What is 3-Way Moneyline Betting?

Even if you’re absolutely new to the sports betting hobby, one of the bets you’ve likely heard of (and maybe participated in at some point) is the moneyline. It’s a straightforward wager that asks you to choose the winner of a game. A bet on the New England Patriots to beat the Buffalo Bills, for example, would be a moneyline wager.

Some sports, however, offer more than just that two-way choice by including the possibility of a tie as a third option. You may find these three-way moneylines in soccer and other sports. Read on for more information about three-way moneyline bets if sports betting in Massachusetts is legalized.

What are 3-way moneyline bets?

A typical moneyline wager asks you to pick which side will win the game. A three-way moneyline asks you to pick one of the two sides as the winner or if the game will end in a tie.

So, if you’re wagering on a sport that doesn’t have ties, like the NFL or NBA, you generally would pick between Team A and Team B to walk away as the winners. However, in sports where a tie is possible — most commonly soccer — you would have the option to choose Team A, Team B, or a tie, which some sportsbooks refer to as a draw.

For the most part, here in the United States, soccer is the standard example of a sport where the games can end in ties. Additionally, while other sports and leagues may not have games that end in ties — the NHL, for example — many books will allow you to bet on the result at the end of regulation, again giving you three choices on which to bet: either team to win or the game to be a draw.

What is a 3-way moneyline bet in football?

When it comes to NFL betting, preseason and regular season games can end in ties at the end of the overtime period. However, it’s important to note that NFL playoff games can’t end in ties, so the overtime rules are slightly different.

Prior to the 2017 NFL season, the league shortened overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes for preseason and regular season games in hopes of reducing injuries. During this time period (2017-present), only six games have ended in a tie following overtime under the current rules.

If you do decide to bet on a draw during the preseason and regular season, here’s an example of a potential three-way moneyline bet that is offered at most sportsbooks:

  • New England Patriots -450
  • Draw +6500
  • Green Bay Packers +380

As you can see, the Patriots are the favorite at -450 moneyline odds, which means that a $450 bet can bring you $100 in profit if New England wins. The Packers are the underdog at +380 odds, which means that a $100 bet can bring you $380 in profit if Green Bay wins. And finally, a draw — which is listed at +6500 — means a $100 bet can bring you $6,500 in profit if the preseason or regular season game ends in a tie.

The potential payout for a draw in NFL preseason and regular season games is massive, but the odds of it actually happening are slim to none. As a result, three-way football moneylines aren’t as beneficial as other sports like soccer and hockey.

What is a 3-way moneyline bet in soccer?

While rules may vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, it’s most common to have the outcome decided after full-time. For those who are new to the sport, full-time requires the entire 90 minutes, plus any additional time for stoppages, injuries, or other reasons. Once all of that time is done, then the outcome will be either a winner or a draw.

When you wager on a three-way soccer moneyline, if you pick one of the teams, that side has to win the game outright in order for your bet to win. If you do decide to bet on a draw, then that’s what you’ll be rooting for. Here’s an example of a potential three-way moneyline:

  • Chelsea +125
  • Draw +225
  • Arsenal +240

As you can see, the odds appear in a similar format as they would for a traditional moneyline. Let’s say Arsenal wins the game above. With +240 odds, a bet of $100 would pay out $240 in profit. Of course, you can wager any amount you like and those payouts will still be based on the +240.

There are some situations where soccer games won’t end in draws, such as some tournaments. You might still have the option for a three-way moneyline. However, in that case, the bet will use the results at the end of full-time and not include any extra time or shootouts.

In that case, you might have picked Arsenal to win, and the game was tied at the end of full-time and Arsenal went on to win in the shootout. If the bet you chose was on the result at the end of regulation, then you would lose your bet, since Arsenal didn’t win until the shootout.

What is a 3-way moneyline bet in hockey?

While another sport or league may not have games that end in ties, many books may still allow you to bet on the result at the end of regulation, and that generally allows you to bet on the possibility of a draw.

NHL betting, for instance, instituted an overtime shootout rule starting in the 2005-06 season. This means that one of the teams will always win. However, many books will let you bet on 60-minute lines — aka the result at the end of 60 minutes of regulation play. Such wagers will look like three-way moneylines.

Here’s what a two-way traditional moneyline bet might look like for an NHL game:

  • Boston Bruins -200
  • New York Rangers +170

Now, let’s throw in the option of a draw with a 60-minute moneyline bet:

  • Boston Bruins -125
  • Draw +310
  • New York Rangers +280

The Boston Bruins are still the favorites to win the game, though the odds are different. As you can see, however, the addition of the tie as a possible outcome adjusts the odds for both teams, even with a draw being the least likely in the minds of the oddsmaker.

This three-way bet, however, doesn’t depend on the absolute outcome of the game. If it goes into overtime and shootouts, it’s not going to matter because your three-way bet will have been completed at the end of the three periods of regulation play.

As you can see, there is more potential for a larger payout with the three-way moneyline bet in hockey. So that might be enough to pique your interest and get you wagering on this option. Just remember to check the terms and conditions of your sportsbook so you’re aware of how it makes its decisions.

Other applicable sports for 3 way moneyline bets

Other sports can have ties, too, of course. But it’s rare. Far, far rarer than in soccer. Because of how scarce those outcomes are in most other sports (like the NFL), it generally isn’t worth the effort for sportsbooks to offer betting odds on ties — either overall or at the end of regulation.

What happens if you bet and it’s a tie in other sports?

Well, that’s a push, which leads to the sportsbook returning your bet. Because there was no winner, the book will void all bets on either team to win and return all such wagers. There are other reasons for pushes, as well, which you can find in a sportsbook’s terms and conditions.

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