Moneyline vs. Point Spread Betting Explanation

If you are at all familiar with sports betting, you will know that there is a stark difference between Moneyline betting and point spreads. Although these two bets are placed on the gameโ€™s outcome, one only focuses on the final outcome, while the other measures the success rate.

Money lines and spreads are the most popular bet types in online sportsbooks, and many gamblers face the โ€œMoneyline vs. point spreadโ€ dilemma daily.

Point spreads tend to be more prevalent when gamblers bet on leagues like the NFL and NBA. However, money lines tend to be preferred by bettors who focus their energies on MLB or NHL. (You may see a pattern with high vs. low scoring sports).

In general, the most straightforward answer to the point spread vs. Moneyline debate is that both are good betting options. But your choice should be based on certain situational factors, which we want to discuss.

We’ve created the ultimate guide to answer all your questions regarding the Moneyline vs. point spread debate. Some of the areas we focus on include:

  • How money lines work
  • How point spreads work
  • When to use each of these bets

We’ve also listed plenty of great odds sportsbooks that you can explore if you ever feel the need to test your newfound gambling knowledge about spreads and money lines.

Point Spread Betting Explained

Spread betting (also known as a handicap in some countries) is a prevalent form of betting. While it may seem confusing to beginners, many sports bettors consider betting on a single point the best form of gambling.

You are betting on the difference in scores between the two teams featured in the game. The sportsbook counts the numbers and states the favorites and underdogs. Then, they post the number of points they expect from the favorite to win the match.

You can then bet whether the favorite will beat the line or whether the underdog will cover. The goal is to equalize and allow fair odds on the favorite and the underdog.

All of this theory may seem very confusing, so here’s an example that can help clear up a bit if you’re a little lost.

Say you visit a sportsbook and see the following point spread line:

Green Bay Packers -6.5 -105

Seattle Seahawks +6.5 -115

In such a scenario, if you place a bet on the Packers to win, they must win the game by at least seven points. -6.5 next to the line is what shows this. A line will always have a margin of 0.5 to avoid a possible draw (or โ€œpushโ€) where the sportsbook needs to pay you back what you bet.

However, if you bet on the Seattle Seahawks, all you need is the team to lose by less than 7 points. So even if the Seahawks lose, you can still win if they beat the spread. Of course, you also win if they beat the odds and win the game.

The number that lies next to the 6.5 next to each team is the odds on the line. If you’re not sure how to read the odds, we have a dedicated guide explaining how to do it, which we recommend that you take a look at.

Advantages of Spread Betting

Here are some of the advantages associated with spread betting:

  • Spread betting can sometimes give you some breathing space, especially if you are betting on the underdog. You need a team to win or lose by a specific score, which is sometimes more achievable than an outright win. This is especially true in cases where two good or bad teams are playing against each other.
  • Often, paying attention to the statistics needed to make a better spread bet allows you to understand the teamโ€™s momentum better. And this will help you make better future bets on which team will cover the spread.
  • Finding a value spread bet is quite easy. Sometimes, sportsbooks get the wrong type of bet, and the difference is much smaller or bigger than their algorithm suggests.

Disadvantages of Spread

Here are some reasons some bettors choose to avoid spread betting:

  • Spread betting allows you to bet on your favorite team, even if it’s terrible. Sometimes, this will lead to a lot of emotionally charged bad bets. For example, you may be angry that the Cleveland Browns lost last weekend and may have missed the playoffs, so you put them to lose the next game by 20 points even though they played with a bad team.
  • Spread betting is usually only offered on team sports. So if this is your favorite type of bet, you are somewhat limited in the sports you can bet on.

Moneyline Betting Explanation

Moneylines are bets where you simply choose who you think will win the game. The total score is irrelevant in this bet. Continuing the example line we used above, the money line on the same game could be:

Green Bay Packers -355

Seattle Seahawks +435

With this line, you can infer who the sportsbook prefers to win the game by looking at the odds. In the example, it’s pretty clear that the Packers are favored because you have to bet $355 to win $100 if you bet on them.

However, a $100 bet on the Seahawks will cost you $435. If you’re not sure how we came up with these numbers, we should again refer you to our guide on reading the odds.

If you want more information, we have created an in-depth article explaining everything about moneyline betting. Make sure to check it out and then compare it with point spread betting.

Advantages of Moneylines

Here are some of the pros that come with making Moneyline bets:

  • Moneylines are easy bets to make. You are simply betting on who you think will win the game, which is much easier to predict than how many teams will win. The final score is irrelevant as long as the right team wins.
  • Along with over/under, money lines are a great place to start your adventure into sports betting. Many other bets require you to look at all kinds of statistics and other facts, which may take some getting used to.

Lack of Moneylines

Here are a few reasons why you might want to forgo Moneyline betting:

  • Moneyline Odds do not offer big payouts on heavy favorites. See our example line above. Both spread betting options allow you to bet small amounts to win pretty good returns. However, with the Moneyline option, this only applies if you bet on the underdog.
  • If you consistently bet on the favorites, you will need a high win-loss percentage to cover your losses. Given the uncertainty of the sport, this is not always possible.
  • Moneylines do not allow the same flexibility as spreads. As explained above, the spread does not require the team to win outright for the bet to be correct. But with money lines, it’s quite black and white: you win or lose.

Moneyline Vs. Spread Betting: Which Is Better?

There is no clear answer as to which is better. Simply put, when debating which one to use on your next bet, you should focus on three factors:

  • What type of bettor are you (i.e., are you comfortable with all the research required for spread betting).
  • The odds available on the Moneyline and the spread (i.e., if you want to bet on the favorite and the Moneyline bet has poor odds (e.g., you need to bet $500 to win $100), don’t do it).
  • Are spreads available as spreads are not available in every sport.

Once you look at all these factors, you will decide whether to use the Moneyline or the spread.

Spreads Vs. Moneyline โ€“ FAQ

Again, this depends on the stakes. In general, however, money lines as a whole force bettors to pay more juice in situations where there is a clear favorite.

You can parlay money lines and spreads but not on the same game.

Moneylines may include overtime but may not. In sports where a draw is a likely outcome before the extra period, it is essential to ensure that you choose the betting option that suits your preferences. Just note that 3-way money lines do not include overtime.

Betting with negative odds is more likely, which is why some bettors may try to take a chance on such an outcome. However, we would not recommend doing this as often as the payout is usually not worth it.

Covering the spread means that a team has beaten the predicted margin stated by the sportsbooks. Either the favorite wins by more points than expected, or the underdog loses less than expected.

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