Another popular wager among sports bettors is the over/under, which is also known as totals. The over/under is a bet that’s made on how many total points, goals, or runs will be scored in a game. It’s a straightforward bet, and it can be a good one to take because it’s based on statistical analysis, matchups, and recent team trends.
How the Over/Under Works
With the over/under, you’ll find both teams listed and then the totals as well as information concerning how much it cost to wager. Typically, an over/under will be listed at -110. However, there are times when bookmakers try to draw action one way or another; they may list the over at -110 and the under at -103, trying to get more action on the low end.
The over/under listing will include the game time, who is playing, with the visitor being first, and the over/under. A typical over/under looks like this:
7:05 New York Giants +37.5 (-110)
Dallas Cowboys -37.5 (-103)
In this example, if you think 38 or more points will be scored, you would choose the over and bet $110 to win $100. However, if you decide that fewer than 37.5 points will be scored by both teams, you can win $100 by betting $103. That’s a solid deal on the vig, but in order to take it, you’ll want to be sure you have a good chance of winning on the under. A deal is only a deal if you can make money on it.
What to Consider Before Wagering
Prior to making your totals bet, research each team, including the injury reports, recent trends over the past few weeks, and how many points each team scored in recent contests. Matchups become very important for over/under. How effective is each team’s defensive unit, and are there any gaps that the offense can exploit? Betting the total on a game takes about the same amount of analysis as other types of bets, such as the spread and money line.
Combined with Another Bet
Some people will find an over/under that they feel strongly about and will create a parlay where they choose to make a spread and totals bet on the same game. This can be one of the better parlays to play because it’s based on an overall view of the teams, their matchups, and your projected result.
The payout on a two-team parlay is 13-5. These are the lowest odds on any combination bet, but the two-team wager for the same game is also perhaps the easiest on which to cash-in.
A Good Alternative to the Spread
A totals bet may, at times, be a solid alternative to betting the spread when you’re unsure of who will win a game but are fairly certain of the point totals. As an example, perhaps there’s a football game that you expect will be a shootout, but the books are offering a spread of 3.5, and you’re unsure about which team is going to win. Maybe you think that the contest will actually be decided on the last play of the game by a field goal.
This scenario makes for a poor betting opportunity where the point spread is concerned. However, the over/under is at +/- 38.5, and you are fairly certain that at least 40 points will be scored. This is a great time to bet the totals and go for the over.
Use Totals to Your Advantage
In sports betting, wagering on the over/under can be a solid betting experience if you properly assess each team and the factors that will influence the number of points scored. For over/under insights on specific sports, see the section on our website focusing on betting that sport. In general, though, when you play the totals you just need to do your homework, make well-reasoned decisions, and be smart with your bankroll.