What is a moneyline bet?

What is the moneyline?

A moneyline wager is perhaps the simplest way to get started in the world of sports betting, as all it involves is picking the winner of a game or event. There really isn't a sport for which you can't find moneyline wagering, although the value on moneylines can vary greatly.

For most sports, betting on the moneyline involves choosing one team/player or the other to win, although some sports such as soccer will also offer moneyline odds for a tie.

If there is a plus (+) symbol in front of moneyline odds for a team or player, that means they are the underdog, and the odds represent how much you would win with a $100 wager. If there is a minus (-) symbol in front of their odds, then the sportsbook considers them the favourite, and the odds represent how much you would have to bet in order to win $100. The more likely an outcome, the higher the - price will be, while the less likely, the larger the + price will be.

Before recent legislation, Canadians had to bet on multiple moneyline outcomes (in the form of a parlay bet) in order to make a wager. As of 2021, Canadians can use single-game betting to bet on the moneyline market for a game on its own.

How can you place a moneyline bet?

Placing a moneyline bet is a straightforward process and, as we mentioned, moneyline odds are offered for almost every single sports game or event, meaning odds are never hard to find.

Below are the moneyline odds that were offered for a NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets: 



Montreal Canadiens


Winnipeg Jets


Let's imagine that before puck drop, you are confident that the Jets will win. The sportsbook has offered moneyline odds of -215 for them to do so, meaning you would have to wager $215 in order to win $100. If you placed such a wager and the Jets did win, your payout would be $315 (your $215 bet plus $100 profit).

Alternatively, if you thought that the Canadiens would come out on top, the same sportsbook has offered moneyline odds of +185 for them to win. In this case, a successful $100 wager would return $285 (your $100 bet plus $185 profit).

Moneyline odds are set according to a combination of who the sportsbook thinks will win (and the extent to which they are favorites), their own margin, and who bettors are wagering on. As a result, moneyline odds can change during the build-up to a game or event.


Does betting the moneyline provide value?

A moneyline bet provides value when an underdog team you believe will win outright pays better than they do against the spread. The spread is a set expected margin the sportsbook posts, and bettors either take a team to win by at least that amount or to lose by no more than that amount. 

Let’s imagine that the Toronto Raptors are playing the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA, and the Raptors are +4.5 underdogs while the Hawks are -4.5 favorites. The spread is made to try and get equal wagers on both sides, so the likelihood of each outcome is closer to a coin flip for bettors. For this reason, wagers on the spread generally offer around 2:1 payouts.  

However, if you think the Raptors will win, a sportsbook will likely give +4.5 underdogs moneyline odds of around +270. As a result, a successful $100 moneyline bet would have a profit of $270 as opposed to $200. Similarly, while the payout will be smaller, moneyline bets on a heavy favorite can be less risky than a wager on them to cover the spread. 

Moneyline betting can also be preferable to totals or over/under betting, if you are more confident at predicting the outcome of a match instead of how many points or goals there will be in it.

Moneyline betting FAQs

What is the Vegas moneyline?
Can moneyline markets include odds on a tie?
Which sportsbooks have the best moneyline odds?

All betting guides on BET.CA are written by in-our house team, who have over 40 years’ experience in the sports betting and gaming industries, and have worked and written for several of the world’s leading sportsbooks. They possess in-depth knowledge of betting markets and strategies, as well as an understanding of what is important to bettors, meaning you can read on with the confidence that they will help improve your betting.

BET.CA staff
BET.CA staff