Understanding the Money Line in Sports Betting

There are many ways to bet on sports. Money line is a set of figures used by sportsbooks to tell you what odds they offer for certain bets. Let's look at how the money line works.

Sportsbooks and Sports Betting

Sportsbooks are places where you can go to place bets. A bookie or bookmaker pays out bets and takes a cut from wins. This is how they make money.

Now a sportsbook's goal is to get about the same number of bets on either side. In every match, there is an underdog and a favorite. To get more people to bet on the underdog, sportsbooks pay out more for winning underdog bets and less for winning favorite bets. Naturally you wouldn't want to bet on an underdog for even money. But if you knew that a small underdog bet could win a big payoff, why not? That is the logic behind the money line.

How the Money Line Works in Sports Betting

It should be made clear that the money line does NOT reflect the "true odds" of an athlete or sports team winning or losing. The money line figures are there for purely financial purposes. Generally, however, the money line tells you how much an underdog one side is and how big a favorite the other side is. The bigger the disparity shown in the money line, the more lop-sided the match tends to be.

The money line looks like this:

Player 1 -$300 / Player 2 +$220

It is easy to decipher the money line. What it is actually saying is this: If you bet three hundred dollars on the favorite, player 1, and he or she wins, you only win a hundred dollars plus you get your bet back. But if you bet a hundred dollars on the underdog, player 2, and he or she prevails, you earn two hundred twenty dollars plus your original bet.

If your choice is a heavy favorite, you will likely have to bet a large sum of money. But if you bet on an extreme underdog, you only need to bet small for a chance to make a huge victory. This is why the money line often reflects the fans' expectations of the match.

How Sportsbooks Make Money in Sports Betting

Now where do the sportsbooks make money here?

Simple. The sportsbooks make money when there is an upset be ensuring that the underdog bet wins LESS than what the favorite bet loses.

In this case, if the underdog wins, the sportsbook will collect $300 from the losing bets and pay out only $220 to the winning bets. That leaves them with $80 in their pockets.

Where the Money Line is Used in Sports Betting

The money line betting method can be used for any head-to-head sport or match. Good examples are tennis, boxing and golf. In these sports the points by which the winner wins is unimportant. Money line can also be used for team sports betting if you do not like to use point spread betting.

Next time there is a sports event going on, take a trip down to your local casino and line up at their sportsbook. Or better yet, log online and make a bet an online sportsbook now! You can bet on anything under the sun - sports, showbiz, politics and novel topics!