Put the Money in Moneyline: The Essential Guide to Online Sports Bets

As of 2020, Americans bet over $20 billion on sports in the aftermath of sports gambling legalization. Americans love action and love it so much the industry expects massive growth in the coming years.

Sports betting might be fun, but it isn’t easy. If it were, the casinos and sportsbooks wouldn’t make the profits they do. You might think online sports bets are all a coin flip, yet the best gamblers will tell you otherwise.

Do you want to know how to win consistent money? Check out our guide for the top online betting tips.

Know What You’re Betting

Not all bets are the same, and some are more appropriate than others based on the sport and situation. You have to know what you’re betting and why to make money.

Sports betting revolves around three types of foundational bets you need to know. Knowing how they work and when to bet them is a vital part of all sports betting strategies.


A Moneyline bet is simple. It’s a bet to win with odds associated with either side. A real-life example makes these bets easier to illustrate.

The Pitt Panthers play the Virginia Tech Hokies in a late-season football game. The Moneyline reads Pitt +160 and Virginia Tech -135. A ‘+’ indicates an underdog, while a ‘-‘ indicates a favorite.

If you bet $100 on Pitt and Pitt wins, you win $135. If you bet on the favored Virginia Tech team, you must bet $160 to win $100.


Spread bets were invented to entice gamblers to make bets on lopsided games. There are many matchups during a season where two teams have a talent discrepancy. In these situations, it makes little sense to bet to win.

Spreads are point amounts sportsbooks use to entice gamblers to bet on a game, lopsided or otherwise.

They differ from Moneyline bets in that a favorite must exceed a certain amount of points to win, while an underdog must lose by a certain amount of points or less.

The spread for the Pitt vs. Virginia Tech game is Virginia Tech -3. That means if you wager on Virginia Tech -3, they must win by more than three points for you to cash. If you take Pitt +3, Pitt cannot lose by three or more.


These bets are also known as over/under; these bets are on the total amount of points or goals scored.

In the Pitt vs. Virginia Tech example, the total is 53. If you bet the over, both teams must combine to score more than 53 points. When you bet under, the teams must score less than 53.

When to Make These Bets

Every gambler has sports betting tips they are willing to give you. The best will often share their strategy or picks for a fee. The truth is, you can’t win much money if you’re paying for tips and picks.

You have to know when and in what situations to make these bets. Betting overwhelming favorites on the Moneyline might up your winning percentage, but you won’t win much money.

When to Bet Moneyline

Moneyline bets are far more prevalent in low-scoring sports like baseball and hockey. Runs and goals are all one point. Basketball and football scores have varying numbers.

That doesn’t mean a Moneyline bet isn’t a good bet in certain situations. Spread bets also have odds, and the standard is -110 on either side.

For example, you believe Pitt will win the game against Virginia Tech. If you take Pitt +3 on the spread, your odds are -110.

If you take Pitt to win on the Moneyline, you get Pitt at +160. Betting Pitt to win on the Moneyline here is a more profitable endeavor.

When to Bet Spreads

Though Moneylines are more common in low-scoring sports, spread odds fluctuate much more in these sports. Rather than placing standard odds on the spreads in these sports, sportsbooks use a standard spread number.

In hockey and baseball, the standard spread is 1.5, and the odds associated with both sides fluctuate.

Let’s use a hockey example. The Arizona Coyotes play the San Jose Sharks. The Coyotes are at -118. Given your research, you believe the Coyotes will win by two goals or more.

The odds associated with the Coyotes at -1.5 are +225. In this case, betting the spread is much more profitable.

You’ll also find spread bets of great use in sports like football and basketball. Vast talent discrepancies lead to bigger spreads. In games where the spread is 3.5 or more, a spread bet is often the wise choice to play.

When to Bet Totals

There’s no right or wrong way to bet totals. They’re best for close games where you can’t discern a clear winner. You might not have a feel for who’ll win in the Pitt vs. Virginia Tech game, but you recognize other aspects.

Both teams have trouble scoring in recent weeks, and Pitt’s starting quarterback is injured. Because of this, you believe the 53 total is far too high. In this case, a totals bet is a wise move.

Shop for Lines

Are sports betting legal? It is, depending on the state. If you live in a state with legal online betting, you have many great options for where to bet sports online.

Sportsbooks and lines aren’t standard. Sportsbooks release slightly different Moneylines, spreads, and totals. You need to shop for the best numbers.

Half a point in a spread can make a huge difference whether you win or lose a bet. Search the Best Online Casinos in your area for the most profitable numbers.

Win Your Online Sports Bets

Winning online sports bets takes a lot of smarts and strategy. What you shouldn’t do is make random bets and hope. Sure, you’ll win some, but you’ll lose a lot more.

The best strategy is to start slow and learn the foundations. Once you understand these bet types and how they function, you can expand your play and bankroll.

Do you need more gambling tips? Make sure to check out the rest of our page.