There is a lot of parity in how good sports teams are. This leads to one team potentially being better than the other. Due to this, bookmakers do not allow you to just bet a team to win, and win the exact amount you risk. This is where money lines come in to play.
If you bet the money line in a sports matchup, you are simply betting who you think will win the game. Money lines will always be shown in hundreds or thousands, and will either be positive or negative. If a team has a negative money line, that means that team is the favorite. If a team has a positive money line, that means that teams is the underdog. This is a very important concept to remember.
Now let’s get into how these work money wise. If a team is a favorite (negative number), then you have to multiply however much you want to win by 1/100 of the money line. So, let’s say that a team is a -220 favorite. If you want to win $100, you would have to risk $220. If a team is a -2000 favorite, you would have to risk $2000 to win $100.
With that being said, Goliath doesn’t always beat David. If a team is an underdog, then you divide how much u want to win by 1/100 of the money line. So, if a team is a +200 underdog, then you would have to risk $50 to win $100. If a team is +1000, and you want to win $50 from the bet, then you would have to risk $5 to win $50. If you would like to look at it a different way, you can also multiply however much you want to risk by 1/100 of the money line to figure out how much you win. So, if a line is +300 and you want to bet $10, then you could potentially win $30.
Here’s an example:
In college sports, a lot of the bigger Division 1 schools will play some of the smaller Division 1 teams early in the year. Alabama, who is a perennial top College Football powerhouse, would be a very large favorite against a smaller Division 1 school. Let’s say that the Money line is approximately -5000
Let’s take a dive into a little more advanced topic. In a football game, being a 7 point favorite is a relatively high line. With that being said, not all 7 point favorites will have the same money line. You may not originally expect it, but the total also plays a role in the money line. Let’s say the total, in this same example where a team is a 7 point favorite, is 40.5. This is a low total. A line at -7 with a low total is saying that they think the favorite is going to win by 7, even though they don’t expect that high scoring of a game. On the other hand, if a team is a 7 point favorite in a game with a total is in the upper 50s, a team would be more likely to win by a larger margin making the money line lower. In conclusion, the money line for a team that is a 7 point favorite would be higher if their is a low total compared to a game with a high total.