Watching sports is still America’s favorite pastime, with nearly 70% of the population watching live sports. Getting in on the action through sports betting is just as entertaining as watching games.
You might make little bets with your friends here and there, but why not make some real money off of betting? First, you need to understand the moneyline wager, specifically a negative, positive, and 3-way moneyline bet.
Understanding a negative moneyline can help you learn how to read betting odds. Negative odds don’t necessarily mean a lower potential profit, but the profit you make will always be lower than the profit on positive moneylines.
Negative odds refer to favored teams. You’re more likely to win a negative odds bet than a positive odds bet. Let’s break it down with an example.
Let’s say you want to bet on the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Phoenix Suns. The odds could look like this:
- Los Angeles Clippers: -168
- Phoenix Suns: +142
These odds indicate that the Clippers are favored to win the game outright. Betting on a team with negative odds is generally a safer bet, but it costs more and returns less of a profit.
To earn a $100 profit on these odds, you would need to bet $168 on the Clippers. Whereas, betting only $100 on the Suns would return a profit of $142 if they were to win the game.
Positive odds are assigned to the underdog in a game. These teams are less likely to win, but they will provide bigger payouts for risk-hungry bettors.
Let’s take a look at an NFL example to further explain positive moneylines:
- Atlanta Falcons: +144
- New Orleans Saints -172
In this example, the Falcons are the underdogs and, therefore, have a higher profit margin. For a $100 bet on the Falcons, you would receive a profit of $144 for a total payout of $244.
$100 is the standard bet for many bettors, but you can set your average bet based on your budget.
You may see moneyline wagers with a lot of positive numbers. For example, if you check the odds for the 2024 Super Bowl, all or most teams have positive odds.
Because this event is currently up in the air, a lot of things can shift. Everyone is pretty much considered an underdog until the big day comes around. Right now, the top five teams favored to win the Super Bowl and their odds are:
- San Francisco 49ers: +210
- Baltimore Ravens: +350
- Dallas Cowboys: +850
- Kansas City Chiefs: +950
- Buffalo Bills: +950
In this example, the higher the positive number, the lower the chances of the team to win. Right now, the 49ers are favored while the Chiefs and Bills have the same odds to win the whole thing.
A typical moneyline bet involves two options, whereas a 3-way moneyline bet involves three options. When making a sports betting wager on this type of bet, you can bet either Team A to win, Team B to win, or for there to be a tie.
3-way moneylines aren’t available for all sports. These bets come into play when the results of a match may end in a tie and a winner cannot be determined.
It’s harder to predict an outcome with three choices rather than two, so you can get more value out of these bets if you win.
3-way moneylines are primarily available for soccer and hockey bets. These are the two sports most likely to end in a tie or draw.
3-Way Moneyline in Soccer
Wagers in soccer are decided after a 90-minutes of play, plus additional time added by the referees. Draws in soccer are common because of the lower-scoring nature of the game.
An example of a soccer 3-way moneyline is:
- Arsenal: +140
- Draw: +260
- Manchester United: +200
Although all of the odds are positive, you can see that Arsenal is favored to win the game with Manchester United as the underdog. However, the chance of a draw has the highest odds so you would get the biggest payout if you win that bet.
3-Way Moneyline in Hockey
A standard, two-way moneyline bet is popular in NHL wagering, but betting sites offer three-way moneylines on most games. Like soccer, games are often tied after three periods.
A 3-way moneyline eliminates overtime from the wager. You are betting on the outcome at the end of three periods. An example of this type of moneyline is:
- Vegas Golden Knights: -125
- Vancouver Canucks: +280
- Tie: +310
In this example, Vegas is favored to win with the tie being the longshot option.
Identifying a Good Moneyline Bet
Moneyline odds can vary greatly from sport to sport and from sportsbook to sportsbook. Moneyline payouts offer low returns for favored teams, but you can find real value in betting on the underdog.
There are a few solid ways to identify a good moneyline bet.
Undervalued Moneyline Bets
It’s important to be able to identify the best opportunities. For example, betting on a favorite you think has been overvalued can improve your profit margin.
To find an undervalued favorite, look at games that aren’t high-profile. Popular games attract a lot of interest which can change the odds. Doing your research on the moneyline market will help you assess undervalued favorites.
As you watch a game, you’ll notice the moneyline changing. You can use live betting strategies to find the best moneyline bets as well.
Betting odds look different per game because specific matchups call for different odds. Look beyond the popularity of a team and consider their quality.
Find out the unique strengths and weaknesses of a team. Learn how well they play under pressure. When looking into a specific matchup, consider where teams are playing and if they have an advantage at home.
Making Profits With Moneyline Betting
Moneyline betting can be profitable if you aren’t convinced the favorite will win. It’s a safe option to bet on the favorite too, but upsets do happen.
Understanding a negative, positive, and 3-way moneyline can help you decide if this form of betting is right for you. If want to become a bookie, offering moneyline betting is ideal.
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