How to read a Moneyline: A Bet O’Clock Guide

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A moneyline bet is a wager on the result of a sports game. In other words, it is a bet on who will win the game. Unlike line or spread betting,  moneyline betting does not involve a handicap.

Moneyline bets are often referred to as head-to-head or result betting. You can calculate how much you stand to win with moneyline betting.

Moneyline Odds

What is a moneyline bet? Well, they are always displayed in the following manner:

Miami Dolphins +200
Chicago Bears -250

As we can see, moneyline odds can be displayed as either a plus or minus moneyline. Sometimes you need to convert the odds to a different format, which you can do here.

How do plus and minus odds work?

Plus Moneylines

In our example, the Miami Dolphins are listed at odds of +200. This is an example of a plus moneyline.

What is a plus moneyline? A plus moneyline displays the amount of money you will win as profit if you bet $100.

What does a +200 money line mean? Should you bet $100 on the Miami Dolphins and they win the game, you would take away $200 profit.

Minus Moneylines

In our example, the Chicago Bears are listed at odds of -250. This is a minus moneyline.

What is a minus or negative moneyline? A minus moneyline displays the amount of money you need to bet in order to win $100.

So in our example, you would have to bet $250 in order to take away a profit of $100 should the Chicago Bears win the game.

NFL Moneylines

Spread betting is the most popular NFL bet type and over-under bets are a popular bet too. However, moneylines still receive plenty of attention from bettors.

It simply requires bettors to pick the winner of the game. There is no handicap.

The key to winning NFL moneyline bets is identifying value bets. What does this mean? It means finding bets where you believe the chances of a team winning a game is greater than the chances that the bookmaker’s odds represent.

Let’s consider our previous example.

Miami Dolphins +200
Chicago Bears -250

Based on these odds, the bookmakers believe the chances of each time winning are:

Miami Dolphins 33.3%
Chicago Bears 71.4%

This is the ‘implied probability’. So how do we calculate implied probability in American odds?

Calculating the implied probability in positive American odds is easy:

Implied probability = 100 divided by (positive odds + 100)

So in our example, the Dolphins are at odds of +200 to win the game. What is the implied probability of these odds?

  • Implied probability = 100 divided by (200 + 100)
  • 100 divided by 300
  •  0.3333

So the implied probability of Miami winning the game is 0.3333 (or 33.33%). In this instance, the bookmakers believe the Dolphins are a 33.33% chance of defeating Chicago.

Calculating the implied probability in negative American odds is also easy:

Implied probability = negative odds divided by (negative odds – 100)

So in our example, the Bears are at odds of -250 to win the game. What is the implied probability of these odds?

  •  -250 divided by (-250 – 100)
  • -250 divided by -350
  •  0.7143

So the implied probability of the Bears winning the game is 0.7143, or 71.43%. In this case, the bookmakers see Chicago as a 71.43% chance of beating Miami.

Do we have a value bet?

We’ve done our analysis and believe the chances of Miami winning the game is 40%. As we believe the chances of Miami winning (40%) are greater than the chances represented by bookmaker odds (33.33%), betting on Miami is a value bet.

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