What Does the Money Line in Football Betting Mean?

The money line is one of the most basic tools in betting if not the most basic tool. It is used to bet on which team will win the game outright. For instance, if you bet on the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Chargers are playing, you would stake $100 on your team (assuming $100 is the maximum bet) and the rest you would leave on the money line. If the Cowboys win, you win $100 and you lose $100 on the money line (your $100 stake). If the Chargers win, you win $100 as well and you lose just your $100 stake on the money line. Simple enough, right?

More Than Meets The Eye

While it might seem simple enough, there is a lot more to the money line than meets the eye. For one thing, if you look at the actual money line, it is not always obvious which team is the favorite. The reason is that teams’ records often fluctuate and sometimes a team that one would assume to be the underdog comes out on top. A good example of this that every football fan knows is the 1972 American Football League (AFL) season. That year saw the Dallas Cowboys go 15-1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets. The latter of those two teams had the worst record in the NFL that year but went on to win the Super Bowl. This was an example of a team that was a clear underdog, according to the money line, going on to win the Super Bowl. In the 2015 season alone, there were 14 games where the money line favored the underdogs, according to the research website SportsBetting.ag. Some famous examples of underdogs winning big were the New England Patriots in 2015; the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014; and the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and 2003. On the other side of the spectrum, teams such as the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos have been known to lose games even when they are supposedly slight underdogs, due to bad luck. This is why it is said that you cannot always trust the money line. If you want to be a successful bettor, you must be able to look beyond the money line and try to figure out which team has a better chance of winning the game.

The Verdict Is In

If you look at the money line in isolation, it is pretty easy to figure out which team is favored. However, that is not always the case and many times, the verdict is not in until you look at other statistical information. One good example of this was the 2014 NFC championship game. The Seattle Seahawks were a 4.5-point favorite over the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle. Most people thought that the 49ers were going to pull off a huge upset and win the game, according to most sportsbooks. However, looking at the statistical information, it was apparent that the 49ers had the upper hand. They had scored more points in the four previous games between these two teams and boasted a 5-1 record in those games. The Seahawks had only one win going back to the previous season and in the previous two games, they had played each other with Seattle winning both. The only exception to this was the 2013 season, where the Seahawks had lost both games by a combined score of 89-55. This meant that the money line did not necessarily reflect the true outcome of the game. The lesson to be learned from this is that if you want to be a successful football bettor, you must never bet on a team you do not know much about. This also means that even if a team you know and like is on the road to victory, you should still consider backing the other team, especially if the line is very favorable. This can help you avoid disappointments if you are wrong about which team is going to win. It is also important to stay consistent. This means that you must always bet on the same team, whether they are on the road to victory or not. If you follow this simple rule, you will avoid many betting sins. It is also important to learn from your mistakes. If you lose a lot of money on one side of the bet, it usually means that you are placing far too much money on that particular side. If you are placing the same amount of money on both teams, but one team wins, you will lose your money, since you did not keep your wager. Never bet more than you are willing to lose. This is especially important if you are going to place bets on a full slate of games. Many people bet on games, hoping for a profit, not realizing that they might lose a lot of money. Learning to place money line bets, but only when you have a clear idea of which team is going to win, can help anyone become a successful bettor. This article will help you understand how to read the odds and see which teams are most worth wagering on, based on their records and current circumstances, at the moment. 

Odds Are Everything

The odds are extremely important, more so than the money line, in determining which teams to bet on. Most people look at the odds and think they can figure out easily which team is going to win. This might seem easy enough, but sometimes the line and the odds favor different teams. Take the 2011 NFC championship game, for example. The New York Giants were a 5.5-point favorite over the Green Bay Packers in New York but the line also showed the game to be between 50/50. This was due to the fact that the last time these two teams met was in the 2009 season and the Giants had lost that game 24-21. Since then, the Packers had gone 16-0 with a streak of 13 consecutive unbeaten games. This had caused the price to move in favor of the Packers. When the final whistle blew, many bettors who did not take the time to actually look at the statistics or research the teams, lost their money on an upset. Had they taken the time to look at the odds and known that the Packers were undefeated in the regular season that year, they would have seen the obvious and avoided the upset, which caused them to lose $60,000. This is why you must look at the odds and not just the money line, to figure out which teams to bet on. The same concept goes for the NBA. Had the public known that the Chicago Bulls were 27-0 at home that season and 14-3 on the road, they would have seen that the odds were definitely in their favor. Instead, they went 10-18 against the spread that year and lost $25,000 on the venture.

This is important because it means that one team’s winning streak might not necessarily be enough to make you confident of that team winning. One good example of this is the 2017 season. The New England Patriots had the best regular season in the NFL that year. They went 16-0 with a 28-point average margin of victory. Many people thought that this was an example of a one-man show and that Tom Brady would not be able to carry the Patriots, going 2-2 against the spread in the postseason. However, taking a closer look at the actual statistics shows that this was much more likely than people would have thought. The Patriots had gotten hot at just the right time. They had not played a single game above.500 all season long and had only two other teams in the entire league below them on that front. Most people were looking at the money line and not the actual statistics. This was a mistake that anyone could have made, but since it was done with NFL games, it cost people thousands of dollars. It is also important to look at how each team has performed on the specific surface they have played on. On grass, for example, the New England Patriots are among the best in the NFL. Since moving to a different surface, such as, in the case of the Baltimore Ravens, a custom made blend of asphalt and clay, the team has had a lot of problems. They are still one of the best teams on grass, but since switching to this surface, they have only gone 5-7 with one playoff appearance, in 2014. If you want to be a successful and competitive NFL bettor, you must be able to look at each team’s strengths and weaknesses and find the match. This is much more difficult than just looking at each team’s record and figuring that out easily. One good example of this is the San Francisco 49ers. People thought that the 49ers would be in big trouble this year, after losing their best player in linebacker Vontaze Burfict. However, they were actually one of the best teams in the NFL this year, going 10-6 and making it to the NFC championship game, where they lost by a score of 27-23 to the Green Bay Packers. Before the season started, most people, based on the money line, would have picked the 49ers to lose this game. Burfict’s absence will certainly be felt, but the fact that they were one of the best teams in the NFL that year and were even in the divisional playoffs, shows that there is more than one way to skin a cat.