What Is Over/Under Betting?

What Is Over/Under Betting?

The three primary types of bets – point spreads, moneylines, and totals bets – receive the most attention at legally regulated sportsbooks. During major sporting events, a substantial amount of money is placed on the lines.

Betting on point spreads can take time to fully understand, whereas moneyline bets are an excellent beginning point for newcomers to sports betting. Over/under bets, also known as totals bets, fall in between the complexities of these two.

Both novice and experienced bettors can find a lot to enjoy in totals betting. The main emphasis is on predicting the cumulative points the teams will score in a game, compared to the reference number determined by the oddsmakers.

You’re only required to respond to a single inquiry: Will the overall score be above or below the given threshold? Although this seems straightforward in theory, totals wagering is not necessarily simple. It can be challenging, but we’ll provide all the essential information you need to begin right here.

What is totals betting?

What Is Over/Under Betting? 2

For every match listed, online betting platforms provide odds on the total points teams or players will score in the game. The odds are set by a predetermined number. It’s up to you to decide whether to place your bet on the over or under for the totals.

Therefore, for an upcoming NFL game, the listing for a totals bet could look like this, as there are odds on both sides of the equation:

Over 5 (-110)
Under 5 (-110)

The point bar for this matchup is established at 51.5. If you predict a score of 52 or above, you should opt for the over bet. However, if you believe the total score will not exceed 51, you should go for the under bet.

The numbers in parentheses next to the two numbers represent the betting odds for each side. Many online and mobile sportsbooks start the totals bets at -110, with the possibility of the numbers moving from that starting point. We will explain the reason for this later.

What does over/under mean in sports betting?

The terms ‘over/under’ and ‘totals’ can be used synonymously in betting. When you bet on totals, you’re predicting whether the final number will be over or under the set benchmark. If someone inquires about the over/under for a game, they are asking about the totals number that has been determined by the oddsmakers.

At sportsbooks, the default game listing includes totals bets, positioned alongside the point spread and moneyline. The listing might be labeled as either “totals” or “over/under”, but keep in mind that both terms are synonymous.

How to place a totals bet in Illinois

Making a totals bet is straightforward. This type of bet can be made on any game listed in the schedule, it’s simply a matter of picking the one you wish to bet on. The total can be located amongst the sports listed in the menu, or sometimes it’s prominently displayed in the main sports betting lobby.

For instance, suppose you want to know the total for an imminent game between Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons. After finding the game, you will be presented with the odds for the primary bet types. On DraftKings in Illinois, the totals section might appear somewhat like this:

Over 5 (-110)
Under 5 (-110)

After selecting your preferred side, simply click on the corresponding box. Your total bet will instantly be added to your bet slip. Then, enter your wager amount, confirm that all details are accurate, and press the submit button.

Over/under betting odds explained

A lot of sportsbooks tend to set both sides of a totals bet at -110 by default upon release. However, these odds don’t always remain constant. Indeed, it’s quite normal to see the figures change, for example, in an MLB game.

Over 5 (-115)
Under 5 (-105)

In this scenario, there is a potential for a better return on the under side. But what causes this shift? Primarily, it’s the result of betting activity. If the public is heavily betting on one side, the oddsmakers will adjust the lines in an attempt to balance the action.

If the desired effect isn’t achieved, further adjustments may be made. In certain instances, you might witness an increase or decrease in the total itself, like the runs in an MLB game changing from 8.5 to 9.

One of the interesting aspects of sports betting is the ability to compare prices. Line shopping is essentially scanning lines across several books to discover the most favourable option. Our live odds feed can be a highly useful resource for this purpose.

For instance, suppose the total for a match between the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins appears like this on FanDuel Sportsbook:

Over 5 (-109)
Under 5 (-111)

Conversely, BetMGM has priced the total for the same game differently:

Over 5 (-106)
Under 5 (-116)

There’s a slight discrepancy between the two operators on both sides. For those preferring the over, BetMGM online sportbook provides a more attractive offer than FanDuel. Without taking time to compare, you wouldn’t even realize this better deal exists.

