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Moneyline Bets – How To Bet Sportsbook Game Lines

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  • Risk vs. Reward: Moneyline Odds Explained.
  • Underdog bets (positive odds) offer higher potential returns
  • Favorites (negative odds) are considered safer but offer lower returns

A wise scholar once said, "Show me the money." Well, that was Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry McGuire, but for this page, that's exactly what we're going to do. Regarding legal sportsbook gambling, moneylines are a top priority for many gamblers looking for a sweet payout.

One of the most popular sportsbook bet types, moneylines, essentially involves betting on the winner of the competition. Popular sports that feature these bet types include football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and other sports that pit two teams or two players against each other.

Below, we will investigate the money line, including favorites and underdogs, and discuss how I like to place my bets and the strategies typically used to make stronger and smarter bets: "Help me, help you."

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    Is Online Moneyline Betting Legal In The USA?

    Yes, of course. No federal gambling laws make online sports betting illegal, and US players have been making bets on the moneyline over the web for about as long as I can remember. In the past, the US government has made efforts to halt payments to out-of-country gambling sites, but they have never explicitly banned the act of online sports gambling, just added hurdles.

    In 2018, the PASPA Act was overturned, and states started passing laws allowing both in-person and online sportsbooks. Today, Americans have several options to choose from, including offshore sportsbooks that have been servicing the US for decades, DFS apps (depending on the state), and state-regulated online sportsbooks.

    * (as of 2024, 38 states allow in-person sportsbooks, and 29 allow online sportsbooks.)

    Money Line Explained

    The moneyline, often called the "win" line, is a bet type in which you can lay action on the competition winner. Win bets do not consider the amount of margin like betting on the spread, but instead, focus solely on who will win or lose the competition.

    Money Line Odds Explained

    The underdog (+) of the game is always represented with positive odds, and the favorite has (-) negative odds. The positive and negative numbers represent the payout for the bet. Below, we will look at the odds for an old baseball game and discuss how I made my bet.

    MLB moneyline odds

    In the above MLB game line, the Atlanta Braves are the favorite to win the game. With the win line set at (-174), a $174 bet is needed to win $100. On the contrary, if you bet on the underdog winning at (+143), a $100 bet will win $143. The online sportsbooks we review all have built-in moneyline calculators on their virtual bet slips that calculate winnings per wager.

    3 Way Moneyline

    For some sports, such as hockey or soccer, a three-way moneyline is offered. A three-way moneyline includes a "favorite" to win, an "underdog," and a "split." Since hockey and soccer both often result in a tie at the end of regulation, the third option is often presented.

    Below is a three-way money line example from Major League Soccer (MLS) offered by Bovada's online sportsbook.

    3 way moneyline example

    Online Sports Betting Strategies - Moneylines

    Depending on the sport, the strategies can change, but there are some basic strategies everyone should be aware of and implement to make smarter bets. Below, we will quickly touch on a few strategies I use when placing bets on sports.

    Underdog odds are much more profitable than betting on the favorites, but they are also riskier. I personally always look for favorable underdog odds when betting on the NFL or any sport, really, as I like big wins. However, I am also realistic and research matchups before I wager. One of the rules I live by is that I would rather make a little money than lose any money.

    Spread vs. Moneyline

    Spread and money line bets are similar in that you can bet on the winner, but spread odds add another equation of points to the mix. If you are new to sportsbook gambling, getting a feel for the moneylines is best before venturing into the spread odds and totals.

    See our guide to betting on point spreads to learn more about the popular game line option. For some bettors, betting on the spread, moneyline, and totals together is a smart bet.

    Other Ways To Bet On Sportsbook Game Lines

    Game lines consist of three wagering options: moneylines, spread odds, and totals. Not all sports have these options, but for team sports and select individual sports, you will likely encounter those bet types.

    While very different, these bet types can all be utilized when betting on a game line. Below is a short breakdown of each bet type for quick reference.

    Moneyline or Win odds offer a favorite, underdog, and sometimes split odds. These odds are the most straightforward as you are betting on the competition's winner. The numeric odds for each team determine the payout.

    Mobile Sportsbook Apps For 2024

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    Mobile betting apps are an excellent resource for getting the best odds from multiple gambling sites. The sportsbook sites we recommend are all optimized for mobile devices, including iPhones, Androids, and tablets. Each site can easily be accessed over the web; you only need a data plan or WI-FI connection.

    Personally, I like to bookmark my sportsbook accounts to my desktop on my phone so I can access them with just a few clicks. The mobile sportsbook sites below are all optimized for mobile devices and are a great starting point for anyone looking for game line odds.

    Live Moneyline Gambling

    Live moneyline odds are also available to wager on. However, it is best to lock in odds early, as they will change as the game unfolds. Pros will often use live "in-game" odds to hedge their bets if it looks like their initial bet is not going to hit.

    Live odds are available for many sports, including betting on boxing, MMA events, football, baseball, basketball, and more. They are also great for players looking to maximize their winnings.

    Online Sports Betting Bonus Offers

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    One of the best perks of gambling on sports online is the bonus sportsbook sites offer their account holders. From welcome bonuses to reload bonuses, there is something for every type of player.

    Bonus rewards are always tied to rollover requirements and should only be accepted if you plan on betting a good bit. While these rollover requirements are often easy to meet, they can delay withdrawals if the terms and conditions are not fulfilled. The best sportsbook bonuses are all cash rewards and are available to all account holders.

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