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Moneyline vs Point Spread Betting

Point spreads and moneyline are two of the most common ways for people to bet on a game. The moneyline is the most basic way to bet and that is simply choosing who is going to win. The favorite will typically have negative odds such as -150 meaning you would have to bet $150 to profit $100, while the underdog will have plus odds such as +150 meaning you bet $100 to profit $150

Point spreads are a little more advanced but still pretty easy to wrap your head around. Rather than choosing outright who will win the game, the point spread allows you to choose by how much will that team win or if you think a team will lose but be close you can bet on them. The point spread will have negative points for the favorite such as -3.5 meaning that team has to win by four or more while the underdog will have plus points such as +3.5 meaning that team can lose by less than four or win the game outright.

Betting on the Point Spread

The point spread is the key unit of measurement between two teams or “sides” when it comes to NFL betting. The spread is what oddsmakers use to define how much better one team is perceived to be than another in an effort to get equal action on both sides. Spreads usually come with half points such as 3.5 because this eliminates the option of pushing a game because of a tie -- last time i checked, there wasn't too many games that ended with a 3.5 point differential.

Books will give points to an underdog  (+3.5) and take points from the favorite (-3.5). For example, the Browns could be +3.5 underdogs and the Patriots could be -3.5 favorites. This means that the Browns would then have to either win outright or lose by fewer than four points, while the Patriots would have to win by four or more for you to cash in.

This can be pretty valuable when betting on a heavy favorite if their moneyline is outrageous such as -200. That same team could be -8.5 favorites and if they cover that by winning by nine or more points the odds could be lower negative let's say -130 or in some cases, you can even find plus money if the spread is very large.

Moneylines on Dogs can Offer Great Value

Sportsbooks offer moneylines on all NFL games, and that’s a good thing for those bettors who do not want to worry about the spread at all. The moneyline is simply the straight up who will win the game. Typically, the odds for moneyline on a favorite don't have much value. For example, if a team is an obvious favorite, their odds could be -200 or greater meaning you would have to wager $200 to profit an extra $100. In cases like that, a spread may be more useful because you are confident in a team winning but there may be more value for that team to win by 7.5 or more points.

Now, the moneyline may be very profitable if you have an angle on why the underdog is going to win the game. Unless it's a close game with pick 'em odds (both offered at -110), the dog usually has plus odds. For example, the Patriots are -200 favorites to beat the Browns who are coming back at +150. If you have some information that the Browns are going to win you could lay down $100 and profit an extra $150.

When you are deciding to bet on the underdog it's always important to consider both the point spread and moneyline. If the point spread is low such as +2.5 the odds will likely be greater to just bet that team to win outright rather than to lose by two or fewer points as there's more value in the moneyline. For example, if an underdog team had a spread of +2.5 the odds for that may be -160 whereas for them to win outright would likely be plus money perhaps +130.