Three-Way Moneyline Bets

The three-way moneyline bet is common in many betting circles but flies far under the radar for a lot of new bettors.

When you start out sports betting, there’s a good chance you start by simply picking who will win or lose a game. You do your research, come up with a final call and make your pick.

Plenty of other bettors do the exact same thing. The standard moneyline bet is one of the top pregame options at legal online sportsbooks.

If you dig a little deeper, though, the three-way moneyline is a great variation of the normal moneyline and expands its possibilities. See below for the ins and outs of a bet type that can be an awesome tool in your belt.

Standard moneyline betting explained

The moneyline is one of the big three pregame bets, standard for most of the major team sports, right along with spreads and totals. When you visit one of the top online sportsbooks in ON, you’ll see odds for all three bets displayed as part of the main game listing. The regular moneyline odds might look like this.

 American OddsDecimal Odds
Winnipeg Jets+1102.10
Toronto Maple Leafs-1301.77

When reading the line, negative numbers for American odds indicate the favourite. On the decimal side, the lower value of the two numbers is favoured in the contest. Bettors simply need to decide which side they think will win. If you bet on the Leafs and they pull it out, you win. But a Jets victory means you take the loss.

The simple and straightforward nature of the moneyline is a good part of the reason for its popularity. There are no spreads or points to worry about, just straight winners and losers. When teams are pretty evenly matched, like in our example, there’s decent value on both sides, but that’s not the case with the odds for massive favourites.

More info: How does the moneyline work?

What is a 3-way moneyline bet?

The three-way moneyline bet adds another possibility into the equation: what if the game ends in a tie? While soccer is the only major pro sport in which draws are commonplace these days, games in other leagues could wind up tied at the end of regulation.

As long-time NHL fans are well aware, the introduction of the shootout in 2005 effectively put an end to ties. Once upon a time, regulation ties were common. The same held true after the overtime period became part of the regular season in 1983.

Shootouts mean there will be a winner or loser, but that doesn’t mean that the three-way moneyline option is dead in the NHL. You can place your bets solely on what happens at the conclusion of regulation.

For soccer, three-way moneyline odds are the featured bet for the sport at the vast majority of online sportsbooks. A standard MLS game listing might look like this.

Colorado vs. Toronto FCAmerican OddsDecimal Odds
Home-2101.48
Tie+3204.20
Away+4605.60

You can pick a win for the home or away side just like in a normal moneyline bet, but the tie is added to the possible choices. There are odds for all three of the available selections. Naturally, they’ll vary based on the matchup, so the odds for a tie won’t always be so favourable.

One other important note to remember about betting on soccer: pay close attention to home and away sides. For other sports, the standard sportsbook listing calls for road teams on top with the home side on the bottom. In soccer, it’s often reversed at sportsbooks with the home squad on top.

Where can you find the three-way moneyline bet?

For soccer, you’ll see the three-way moneyline bet as a featured listing. In other sports, it’ll take some clicking to locate the bet at online sportsbooks. Once you find the main game listing that you want, just click through for additional options, or click on the “more wagers” link for that contest—or however it’s noted—and proceed.

After you click through, you’ll see all of the additional bets available for wagering. You’ll see props and alternative lines among the choices. At some shops, everything is neat and organized, while others will require a little bit of searching to find what you want. If it’s available, the three-way moneyline bet will be in the additional wagers section.

You won’t have any trouble finding the bet type for soccer as it’s a standard bet for all of the leagues and competitions. Many shops also make it readily available for the NHL and other hockey leagues. But it’s not always there as an option for other sports when you want to bet on the CFL, NFL or NBA, as ties at the end of regulation aren’t quite as common.

How do three way moneyline odds work?

For a standard moneyline bet, there are just two possible choices. The odds will be reflective of the matchup at hand, at least through the eyes of the oddsmaker. Here are some basic parameters to keep in mind.

  • Equal odds on both sides: the sportsbook sees the game as a pick’
  • Tight range between the numbers: oddsmakers expect a pretty close game.
  • Big favourite and large range: it’s a mismatch, at least on paper.

Since the three-way moneyline expands the possibilities, the odds will naturally be impacted. However, the same basic parameters apply when it comes to the numbers. A tight game isn’t going to become wide open just because of the potential for a tie, while a big mismatch will still be reflected in the numbers.

For the tighter games, the odds for the tie option will be in close range to what you’ll see for the other options, as in this example from the English Premier League.

Chelsea vs. Manchester CityAmerican OddsDecimal Odds
Home+1702.70
Tie+2203.20
Away+1702.70

When there’s a potential mismatch on tap, such as in this hypothetical matchup from the German Bundesliga, there will be very favourable odds for a tie, at least in terms of potential returns.

Greuther Furth vs. Bayern MunichAmerican OddsDecimal Odds
Home+180019.00
Tie+8509.50
Away-10001.10

Bayern Munich is a huge favourite here, so the payout for a tie or an upset win for the home side would pay off very handsomely. That said, wagering decisions should never solely be based on the potential return. Go with the choices in which you are most confident.

