Moneyline Bets Explained

Californians have resoundingly said “no” to sports betting after turning down Propositions 26 and 27 on the Nov. 2022 ballot. There is currently no legal online sports betting in California at the moment, but further legislative attempts are to be expected.

While you can’t place sports bets in California right now, things may change soon, so it doesn’t hurt to prepare ahead of time. The guide below will cover the ins and outs of one of the most popular sports bets: the moneyline.

What Are Moneyline Bets?

Moneyline wagers are among the most basic types of sports bets. They challenge the bettor to guess the final outcome of a game or match. For example, if the Golden State Warriors are playing the Los Angeles Lakers, the moneyline will feature a bet on the Warriors and a bet on the Lakers; all you have to do is pick the winner. If the team you’ve backed wins the game outright, you win your bet. Simple as that.

Each possible outcome of the moneyline bet will be assigned odds. Let’s use our NBA example from above again:

  • Golden State Warriors (-250)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (+175)

The +/- odds indicate how much money you stand to win if your bet is successful. We’ll talk later about how you can calculate your potential winnings, but all you need to know for now is that the negative (-) odds indicate a favorite, whereas the positive (+) odds stand next to an underdog. 

In some rare occurrences where the sportsbooks see two teams as being evenly matched, the odds may be equal on each side of the moneyline bet. 

The moneyline solely focuses on the final outcome of an event and unless specified, this means the bet is valid even if the game is decided in overtime.

How to Calculate Moneyline Winnings

If you make the right prediction on your moneyline bet, you’ll win money. But how much exactly?

To calculate the winnings, simply take a look at the odds. If you see a minus (-) sign in front of the number, that’s the amount you need to bet to win $100. On the other hand, if you see a plus (+) sign in front of the odds, that’s what you’ll win by betting $100. 

For example, a $100 bet at +250 pays $250 if it wins. Alternatively, if the odds are -175, that means a $175 bet would pay $100 in profit.

If you want to fully comprehend the calculation so that you can understand the payouts of different amounts, we’ll explain further. For positive (+) odds, you just need to multiply the odds by your bet divided by 100. Here’s an example using the +175 odds and a $15 wager:

  • +175 *($15/100) = 175*0.15 = $26.25

Remember that this is only the profit coming from your bet. Your total payout will also include the stake: $15 + $24.75 = $39.75.

For negative (-) odds, we must divide the negative line by 100 and then divide our stake with that result. Here’s an example with -250 odds and a $15 bet:

  • $15 /(250/100) = 15 /2.5 = $6

While this may seem confusing to a beginner, the good news is that you won’t ever have to calculate the profit yourself. As soon as you enter your stake on the bet slip, the potential winnings will be automatically calculated for you.

Best Sportsbooks for Moneyline Bets

To get the most out of your moneyline bets, you should compare the odds on all sportsbooks available in your state. Moneylines will differ from sportsbook to sportsbook, so you want to shop around to get the best price. Doing this will lead to either more winnings or fewer losses in the long run.

Let’s take a look at the moneyline odds for the same game at three different premier sports betting sites:


  • San Francisco 49ers (+124)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (-146)


  • San Francisco 49ers (+122)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (-145)


  • San Francisco 49ers (+125)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (-150)

If you were to bet on the 49ers, the best place to do so for this particular game would be BetMGM:

  • $100 on the 49ers at BetMGM (+125): $125 profit
  • $100 on the 49ers at FanDuel (+124): $124
  • $100 on the 49ers at Caesars (+122): $122

However, if you were to back the Eagles, you should do so through your Caesars account:

  • $100 on the Eagles at Caesars (-145): $68.97 profit
  • $100 on the Eagles at FanDuel (-146): $68.49
  • $100 on the Eagles at BetMGM (-150): $66.67

Odds shopping is one of the soundest strategies you can use when betting, as it’ll always lead you to the most profitable opportunities. The sportsbooks used as an example in this section not only consistently offer competitive moneyline odds but are also known for having some of the best California sports betting bonuses.

SportsbookWelcome Offer
FanDuel Sportsbook CaliforniaBet $5, get $150 in bonus bets
Caesars Sportsbook CaliforniaBonus bet up to $1,000 + 1,000 Tier and Reward Credits
BetMGM Sportsbook CaliforniaBonus offer up to $1,000

While you’re waiting for sports betting to become legal in California, you can practice by registering an account on Fliff, a social sportsbook that uses the sweepstakes model.

Variations of Moneyline Bets

In most sports, you’ll get the two-way moneyline where the goal is to predict the winning side. However, for sports like soccer, you’ll see a three-way moneyline since there’s also the possibility of a draw. Here’s an example:

In case a game is tied after 90 minutes, the sportsbook will specify whether a given moneyline bet includes overtime or not.

Apart from the game line, sportsbooks may also offer betting on individual halves or periods. For example, you can bet on the winner of the first half or first quarter in an NBA game.

Best Strategy for Moneyline Bets

Moneyline’s simplicity makes it one of the best bets for beginners. However, you can even rely on a strategy that may help you optimize your moneyline bets so that you win more in the long run. 

Here are a few general tips for moneyline betting:

  • Odds shopping: As shown above, different sportsbooks may have different moneyline odds for a particular game. The great news is that you can have an account on multiple betting platforms at the same time, which gives you a chance to take advantage of the best sports betting odds in California for every moneyline bet.
  • Bet with your mind, not your heart: You may be a fan of the Lakers, Dodgers, or 49ers, but that won’t increase their chances of winning. If you see value in betting against your team, try putting your emotions aside and bet on the opponent — or simply avoid betting on that game altogether.
  • Analyze the line movement: The sportsbooks shift moneyline odds based on where the majority of the bets are flowing. This means that the listed odds may not always reflect the implied probability of a given outcome. The goal is to analyze the line movement, do your homework on the matchup (injuries, momentum, history), and figure out where the value might be.
  • Try finding arbitrage opportunities: Arbitrage betting is when you bet on each side of the market at different sportsbooks in a way that you’re guaranteed a profit. For example, one sportsbook may offer +105 odds on one side, and another one may have +105 odds on the other. If you bet the same amount on these two bets, you’ll get a profit no matter the outcome. Arbitrage betting opportunities aren’t so easy to find and may only bring in a few bucks at a time, but overall, it’s a good strategy in the long run.

Moneyline Bets for California Teams

Moneyline betting is available whenever two sides match up in a sporting event. You can find these bets on all major US sports and leagues and for every game featuring a team from California.

How to Place a Moneyline Bet on an Online Sportsbook App

One final thing you need to learn about moneyline bets is how to place them using an online sportsbook. This is the easy part and usually takes just a couple of minutes:

  1. Choose a sportsbook.
  2. Create an account by sharing your name, email, date of birth, last four digits of your SSN, and other required details.
  3. Place a deposit and claim the sportsbook’s welcome bonus.
  4. Navigate through the menu and find the game you’re interested in.
  5. Seeing that it’s one of the core options, moneyline should be one of the first listed bets (it can also be labeled as Game Line,  2-way/3-way, 1X2, Who Will Win? etc.).
  6. Click/tap on the corresponding odds, and you’ll see the bet appear on your betting slip.
  7. Input your stake and submit the wager.

Moneyline Bets FAQs

How popular are moneyline bets?

Moneyline bets are very popular and are one of the three core bets at sportsbooks, alongside point spreads and totals. 

Which sportsbooks accept moneyline bets in California?

California currently doesn’t have any legal sportsbooks. However, once sports betting goes live in the Golden State, you can expect every betting site and app to offer moneyline across dozens of sports and competitions. For now, you can practice moneyline betting at one of the social sportsbooks, like Fliff.

Does DraftKings offer moneyline bets?

Yes, DraftKings offers moneyline bets on all sports where this bet can be applied, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, tennis, MMA, soccer, college sports, and more.

What is a 3-way moneyline?

A 3-way moneyline is a moneyline bet with three possible outcomes. There are sports that don’t necessarily need to have a winner; they might end in a draw instead. A good example of this is soccer.

About the Author

Joshua Buckley

Sports Content Manager
Joshua Buckley is Sports Content Manager for Along with award-winning experience as a sports editor in Alabama and Texas, he has also spent time in public relations for the tourism and blood banking industries. Joshua is co-host of "Whole Lotta Wolves," the only U.S.-based Wolverhampton Wanderers FC podcast.