Over/Under Betting Guide

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What Does Over/Under Mean In Sports Betting?

If you’ve ever heard someone announce “I bet the over,” you’ve just heard about a totals bet. Totals, or over/under bets, are a common wager type in the sports betting world, and they’re very popular for good reason.

In its simplest form, an over/under bet is a wager that a sports event or match will end with a total number of points over or under a specific threshold. Which team wins and which team loses doesn’t matter in an over/under bet. Instead, you’re betting on the total number of points scored across both teams in a game.

As you might expect, over/under bets are popular because they don’t rely on one team to win or lose a match-up. Instead, they allow bettors to stay invested in a game even if they aren’t rooting for one of the competing teams.

On this page, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about over/under betting.

Vikings

MIN

+340

o53.5

Saints

NO

-526

u53.5

NFL | Sun 10/02, 1:30 PM
Bears

CHI

+333

o49.5

Giants

NYG

-500

u49.5

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Bills

BUF

+275

o62

Ravens

BAL

-400

u62

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Browns

CLE

+250

o58

Falcons

ATL

-357

u58

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Chargers

LAC

+325

o56

Texans

HOU

-500

u56

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Commanders

WAS

+325

o52.5

Cowboys

DAL

-500

u52.5

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Jaguars

JAX

+400

o58.5

Eagles

PHI

-625

u58.5

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Jets

NYJ

+300

o51.5

Steelers

PIT

-455

u51.5

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Seahawks

SEA

+350

o60.5

Lions

DET

-526

u60.5

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM
Titans

TEN

+270

o52.5

Colts

IND

-385

u52.5

NFL | Sun 10/02, 5:00 PM

What Does It Mean To Bet The Over Or The Under?

Over/under betting is best explained with examples. We’ll provide a few here. Importantly, sports differ greatly in how valuable or smart over/under bets can be, based on their format.

Let’s start with an NBA example:

Utah Jazz Vs. Dallas Mavericks

  • Over 217: -110
  • Under 217: -110

The first thing to look at is the number that immediately follows “over” or “under.” In this case, it’s 217. That’s the expected point total for this match, based on the bookmakers’ expertise. In other words, the Jazz and the Mavericks are expected to score a combined total of 217. If you bet the over, you’re wagering that the teams will score a combined total of 218 or more. If you bet the under, you expect them to score less than 217 points combine.

If the final outcome was Jazz 100, Mavericks 99, the total would be 199, and the under would win. If the total was Jass 115, Mavericks 116, the total would be 231 and the over would hit.

In sports like basketball or football, where many points are scored, you’ll find big differences in the totals bets because games and scoring can be very volatile.

Then you have sports like hockey or soccer, where goals are less frequent. They might look something like this:

LA Kings Vs. Boston Bruins

  • Over 5.5: -120
  • Under 5.5: +100

The over has slightly better odds, meaning bookmakers think 6 or more goals are likely to be scored in this match-up. Fewer than 5 goals is less likely, but comes with better odds.

Generally, low-scoring games like baseball, soccer, and hockey are difficult to predict when it comes to over/under bets. But if you’re an invested fan, they can be lucrative betting opportunities.

How Is An Over/Under Bet Determined

Oddsmakers and sportsbooks are a lot like chefs: they won’t outright tell you what their special ingredient is. But with some baseline betting knowledge and common sense, you can get pretty dang close to the original recipe.

First and foremost, sportsbooks look at statistics, player performance, and coaching. These are the trifecta of creating an over/under. Looking to past performance against specific teams and ongoing season stats can go a long way in setting an over/under line.

Other considerations must come into play as well, such as weather (for outdoor sports), injuries, suspensions, and roster adjustments. All of these factors combine to offer a big picture look at how many points might be scored in a given game.

Odds may change as new news and information come out. More often than not, this is detrimental to bettors seeking well-paying lines. Get in early if you can.

How To Bet The Over/Under

To bet the over/under for a specific match-up, first it helps to shop around. If you have access to multiple sportsbooks in your region, this part’s easy. Choose your match, then head to a number of sportsbooks and look at the totals bets available for the match. Take into account the line and the odds, as they can vary at different sportsbooks.

Once you’ve found your ideal bet with the best paying odds, choose whether you’re going for the over or the under. Remember to research carefully or check out our picks pages for various sports to help inform your decision.

Select your pick, then add it to your betslip. Type in the amount you’d like to bet, then palace your wager. Just like that, you’re done! All that’s left is to watch the game and hope your selection wins.

What Is The Payout Of An Over/Under Bet?

Generally speaking, oddsmakers set the totals line at the most likely final outcome. The odds on over/under bets, then, are generally pretty even. Here are a few examples:

NHL: Florida Panthers Vs. Buffalo Sabres

  • Over 7: +100
  • Under 7: -120

NBA: Atlanta Hawks Vs. Detroit Pistons

  • Over 228.5: -110
  • Under 228.5: -110

You won’t often find odds outside of the -120-ish range for over/under bets, because the lines are set by oddsmaking experts. This means that you’ll usually get a payout that’s close to even if you win. The NBA example above is very common, with odds of -110 on both sides, while lines like the NHL example are fairly common too.

On a typically over/under bet of $100, you can expect to win $90 to $120 if your bet hits.

How Does Overtime Impact Over/Under Bets?

Depends on the sport. For high-scoring matches like football or basketball, overtime still counts toward totals bets. Overtime is a lot less likely in these sports, making it a rarer scenario.

In soccer, though, there is often a “regular time” totals bet, which means the over/under line only counts toward regulation play, and any extra time won’t contribute to the final over/under outcome.

Our advice here: check the fine print of any bet you placed so you know for sure whether overtime is covered.

Can You Include Over/Under Bets In A Parlay?

Yes, and there are many scenarios where this makes perfect sense. For example, you may have a parlay stacked with point spreads and moneylines based on mismatched games. But there might be one or two games that elude you; maybe they’re too even to call. But you do feel like those matches will be intense, high-scoring contests. Boom. Throw in an over bet so you can be confident in your parlay.

You can also mix and match, of course. If you want to place a parlay completely comprised of over/under bets, you can do it. But our recommendation is to take the advice in the paragraph above and pepper in a good totals wager when it makes the most sense.

Of course, parlays are inherently risky, so keep that in mind if you’re placing them. Even the most confident bettors can miss a leg or two, sending a full parlay into the trash. Stay measured and do your research to place smart parlay bets, whether or not they include over/under wagers.

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