Examples of three-way moneyline bets

As with trying out any other new bet type, it can take a little practice to get up to speed with three-way moneyline betting. In the interest of accelerating the learning curve, let’s walk through some additional examples for the sports in which you’ll most often find it available.

Three-way moneyline in hockey

A final result of a tie is a thing of the past in NHL betting, but that doesn’t mean the game won’t be all knotted up at the end of regulation. Many of the legal sportsbooks provide markets for regulation time only wagers, including three-way moneylines.

Ottawa Senators @ Montreal CanadiensAmerican OddsDecimal Odds
Away+1802.80
Tie+2003.00
Home-2201.45

For this contest, the Montreal Canadiens are big home favourites over the Ottawa Senators. If you think that there’s a chance of a tie at the end of regulation, a $100 wager at odds of +200 or 3.00 has the potential for $200 in profits coming back your way.

Three-way moneyline in soccer

One of the great things about soccer betting is that there are so many different leagues and matches to choose from at the legal Ontario sportsbooks. No matter which league is your favourite, the three-way moneyline is one of the featured bet offerings.

Vancouver vs. FC DallasAmerican OddsDecimal Odds
Home+1102.00
Tie+2403.40
Away+2103.10

For soccer, it’s not uncommon to see positive American odds across the board when the matchups are at least relatively close. The decimal odds correlate in the same way, so you have the chance to double your money or more with a winning selection.

Other sports which offer three-way betting odds

While most commonly used in hockey and soccer betting, the three-way moneyline bet can be offered for other sports. For team sports, a tie at the end of regulation is always possible. Using a CFL game as an example, here’s how that could translate on the odds board.

Montreal Alouettes @ Toronto ArgonautsAmerican OddsDecimal Odds
Away+1252.25
Tie+4406.40
Home-1451.69

Since a tie isn’t really expected, sportsbooks will be willing to pay a premium if it happens. In games in which there’s a big favourite on the board, the odds for a tie would be even more astronomical. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for other sports to look for three-way opportunities.

The three-way moneyline bet can even be offered for the individual sports, such as in a head-to-head matchup for an upcoming golf tournament or a big UFC or boxing match.

UFC Fight Night
Diaz vs. Lawler
American OddsDecimal Odds
Diaz+1202.20
Lawler-1401.71
Draw+500051.00

For this example, the sportsbook is expecting a clear-cut winner. Hence, the payout for a potential draw is rather eye-popping. That being the case, it’s important to remember that they’re only willing to pay out so much because they view the chances of it actually happening as extremely slim.

Three-way moneyline betting strategy

The three-way moneyline bet makes the most sense for the games on which you have the best read in the sports most likely to wind up tied at the end of regulation. As such, the best advice is to stick to hockey and soccer for this wager type.

A tie is always possible in other sports, and the payouts can be fantastic if you happen to call one. However, chasing a return for an outcome that isn’t likely to happen is a long-term recipe for disaster.

When scrolling through the upcoming hockey and soccer game lines, make note of the games for which the tie seems like a realistic option. Generally, that will be the games that are really tight on the two-way moneyline, such as a split of -125/+105 or 1.8/2.05.

These are the games where it makes the most sense to focus your research efforts. From there, take the time to go through the head-to-head history for the teams involved. When you come across a matchup that’s often really tight, you may have a solid opportunity.

Other bet types to consider

The three-way wager isn’t the only way to expand the options beyond the standard moneyline bet. There are two more under-the-radar options worth taking the time to check out. Let’s take a look.

Double chance 

This is a bet that lets you cover two bases with one wager. You can choose a side plus a tie, or choose either club to get the outright win.

MLS: Toronto vs. MontrealAmerican OddsDecimal Odds
Toronto and Draw-3601.28
Montreal and Draw-1451.69
Toronto and Montreal-3201.31

Since you’re selecting two of three possible outcomes, the returns are generally much less than what you would see on a three-way moneyline bet. However, it’s an intriguing way to build up some consistency for part of your overall wagering strategy.

Draw no bet

As the name implies, this bet type takes the regulation tie out of the equation. If the game does wind up tied at that point, the wager will be treated as a push.

NHL: Vancouver @ TorontoAmerican OddsDecimal Odds
Vancouver+1252.25
Toronto-1451.69

So the odds are basically the same as what you would find for a standard NHL moneyline bet, right? Not exactly. For the main pregame bet, you know there will be a clear-cut result, even if it comes via overtime or shootout. This bet will be treated as a push in the event of a tie.

Key takeaways on three-way moneyline betting

The standard moneyline bet requires bettors to make a simple choice: which side will win? The three-way moneyline adds the potential for a tie into the equation. It’s the most popular pregame wager for soccer and is also commonly found as part of the additional wagers for NHL and other hockey games. Still, it can be used elsewhere as well.

Since there are three choices on the bet as opposed to two, the odds are adjusted accordingly. For soccer bettors, it’s a great wager type to have a handle on no matter the league. In the NHL and other sports, it can be an interesting bet to keep in your back pocket for specific games.