There are a lot of different sports betting markets the average gambler is going to be able to choose from. One of the most popular is the Over/Under betting market, also known as totals. Totals betting is a simple form of betting that can appeal to gamblers of all experience levels due to its simplicity.

Essentially, for a team sport, like NBA betting or NFL betting, the oddsmakers will create a line that represents the total amount of points, goals, or runs that will be scored in the game by both teams combined. Bettors can choose to pick the over, meaning the teams will combine to score more, or the under, meaning they’ll combine to score less.

In this guide to this ever-popular market, we’re going to explore all you need to know about the over/under in betting. We’re going to explore how the odds work, some good over/under betting strategy advice, and much more. We’ll give you all the info you need to start making money by betting on this popular market. Ready? Let’s get started!

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What is Over/Under Betting?

There are several primary markets that just about every sportsbook is going to offer. One of them is the over/under, which is also often referred to on websites as the total. The over/under is a market that is easy and fun for bettors, with a simple outcome.

To break it down once more, the over/under or total is a line created to represent the total projected amount of points, goals, or runs in a sporting event. This is between both teams combined, not just one, as that is a separate market. Bettors can bet the over, meaning the final score of the game will be more than the line, or the under, meaning the final score of the game will be less.

An over/under bet cashes if you correctly pick whether that total score will be more or less than the projected line. This makes it a very direct bet with a simple outcome that anyone can understand.

Let’s look at a quick over/under betting example. Let’s say you wanted to do some NHL betting. You head to your favorite sportsbooks and check the options. If the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the Vancouver Canucks, the line for that game’s over/under or total might bet 6.5. In games with higher scoring teams, the line will be higher. You could pick the over or the under. If the final score of the game is 5-3, then the over cashes. If it is 3-2, then the under cashes.

What makes it so popular

The reason for the popularity of over/under betting is that it is simple and fun. You won’t often find seasoned gamblers asking how does over/under betting work because it is one of the markets that is easiest to learn and have a full grasp of.

It is also a fun market to follow along with while you are watching a game. It isn’t like a player prop, where you have to focus intensely to understand what is going on. Bettors can track the over/under with ease throughout.

It is also a market where it is easy to find value, and payouts are simple to understand. Often, each line of an over/under will have very similar odds, typically at around -110 for most sportsbooks. This makes it easy to understand and easy to find a bet where you can hit at almost the same amount of money you put in.

Free Picks Betting

At BetPicks, we are Free Pick experts with years of experience offering gamblers insights into upcoming matches. Whether you are looking for anything from EPL Free Picks to NFL Free Picks, we keep gamblers updated with up-to-the-minute insights into matches that are set to be played.

Our team of gambling experts offers extensive research that goes into every pick, and we go in-depth to find trends that can help bettors. Our betting experts aren’t just fans; they are experienced bettors that take pride in delivering completely free, high-quality advice to gamblers.

BetPicks covers an array of markets, with one of the biggest being over/under betting. Whether for our NHL Free Picks or NBA Free Picks, our gambling experts often include insights into what will likely occur in the over/under. This is one of our primary markets because it is one of the easiest to predict and offers great value to those that use our picks as a free hub for information.

Over/Under Parlays and Single Bets

The two primary options for betting are single bets and parlay bets. Single bets are when bettors are betting on one outcome. Parlays are when betters tie multiple outcomes into one bet, with each needing to hit for the bet to cash. Both styles of betting accommodate over/under options.

Over/under betting can definitely be a part of a parlay and are a great addition to many parlays. Bettors have two main choices for using over/under in parlays. The first is when they are betting on multiple games. Bettors can bet on the over/under for multiple different games and tie it into a parlay, or bettors can bet the Moneyline for one game and the over/under for another.

On websites with a bet builder that allows same-game parlays, bettors can make bets on multiple outcomes within the same game, including the over/under. This opens the door to betting on both the over/under and the Moneyline within one game, so bettors can pick one team to win and the over cash if that is the outcome they anticipate.

There is no one way to bet on this market, and no option is better than the other. Single bets have reduced risk, but parlays offer more rewards. Ultimately, the choice is the bettors.

Understanding the Odds

If you are an experienced bettor, you likely are very familiar with how these odds work, but if not, we’ll provide some quick information below. Over/Under odds are typically quite even because there are two primary outcomes. You won’t ever see an over/under where one side is a massive favorite, and another is a huge underdog.

A typical over/under line with American odds would be -110/-110. With American odds, the – show you how much you’d need to bet to make $100. So for -110, you’d need to bet $110 to make $100 in profit. This means they’re very even odds. For the + aspect of American odds, that shows you what you’d make if you bet $100. If the over/under line is +100/-110, and you bet the +100, that means if you bet $100, you’d make $100.

Most Canadians use American odds, and just about every operator has the option to see these. Other options are decimal or fractional. Decimal odds show how much you’d return for every $1 bet, including the dollar you put in. Fractional odds show the ratio of the bet to the profit you’d make.

Over/Under Betting Strategy

Knowing what over/under betting is isn’t enough information for bettors to find success. It is also critical that bettors build a comprehensive strategy for totals betting. There are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration with over/under betting. Let’s look at some important ways to build a successful strategy in this market.

