Spreads Versus The Moneyline

college football odds board52.4%.

If you are familiar with sports betting, you have no doubt seen this number referenced. In point spread sports like basketball or football, 52.4% is the percentage of bets you must correctly pick to break even at the standard -110 odds. 

Those who thought you only needed 50% to break even may ask how big a deal an extra 2.4% is. At an even 50% win percentage you would lose, on average, 5% of the amount wagered each bet.

This 2.4% house edge will devastate many spread bettors as they find consistently hitting more than 52.4% of the time is very difficult.

Savvy bettors realize that they have alternatives to standard spread bets. Baseball is a moneyline sport, meaning that -110 point spreads are not used and moneylines are the most common bet placed.

Betting money lines feels more natural than betting spreads because teams are trying to win, not cover a given spread. Your desired outcome is now aligned with the team’s goals.

More importantly, however, betting spreads saves you from needing a 52.4% win rate to profit. Betting moneyline underdogs can be quite profitable if you are selective.

If we take a look at numbers from the past six MLB seasons, we will see that slight underdogs have displayed remarkable consistency.

Below is a chart displaying the win percentages and returns on investment for teams whose line has been 100-110:

Year Win % ROI
2013 49.3% 1.1%
2014 49.2% 0.9%
2015 49.0% 0.5%
2016 49.3% 1.3%
2017 51.9% 6.3%
2018 52.4% 7.5%

It is important to note that despite recording winning percentages below 50%, these bets are still profitable. Look at 2018. Because we received plus money on underdogs, we were treated to a 7.5% ROI on a 52.4% win rate.

Take a page from baseball bettors and apply it to the sports currently in season. Just because football and basketball are not traditional moneyline sports does not mean we cannot bet the moneylines.

Just like in baseball, if you bet value-loaded NFL underdogs and hit somewhere around 50%, you will soon become quite profitable. The same applies to college football, college basketball, and NBA moneylines.

Stay smart. Just because most recreational sports followers bet spreads does not mean you need to follow suit. If you have a knack for spread betting, then by all means indulge yourself.

If spreads have not been treating you well lately, it may be time to try some moneylines. Your wallet and bank account will thank you.

The Author

Kreighton Rahn

Kreighton Rahn is a contributing writer for DBpicks.com. Rahn, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in writing at the University of Michigan, is a former sports betting content writer for the now defunct OGSports. Kreighton has a love of both sports and mathematics, and he is a dedicated sports fan as well as an avid sports bettor. His favorite sports to follow and bet are MLB, NFL, NBA, and men's college football and basketball.

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