NFL Moneyline Explained – Pros and Cons

With the increasing popularity of sports betting apps you can wager on NFL games any day of the week up until kickoff. Betting on the winners of individual games remains the most popular option for gamblers. What is the moneyline in NFL games? 

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The moneyline is the amount of money you will earn for a 100-dollar bet. Teams favored to win will have a negative money line and the underdogs will have a positive money line. 

Below we will explain what the moneyline is, what it means, and how to bet on NFL moneyline games. 

What is the Moneyline?

The NFL Moneyline is the simplest form of wagering on an NFL game. When you bet the moneyline you are simply picking the team that will win the game outright

The moneyline will list the favored team as a negative number. The underdog in the game will be represented by a positive number. 

Moneyline betting is picking the winner so bets can not push since the game can not end in a tie. Moneyline odds can range from -110 which would be just a small underdog to +600 which would be considered a huge favorite. 

How to Make NFL Moneyline Wagers

NFL Moneyline Explained
NFL Moneyline Explained

Getting to understand how moneylines work in NFL games is easy to figure out for newcomers. It is the simplest bet you can wager. If the team that you pick wins, you win too. The spread or any points they need to win by is thrown out. The spread is not considered in these types of bets

Every game is wagered where the $100 bet is the key to each wager. The favored teams have a negative symbol and the positive teams have a plus sign. When betting the favorite the number after the minus sign is the amount needed to bet to win $100. When betting on the underdog the plus sign represents how much winnings your $100 bet will profit.  

You are able to place any amount on each team. The bet does not need to be in $100 dollar increments. 

NFL Moneyline Bet Explained

Let's look at an example game to understand moneyline betting better. 

For example, the Cleveland Browns are playing the Miami Dolphins. The moneyline for the game is Browns +500 and Dolphins -300. This would mean the Dolphins are favored to win this game and the Browns would be considered the underdog. In order to win 100 dollars when betting on the Dolphins you would need to make a wager of $300. 

The betting can be any wager you wish. A wager of $30 would win you $10 and a wager of $3000 would net you $1000. 

There will always be a difference in the amount wagered and the amount won. This difference is called the vigorish or juice. This is the money collected by the sportsbook for accepting the bet. It is similar to a tax you would have to pay to make the wager. 

On to the bet on the Browns to win. The Browns have a plus money line since they are the underdogs. A single bet of $100 will net you a $300 profit on this team if they were able to win the game. It is unlikely they will be able to win, that's why you will get a much higher payout. 

There is more risk involved in this type of bet, but it has more rewards a lot. The larger the odds, the smaller the chance, but the more you are able to profit from when they do win.  

Moneyline Bet Advantages

Money line bets have a few advantages to them. Moneyline bets are easier to win. You are simply picking a team to win the game. This is a great introduction for new gamblers and will help them get acclimated to the world of sports gambling. Moneyline bets are the best option when you think the favorite will win but not be able to cover the spread. 

Moneyline Bet Disadvantages 

Making moneyline bets do have some disadvantages to them. The payouts for most bets are minimal. Scoring a big win with an underdog will net you a great profit but these winning bets are rare.  

Betting against a spread will give you a much greater payout but will be harder to win. With a spread bet you are predicting how close or far apart the score will be. You can still win a bet on the losing team if they keep the final score close. 

If you are looking to make any decent profit in the world of sports gambling you will have to turn to spread betting. You will not be able to make a decent profit if you are only making moneyline bets.


Moneyline bets are the easiest bet for new gamblers to understand when they begin wagering in sportsbooks. With moneyline bets, you are simply picking a winner without having to worry about covering a spread. The odds of the moneyline bet are based on a wager of $100 and show how much you will win or need to wager to make the $100 profit.

Moneyline bets do have disadvantages with them. They are often low-paying bets when you pick the winner unless a big underdog is able to win which is rare. If you wish to make a profit in sports gambling you will need to bet against a spread.