinnacle.

These odds suggest the Kansas City Chiefs have a 79.56% chance of winning the game, whereas the Houston Texans have a 20.44% chance.If you believe the Houston Texans will win, or have a greater than 20.44% chance of winning, you may want to place a Money Line bet on them.You then simply add the selection to your bet slip and place the bet.

If the Houston Texans beat the Kansas City Chiefs, this would result in a win for your bet and a return of €47.40 (€37.40 profit and your €10 stake).If the Chiefs were to beat the Texans, the result of the bet would be a loss and it would return €0.

Money Line betting strategy: When to bet the Money Line

Once you understand how Money Line betting works, there are various methods or strategies you can use to decide what to bet on.Those who bet for fun may just choose their favourite team or the team that, based on their opinion, they think has the best chance of winning.However, those who are serious about betting will be more concerned with the concept of value and will want to bet on the team that has been underestimated by the odds provided by the bookmaker.

If your aim is to use a Money Line betting strategy to make a long-term profit, an understanding of probability is key. This is where converting odds into percentage chance can help give you a better idea of how the bookmaker (and rest of the betting market) think a game will play out.

Whether you use a complex model, a simplified power rankings system or just odds comparison from an efficient bookmaker to one that hasn’t managed their odds correctly, the concept of value always remains the same. You are looking for an option within the market that has a greater likelihood of happening than that shown by the available odds.

It is important not to tie yourself to a specific market as a bettor and say you will only bet the Money Line, Handicap or Over/Under. While you may specialise in a certain market or have access to data that will make it easier to find an edge, it can still be useful to analyse the complete picture of an event provided by the betting market to help inform the decision making process before placing a bet.

About the author

Benjamin Cronin

Benjamin studied English with Creative Writing (BA) before pursuing a career that combined his love of sport and fascination with betting. An avid fan of numerous sports, his writing now covers anything from in-depth major sporting event previews, to examining betting trends and techniques.
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