A winning $100 wager at odds of -110 potentially yields a profit of $90.90 on total bets, largely due to the bookies’ “vig”. However, the actual return depends on the odds, so it is advisable to check the prices at various places before placing your bets.

Online totals betting rules in Illinois

Numerous online sportsbook operators conduct business in a similar manner. The process of placing and settling a totals bet is typically uniform across the industry. However, there could be instances where books manage bets differently.

These are the rules you need to understand regarding totals wagers:

  • Bets on totals become active once the game has started.
  • The contest concludes with a settlement based on official league data.
  • Contests will remain active even if games are slightly delayed due to weather or other circumstances, until they are completed.
  • If contests are postponed or canceled, total bets will be nullified and the amounts wagered will be refunded.

While this encompasses most situations, occasional anomalies do occur. To understand precisely how operators manage extreme conditions on total bets, spend some time reviewing the house rules at the sportsbook.

What’s the over/under betting range by sport?

As you become more experienced with over and under betting, you will start to recognize a common range of numbers, which varies depending on the sport. Here is a handy guide to assist you as you familiarize yourself with the process:

  • NFL: Age range from 30s to 55 and above.
  • NBA: The low end is in the 190s, while the high end is over 210.
  • MLB: The low end is 7 or below, while the high end is 9.5 or above.
  • In the NHL, the average is 5.5, with a range between 4.5 and 6.5.
  • NCAAF: The range is from the low end of 30s to the high end of 70+.
  • NCAAB: The average range is between 130s and 150s.
  • MLS Average: 2.0, with a possible range of 1.5 to 2.5 or more.

Understanding the general ranges is beneficial as it enables you to categorize the contests into different levels. In every set of games, there might be several totals at the extreme high or low end, with the rest falling in the middle.

With more experience in over/under sports betting, you may discover a preference for focusing on contests within one of the three tiers.

Examples of over/under sports bets

NFL over/under betting example

The NFL is the top choice at betting establishments. Every football match and type of bet draws a lot of attention, including totals. Given the high volume of NFL bets, it’s likely that there will be changes on the odds board.

For instance, upon release, a game between the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams might have a total that looks something like this:

Over 5 (-110)
Under 5 (-110)

Suppose you’re gambling at Caesars in Illinois and monitoring the figures. Numerous bettors begin gravitating towards the over, prompting the sportsbook to react by adjusting the odds here:

Over 5 (-115)
Under 5 (-105)

The odds for the under side are currently a bit more advantageous, which might produce the preferred outcome for the sportsbook.

In this situation, bettors betting over are hoping for a total of 45 points or more. A score of 24-21 satisfies this, but 23-20 does not. On the other hand, those betting under are seeking a total of 44 points or less. A score of 24-20 is perfect for them, but 24-21 would result in a loss.

NBA over/under betting example

Betting on totals is also highly favored among NBA handicappers. It’s not difficult to find points in this high-scoring league. Every day, sportsbooks provide benchmark figures for each game on the schedule.

For instance, a potentially high-scoring match between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers could result in the following total:

Over 5 (-110)
Under 5 (-110)

Keep in mind that NBA odds and totals could fluctuate based on betting activity or any last-minute news that may arise. The odds could shift to -112 on one side and -108 on the other, or the total could even leap to 212.5.

As usual, feel free to explore what other options the market provides. For instance, our sample line is 212 points or above, like 112-110, which is satisfactory for those betting over. However, lower totals are disadvantageous. On the other hand, under bettors prefer scores like 110-100, totaling 210 points, to secure a win. A score like 113-111 would not be profitable.

MLB over/under betting example

There are numerous betting opportunities in the MLB, from the opening day to the World Series. Totals are a highlight on the baseball wagering menu. Even though baseball scores are significantly lower than basketball or football, it doesn’t hinder the action.

The totals line for a potentially high-scoring match between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies could appear as follows:

Over 5 (-110)
Under 5 (-110)

As previously stated, you’ll soon become accustomed to a typical range for each sport when it comes to betting. In Major League Baseball, for example, games with a total of seven runs or less are often indicative of a pitching duel, whereas games with nine or more runs could suggest a match where the hitters are particularly effective.

