What does Moneyline mean in Basketball Betting?
June 02 2023

What does Moneyline mean in Basketball Betting?

Moneyline betting is yet another classic bet type that’s part of a small betting group. With this bet, players bet on the final outcome of a match without thinking about the point spread. Remember that the moneyline bet is solely dependent on who wins. Moneyline bets in sports betting are used for low scoring sports. This is what makes this bet type perfect for baseball and hockey; however, it can also be used in racing, boxing, tennis, etc. Nevertheless, it can also be used in sports that do have bigger scores like football and basketball, even though a point spread bet would be much better for these sports. Below, we will explain what does moneyline mean in basketball betting.

Table of Contents

  • What is a Moneyline Bet?
    • Advantages of Moneyline Betting in Basketball
    • What does Moneyline mean in NBA Basketball Betting?

What is a Moneyline Bet?

Moneyline wagers in basketball are bets on who you think is going to win the game. There are no point spreads to cover or any other stipulations; it all comes down to who wins the game. If you place a moneyline bet on the Orlando Magic and they win the game by 1 or 100 points, it doesn’t matter. You win your bet either way. If they lose the game by any amount of points, you lose your bet. For those that read our section on point spread bets (and we recommend you do before getting through this section), you are probably already wondering how the sportsbook is going to make these bets fair.What does Moneyline mean in Basketball Betting?What does Moneyline mean in Basketball Betting?Moneyline wagers in Basketball Betting

This is where the big difference between moneyline bets and point spread bets lie. To make the bet fairer and on a level playing field, each bet type does something different. As we discussed, point spread bets are adjusted by manipulating the number of points a team is favored or an underdog by. With moneyline bets, this is achieved by manipulating the payouts. The bigger the favorite a team is, the less money you will be paid on a winning bet. The bigger the underdog a team is, the more money you will be paid on a winning bet. Again, there is no point spread to cover. With point spread bets, you can bet on a team that you think is going to lose the game and still win your bet. This luxury goes out the window with moneyline bets.

Advantages of Moneyline Betting in Basketball

Bigger Payouts

As we mentioned earlier, the payouts for underdogs on moneyline bets are significantly higher than betting that same team as a point spread bet. To compensate for this, the team has to win the game. In situations where you think a team is going to “beat the spread” by more than a point and actually win the game, you can take advantage of that with moneyline bets.

Let’s say you are deciding between betting $200 on the Miami Heat at +5.5 points or betting the moneyline at +200. Let’s also say that you think Miami isn’t just going to cover the spread but is going to win the game. You could take the point spread bet and have a 5.5 point cushion and cruise your way through the game. If you’re right, you’ll easily win this bet with a nice cushion and get paid $181.82 in profit. But let’s say you’re confident in your prediction and want a way to capitalize on it. This is where you can take advantage of the moneyline. If you place your $200 wager on the moneyline instead, you will win $400! When you think the line is way off in a game, moneyline bets allow you to capitalize and win big.

The Simplest Bet on Earth

Some of you may be shaking your heads that this is the simplest bet on earth after we got done doing all of that math. Remember, all of that math was only to show you how to calculate your payout odds if you wanted to know. Online sportsbooks are going to do all of that work for you before you place any of your bets. These bets really come down to picking a winner. That’s it. If you pick the winner of the game correctly more times than you pick them incorrectly, you will be a profitable sports bettor.

What does Moneyline mean in NBA Basketball Betting?

There are only two options on an NBA moneyline, because obviously only two teams can play each other at any given time. Depending on your sports betting site of choice, the moneyline will likely use what are referred to as “American Odds.” When looking at the moneyline, each team will have either a positive number next to it (e.g. +150) or a negative number (e.g. -125). The underdog will generally have a positive number next to it. The favorite will generally have a negative number next to it.

The bigger the favorite, the smaller the payout. The bigger the underdog, the bigger the payout. In games that are expected to be very close, both teams may have a negative number (e.g. -105 and -115). In such cases, the team that is closer to zero is the slight favorite.

Examples of NBA Moneyline

The image above displays a sample betting line like those you’ll find at online basketball betting sites. We’ve highlighted the relevant part of the sample in red. The negative number (-110) next to Golden State indicates that the Warriors are the favorite. It also denotes how much money you would have to wager in order to win $100. 

In this case, you’ll need to bet $200 on Golden State to make a $100 profit. Your total payout from this bet would be $300 when you add the $100 profit to your $200 stake. Of course, you don’t have to wager $200. You can bet any amount of money you like, though the payout will be commensurate with the odds.

A positive number denotes the underdog and signifies how much money you stand to win if you wager $100. If you bet $100 on OKC (and they win), you ‘d earn a $180 profit. (Again, your total payout would be $280 when you add the $180 profit to your $100 bet.)

What If Both Moneylines Are Equal?

Occasionally, both moneylines will be negative, but they won’t be identical (e.g. -115 and -105). If this is the case, the one farther from zero is the slight favorite. The greater the difference between the two teams’ odds, the greater the difference between the underdog and the favorite.

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