Over under betting, also referred to as a totals bet, involves a wager made on the combined score of two teams in a game.
A sportsbook, such as BetMGM Sports, will give a prediction about the combined score in a game and bettors will wager whether they think the actual total will be higher or lower.
Famously, in Super Bowl 39, a lot of Vegas casinos predicted the combined score to be 46. Since the actual total was 45, anyone who made a wager on “under” won.
Generally, over under betting is paid out at -110. If you don’t recognize this number, learn about moneylines to understand. This payout is the same whether you bet over or under. Here’s a more complex example. In a recent game between the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns, the final scores were as follows:
|Golden State Warriors||105|
Now let’s say a sportsbook set the over under at 185.5 the odds would look like this:
Let’s also say you predicted over and bet $100 on that prediction. 105 + 96 = 201 which is greater than 185.5 so you would win. You would be paid out at -110 yielding you a $90.91 profit. In this style and example, if you bet under and the score was under, your profit would be the same.
However, some sportsbooks present the odds differently. In some more low-scoring sports like soccer or hockey, where the over/under line doesn’t change often, there is a common set over/under amount. It might look something like this.
How to identify a good over under bet
An important part of over under betting is determining what the logical totals number would be. As demonstrated above, this number varies greatly from sport to sport. However, generally, there are some universal things to consider when deciding how to bet. Here are some variables to consider when identifying a good over under bet.
- Weather – inclement weather can often lead to low scoring.
- Injuries – player injuries can limit a team’s offense or defense.
- Generalized public opinion – the public can have unrealistic expectations based on favor.
- How the teams match up – a bad offense versus a good defense will often yield a low total score.
- Scoring trends and team history – do these teams have high or low scoring histories?
Additionally, an important consideration is finding the best line for your bet. This means looking at several sportsbooks to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Here’s an example. Let’s say Sportsbook A has the over under for a game listed at 39.5. Sportsbook B has the over under on the same game listed at 40. Even though there’s just a half-point difference, if the game total is 40 points, it could greatly impact your bet.
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Soccer over unders
Usually, this is a sport where the over under betting is set at 2.5 (like in our previous example). This also means you’ll see varied payout odds for the over under.
Hockey over unders
Like soccer, the over under betting lines are usually set around 6.5. For particular games, this total might change. However, more often they will adjust the payout odds. Be aware of this so you are not surprised by potential smaller payouts.
Football over unders
In football, the point totals are usually set much higher. Generally, they average in the low to mid-40s, but that number can fluctuate quite a bit in this sport. When making over under predictions about football, be sure to consider weather conditions and offense/defense strengths.
Basketball over unders
Basketball is quite a high-scoring sport when compared to the others. It’s not uncommon to see over under basketball odds into the 200s, for example, when you have two competitive, offensive powerhouse NBA teams playing.
In college ball or during March Madness betting, it’s more likely to have over unders somewhere around the 120 range, depending on the teams, of course.
When betting Over:
What’s great about over under betting is that it’s incredibly straightforward. There are only two ways you could bet. Rather than limitless options on teams and points, over under betting is limited to over and under. Simple as that.
If you are betting over, you don’t have to stick to full game totals. You can also bet on the totals for the first half of the game and the second. Additionally, you can also bet over on individual stats for a player in a game or season. This could be how many home runs a player gets or how many yards a quarterback throws for. You can also bet over on season win totals. This represents the number of games a team is predicted to win throughout the season.
There are plenty of opportunities for betting over in sports and there are plenty of things to consider when making your bets so be sure to consult with multiple sportsbooks to make sure you’re making the best bet possible.
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When betting Under:
Like betting over, betting under is not limited to just game totals. You can also bet under on total wins throughout the season, the number of yards a player will rush or touchdowns made. Though it is straightforward, there is still a variety of over under betting ways to experiment with.
A common mistake some bettors make when betting under, is thinking of the total independently from the teams. Meaning, bettors will see that the weather is bad or that an offensive player is injured and assume that means the game will be under. This is understandable, but it is important to remember that the linemakers do adjust the lines based on these same considerations.
It is important to consider whether and individual team strengths when over under betting. However, it is also important to adjust your mind to the posted totals and set your expectations accordingly. Over under betting can be a great way for beginners or bettors without team preferences to have some fun. It is grounded in logic and predictable outcomes.