The Moneyline and College Basketball

When to Play the Moneyline in NCAA Basketball

The moneyline is a standard bet that you can find at sportsbooks. Like the point spread, you are wagering on the outcome of a specific game. But unlike the spread, neither team is given or has points taken away. With the moneyline, the team that wins the game outright is the one that pays off.

How the Moneyline Looks and Works

At first glance, the moneyline can confuse new bettors. But it’s actually a very simple way of listing odds and potential payouts. As with any type of wager focusing on a game’s outcome, the visiting team is listed first in a moneyline. Here’s what a moneyline looks like.

Morehead State         +270

Kentucky                    -180

With a moneyline, the team that is listed with a “plus” is the underdog and the club that has a “minus” is the favorite.  In our example, the Morehead State Eagles are not favored and the Kentucky Wildcats are expected to win.

When a team is listed with a “plus,” the number after the symbol tells you how much you win if you wager $100. Thus, if you place $100 on the Eagles and they win you’ll get your $100 back plus $270 for a total payout of $370.

The team with the negative symbol works differently. The number after the minus tells you how much you must wager to win $100. With the moneyline, you’re asked to risk more on the favorite to win less. In the example above, with Kentucky at

-180, you have to bet $180 to win $100, giving a total payout of $280.

Should You Play the Moneyline?

First of all, you may not find a moneyline on every game. If the two teams playing represent a huge mismatch, sportsbooks may opt to simply supply a spread bet since it would be difficult to get equal wagering on both teams with a moneyline.

Although moneylines ask you to risk a lot to win a little on a favorite, if you have a sure thing (that is a major mismatch), then take the line on the favored team. The moneyline can also be a good bet if you like the matchup but can’t find the right spread.

The Moneyline is Not Perfect

Please remember that upsets do occur in NCAA Basketball, which means that premium clubs can be beaten by underdogs. If a moneyline is available, you should compare it to the point spread to see which gives you the best chance of winning. Perform due diligence prior to making any bets.