We like to have more options than moneylines and point spreads when it comes to betting on sports. Whether you’re looking to bet on the Super Bowl, a regular-season NFL game, college football, the NBA or college basketball, a total bet provides an interesting wager that involves minimal math that you can do in your head or on your smartphone’s calculator.
OVER/UNDER betting is also called a totals bet. The total in any given sporting event is a combined score of both teams. The total for these games is a number that is set by oddsmakers based on how they envision a game will unfold from a scoring perspective.
Points Totals Explained
As a bettor, you need to figure out if the total number of points scored by both teams will be OVER or UNDER the set total.
For example, let’s take a Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys game with the total set at 48.5 points. As a bettor, you would select the OVER if you believe the game’s final combined score will be 49 points or more. You would select the UNDER if you believe it will be 48 points or less.
At the sportsbook, the odds should look like this:
If you bet $50 on the OVER and the combined score was 56, you would get a payout of $95.45 – your original $50 comes back along with your $45.45 win.
Conversely, if the game ended with 47 combined points, the game went UNDER. That same $50 bet on the winning UNDER would get you $102.50 – your first $50 plus your winnings of $52.50.
Our Odds Calculator will give you an idea of how much you’d win based on the amount wagered.
What If The Set Total Is A Whole Number?
Generally, totals betting lines are numbers ending with a half-point (.5), but in rare cases, oddsmakers set the total as a whole number. A PUSH in sports betting is when a total is a whole number like 48 points and the combined score hits it exactly.
For instance, let’s pretend the Patriots are playing the Saints, and the total is set at 48. If the final score is 28-20, that would be considered a PUSH since 48 total points were scored. The sportsbook you wagered with would refund your bet no matter if you selected UNDER or OVER in this matchup.
Some bettors may feel there is a greater advantage in betting on totals with a solid number instead of with a .5 as it provides an extra safety net to avoid losing your wager entirely.
What If The Game Goes To Overtime?
If a game goes to OT, it doesn’t change your bet. OVER/UNDER betting is just like any other bet where you are looking at the final score, whether the game ends in regulation or multiple overtimes.
Although it’s often said that NFL overtime is an UNDER bettor’s worst enemy but an OVER bettor’s best friend, it’s important to remember that both teams get the chance to touch the ball.
OVER/UNDER Sports Betting: How To Handicap Your Totals Bet
Typically, when a bettor plans to wager on the number of points scored, there are many variables to consider, especially with OVER/UNDER football bets.
Rain, snow and heat will impact the number of points scored in an outdoor football stadium, whereas it makes no difference what the temperature is outside when you’re betting on basketball. The sky could fall on the Staples Center and it wouldn’t affect the game. But if the sky fell on the Superdome, it’s safe to say that the game would stop.
The betting line for both the OVER and UNDER are typically at -110 or -105 but can be shifted by betting sites to smaller or greater odds depending on certain factors. It’s up to you to weigh those elements and decide if they can impact the game.
Props OVER/UNDER Betting Choices
Betting on a total isn't reserved for individual games. Totals wagers can be made in a number of different ways including prop bets.
With season totals bets you can wager on how a team will perform over the course of a full season. For example; you can look at NFL win totals where the Arizona Cardinals total is set OVER/UNDER 4.5 wins.
Football: Total Rushing Yards, Down Conversions (First or Third), Interceptions, Completions, or Filed Goal Percentage
During the football season, you'll find a number of game-day prop totals. From the total number of rushing in a game to the number of total number of interceptions thrown.
Basketball: Assits, Blocks, Turnovers, Steals
For basketball total props are geared towards the individual player. You can wager on how many assist Steph Curry might get, more or less than the line set by the sportsbook.
Baseball: Player's or Team's Home Runs, RBI
Hockey: Goals, Points, Shots, Blocks and Saves
For the NHL, some of the more popular props totals are based on individual production. From skater props like goals and points to goalie totals props for the number of saves, they might make.
What Does Over/Under Mean in Sports Betting?
What Is An Over/Under Bet?
OVER/UNDER betting is also called a totals bet. As a bettor, you need to figure out if the total number of points scored by both teams will be OVER or UNDER the set total.
What Happens If The OVER/UNDER is exact?
If the total hits the exact number as the OVER/UNDER, we call that a push. The sportsbook would return your bet as neither outcome occurred.
How Do Totals Change?
The line on an OVER/UNDER market might change as the sportsbook attempt to keep the betting action even on both sides in order to limit their liability.