For start sports bettors, moneylines (occasionally referred to as cash lines or American odds) could be confusing. Unlike point spreads, which are worried about who wins and by how much, a moneyline is completely dependent upon who wins. Moneylines are used most commonly in low-scoring games such as baseball or hockey, but they might also be utilized in boxing and other sports.
The Way to Read a Moneyline
Simply put, a moneyline tells you how much you have to wager in order to create a profit of $100. Consider a hypothetical baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers. When looking at the moneyline for your game, a bettor will see something like this:
Chicago Cubs +120
Los Angeles Dodgers -130
In this example, the Dodgers would be the favorite team, as signified by the negative numeral. It might cost you $130 so as to collect a $100 payout on a Dodgers success (plus the initial bet of $130). But if you wager $100 on the Cubs, you’d collect $120 should they win (plus the original wager). In other words, you’ll need to wager more money on Los Angeles than you would Chicago to be able amass $100 on a bet.
It’s important to remember that although moneylines are expressed in units of $100, you do not have to bet that much money. The moneyline will do the job just as easily with a $5 or $10 bet as it will work with $100.
Apart from baseball and baseball, moneylines are used for betting on other sports at which a point spread becomes immaterial, such as auto racing, boxing, soccer, and tennis. While there are margins of victory in a number of them, they’re so small it would be impossible to make a point spread for every game.