• Converting Money Lines to Percentages When Betting on Sports

    Added - Jan. 13, 2014 Sports

    Money lines are a way to discuss the payouts for certain types of bets on sports. Suppose that Team A is +125 against Team B who is -115. This notation means that you'll need to wager $125 on Team A to win $100, or you'll need to wager $100 on Team B to win $115. In this scenario, Team B would be the favorite to win while Team A would be the underdog. Money lines are a very concise way of describing bets, and if you want to try to get an advantage in sports betting, then you'll have to learn how to convert them to percentages.

    So here's the question you need to ask yourself: If you're betting on a team and you're given the money lines, how often do they need to win for your bet to be profitable? There's a simple way to figure this out, and you'll only need to know two figures to do it. You'll need to know the win amount when your team comes out on top, and you'll need to know the lose amount when your team doesn't. Then to find the percentage, you'll divide the lose amount by the sum of the win and lose amount combined.

    Here's an example. Suppose we're betting on Team A at +125 like listed above. If Team A wins, we get $125, so that's the win amount. If Team A loses, then we take a loss of $100, so that's the lose amount. To find the necessary winning percentage for a profitable bet, we divide $100 by $225 to get 44.4 percent. If Team A wins more than 44.4 percent, then the bet at +125 will be profitable.

    Let's consider what this bet looks like on Team B at -115. The win amount is $100 and the lose amount is $115. This means that we need to divide $115 by $215 to get a necessary win percentage of about 53.5 percent. If Team B wins more often than 53.5 percent in this game, then betting on them will be profitable with this line.

    Note that this would mean that Team A would have to lose more than 46.5 percent for the bet on Team B to be profitable. This creates a gap for Team A where neither bet is profitable as long as they win between 44.5 and 46.5 percent.