Betting on a money line is one of the more commonplace ways to vote in soccer and almost every other sport too. The money line defines and underdog by having a plus (+) symbol in front of the team name, and defines the favorite by a minus (-) sign next to the team name. What is interesting and unique about betting on the money line on soccer matches is that the bettor can also wager on the possibility of a tie too.
Soccer is one of the only sports where you can legitimately wager on a tie because in the regular season of almost every soccer league around the world, a 1-1 score at the end of the 90 minutes simply means that the game is over an no one wins. Obviously if the money line only had a favorite and an underdog every single person would lose their bet and that really would not be all that fair. Money line bets are placed before kickoff time and follow the odds that are listed on each site for each game. A lot of websites more recently are offering live in game soccer betting and the money line is able to be utilized after kickoff. Of course if a goal is scored, or something to that affect happens, the odds change accordingly.
If you are betting on the money line on a game between Arsenal and Blackburn this may be a little bit like how it might look…
Each of these three lines is saying something about the game. If you bet on Arsenal to win the game, you will win $10 for every $23.50 you wager. If Blackburn is able to pull off the upset and win, the bettor will receive $20 for every $10 wagered. That is why knowing a lot about teams who can cause potential upsets is nice. And of course the draw, which is unlikely to happen according to the plus (+) sign. If a draw does end up happening the bettor is rewarded with $10 for every $10 that he wagers.
In another example, I have Sevilla in a bout against Real Zaragoza.
Real Zaragoza: -250
In this example it is clearly indicated that Zaragoza is the under dog and looks like they do not have a great shot at winning. If they do pull off the upset though, the bettor who wagered on them will receive $25 for every $10 wagered. If Sevilla, the favorite, wins the bettor will win $10 for every $18 wagered. In this fictional case a draw is not likely to happen and the bettor who wagers on a draw will win $10 for every $12 that you bet. Betting on the money line becomes much more difficult when teams that are very similar in fire-power and statistics are playing each other. It becomes a lot harder because a game with such high volatility can yield almost any result.
Moneyline Betting Strategy from IG
IntenseGambling.com (IG) is a website that explains online sports betting options (example: moneylines, point spreads, totals, etc.) and then shows the best strategic approach for each. Their advice for soccer moneylines is to make wagers at any site offering better than the PinnacleSports.com no-vig price.
To help you understand why, right now I’m looking at the moneylines on a German soccer match. The bookmaker’s odds work out to payout percentages of:
Coral (93.7%), Bet365 (93.9%), Ladbrokes (94.0%), Bovada (95.9%), BetVictor (96.4%), Pinnacle (98.1%).
Notice that Pinnacle has the lowest markup. They also happen to have the highest betting limits at $28,000 per bet and allow multiple max bets too. In short, Pinnacle is a discount bookie that takes wagers from the largest and most successful punters in the world.
Though often having the best odds, Pinnacle does not appeal to casual bettors. This is because they don’t have bonuses, free bet offers, good parlay odds, etc. the same way recreational sportsbooks do. As a result their odds are the sharpest (closest to accurate) as fan bias does not influence the said odds. With this in mind there is a decent strategy that can be used. Gain information from Pinnacle, and make +EV bets at other online betting sites such as www.bovada.lv.
Calculating No-Vig Probabilities
All moneylines have an associated implied probability. This is simply a fancy term that means how often a bet needs to win to average break even. The formula for this is risk/return=implied probability where return is stake +win. For example $100 on +117 is risk $100 to win $117, here the return is $217 ($100 stake + $117 win).
On a recent Bundesliga match (Wolfsburg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt) Pinnacle had the odds
Using risk/return=implied probability I calculated implied probabilities for each as:
Home +117 is $100/$217= 46.08%
Draw +270 is $100/$370= 27.03%
Away +247 is$100/$347= 28.82%
Notice 46.08%+27.03%+28.82%= 101.93%. The reason these total over 100% is the bookmaker advantage called vig. This is how bookies make their profit. To remove vig all we need to do is divide each implied probability by their total percent market, in this case 101.93%.
Home +117 is $100/$217= 46.08%/101.93%= 45.21%
Draw +270 is $100/$370= 27.03%/101.93%= 26.52%
Away +247 is$100/$347= 28.82%/101.93%= 28.27%
Notice the above probabilities now total 100%. This is tells us the probabilities above are the true odds Pinnacle was working with before adding vig.
Change Probabilities to Moneyline Odds
Our next step is to change the probabilities above to moneyline odds. To do this we first take 1/probability=European odds. So for 45.21% that is 1/0.4521=2.21. To then change European odds to an American moneyline there are two formulas to use:
- If the odds are at least 2.00 use: 100*(Decimal odds -1)
- If the odds are less than 2.00 use: -100/(Decimal odds – 1)
Using this math I determine:
Home +117 is $100/$217= 46.08%/101.93%= 45.21% | is +121
Draw +270 is $100/$370= 27.03%/101.93%= 26.52% | is +277
Away +247 is$100/$347= 28.82%/101.93%= 28.27% | is +254
The above figures are called no-vig moneylines. The IG recommended strategy is to now go shop betting sites such as Bovada, Bet365 and Skybet and others. If you find any site offering moneylines better than the Pinnacle no-vig moneylines above you have found a +EV bet.