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Sports Betting for Beginners: Moneyline vs. Spread

By January 8, 2020 No Comments
Sports Betting Guide

The sports betting industry is one of the fastest-growing in the United States. It is incredibly fun to get involved, but a new sports bettor must know the different types of bets first. In this guide, we cover the moneyline and the spread to prepare you to place your first bet or learn something you might not have known.

Sports Betting Odds: The Moneyline

The moneyline represents the wager a bettor must place to win $100 or the the amount a bettor wins on a $100 wager. This type of betting does not involve a point spread or handicap. A bettor simply selects the winning team.

The easiest way to explain the moneyline is through an example. Let’s say the Lakers are playing the Celtics. The Lakers are -180 to win, and the Celtics are +150 to win. The minus (-) symbol next to the Lakers moneyline signifies they are favored to win. This means that a bettor must risk $180 to win $100 if they choose to bet on the Lakers. The plus (+) symbol next to the Celtics moneyline means they are the underdogs in the matchup. A bettor risks $100 to win $150 by betting on the Celtics.

Moneyline bets are most often used for low-scoring sports such as baseball, soccer, and hockey. It is a great introduction for new sports bettors due to its simplicity.

At times, there will not be an option to bet on the moneyline. This is typically the case when there is a huge favorite in a game, which often happens in college sports. For instance, if Ohio State is favored by 51 points against Rutgers, a bettor will only have the option of betting on the point spread.

Sports Betting the Odds: The Spread

The point spread is used to even the odds between the favorite and the underdog. The oddsmaker dictates the amount of points that are subtracted from the favorite’s final score or added to the underdog’s final score.

We’ll use an example to describe. Once again, the Lakers are playing the Celtics. The points spread is as follows:

Lakers -5

Celtics +5

The minus (-) symbol next to the Lakers implies they are the favorite. If a bettor takes the Lakers at -5, the Lakers must win by more than 5 points to win the bet. The plus (+) symbol next to the Celtics means they are the underdog. If the bettor wagers on the Celtics at +5, they must lose by less than 5 points or win outright to win the bet. If the Lakers win by exactly 5 points, this is called a “push”. The bettor does not win or lose in this case.

When two teams are evenly matched in the eyes of the oddsmaker, the point spread will be classified as a “PK” or “Pick’em”. This means that the margin of victory does not matter. The bettor simply wagers on the team they believe will win.

Often times, the point spread shifts in the days or weeks leading up to a game. This can happen for many reasons, including key injuries and a heavy amount of bets placed on one team. Let’s use the example of the Lakers vs. Celtics matchup. They are set to face off on Friday.

Monday point spread: Lakers -5, Celtics +5

On Tuesday, it is announced that LeBron James will not be able to play for the Lakers on Friday, so the point spread shifts to reflect the new handicap.

Wednesday point spread: Lakers -1.5, Celtics +1.5

If a bettor had wagered on the Lakers on Monday, they are committed to the -5 point spread. They still need the Lakers to win by more than 5 points to win the bet. If a bettor placed a wager on the Lakers on Wednesday, they only need the Lakers to win by 2 or more points to win the bet.

You are now ready to evaluate money line and point spread bets. Use your new knowledge to win real cash prizes in the Action 247 free-to-play contests. Check out our game lobby now. Good luck!