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Outright Betting Explained

By Hank Blaine

Every Major League Baseball Season, sports betting handicappers must switch gears from betting on NFL and NBA games against the spread to betting on teams straight up or to win outright.

Also called money line betting, straight up wagering is easy to explain. Finding winning value money line bets is difficult to accomplish. Check out a definition of outright or money line betting along with an important outright betting tip.

A Closer Look at Outright Betting

What is outright, straight up, or money line betting?

If you like a team and bet on the team to win, you made a money line wager. Money line wagers are that simple.

You choose a team to win the sporting event. You bet on the team to win the event. If the team you bet wins, you win your bet. If the team you bet loses, you lose your bet.

Finding value money line bets is difficult

What is outright, straight up, or money line betting?

The reason most sports handicappers dislike money line bets is because the odds significantly favor chalk options. In a lot of ways, handicapping money lines is more difficult than handicapping spread lines because money lines can have vast odds differences between favorites and underdogs.

The favorite in a boxing match could be around -2500. -2500 means that if you wish to make a $100 profit, you must risk $2,500. It’s not even remotely possible to assign value to a -2500 option.

So the key is to find value money line plays. Before checking out a possible method, don’t forget that when we say value, we don't mean always backing the underdog. A lot of favorites, especially in MLB, offer value even though we must lay more than $100 if we wish to back those teams.

Value money line further explanation

On April 21, the Kansas City Royals were taking on the Los Angeles Angels. Check out the ML odds:

  • Kansas City Royals +235
  • Los Angeles Angels -280

In the above example, Kansas City sent Taylor Clarke to the mound. The Angels sent Shohei Ohtani. When it comes to betting MLB, it’s all about pitcher versus batter matchups.

So knowing starting pitchers is crucial to determining value. So which team represents value? It sure looks like Taylor Clarke and the Royals are the value play.

Clarke is normally a reliever. In this case, he has to start because KC has nobody else who will. So we can’t say Kansas City offers value at +230.

The Angels may or may not offer value at -280. We must dig deeper to find out. But that’s okay because this example is intended to show that the underdog doesn’t always offer value.

How to bet on outright outcomes without losing your bankroll

The best way to bet on money lines is to set up specific rules. So, for example, tell yourself that you will never bet on a money line that’s worse than -150.

Again, we can go back to the above example for the reason why. Let’s say you want to back Ohtani and the Halos at -280. If you wish to make a $200 profit, you must lay $560.

What happens if Taylor Clarke turns out to be a great starter? What happens if Ohtani becomes injured in the first inning?

You could lose $560 for the chance of making $200 profit.

You create value by setting your rules

You create the value in money line plays by setting your rules. If you make a rule never to bet on a team that offers odds worse than -150, and you stick to it, you will always make smart money line bets because the handicapping doesn’t change.

Let’s say you handicap Twins versus Astros. The Twins are at -145. After handicapping, checking trends, and studying stats, you believe the Twins beat the Astros, you make the bet because -145 on the Twins follows your rule.

Whether you win or lose, you know you made a smart play. When it comes to outright bets, that’s really all you can ask. Once a game starts, it’s out of your hands.

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