# NFL: Money Line vs. Spread -- Sample Problems

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## Sample Problems

Problem 1

Westgate has the Vikings PK +110. Most other sportsbooks show the Vikings +1. Which is better?

Problem 2

Most of the time when an NFL team is +3, the money line is +135. Which is better, +3 or +135?

Problem 3

Most of the time when an NFL team is -3, the money line is -155. Which is better, -3 or -155?

Problem 4

Some sportsbooks allow you to buy a half point for a dime. Is it worthwhile to pay a dime for a half point involving a 3, assuming you can find a book that will sell it?

Problem 5

Ohio State is favored to beat Wisconsin by three points at almost every sportsbook in Las Vegas. One book offers Wisconsin +4. Do you have an edge on that bet, and if so, how much?

Problem 6

One sportsbook allows you to bet at -105 instead of -110, but another sportsbook shows the game at a half-point better line. Is it better to bet at -105, or take the half point?

## Solutions to Sample Problems

Problem 1

Westgate has the Vikings PK +110. Most other sportsbooks show the Vikings +1. Which is better?

Vikings PK +110 needs 47.5 percent wins to break even, and Vikings +1 needs 51.5 percent wins. You are better off needing only 47.5 percent wins to break even. So you are 8.0 percent better off betting the Vikings at PK +110, due to 4.0 percent more wins and 4.0 percent fewer losses.

Problem 2

Most of the time when an NFL team is +3, the money line is +135. Which is better, +3 or +135?

+3 -110 is equivalent to a money line of +130. Thus a money line of +135 is preferable to a spread of +3.

The break-even point for +135 on the money line is 42.5 percent wins. The break-even point for a spread of +3 is 43.5 percent wins. That’s 1.0 percent more wins and 1.0 percent fewer losses, making your expectation is about 2.0 percent more betting the money line at +135 compared to taking three points at -110.

Problem 3

Most of the time when an NFL team is -3, the money line is -155. Which is better, -3 or -155?

-3 -110 is the equivalent of a money line of about -160. Thus a money line of -155 is slightly better than giving up three points.

The break-even point for -155 on the money line as about 60.8 percent wins. The break-even point for a spread of -3 is 61.5 percent wins. That’s 0.7 percent more wins and 0.7 percent fewer losses, so your expectation is to win about 1.4 percent more betting the money line at -155 compared to giving three points at -110.

Problem 4

Some sportsbooks allow you to buy a half point for a dime. Is it worthwhile to pay a dime for a half point involving a 3, assuming you can find a book that will sell it?

Yes indeed. You would much rather have +3.5 -120 than +3 -110. And you would much rather have +3 -120 than +2.5 -110. And you would much rather have -2.5 -120 than -3 -110. And you would much rather have -3 -120 than -3.5 -110. In each case the difference is 2.5 percent more wins and 2.5 percent less losses, for a total swing of 5.0 percent.

Problem 5

Ohio State is favored to beat Wisconsin by three points at almost every sportsbook in Las Vegas. One book offers Wisconsin +4. Do you have an edge on that bet, and if so, how much?

Sorry. The data presented in this article apply only to NFL games.

Problem 6

One sportsbook allows you to bet at -105 instead of -110, but another sportsbook shows the game at a half-point better line. Is it better to bet at -105, or take the half point?

Depending on which half point is involved, sometimes the -105 is better, and sometimes the half point is better. For a half point involving a number

with frequency 3 percent or greater, the half point is more valuable. For a half point involving a number with frequency 2 percent or lower, the -105 is more valuable.

Take the half point if it means picking up a tie or win on 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 16, or 17. Do not take the half point if it involves any other integer.

Example: -5.5 -110 is more valuable than -6 -105.

Example: +1 -105 is more valuable than +1.5 -110.

This is part of an occasional series of articles.

Excerpted with permission from Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong, edited for this format.