Moneyline betting is an essential tool in any sports bettor’s arsenal. Moneylines, also known as betting “straight up,” allow you to take advantage of underdog victories like no other bet type.

    Using the moneyline to bet on a favorite can also be a profitable method in certain situations.

    But before we get into the usage, let’s define what a moneyline bet is. Let’s say that the Minnesota Vikings are favored over the Chicago Bears, the moneyline might look like this:

    Chicago Bears +110

    Minnesota Vikings -120

    This display indicates that if you bet $100 on the Bears, you stand to win $110, whereas if you bet on the Vikings, you must bet $120 in order to win $100.

    Of course you don’t have to bet the moneyline in $100 increments, you can bet $20 or $50 and the same payout percentages will apply.

    Some Sports Offer Only or Primarily Moneyline Bets

    When you are talking about football or basketball, point spread bets are probably the number one option. You can think a team is going to lose, for example, but you may still want to pick that team if you are getting enough points.

    For other sports, such as boxing, tennis, NASCAR, hockey, and baseball, the point spread bet option is much less available if at all. Either one team (or individual) wins, or the other team (or individual) wins. So therefore the moneyline bet is often the only bet out there.

    Note though that the moneyline bet may not always be expressed in the +110 / -120 format used above. For example, boxing lines are often expressed as one boxer being a 3-1 favorite, meaning that you must bet $300 in order to win $100.

    Different description, yes, but still a moneyline bet.

    Moneyline Bets on the Underdog

    The most powerful use of moneyline betting occurs when you identify an underrated underdog that has a much better chance of winning than everyone is giving them credit for. If you do find a situation like that, betting the moneyline on the underdog gives you tremendous leverage to win much money without risking more money, which is just plain awesome.

    Let’s take the famous example of the huge upset by Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson, in 1990 in Tokyo. Buster Douglas was a 42-1 underdog, so this means that if you bet the moneyline on Douglas, your bet of $100 would have paid $4,200.

    Of course this is an extreme example but you get the point. If you see a team or individual that is not getting the credit it deserves, consider the moneyline bet on that underdog if the payout is proper.

    There are many, many situations where the “conventional wisdom” is way off. Moneyline betting helps you profit from the resemblance of humans to lemmings, rushing off the cliff just because “everybody else is doing it.”

    Thinking Big With Moneyline Parlays

    A final note about moneyline betting is that if you put together a parlay of more than one underdog onto one betting card, you can punish your bookie severely. Certainly you won’t want to rely on this strategy to pay your rent, because favorites are usually favored for a reason.

    But when you do happen upon three dogs that you like to win their respective contests, you may find that a reasonably priced three team parlay provides tremendous bang for your betting buck.

    The Best Sites for Moneyline Betting
    This is a very common type of bet, so all sportsbooks should do this well; those that don’t shouldn’t really be in the business. Regardless, our picks are below: