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NFL Moneyline Betting Strategies


Sadonna Price

Updated: Sep 4, 2022

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“We do today what they won’t, so tomorrow we can accomplish what they can’t.”

  • The Rock, Dwayne Johnson

So much of NFL betting success comes down to being disciplined.

I’m not sure if The Rock is a sports bettor, but his words above ring true when we apply them to betting on the games we love.

Judging by the way he looks onscreen, I would suggest The Rock was probably referencing working out when he dropped his inspiring quote above.

From a betting perspective, what we do today means to stay disciplined and bet only where we see value.

By resisting the urge to chase losses and staying disciplined with who and what we bet, we give ourselves the best chance at accomplishing profitability and success against the sportsbooks.

And success against the sportsbooks is not something that is easily achieved by the betting masses.

Why Bet The Moneyline?

Home Underdogs

The NFL is the most popular sport in North America to bet on.

Within NFL betting, you have spread betting, totals betting, futures betting, player props betting, and of course, moneyline betting.

There are times when it makes sense for a bettor to wager on the point spread, and there are also times when it makes sense for a bettor to play on the moneyline instead.

Let’s use the opening game of this year’s NFL season as an example of when a sports bettor may want to bet on the moneyline instead of the spread.

Week 1 – Thursday, September 8th

  • Buffalo Bills -2 | -130
  • LA Rams +2 | +110

Looking at the odds above, we can see that the Buffalo Bills are a two-point favorite on the road against the LA Rams.

If a bettor wanted to take the home underdogs and the point spread, they could bet the Rams +2 | -110.

A $100 bet would win them $90.91 in this case.

However, if that same bettor decided they wanted to risk the two-point spread and instead take the Rams at +110 on the moneyline, they would win $110 in profit.

That is a difference of almost 20% ROI on the one bet, and all it cost them was two points.

Moneyline betting can be an effective tool when we spot underdog teams where we believe they actually have a good chance of winning the game outright.

Home underdogs are a popular moneyline bet.

Moneyline Favorites

Of course, there are always lots of moneyline bets placed on favorites as well.

When a bettor is not confident that a favorite can cover a decent-sized point spread but still believes they will win the game, then a moneyline bet might make sense.

However, the payout for betting favorites on the moneyline is significantly limited, depending on how favored a team is.

Let’s use another Week 1 game as an example.

Week 1 – Sunday, September 11th.

  • Las Vegas Raiders +3.5 | +145
  • Los Angeles Chargers -3.5 | -170

Using our game above, we can see that the Chargers are -3.5 favorites against their divisional rivals, the Raiders.

A bettor might be uncomfortable giving up more than a field goal in what could be a very close divisional game.

However, if you wanted to bet the Chargers to win on the moneyline and not worry about the -3.5 spread, you would have to bet them at -170 odds.

That means a $100 wager would return a profit of $58.82. It must be pointed out that to just break even, you need to win 63% of your bets when you play a -170 moneyline.

Moneyline Parlay Tickets

Another betting play where moneyline favorites are trendy is using them to fill out parlay tickets.

We know that when betting the point spread of a game, our odds of winning are very close to flipping a coin.

But historically, NFL favorites win the game outright at close to a 66% rate.

For that reason, moneyline bets are very popular for NFL parlay betting.

Let’s use some more Week 1 NFL games to build an example of a moneyline parlay ticket.

Week 1 – Sunday, September 11th.

  • Bet 1 – San Francisco -255 to beat Chicago Bears
  • Bet 2 – Washington Commanders -190 to beat Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Bet 3 – Cincinnati Bengals -275 to beat Pittsburgh Steelers

The 49ers, Commanders, and Bengals are all heavy favorites. On their own, a $100 bet doesn’t provide a lot of profit in return.

However, if we parlayed these three games, taking the favorite on the moneyline for all three wagers, our odds would jump to +112.

That means a $100 bettor could win $112 in profit if all three teams prevail.

Combining moneyline favorites to provide a bigger payout is a strategy many bettors like to employ when they have confidence in who the winning team will be but are not as confident in that team covering the point spread.

It is important to remember that upsets do happen in the NFL.

If building moneyline parlays interests you, limiting the number of games per ticket is never a bad idea to give yourself a better chance of winning.

Even in the weeks where we see many games with large point spreads, it is not uncommon for a couple of upsets to occur.

Some will stick to home favorites only when building parlays, as home favorites win more than road favorites.

Always Shop Around

As a sports bettor, the single greatest tool we have at our disposal is the ability to shop around at different sportsbooks and find our very Best Odds.

Let’s build a Week 1 parlay, using the same three games, but shopping around for odds at three different sportsbooks to highlight our point.

Week 1 ParlayDraftKings MoneylineFanDuel MoneylineCaesars Moneyline
PIT vs. CINCincinnati -265Cincinnati -300Cincinnati -275
NYG vs. TENTennessee – 230Tennessee -250Tennessee -260
BAL vs. NYJBaltimore -290Baltimore – 295Baltimore – 330
$100 Bet ProfitDK Profit: $165.77FD Profit $149.94Caesars: $146.03

Looking at the table above, we can see that the difference in payout between DraftKings and Caesars is almost $20 on our $100 wager.

That is a difference in ROI of almost 20%.

In the case of one single bet, $20 may or may not mean a great deal to you.

However, as you continue to make many bets over time, that 20% ROI difference will become a huge number.

Depending on your bet size and frequency of bets made, it can represent thousands of dollars in lost profit over a year.

The smartest play a bettor can make for each and every bet they place is to use the Best Odds available for that game.


About the author

For almost two decades, Sadonna has remained at the forefront of the gambling industry in the US and abroad, covering the latest news and legal update...

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