The Money Lines, as some may call, are not as complicated as it appears. Unlike point spreads which represents probability based on game points, money lines represents probability with money.
A simple way to understand money lines is to think of it as an indication of the amount of money you need to bet to win $110 and the amount of money you will win if you bet $100. Money lines are preferably explained based on a $100 value since it used in most of the games but it doesn’t mean you can only bet a $100 on a game. You can bet with money lines with any amount of many and it will become proportional to the money lines odds.
Money lines are used mostly in popular sports like football and basketball. Let me explain you an example of money lines with a game of NFL where it is widely used.
For example, the Patriots are the favorite against the Steelers on an AFC game. Since the Patriots are the favorite, the money lines are fixed so they have a money line of -110. The Steelers being the underdog has a money line of +110. If the Patriots are your preference and you choose to bet for them, you have to bet $110 to play a chance on winning $100. If you decide the Steelers are in a come back still not more of a favorite like the Patriots but you still think they can win the game then you bet $100 to play the chance of winning $110. This is because the probabilities calculated by the oddsmakers that are made into money lines are balanced to win less money for betting on a team that has more probability of winning and winning more money for betting on a team that has less chance of winning.
It is not necessary to bet a $100 on money lines. You can choose to bet more or less and your winning will be proportional to the $100 and $110 value. For example if you bet $55 on the Raiders with a money line of -110 while the Jets have a money line of +110 and they win, you will receive $50. If you plan to bet $50 on the Jets and they win you get the amount of $55.
Money lines are very easy to understand and explain probability with an approach on showing who has a better chance to win and who doesn’t. Anyway, the easier way to understand money lines is by wagering. It is by experience of the process that you gain knowledge and your future betting experience will be really worth full.