Point Spread vs. Moneyline Betting

Comparing point spread vs. moneyline betting.

Key Points

– Some sports lend themselves to point spread betting, others to moneyline betting.

– There are advantages to both point spread and moneyline betting.

Point Spread vs. Moneyline Betting

The point spread and moneyline are betting options available at most sportsbooks for most sports. Baseball and hockey are moneyline sports due to their lack of scoring. Bettors prefer the point spread in football and basketball. 

There are bettors that prefer one or the other – point spread or moneyline. While it may be personal preference in many cases, there are times when one is probably the better option over the other and vice versa. 

What are the benefits of each?

Moneyline Betting – Pick a Winner

The only thing that matters to the teams playing in a game is that they win. They are not concerned with the margin of victory or the combined score of the two teams. All eyes are on the scoreboard. 

Moneyline betting is the same. Just pick the winner of the game and collect your winnings. You win when your team wins. That’s it. 

It’s a pretty simple concept and that’s what makes moneyline betting so easy to understand. Because there are fewer variables in moneyline betting, simplicity is a positive thing. 

Bettors that fully understand odds can also bet on the moneyline to secure some pretty large payouts. Moneyline underdogs offer some big rewards.


Ride the Dog

Speaking of underdogs, the best moneyline strategy involves targeting solid underdogs. Why? The positive odds mean that bettors win more than they wager. 

In an NFL game, you identify Cleveland as a strong moneyline underdog. At +225 odds, you can wager $100 on the Browns and when they win you receive $225. 

That’s advantageous for a number of reasons. Even if you lose more bets than you win, you can still turn a profit because you win more than you bet. Take a day where you place two bets and win one and lose one.

You place one point spread bet and lose and place one moneyline bet and win. At standard odds of -110 on the spread, you lose $110. At +150 on the moneyline, you win $150 meaning you profited $40.

Moneyline Betting & Parlays

Bettors will get a much more equitable parlay on the moneyline. Odds on point spread parlays usually do not reflect the true mathematical risk involved in placing the bets. 

Therefore, over the long haul, it is anticipated that even a skilled bettor would lose more often betting point spread parlays. They are a lot like roulette or blackjack are for casinos – they are a profit machine for books. 

When moneyline betting, parlays are simply computed by multiplying the risks of the individual bets you are combining. Parlays using moneylines are a fairer bet. Strong bettors will find it easier to show a profit when betting moneyline parlays

Point Spread Betting – Fixed Costs

When placing a point spread bet, the bettor knows that he will almost always pay the same price. In most instances, the standard juice on a point spread bet is -110. That means a bettor must wager $1.10 to win $1. The extra $.10 is the commission that the sportsbook takes for taking the bet. 

Whether you choose the favorite or underdog, you are typically going to pay the same price. It’s the same in the totals market where a bettor will pay -110 whether they bet on the Over or Under. 

In some cases, sportsbooks do adjust the odds to balance out both sides of a bet. In some cases, bettors might see -105 or -120 odds on a point spread bet. There are times when bettors could even see +100 odds, though it’s rare. 

This makes setting up the betting budget much easier. Bettors can keep track of their bets and betting on strong favorites isn’t as risky as it is in moneyline betting.

Less Likely to Lose Money

The public often backs the favorites. As a result, the odds on favorites are frequently slanted in favor of the books. 

The worst that may happen if you bet on a point spread favorite is that you lose your stake. Remember, in most cases that stake is $1.10 to win $1.  

When you bet on a strong moneyline favorite, you need to lay down $250 or $300 just to win $100. Moneyline betting on big favorites can be dangerous. That’s why MLB bettors are encouraged to avoid big favorites. They are not worth the risk.

While it takes a minute to fully understand point spread betting, once bettors get accustomed it becomes easier.

Learning about NFL key numbers also helps when betting the football point spread. The most frequent final scoring margins in football are 3 and 7. Knowing these, point spread bettors can often find great value in certain bets. That doesn’t happen in moneyline betting.

With moneyline betting, it’s simple to have a high winning rate while still losing money – Generally speaking, you will be profitable if you win over 53 percent or more of your point spread bets. 

Assuming -110 odds, a bettor would need to be correct on 52.38 percent of his bets just to break even. A rate above that would produce profits. 

When moneyline betting, it is entirely possible to have a high winning percentage but still lose money. That is especially true when betting moneyline favorites. 

In the end, it’s up to the bettor. Some sports lend themselves to a particular bet, but ultimately it has to be what the bettor prefers. Some will do well betting point spreads. For others, moneyline betting is the way to go.