Moneyline betting is the most simple type of sports bet. All you are doing is choosing which team will win a given match. Moneyline odds are the predominant odds in Hockey and Baseball. The reason for this is that they are both low scoring games. Adding a point spread (spread betting defined) is not safe in low scoring games for sportsbooks, as a single run or goal can significantly change an outcome.
Using the following MLB baseball example of the Toronto Blue Jays versus Houston Astros. Usually websites will list the moneyline odds for a game this way:
The negative number represents that Houston is the favorite. If Toronto were the favorite the negative odds number would be beside it’s name. An important step if you see odds presented this way is to research the odds on the other team, regardless if you think the favorite is going to win. It is important to assess the risk/reward completely before placing a bet. In this example, Toronto is offered at +145. Once again, the easy way to describe these odds is that a $100 bet on Toronto wins $145, while a $167 bet on Houston wins $100. My advice is to never consider the odds this way since it is designed to abstract the level of risk you are taking. The best tactic is to convert the odds to indicate the return on your one unit bet. Below are the results of a $100 bet:
Providing the baseball game goes 5 innings (or 4.5 innings if Houston is winning) there will be a result in this game and one side or the other of the moneyline will pay out.
Let’s take an example from NHL hockey. Below we have the Pittsburgh Penguins versus Washington Capitals, where the home team is a -152 favorite. The other side of the bet has Pittsburgh as the +137 underdog. Once again, providing the game goes 55 minutes, there will be a result and your $100 bet on Pittsburgh could win $137 or Washington to win $65.79
For NFL/College football and NBA/NCAAB basketball do sometimes have moneyline odds, but those odds can get very extreme, with odds like -250 or -300. In that case you are going to have to bet huge money to win a reasonable amount. Some more timid sportsbooks will have moneyline odds on games where the difference in the the expected spread (spread betting defined) is less than 10 points, then they will offer a moneyline odd on that match.
Moneyline is much more rare in soccer/English football betting, since there are frequent ties or ‘draws’ in soccer matches. Occasionally you will see moneyline odds in soccer, but there are often conditions on the outcome that don’t make it a true moneyline bet.