Sports betting, especially when it comes to the NFL, often relies on moneylines and point spreads where you’re wagering on who will win the game outright or against the spread (ATS). Although these are exciting bets to make, sportsbooks also offer OVER/UNDER odds.
Here at Odds Shark, we want you to have options 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 game total bet provides an interesting wager that involves minimal math that you can do in your head or on your smartphone’s calculator.
What does OVER/UNDER Mean in Betting?
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 an amount that is set by oddsmakers based on how they envision a game will unfold from a scoring perspective. As a bettor, you would need to select if the total number of points scored by both teams will be OVER or UNDER the set total.
A sports betting OVER/UNDER is a bet where you have to correctly predict the combined score of both teams. You have to pick if the total score will be lower or higher than the number set by oddsmakers – the people at betting sites who set the lines and odds.
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 if the game’s final score will be OVER 49 points or UNDER 48 points.
At the sportsbook, the odds would be laid out like this:
48.5 OVER -110
48.5 UNDER +105
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 27-20, that would be a pooled score of 47 points, meaning 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 will predict that the total combined score will be 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 all points scored equal 48. The sportsbook you wagered with would refund your bet no matter if you selected UNDER or OVER in this matchup.
Some bettors may feel that there is a larger advantage with 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. So, if the Rams get the ball first and score, the Chargers will get their chance too.
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.
Offensive and defensive trends for a given team need to be considered along with injuries, the history of games between the teams, consensus, standings, team reports, and the environment. 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 is 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.
You don’t have to be a Las Vegas sharp to make a smart game totals bet. If you keep it locked to Odds Shark, you’ll be such a pro at football betting and basketball wagering that you’ll be making game totals bets in your sleep.