What is a Moneyline and How do You Bet One in Maryland?

Online sports betting is expected to launch in Maryland as early as November. When it does, sports fans in the state will be able to place wagers on the Baltimore Ravens, Maryland Terrapins basketball, the NBA, and many other sporting events.

How prepared are you for legal sports betting in Maryland? Will you be able to understand MD sports betting odds? In this article we’ll explain the most common type of betting for most sports: the moneyline. Once you’ve read this guide, you’ll understand the moneyline and how to identify betting opportunities.

When Maryland opens its market for sports betting, several sportsbooks will be available to you, including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, and more.

What is a Moneyline?

For many sports bettors or non-betting sports fans, there’s a familiarity with odds such as “5-to-1” or “15-to-1.” But today with sports betting legalized in so many part of the U.S., odds are listed with a moneyline.

For example, Team A might be listed as -250 to win a game, while their opponent Team B is priced at +200. But what does that mean?

To understand the fundamentals of the moneyline, it’s important to keep $100 as your baseline. Every moneyline listed is based on a $100 wager. So, if a team is listed at +200, that means if you wager $100, you will win $200 (in addition to retaining your original stake). That’s the same as the old-school “2-to-1” odds.

The bigger the number after the plus sign, the longer the odds. For example, if the Baltimore Orioles are listed as +2500 to win the World Series, that means a $100 winning bet would get you $2,500 (the same as 25-to-1).

But when a moneyline is listed as a negative number, things change a bit.

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What are the Plus and Minus in a Moneyline?

We’ve explained above how the (+) sign works in a moneyline bet. Any moneyline odds that are PLUS, indicate an underdog. Even +110 is a slight underdog. Meaning a $100 bet will get you $110. But, once you get to +110 and +105, you’re really seeing a near “even odds” situation.

But what about the MINUS odds on the moneyline?

Example: The Baltimore Ravens are listed at -150 against the Panthers for a Monday Night Football game. In this case, the Ravens are considered the favorite to win that game outright. In order to win money on that bet, you’ll need to wager $150 to win $100 (or $50 to win $33.33, etc.). So, if you place $1,500 on your trusty Ravens to beat the Panthers in that hypothetical game, and Baltimore indeed wins, you would win $1,000 (on -150 odds). Plus you’d have your original stake of $1,500.

Review: When the moneyline has a plus (i.e. +180), that team is the underdog. When it’s a minus (like -180) that team is favored to win that game. You must bet more money on a favorite than on an underdog to win the same amount on the moneyline. You risk more, and you win less.

Remember, a moneyline bet on a game is betting on which team will win that game outright. In many sports, there’s also a point spread (commonly used in football) with which the bettor either gives or gets points for that game. But with moneyline wagering, you are betting on the outcome of the game, either by one point or 100 points, it doesn’t matter.

What if a game ties?

If you wager on the moneyline on the outcome of a game, and it ends in a tie, your bet will be voided. It’s as if that wager never happened.

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How to Infer Implied Probability from Moneyline Odds

Did you enjoy math class? Or was it just 50 minutes you wasted before lunch? This quick lesson won’t break your brain either way: it’s just a simple way to figure out the implied probability of a team winning based on moneyline odds.

Here’s the formula (where X equals the moneyline odds from your sportsbook):

Negative odds: X/(X+100)
Positive odds: 100/(X+100)

Once you perform one of those steps, multiply by 100.

Example:

Suppose the Ravens are -150 against the Steelers, who are listed as +130. Then the Ravens have a 60% chance to win, according to the oddsmakers. The Steelers have implied odds to win of 43.4%.

You’ll notice that the figures in that example do not add up to 100%. That’s because the sportsbook builds in a small amount on either side of the bet for its own bottom line. That’s called the “vig,” and it’s how sportsbooks make money.

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How Should I use my Free bet on the Moneyline?

When a sportsbook gives you a free bet or a deposit match, it’s like getting free funds to wager on your favorite events. You want to make the best use of those dollars, so you should choose a bet on an underdog, otherwise, you’ll be wagering more of your free bet or deposit match on the favorite and not win as much.

Pick an underdog you believe in, even at +110, to bet the moneyline with free betting credits or deposit match credits.

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What is Moneyline Shopping

When you formulate your sports betting strategy, you want to ensure you get the best odds for your money. That’s why you should check multiple sportsbooks for the most attractive and potentially profitable moneyline odds.

For example, if you think the Baltimore Orioles are better than 75% to win a game, you should seek the best odds for the Orioles you can find on those bets, so you maximize your earnings. Maybe one moneyline at +300 will pay out $20 more than another moneyline odds of +280 at a second sportsbook, and that potential extra $20 is worth trying to find.

AP Photo/Nick Wass

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.