How to Read the Money Line on Betting Sites

The money line is among the most important betting stats to look at. It basically tells you how well the betting agency is doing compared to the average bookmaker. When you bet on sporting events, you’re always comparing the odds offered by different bookmakers, and the money line gives you an idea of whether or not you should favour one agency over another.

Odds are always a tricky thing when you’re first starting out. They can appear quite favourable on paper, but in actual life, they can often be quite the opposite. A good rule of thumb is to always check the odds before placing a bet, but once you’re familiar with how they work, they can be quite the opposite of what you’re used to seeing up on paper.

The Basics

Odds are always given compared to other odds, so you need to understand how they work. For example, if you head to a bookmaker’s website and look at the odds for the Mayweather/McGregor fight, you’ll see that Mayweather is the favourite (or “plus”) bet at odds of 7/2, while McGregor is the underdog (or “minus”) at odds of 5/1. The “moneyline” in this case would be:

  • Mayweather: 7/2 (+7/2)
  • McGregor: 5/1 (−5/1)

This means that for every £100 you bet, you’ll win £70 with Mayweather, but only £45 with McGregor. To give this some context, if you were instead placed at random odds of 3/1, the payout would be closer to 50/50.

More Than Meets The Eye

With random odds, you’re basically playing the odds in favour of whoever the bookmaker chooses. This means that your chances of winning or losing are more or less equal. The problem is that sometimes the odds offered can seem really favourable – particularly on longer odds – which can lead to problems when you bet heavily and actually lose. This is why it’s important to look at the money line (and other betting stats when placed alongside it).

If you head to a bookmaker’s website and look at the odds for the Mayweather/McGregor fight or World Cup Winner 2019, you’ll see that the line for both is currently 5/8 (or “evens”). This means that for every £100 you bet on either horse, you’ll win £50. If you compare this to other odds for each horse, you’ll see that it’s actually favourable for both Mayweather and McGregor. In many cases, the money line and the random odds are in favour of the same team or player – but this is not always the case.


If you’re a fan of a particular sport, you’ll often see that matches are not always what they seem. This is because some bookmakers will deliberately include a number of “draws” in a set of advertised odds. A draw is when neither team scores a clear win, and so the match ends in a tie. In the case of the Mayweather/McGregor fight, there are currently five draws included in the odds, which means that for every £100 you bet, you’ll win £75 rather than £70.

This can be tricky to understand if you’re not used to it, so let’s look at an example of a tennis match that we’ll call “the match”. The odds for this particular match are 5/2 in favour of Serena Williams – which means that for every £100 you bet, you’ll win £50. Now, let’s say that you have a hunch that Serena will win and so you place a bet on her at odds of 2/1. Well, as it turns out, Serena does end up winning the match, but only by a score of 6-4. This means that your original £100 wager has now cost you £200, rather than £150.

In this case, you’re better off not having placed that bet, because you would have lost money. However, if you did have the foresight to place that bet on the other side, you would have actually made a profit of £50 because even though your original £100 wager is now £200, you still have another £100 to bet on the next tennis match, assuming that it’s a winnable one. In most cases, you’ll find that matches are “drawable” – where the odds will include draws – when one of the competitors is very heavily favoured, which means that there’s a good chance that they will end up winning even when they lose. For example, if you look at the odds for the next major tennis tournament, the U.S. Open, you’ll see that it is drawable because Novak Djokovic is currently the favourite at odds of 11/8. This is not a typo: Djokovic is currently the favourite at odds of 11/8.

Home Teams

Home teams are often favoured when playing away, especially in North America and Europe. This is mainly due to the fact that bookmakers in those regions usually prefer to offer more favourable odds to home teams. If you head to a bookmaker’s site and look at the odds for the next World Cup, you’ll see that England are the favourites at 11/4 (or “laydowns”). This means that for every £100 you lay down, you’ll win £44. If you wanted to bet on England to win, this would be a lucrative option, as you would win £88 for every £100 wagered – rather than the £44 that you would win if they lost. In the case of England winning, your original £100 will be multiplied by 2.2, leading you to win £220 for every £100 that you bet on them.

Conversely, if you had laid down a £100 wager on Costa Rica to win the upcoming World Cup, you would have lost that money, as Costa Rica lost to England in the final. In this case, it’s important to remember that home teams do not always do well when playing away, and so you should not automatically assume that they will win every game or contest that they participate in. This is particularly important if you’re placing bets on sporting events that are held abroad, where the bookmakers may have an agenda of their own that does not always coincide with your own.


Some sports, such as tennis and football, have rules that prohibit certain actions by the players (such as hitting the ball towards the net, or handling the ball with your hands). When a player follows these rules accurately, this is known as “blocking” or “serving accurately”. In the case of the men’s final between Nadal and Wawrinka at the 2018 Wimbledon tournament, Nadal was serving accurately when he blocked Wawrinka’s initial service, and so Wawrinka had to wait until Nadal next mucked up in order to win the point. The bookmakers sometimes have a bias towards players who are known for their accuracy, so you should try to find some reliable stats relating to the accuracy of the players in question.

Let’s take a look at some of the more commonly seen odds on betting sites for some of the more well-known sporting events.

NBA Playoff Results

The NBA Playoffs are now in full swing, and so it’s time to bet on which team will come out on top. The oddsmakers have the Golden State Warriors as the favourites at 4/6 (or “margins”) to capture the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, while the Cleveland Cavaliers are the second favourites at 5/1. The underdogs in this case are the Toronto Raptors at 16/1, which means that for every £100 that you bet on them, you’ll win £16 – rather than the £15 that you would win if they were a favourite.

This is mainly because the Raptors have a fairly unimpressive record in the postseason. They’ve only ever made the playoffs once, and that was back in 2016. In that series, they were able to knock off the Chicago Bulls in six games, but other than that they’ve struggled in the playoffs, losing eight of their first ten games. If you look at their regular season record, though, they actually have a fairly solid winning percentage, with a record of 56-29 (or.741) across all competitions, including the regular season and postseason.