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When Betting MoneyLine in NFL Makes Sense?
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When Betting MoneyLine in NFL Makes Sense?

by USA WagerJune 13, 2021

After point spreads and totals, the next most common betting style for the NFL is moneyline bets. Moneyline odds are a bet on the winner of the game. It differs from point spreads, where you’re betting on a team to win by more than a certain amount of points. It removes that factor and just gets down to who will win the game.

Odds for a typical spread are likely around -115, meaning that you would need to wager $115 to win $100. Moneyline odds are different. Betting on a favorite would likely see your moneyline odds be anywhere from -150 to -400, depending on the matchup. Moneyline bets are a bit more common on underdogs, when odds are likely anywhere from +100 to +250.

Why You’d Bet a Moneyline in the NFL

Betting the moneyline is betting on a more absolute outcome. For players and non-bettors, sports is already absolute. One team wins and one team loses. That isn’t the case with sports bettors. Point spreads, whether it’s -3 or -10, change the final outcome of the game.

If you’re looking to avoid the randomness of a point spread and feel confident in one team winning, you would bet a moneyline. If you believe a team that is a -4 favorite will win, but are nervous that they won’t win by more than four points, you could sacrifice some odds on a moneyline bet.

Betting moneyline on an underdog would pay you out at a higher rate, given the better odds – which we’ll get to in a moment. Some fans of teams prefer betting the moneyline for their team instead of the spread. That way, they can avoid a situation where their team wins the game but doesn’t cover the spread, conflicting their emotions.

Breaking Down a Moneyline Bet

A typical NFL spread is likely -3. In this instance, the betting favorite’s moneyline odds are likely -150, and the underdog’s moneyline odds are +130. If you want to bet on the favorite, you would need to wager $150 to win $100. If you’re betting on the underdog, a $100 wager would pay out $130. As the spread grows, so too do the odds for each side. The favorite’s odds predictably get worse, while the underdog’s odds increase in value.

When to Not Bet the Moneyline in the NFL

Betting moneyline is a fine line. Yes, an underdog would pay out more if they win, but the extra money may not be worth it if you’re following the logic of a matchup. Let’s say you find a game where one team is a +6.5 underdog, but you think they match up well with the other team. Sure, the odds are better if you pick them to win the game, but the safer bet to make is to just take their spread. Even if you end up being right and they do win, you would still win your bet on the spread. 

When Betting Moneyline Makes Sense

Moneyline bets tend to make the most sense on a favorite with a low spread or an underdog with a big spread. Some bettors prefer to place a low-risk wager on the biggest underdogs of the week. If you place even $10 on three big underdogs with odds greater than +300, you would have a profitable day. For favorites that you think should win but are nervous about, it can make sense to take lesser odds and just hope for a win, by any margin.

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USA Wager