Strategy for Betting Over Unders

The point spread gets all the glory in NFL betting, but betting totals is often where lies the gravy train.

Totals are also the simplest form of NFL betting: If the two teams score more combined points than the listed total, the ‘over’ is the winner. If the teams score fewer combined points than the posted number, the ‘under’ is the winning bet. Pretty easy, right?

NFL Over Under Lines

Thing is, in addition to crunching the numbers, there’s a basic rule of thumb that should help all totals bettors – whether you’re a seasoned sharp or a green square.

Public bettors love to wager the ‘over’, and that has a profound effect on line movement – and betting behavior. Let’s face it: Who wants to see a 13-10 game? The average bettor loves scoring and they place their totals bets accordingly.

Because of that, the total for a typical game tends to climb throughout the week. Most of the action comes in on the ‘over’, and oddsmakers usually have no choice but to adjust the line.

Your strategy when betting totals? If you like the ‘over’, take it early in the week, before the number rises. If you’re leaning towards the ‘under’, hold off on wagering it until close to kickoff, when the total is at its highest.

Be sure to keep an eye on the total throughout the week. If you’re planning on betting the ‘under’, don’t stop paying attention. Line moves – caused by sharp bettors or otherwise – can happen at any time. Don’t get caught waiting for a high number only to never see it materialize.

Following from this rule of thumb, make sure to evaluate weather conditions, offensive and defensive rankings, and home/away and grass/turf splits before making a call on the total. Also, take a look at trends and the reasons behind why a particular team is cashing the ‘over’ or the ‘under’ with regularity. 

Winning more NFL over under bets is a marathon, not a sprint. And it takes training to avoid the pitfalls that can damage your bankroll.