Money Line Betting

Are you seeing the term money line betting and wondering what it is all about?  Learning about horse betting usually begins with your straight wagers like win, place, and show within the pari-mutuel schemes available at racetracks and online.

However, when you start seeing talk about bookies and bookmakers, you are reviewing a different kind of betting called fixed odds or money line betting. With a few basic tips, you will be on your way to using this style of wager in order to take a chance at bigger wins.

What defines money line betting

More often than not, an American will encounter money line betting in the state of Nevada, overseas, online, or with a private bookie in your community. In the future, we can expect to see more laws refined and bet exchange services offered online.

Regardless of where it takes place, the basic definition for money line is fixed odds betting. This is simply placing your wager against as set of odds developed by the bet exchange or a bookmaker. The bookie knows that the underdog is their chance to win their money back since most wagers will be placed on the “favorites.”  For the bookie, if the favorite horse loses, the bookie wins.

Is money line betting legal?

In some situations, money line betting is illegal. Nonetheless, it is perfectly valid in Nevada and in most countries around the world. In particular, placing a fixed odds bet is generally (but not always) banned federally by the United States for non-horse racing sports. Despite this, there are a lot of laws that are relaxing to allow exchange betting that includes money line betting.

For instance, California will start using the exchange betting system in May 2012. There are also plans to clarify the Federal US Wire Act that bans betting by telecommunication.

That said, you can find recommended racebooks where you can make your horse money line bets in addition to others.

Making the odds for the books

A bookie or bookmaker is the person that will set the odds for each horserace or pro sports game that you want to place a bet on. In each case, it is the individual bookie that will determine what the odds are and what you will be paid if you win.

Commonly, you can tell these bookies that you want to play #3 horse to win and they will you the “odds” are four to one, etc. This will also be the time that they will let you know what the payout will be if you “hit your numbers”.

Money line odds example

In general, there will be a great deal of money line betting for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Breeder’s Cup, and the Belmont Stakes. While money line betting is often legal for horseracing, the easiest way to understand this system is to use two teams competing against each other as an initial example.

Your bookie is taking bets for a match between the Indianapolis Colts and the Dallas Cowboys. You call your local bookie and tell them you want to place $20 on the Colts winning with 64 points. Your bookie will then tell you what you odds are of winning (four to one, twenty to one, etc) and that you will win twenty dollars for each dollar you spend.

Where to place money line bets

Commonly, a betting exchange website will act as a go between. This means that one side there is the bettors and the other is the bookies. In between these two ends are websites like TwinSpire (US friendly and legal site). Regardless, there is a lot of stigma placed on this type of betting despite the fact that it is not criminalized in many countries in Europe. Unfortunately, America has several good reasons for this.

How money line bets once created scandal

You will hear a lot of sports like the NFL or MLB say that they will never agree with fixed odds betting or money line odds. Part of the problem goes back to the 1800’s and early 1900’s. During that time, exchange betting was legal (but unregulated) for all sports and this led to one scandal after another.

For example, in Louisville, Kentucky, there was a sign outside the Grays baseball stadium in 1877 that said, “No game between these teams is to be trusted.”  In other words, when there is money on the line, a player may be persuaded to take a payoff in order to “fix” the game.

This means that bookies can win a lot of money by getting the players to lose on purpose. This way, the bettors are sure to lose and the bookies always gain. Of course, this caused so many problems that it led to the ban of exchange betting and the fixed odds or morning line betting scheme.

Famous money line scandals

Since this ban, there have been some famous cases where these rules have been broken. In particular, Pete Rose was banned from baseball after he was caught betting on his team the Cincinnati Reds. While many feel that these types of punishments are harsh, Major League Baseball simply wants to keep the game “clean.”

In the meantime, many bettors look forward to being able to bet on game scores, laying a bet (or betting for something not to happen), and in-play bets through money line betting websites.