Money line sports bets

I have a question about money line sports bets?

Here’s an example:

It happens that tomorrow’s money line on the Yankee – Mariner game is New York -175, Seattle +165. Now suppose that you and I both go to a sports book in Las Vegas and I take the Yankees and you take the Mariners.
If the Yankees win, you lose $100 and I win $100.
If the Mariners win, I lose $175 and you win $165.

Now here’s my question: Assuming that there is an equal amount of betting support for each team, it looks to me like the sports book makes money on this type of bet only when the underdog wins. Is this true? If not, how does the book make money when the favorite wins?

Question posted by: wild_turkey_willie


Your example is not entirely correct. Here’s how the money line bet would work in the case you mentioned:

If the Yankees win:

  • You bet $175 on the Yankees at -175 odds to win $100 (plus your initial bet back).
  • Your friend bets $100 on the Mariners at +165 odds to win $165 (plus their initial bet back).

If the Mariners win:

  • You lose your $175 bet on the Yankees.
  • Your friend wins $165 (plus their initial $100 bet back).

The sportsbook makes money through the difference in the odds, also known as the “vig” or “juice.” In this example, when the favorite (Yankees) wins, the sportsbook takes in $175 from your friend’s losing bet and pays you $100 in winnings, keeping $75 as their profit. When the underdog (Mariners) wins, the sportsbook takes in $175 from your losing bet and pays your friend $165 in winnings, keeping $10 as their profit.

The sportsbook tries to balance the amount of money wagered on both sides to ensure they make a profit regardless of the outcome. They adjust the odds accordingly to encourage or discourage betting on a particular side based on the amount of money coming in.