Over/Under Betting Guide

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How to bet on totals over under

Betting on the over or under, also known as the total, is one of the most common types of sports bets. Let’s discuss how totals betting works.

What is a total (over/under) bet?

Totals betting, often called over/under betting, involves wagering whether the combined score of both teams in a game will exceed or fall short of the set line. This type of betting is very different from moneylines and point spreads, which require one side to win. With totals, the winning team doesn’t matter at all, only the score.

Every betting total has an “over” and an “under” that are possible. Suppose an NFL betting total is 50.5 points. For the “over” to win, the two teams combined must score more than 50.5 points. For the “under” to hit, both teams must combine for fewer than 50.5 points.

Totals bets are not limited to full-game scoring. You can bet on totals in the form of quarter totals, half totals or team totals, which apply to the scoring totals on an individual team.

You will often find that the odds associated with over/under betting are the same on each side. This is mainly because the line is set so that both the over and under have an equal chance of happening. Sportsbooks will generally shift the total number instead of the odds to adjust.

Totals are a prevalent form of online sports betting because they are simple. It’s relatively easy to add up the scores from both teams and track your bets. Additionally, total bets are seen as close to being 50/50 propositions.

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How do you read over/under odds?

As noted above, over/under lines include a number where you can bet on whether the total amount will exceed or fall short of the set number.

The odds accompanying the set total will usually be set at or around -110. Depending on the sport (and other factors), either the total itself will move or the odds attached to the over/under might change due to a number of factors, such as where the sharps are betting, news regarding player availability or inclement weather.

Over/under betting across the major sports

Totals betting comes in many formats, including full-game, half and quarter/period betting. While point spreads can take on different forms in different sports, betting on totals keeps the same shape across most sports markets. Let’s look at examples of how total betting works across the big four sports.

Football

Totals in football betting typically fall between 35 and 55 points in the NFL, with a massive increase in projected point totals in college football. Let’s check out an example.

Suppose a matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers has a betting total of 48.5. The final score must combine for at least 49 points for the over to win. Fewer than 48.5 points must be scored in the game for the under to win.

Final scoreResult against the betting total
Chiefs 36, 49ers 24Over 48.5 points – The over wins
Chiefs 24, 49ers 21Under 48.5 points – The under wins
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) catches a pass against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium.
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Basketball

Totals in NBA betting have risen due to the high-octane offenses dominating the NBA and college hoops. Most NBA totals are over 200 points, while college basketball totals are typically within the 120-150 point range.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) goes in for a dunk as Philadelphia 76ers forward Darius Bazley (25) and guard Ricky Council IV (16) look on during the second half at TD Garden.
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For example, say that the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are playing a game with a betting total of 211.5 points. For the over to win, 212 or more points must be scored. For the under to win, fewer than 212 points must be scored.

Final scoreResult against the betting total
Celtics 109, 76ers 107Over 211.5 points – The over wins
Celtics 109, 76ers 100Under 211.5 points – The under wins
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Baseball

While basketball and football games are high scoring affairs, baseball typically has run totals in the single digits. As a result, betting totals are often within the range of 8-10 runs.

Let’s consider an example. Suppose the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are in a matchup with a betting total of 9. More than nine runs must be scored for the over to win. For the under to win, fewer than nine runs must be scored. A push occurs if the final score total ends at precisely nine. When a push occurs, the stake of the bet is refunded.

Final scoreResult against the betting total
Dodgers 7, Yankees 4Over 9 runs – The over wins
Dodgers 4, Yankees 3Under 9 runs – The under wins
Dodgers 5, Yankees 4Exactly 9 runs – Push
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) follows through on a home run in the sixth inning as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith (16) and home plate umpire John Tumpane (74) watch at Dodger Stadium.
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Hockey

Like baseball, combined final scores in hockey leagues like the NHL are much smaller than in other sports. The most common line for an NHL game is 6.5 goals to be scored. It’s common for a line to be 5.5, 6, or 7 goals, too.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson (28) pushes the puck up ice while Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) defends during the second period at TD Garden.
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Suppose the Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the betting total is 6.5 goals. If 7+ goals are scored, the over wins. Less than seven goals being scored means the under wins.

Final scoreResult against the betting total
Bruins 4, Penguins 3Over 6.5 goals – The over wins
Bruins 3, Penguins 1Under 6.5 goals – The under wins
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What strategies should you use when betting the over/under?

