Over/Under betting or totals betting is a wager on the total number of points scored in a game by both teams.
The totals are one of the big three betting markets found at sportsbooks, along with the point spread and moneyline. It’s easy to understand, and canny gamblers can make profits by choosing the right picks. You can even combine these wagers into parlay bets.
Over/Under betting is a simple wager on the total points that will be scored in a contest. The markets differ depending on the sport and some markets are also priced to include overtime.
For example, in the NFL you might wager on the total points a team will score. Meanwhile, in MMA or boxing, you may bet on the total rounds.
First, the sportsbook will set a total for this betting market, which is usually be displayed as a half-number. You can then bet on whether you think the total points will be above the point or under the point.
Odds will be given for each outcome. Select your outcome and add it to your bet slip. Select your stake and click the ‘Place Bets’ button. If you guess right, you will be paid out according to the odds.
Each sport uses the totals betting markets in a different way. In basketball, football, and hockey, the bet is on the total goals or points scored by both teams, which you can find displayed as ‘O/U’ in the lobby.
Here’s a simple example:
A bookmaker has priced up the night’s NHL game between the Winnipeg Jets @ Ottawa Senators.
Total Goals at Full-Time:
Over 6 (-110)
Under 6 (-130)
If the total points in the game is 0-5, the Under 6 bet wins. If the total exceeds 6, the Over 6 bet wins. Odds of -110 means you need to wager $110 to win $100.
In NHL, you can also opt for alternative betting markets like Total Team Goals.
Some sports offer even wider betting markets for the sports bettor. For instance, in soccer, you can bet on Total Goals or Total Team Goals.
Soccer Betting example – Liverpool v Burnley (English Premier League)
Over 3.5 +130
Under 3.5 -155
If the game ended 3-0 to Liverpool, the Under 3.5 bet would win, as there was a total of 3 goals. If the game ended 3-2 to Liverpool, the Over 3.5 bet would come in, as there were 5 goals in total.
Not all totals bets feature half points. For instance, hockey uses whole numbers for points, your bet can oftentimes end in a push.
In our example with the Jets v Senators, what if the game ends 3-3?
In this case, your wager would become a ‘push’ with a total of 6. Therefore your stake you would have your stake returned in full, because the bet did not win or lose.
In reality, a lot of betting markets feature a point ending in 0.5. This ensures that either the Over or Under bet will win.
Like all sports betting, sensible betting is about doing a little research. You should also learn a little about how bookmakers price their markets.
First, read the news reports online at sites like US-Odds.com to see if a team has reported any injuries. If a sportsbook has set an NFL Over/Under bet at 55.5 and the record touchdown scorers are injured, you might comfortably bet on the Under.
You also need to find value in the bookmaker’s prices. In a game with two high-scoring teams, the “Over” price on total points might be odds-on, say -120. Given that there will be a high probability of a lot of goals it is understandable.
But don’t dismiss the Under price. If the bookmaker has priced the Under at +130, does that represent value?
Remember, you can also enjoy these wagers on live games. As the game progresses, the points totals will change in real-time as the score changes. This is a great time to place an Over and Under bet as you will be getting up-to-date information as the game happens.
You can find lots more betting strategies in our exclusive guides at US-Odds.com. Learn how you can combine multiple O/U bets in a parlay or round robin.
Totals betting is great for gamblers who aren’t interested in which team wins. With a little research, you can get a good idea of whether the bookie has set their lines wrong.
You’ll find more details on betting lines in our comprehensive guide to betting strategies. Plus, when you sign up with one of our leading sportsbooks, you’ll be in line for a great welcome bonus.
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