In this match, those betting on the over hope to see a total of at least 10 runs. A final score of 6-5 would be satisfactory, but not 5-4. Those betting on the under desire a total of 9 runs or less. A score of 6-3 would be acceptable, but not 7-5, which would result in a lost bet.

NHL over/under betting example

Hockey may be on the lower end of the scoring spectrum, but it is certainly not lacking in action. NHL games are thrilling, with numerous committed handicappers investing their time in it. Totals betting is one of the most popular choices.

Here’s a possible representation of the hockey odds board for a random NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers:

Over 5 (-110)
Under 5 (-110)

From a totals viewpoint, the NHL is fairly unique as most games have a standard of 5.5 for the over/under. Occasionally, you may observe 6 goals or 6-6.5 more. Anything beyond or below this range would be considered unusual.

If you wager on the over, you aim to see a substantial number of points scored. A game ending 6-4 fits the bill, however, a low-scoring 2-1 match-up does not. On the other hand, those betting on the under would be satisfied with a 3-2 outcome, but a 5-3 result would let them down.

Over/under betting for other sports

Totals odds are available when two teams are set to compete as per the schedule. Besides the sports we’ve previously discussed, you can also place bets on the over/under for the following sports:

You’ll also encounter over/under betting opportunities in other sports, though they may be presented differently. Here are a few examples of what you could come across:

  • Golf: The estimated scores of golfers, above or below par
  • Tennis: The expected total number of games in the match.
  • NASCAR: The predicted total number of caution flags during the race.
  • UFC: The predicted total number of rounds for the fight.

The general strategy for totals betting remains consistent, irrespective of the sport. You decide on either over or under based on the reference number given by the bookmaker. Of course, the handicapping will vary depending on the game you’re playing, but certain fundamental principles are universally applicable.

Totals handicapping tips for beginners

The primary aim when exploring totals betting opportunities is identical to other sports betting opportunities. You’re seeking figures you can accurately predict and bets that will offer a substantial return on investment.

The over/under bet notion is quite straightforward. You examine the reference number, conduct some research, and decide which side you believe the total points will eventually land on. Although this is easy to comprehend, it doesn’t mean that cashing totals betting tickets is a piece of cake.

Here are a few suggestions that you can employ as you strive to gain an advantage with betting totals:

  • Research Historical Data: Conducting some historical research can significantly benefit totals handicapping. It’s worthwhile to examine recent encounters between the two teams to understand the type of games that have occurred. While this doesn’t provide a guaranteed forecast for the upcoming matchup, it does provide some insight. Additionally, consider the teams’ performance in their last few games and throughout the season so far.
  • Comprehend the Elements that Could Influence the Scores: What factors could significantly affect the game’s score? If two strong defensive teams clash, it may result in a low-scoring game. Conversely, a game between two teams with weak defenses might result in a high-scoring match. Furthermore, stay updated with the news that could potentially affect the game, such as weather conditions and injuries to crucial players.
  • Line Shopping and Observing Line Movement: Line shopping can significantly impact totals. Occasionally, you may spot a half-point difference or more on over/under bets. Moreover, the odds might be at the standard -110 in one location, while another book offers the same side at -105. These minor differences might appear insignificant, but they can certainly affect the outcome of the wager and your overall performance in the long run.

These suggestions can also be applicable to solo sports. For instance, if two tennis players have previously competed against each other, analyzing the number of games it took to finish the match could provide a useful hint on what might occur in their next encounter.

Don’t be disheartened if it takes time to find consistency with totals betting. Although the betting concept is straightforward, selecting the correct side can be challenging. However, with time and dedication, you can overcome this hurdle sooner than later.

What to remember about sports betting totals

Betting on totals is a primary wager type for team-based sports, on par with moneylines and spreads. You can also place totals bets on individual sports like golf and UFC.

Oddsmakers will establish a reference number and provide two options to contemplate: over or under. Both sides of the equation will have odds associated with them, which might vary based on betting activity.

Shopping for lines can significantly impact this area. It’s not unusual to discover slight variations in the over/under or the betting odds themselves. Developing a successful routine for handicapping totals may require time, but the payoff can be substantial.