Football Moneylines

Over the last few weeks I have covered the ins and outs of betting pointspreads, totals, first halfs and halftimes. With regards to straight wagers, moneylines are really the only thing left to cover. In my opinion, less than half of football bettors understand, and bet, moneylines on any sort of a regular basis. It is an even smaller percentage of bettors that can recognize when a moneyline is presenting value and play accordingly. In this week’s column I want to discuss how to compare the spread to the moneyline so you may be able to find some value yourself.

As a starting point for those that have yet to try and figure out moneylines, here is a quick primer. More experienced bettors can skip to the next paragraph. Reading a moneyline is very simple. A typical moneyline would be something like Denver Broncos -165, Miami Dolphins +145. The -165 means you must risk $165 to win $100 on the Broncos while the +145 means you get back $145 for each $100 risked should the Dolphins win outright. Any -number means that is the risk to win $100 and any +number is the payoff for risking $100. It is that simple. In the event of a tie, all moneyline wagers are settled as a Push and monies are refunded. The difference between the two lines typically starts at 20 “cents” in football and gets larger as the numbers get higher. For example, if the favorite is -240, the dog may be +200, a difference of 40 “cents”. The higher difference at higher numbers simply serves to keep the percentage of vig for the house roughly the same.

Next up, I want to look at how to compare a spread to a moneyline. Although each offshore book is different, here is a chart that is published on the Internet showing a general guideline for converting football spreads to moneylines in Las Vegas sportsbooks. Note that college is slightly different at -4 and up.