Betting Money Lines

Betting The Money Line
by Jason Green of

For those who are new to sports gambling, betting money lines can seem difficult to understand. But when you understand money lines they can be easier to use than a general point spread. The point spread deals with who wins the game and the number of points they win by, while the money line only deals with who wins.

The best way to understand the money line is by example. In this case lets take a baseball game between the Giants and the Dodgers. When you are looking for the odds of the game between the two teams you will see the money line, which looks like this:

San Francisco Giants +120
L.A. Dodgers -130

In this game the Dodgers are the team that is favored. Any “-” symbol that you see on the money line will be the favored bet. Conversely the “+” symbol will signify the underdog of the bet. For this game these numbers mean that those who want to place a wager on the favored Dodgers will have to risk $130 in order to win $100. Those who want to wager on the Giants will risk $100 and then win $120. The money line works the exact the same, as you can bet $5 or $20 and the formula stays the same, but for example purposes it is easier to use $100 increments.


The money line is used for sports where the point spread does not matter. Sports like this include boxing, baseball, tennis, soccer, hockey, and auto racing. While it is the case that the margin of victory in the sports of hockey, baseball, and soccer are very small, so it is very hard to make up a point spread for each and every game. Money line odds can increase or decrease when taking into account such things as weather and injuries. Here is an example of a money line for a heavily favored team. If the Royals were playing the Red Sox you may see odds like this:

Kansas City Royals +180
Boston Red Sox -210

In this case the Red Sox are the big favorites and you would have to bet $210 on Boston in order to win $100. If you bet on the Royals you would be risking $100 in order to win $190. The difference in the money line will increase as it becomes more apparent that the favorite will win the game or decrease if things happen where it looks like the underdog has a better chance to win the game. Money lines change often, especially when injuries are announced. For example, if a Cy Young candidate was on the mound against a starter for the opposing team who is well under .500 the team with the Cy Young candidate will be a big favorite. But if it is announced that the Cy Young candidate will miss the start because of injury the money line will decrease.

Money lines are usually offered on all sports even those that have a point spread, such as basketball and football. You still have the possibility to wager on the point spread, but wagering on the money line will give you another betting option.