  • Study the Teams: With this market, it isn’t just one team you’re going to have to learn about; it is both. Learn whether they are high or low-scoring teams and which players are healthy and not healthy. This goes beyond their record. For sports like MLB betting, you should look at the pitchers playing. With hockey, you should look at the goaltending. For basketball, football, and soccer, look at the defenses.
  • Compare Odds: Because there are a lot of different sportsbooks out there, there are a lot of different odds. While, for the most part, odds will be quite similar across the board, there are certainly minute differences that bettors should look to explore. Compare odds at different sportsbooks before placing bets.
  • Look at Performance Trends: Performance trends are a great indicator of the likely outcome of an over/under bet. Look at how teams have been playing in their games up to the one you are hoping to bet on. Look at how they perform at their home field versus away. These can provide great insight into what is likely to happen.
  • Seek Value: Over/Under betting is great for value. Look for certain bets that you believe the score has been undervalued. Look for games that have the potential to be high scoring or low scoring and find holes in the oddsmakers’ logic.

Understanding and Calculating Over/Under (Totals) Bet Payouts

For every sport, there will be different over/under lines. This is contingent on the style of scoring that is done in each sport. For example, over/under betting NFL lines will be a lot higher than NHL lines. For each sport, what is typical of a line might be different.

Let’s look at the average scores in several different leagues to get a sense of what might be a high or low-scoring game. Keep this in mind when you look at lines.

  • NBA: 224 Total Points per game. A high-scoring line could be 230, and low scoring could be 215.
  • NHL: 6.28 Total Goals per game. A high line could be 7; a low line could be 5.5.
  • NFL: 46 Total Points per game. A high line could be 55; a low line could be 40.
  • MLB: 9 Total Runs per game. A high line could be 10.5; a low line could be 7.
  • EPL: 2.75 Total Goals per game. A high line could be 3.5; a low line could be 2.

Over/Under Outcome

There are only three primary outcomes with most bets, and the same is true for over/under betting. It is not very complicated. Let’s look at the three potential outcomes for this market.

  • Win: A win means you have correctly predicted whether the score will be over or under. This means your bet cashes. If you bet $100 on the over in a 5.5 hockey game, and the teams combine for six goals, you have won.
  • Push: A push comes when the total number of points or goals scored is exactly the line. In this case, bettors get their staked money returned with no losses. Many over/under lines are decimals, so this won’t occur, but if it is not a decimal line, there is always the chance this happens.
  • Loss: A loss means you incorrectly predicted whether the score would go over or under. If you bet $100 on the over on a 216 total line for an NBA game, and the teams score 200, the bet has lost, and you don’t receive any money.

Betting on the over/under is possible with just about every major sport. It is a betting market that is exceedingly possible around the world due to how applicable it is to every sport and how easy it is to understand. Regardless of if you are a fan of MLB Free Picks or just want to cash in on some EPL parlays, over/under betting will appeal to you. Let’s look at some of the sports where this market is most popular.

  • NFL: NFL games are high-scoring and action-packed, making it the perfect sport to scoreboard track with some over/under betting.
  • NHL: NHL games are tightly contested, and every goal counts. This adds to the excitement of an over/under bet.
  • NBA: There aren’t many other sports where 200+ points are scored every game, which makes basketball a wild ride for over/under bettors.
  • MLB: Baseball games have scoring margins that swing drastically from game to game, making it a risky but exciting betting opportunity.
  • MLS: The North American soccer league is on the rise, and bettors are flocking to see if the amazing players can match the lofty goal totals.
  • World Cup: The World Cup is the biggest global sporting event, and if you are looking to make some World Cup parlays or just get in on the action, over/under betting is the place to start.
  • Soccer: Whether you are a fan of the EPL, Champions League, Ligue One, La Liga, or the Bundesliga, placing bets on the top soccer athletes to drive home brilliant goals will always be entertaining.

While over/under betting is extremely popular, it is far from the only market that bettors have to choose from. There are numerous other exciting markets that offer bettors excitement and opportunity. Let’s look at some of these additional markets.

  • Moneyline: Moneyline betting is a direct bet on the outcome of the game in favor of one team. If you bet a team on the Moneyline, that means you’ve picked them to win.
  • Point Spread: The Point Spread is the projected differential in a game in favor of one team. Bettors can bet for or against the spread. If they bet for the spread, that means they’ve picked the favored team to exceed that differential. If they bet against it, they’ve bet the favored team to not meet that differential.
  • Over/Under: The Over/Under is, as mentioned, the projected total amount of points to be scored in a game. Bettors can bet the over, meaning the teams will combine to score more, or the under, meaning they’ll combine to score less.
  • Future: A Future is a long-term bet on something to occur that won’t be decided straight away. It is something like which team will win the championship or which player will win the MVP.
  • Game Props: Game Props are team-based outcomes within a game. It could be something like which team will be winning after the first quarter or how many three-pointers two teams will combine for.
  • Player Props: Player Props are similar, but they’re based on individuals. So it could be something like how many points an NHL player will have or how many rebounds an NBA player will grab.

Frequently Asked Questions about Over/Under Betting

  • What If the Set Total Is a Whole Number?

    Sometimes, the set total for a line is a whole number, and there are times when that line will end up being the final score. If that’s the case, that counts as a Push, and the initial bet money is returned to the bettor.

  • What If the Game Goes to Overtime?

    If the game goes to overtime, that score still counts for the over/under. It is the final score when the game stops being played that is counted.

  • What Cashes More, Overs, or Unders?

    It is shocking how close it is between the overs and unders across a large sample size in sports like the MLB, NBA, and NFL. However, while it is close to 50/50, the under hits slightly more.

  • Will a Match Between High Scoring Teams Always Hit the Over?

    No! It is a mistake to think like this. The line is adjusted according to the two teams that are playing, so if two high-scoring teams are playing, the over/under will reflect that, and the score will be raised. There is no certainty in sports betting.

  • Do Certain Teams Hit Overs More Than Others?

    There are definitely teams that are higher scoring than others that are likelier to play in more games that hit the over. There are ways to look online and see how a team has done in the over/under betting, and if there are any major outliers, that is interesting information to hold onto.

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