What is an Over/Under Bet in Sports Betting?

Over/Under in Sports Betting

Interested in making a profit using easy math?

Then, over/under betting may just be the thing for you!

But what exactly is an over/under bet, and what do you gain from this strategy?

What Is an Over/Under Bet in Sports Betting?

An over/under, also known as a totals bet, is a bet that involves guessing whether the total score in a sporting event goes over or under the statistic provided by a sportsbook.

Over/under bets are common in nearly all sporting events, including college football, the NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, and NCAA basketball.

The total refers to the combined score of both teams during a sports match. For example, if a game ends with 26-21, the total for that game is 47 points.

The set total or over/under is an amount predicted by oddsmakers on the combined scoring results of a sports match.

The prediction of the total number of points is typically based on the teams’ prior win-loss records and average points per game.

You simply pick if the total score will be lower (under) or higher than (over) the number set by oddsmakers, the people who set the lines and odds at betting sites.

For example, during the Super Bowl LII, the totals or the over/under was set at 57.5. To bet, you would have to pick if the game’s final score will be over 58 points or under 57 points.

In that game, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41–33. So, the combined scores of the two teams, 41 and 33, is 74 points.

If you bet “over” at 57.5, for example, you would win because 74 is higher than 57.5. If you bet “under” at 57.5, you would lose because 74 is not lower than 57.5.

How Over/Under Betting Works

Over/unders sometimes involve unpredictable circumstances that may affect your money flow or your bankroll. But one good thing about this bet type is it’s easy to understand and calculate.

Now, how do you place the right bets, and how much can you win?

Note that most types of bets with equal odds for either outcome have a vigorish (or vig) of 5% of the total bet.

In American odds, the 5% vig results in either outcome initially being quoted at –110. Essentially, you risk $110 to potentially win $100.

Positive odds (+) state the winnings of the $100 bet. Negative odds (–) state the amount that you must bet to win the $100 profit.

For example, an over/under of 50.5 with American odds of –105 and +110 on a $100 bet will have a betting line that looks like this:

50.5 OVER –105
50.5 UNDER +110

Using an NFL game with an over/under of 37.5 and odds of –110, the table below shows how totals are indicated:

Teams Point Spread Totals Moneyline
Kansas City Chiefs +7 (–106) O 37.5 (–110) +280
Tampa Bay Buccaneers –7 (–115) U 37.5 (–110) –335

Now, how much would you win when choosing either over and under?

Let’s say the final score of the game is 39. If you bet $100 on “over,” you would win because 39 is higher than 37.5. You’ll then be paid out at –110. Each bet of $110 earns you a profit of $100 on a totals bet.

But let’s say the final score of the game is 36, which is lower than 37.5. If you bet $100 on “under,” you would be paid out at –110, which earns you the same amount.

With over/unders, you choose your bet on whether you think the total number of points obtained by both teams will be over or under the total of points of the game. Whoever wins the game does not matter.

You may be wondering why most over/under numbers have a decimal. Generally speaking, most over/unders end in a half-point (.5).

The half-point ensures that the betting market does not result in a draw. This is so that, whatever the outcome of the game, you can only win or lose.

Still, there’s a small chance of the stat being a whole number.

When a sportsbook predicts an over/under bet using a whole number and the total score of a game is the same number expected, this is known as a push.

For example, the Eagles are playing against the Patriots with a set total of 42. Then the match ends with a game total of 22-20, resulting in 42 points.

When a push occurs during a bet, all bets are given back to the bettors as refund.

There are plenty of prop bets that sports fans can bet on. Over/under bets are the second most commonly placed bet, just behind spread bets.

Over/under or totals betting can be played simultaneously with moneyline bets and point spreads. The combination of betting options in a single game is known as a parlay bet. Winning a parlay gets you a higher payout.

Gambling activities involve uncertain outcomes that come with a price. Higher payouts occur with higher odds, which may not always be in your favor.

Over/Under Betting Facts and Tips You Should Know

Though observing a team’s overall performance is necessary and helpful in over/under bets, making the right choice when betting over/under involves a keen eye on the set stats.

But how do we know whether to choose “over” or “under”? This can be tricky as both have perks and setbacks.

Choosing “over” is favorable when expecting a high-action game. But this can sometimes benefit under bettors because of the under’s underestimation.

It is worth noting that “under” has a highly positive track record. Unders have been the more successful bet between the two in every sport over the last five years.

But it’s inadvisable to blindly bet on them because it entails a larger cut. Plus, overtime points are counted towards totals, which leads to an increased probability of “over” being successful.

Determining the better option isn’t easy. Still, there are tips to keep you better informed on which selection would be more beneficial in each game.

It’s useful for sports bettors to observe the different handicaps across all division teams before placing their bets. This includes assessing the team’s history, past injuries, reports, and even weather conditions.

The ultimate goal in an over/under bet is to accurately predict the trajectory of the performance and set total.

Understanding the overall performance of the teams involved in the game can significantly boost your chances of winning.

Many factors come into play when making totals. Bookmakers consider the teams’ speed, offensive and defensive efficiency, weather, among other various circumstances.

A sportsbook’s goal is to tip the scales of the odds during a game to provide an exciting spin on the sporting event.

A point spread, also known as handicap betting, is when one of the odds is given as a "handicap" to overcome. This mainly happens when favorites are participating in the matchup.

For example, during a football game with an over/under of 47.5 and initial odds of –110, the oddsmakers observed that the “over” is heavily favored.

This observation prompted them to adjust the odds of “under” to –105 and “over” to –115. With the odds given, bettors would have to risk $105 (under) or $115 (over) to win $100. This makes the odds of “under” the more attractive option, signifying a perceived handicap to overcome.

There are different scenarios wherein the method of over/unders are used. You may use over/unders with stats, dice games, and initial and final values.

In sports betting, the initial value of an over/under is the starting odds for each outcome. The final value of an over/under is the adjusted odds based on observation of the performance.

Over/under bets using stats in sports consist of the combined score of two teams. Examples include a basketball team’s total number of blocks, steals, assists, among other plays.

Over/under is also used in a dice game called Under Over. You guess whether a two-dice roll amounts to a total of exactly 7 (pays 4-1), under 7 (pays 1-1), or over 7 (pays 1-1).

If you bet $1 on “under” or “over” and the dealer rolls either option, you gain $1. If you bet $1 on a seven and the dealer rolls a seven, you make $4.