There are various strategies you can use in order to increase your chances of making a profit when betting on totals. Oddsmakers are extraordinary at their jobs for the most part, indicated by the number of sporting events that wind up being extremely close to the betting total. The first thing you can do, before placing any type of bet, is take advantage of whatever sportsbook bonuses are available to you from around the industry.

Let’s discuss strategies we use to win more often when betting on overs and unders.

Tracking weather patterns

While this doesn’t apply to sports played in domed stadiums or arenas like basketball and hockey, understanding the effect of the weather on scoring is essential. If extreme wind is on the horizon for an NFL game, you may be able to get ahead of the betting market and lock in a more favorable line than what ends up being the closing number.

It should be noted that factors such as weather are considered by oddsmakers when setting the totals, but it is certainly worth looking at these factors to inform your wagering.

Using analytics

In the era of statistical analysis dominating the world of sports, utilizing critical numbers to your advantage can help your long-run profitability. For a sport like basketball, checking the team’s pace of play is imperative before wagering on a total. If a team likes to play quickly, this can drive up totals massively.

Gambling responsibly

It is imperative that before placing bets, one should set a bankroll and stick to it. Never bet more than you can afford to lose and be sure you are being responsible with your bets. Sports betting is supposed to be fun, but safety and responsibility always comes first.

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Is the over/under a valuable bet?

Over/under betting isn’t the most profitable type of bet in the short run, but it is still a good bet. Totals are typically -110 odds, meaning it is seen as 50/50 proposition, similar to how point spread bets work. In comparison to betting the moneyline, an over/under bet is generally lower probability than betting on a favorite but a higher likelihood to hit than when betting on an underdog. If you want to learn about types of bets where you can potentially increase your payout, check out our betting guides page.

Can you parlay total bets?

Yes, you can parlay over/under bets. Totals are among the most common wager types in standard and same game parlays. A parlay is a wager that combines multiple bets into one ticket, with every added wager increasing the payout exponentially. Parlays have a lower likelihood of hitting, but including 50/50 bets like totals and point spreads rather than moneyline favorites increases the potential profit you can make if your parlay hits.

Parlays do have the caveat that you must win every bet on the slip for the parlay to pay out. If even one leg loses, your parlay is graded as a loss.

Burning questions about over/unders

Betting on overs and unders can be overwhelming for a beginner, but they are pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. Let’s discuss a few other common questions about betting on totals.

How are the over/under lines determined?

Oddsmakers typically determine totals at online sportsbooks through millions of simulations. Oddsmakers utilize billions of data points to determine the betting total that is offered to the public. Make sure you check multiple sportsbooks before you place your over/under bet, because the odds aren’t always uniform across the industry. If you want to bet the under on a Knicks vs. 76ers game, you might find the total at 209 at FanDuel Sportsbook, while the line is 209.5 at BetMGM Sportsbook. The differences are small, but in this scenario, an under bet at FanDuel would push if the game total finished at exactly 209 points, while the same bet would cash at BetMGM.

How and when does the total move?

Totals can move for multiple reasons. For example, if snow or rain is likely a factor in a football game, the projections will drop the total. As a result, you’ll see the betting total drop considerably.

How do sportsbooks make money on over/under bets?

Sportsbooks make money from a variety of sources. When it comes to over/under bets specifically, -110 odds are not purely even because of the “juice” attached. On every -110 wager you make, you pay just under a 10% fee to the sportsbook. This adds up across all wagers you and other sports bettors make.

Online sports betting sites make tons of money on parlays.

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FAQ

What happens when the game ends on the exact line of the over/under?

A “push” occurs when the game ends on the exact line of the over/under total. This is only possible when a total is set at an even number without a half-point involved.

What’s the difference between total, moneyline and point spread betting?

There are many differences between betting on totals, moneylines and point spreads. When you bet on a total, you are wagering on the combined final score. Betting on a moneyline means you’re betting on a team to win a game outright. Point spread betting involves wagering on a team to win the game against a particular handicap or added point value.

Why do some over/under lines change?

Weather, breaking news and other critical informational changes can force oddsmakers to shift the offered total.

Is there a minimum or maximum amount you can bet or win on an over/under bet?

At most online sportsbooks, there is generally no minimum you can bet or win on an over/under bet. As for maximums, sportsbooks generally do have a limit size, which tends to vary based on the sport, when the bet is being placed and the specific sportsbook being wagered at.

Where can I bet on totals?

You can bet on totals at any reputable online sportsbook. For over/under betting, we recommend using sites like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, Fanatics Sportsbook, bet365 and BetRivers.