Discussing Value of the Football Money Line

This article provides an introduction to money line betting and is meant for readers not familiar at all with how money line odds work. Experienced bettors should refer to the contents of our no-vig calculator page for a more advanced discussion of this topic.

How Money Line Odds Work

Money Lines are one of the many differnet types of football wagers you can make. If you want to learn how to place successful wagers on football games (or any other sport for that matter) then it is very important to understand money line betting. In money lines, you are basically betting on which team will win the game. It is a straight-forward bet where you do not have to consider scores or the point spreads. Odds are applied to each team in order to compensate for the spread and for the differences in teams’ strengths. Thus, relative to stake: when you are betting on a favorite team it cost more to wager that team, and when you are betting on an underdog team it cost less to wager that team, to win the same amount between the two.

* Please see illustration below to help understand money line bets, text explanation follows.

Money Line Football

Money Line Examples:
Let us say the New York Giants are playing against the Detroit Lions in the National Football League (NFL). The money line odds are listed as:

– NY Giants (+140)
– Detroit Lions (-160)

In this case the Lions are the favorites. A favorite’s odds are always listed with with a – sign. A + sign shows that the Giants are the underdog – less likely to win the game.

If you are betting that the Giants would win, you would need to bet $160 to win $100. Hence, you would get a total of $260 back (your original bet of $100 and a profit of $160).

If you are betting $100 that the Lions would win, you would get a $140 profit or $240 in total back.

Why Different Odds?
You might ask, “What is the point of having different odds and different payouts in money lines?”. Image the number one ranked team in the NFL, Packers, are playing against the lowest ranked team, the Panthers. Most people would bet on the Packers since they are much more likely to win. Very few people would bet on the Panthers. Wagering on football would be a nightmare for online sportsbooks because they would not be able to profit from the match and pay off all of the people who bet on the heavy favorite. There is no point spread or anything to balance out the bets.

Thus, an incentive is needed to motivate bettors to place wagers on the underdog. That is what the money lines are for. They provide an incentive for people to bet on the underdogs, helping to even out the odds since betting on the underdog is so much more tempting due to the possible higher return.

Football Money Line Betting Strategies

A lot of amateur bettors tend to employ a single strategy of only making bets on favorites. It might make sense since they are actually more likely to win, but you have to realize that the odds are adjusted by a sportsbook to make them as even as possible. Do not forget that if you bet on an underdog team and they get an upset, you can win a lot more money. Of course, do not go betting on underdogs all the time either; just make sure to consider both sides equally.

Be Objective
You might be surprised to know how many bettors could be influenced by their emotions and bet on a team that they want to win rather than the team that is more likely to win. They could be fans of certain teams and allow themselves to make subjective emotional bets. Do not fall into this trap. If you want to make money, forget about your emotions and what teams you like. Bet on teams that you think are more likely to win in a given match.

Do Your Research
Football money lines are a very popular form of betting and you will be able to find a lot of various lines on different sportsbooks. We suggest that you to do your research for best possible money line odds. If you are confident that an underdog will win, then look for money lines with the highest (+) odds. Then you can win the most money on a single bet – if they win of course. If you think that a favorite will win, then look for money lines with the lowest (-) odds. Then you will not have to bet as much to win some money too.

Closing Thoughts
If you want to take football betting to the next level, first be warned this is a bit advanced. However, if that’s you I suggest first reading my article on fade the public and then dive into teasers where understanding moneylines comes greatly into play.

Author:  Jim Griffin