Sports bettors looking to place bets on MLS games that haven’t wagered on soccer before may come across some betting formats that they aren’t familiar with. And for soccer fans interested in placing sports bets at an online sportsbook for the first time, the long this of betting options can be overwhelming. Gaming content provider Dimers.com provides this MLS betting primer to get you up to speed on all of the most popular ways to bet on the MLS.
MLS Three-Way Moneyline Betting
In other popular professional sports in the United States like football, basketball, baseball and hockey, a moneyline wager is only between two teams. Bettors simply bet on the team that they believe is going to win the game at a price indicated by the listed odds. But in soccer, the moneyline is listed with three potential outcomes: Team A wins, Team B wins, and the game ends in a draw.
While all of the other sports mentioned above have overtime periods to sort out which team wins on the moneyline, draws are quite common in soccer, so three-way moneyline betting is the standard. As an example, say that FC Cincinnati is hosting DC United and is a clear favorite to win at home. This game could be listed with the following betting odds: FC Cincinnati -145, DC United +390, Draw +320.
Odds listed with a “-” indicate how much you would need to bet to win $100. So with odds of -145, you’d have to bet $145 to win $100 if you wanted to bet on Cincinnati. This ratio stays the same no matter what amount you bet, so betting $290 on Cincinnati would potentially pay out $200, or betting $14.50 would pay out $10.
The “+” odds, which are far more common in MLS betting, indicate how much you’d win with a $100 bet if your selection won. So a $100 bet on DC United at +390 would pay out a $390 profit if the club pulled off the upset, or a $20 bet would pay out $78 if DC United won.
The Three-Way Line
There are no pushes on the three-way line. If the game ends in a draw and you bet on one of the teams to win, your bet loses. And if you bet on the draw and there is a decisive result with one team winning, your draw bet loses. In the event that you bet on an MLS playoff game that features extra time or penalties, your three-way wager would be graded a draw as it only covers the score at the end of regulation.
MLS Spread Betting
Soccer bettors who want to take draws out of the occasion will prefer spread betting. While there are occasionally very lopsided matchups in which one club is favored by one goal or more, the majority of soccer matches will have a spread of “pk” or “1/2”.
The “pk” stands for pick-em, which means that there is no spread on the game. Say that a game between Charlotte and New York City is listed as Charlotte +160, New York City +185, Draw +230 on the three-way line. This type of game with three close outcomes might have a spread line of Charlotte pk (-120), New York City pk (+100).
Betting on the pick’em line turns this game into a two-way moneyline. If you bet on New York City, you’ll win your bet if NYC wins and you’ll lose your bet if NYC loses. But in the event of a draw, you’ll push your bet instead of losing it as you would have on the three-way line.
Say that Toronto FC is hosting the New England Revolution and the three-way line is set at Toronto +105, New England +255, Draw +277. This game might have a spread of Toronto -1/2 (+105), New England +1.5 (-125).
You’ll notice in this instance that Toronto’s odds are the same on both lines. This is because covering a ½-goal spread would require winning the game outright, so the bet is the same as a three-way bet. But on New England’s side, with New England receiving a +1/2 goal handicap, your spread bet would now win if New England wins or if the game ends in a draw.
One last thing that you’ll run into are quarter lines, which may list one team as “pk, -1/2” and the other as “pk, +1/2”. This means that half of your wager amount will be on one spread and half will be on the other. If for example you have LAFC at pk, -1/2 and the game ends in a draw, you will lose half of your original wager as you pushed the pk portion and lost the ½ portion.
MLS Totals Betting
Totals betting, also known as Over/Under betting, refers to betting on whether the total number of goals scored in game will go OVER or UNDER a posted total. For example, if a matchup between the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles FC has a total set at 2.5 goals, the Over will pay out if the two teams combine for three or more goals and the Under will pay out if they score two or fewer combined goals.
MLS Parlay Betting
A parlay is when you combine two or more selections, known as legs, into one wager. When you create an MLS parlay, your bet wins if every leg that you select wins and loses if even a single leg of the parlay loses. The risk increases when you add more and more sides and totals to your parlay, but so does the potential payout.
MLS Props Betting
Proposition bets, also known as prop bets, are wagers within a game that are not tied to the outcome of the game, unless that specific prop is. For example, you can bet on which team will score first, the total at halftime, or whether a certain player will score a goal. Each prop is graded individually and is not affected by the final score.
MLS Futures Betting
Another popular type of MLS betting is futures betting. These bets allow you to place wagers on a future event, such as which club will win the MLS Cup. These odds change throughout the year based on performance, injury, and other factors; but the price that you make your future wager at is locked in.