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Most odds markets at sportsbooks relate to the outcome of a game or match—or at least one of its segments (quarter, period, half, etc).
However, if you don’t want to guess the outcome and feel more comfortable predicting the total score, totals betting is for you. Also called the over/under, this betting market lets you forecast the total combined points, goals, or runs (or other scoring measurements) from a single event.
If you ever felt left out when hearing terms like “betting the over” and are curious to know what it means, we’ve got answers.
What is an over/under bet?
What does over under mean? Simply put, an over/under bet asks you to pick whether the total number of combined points in a game will fall over or under a given line. To be clear, you don’t need to predict the exact number of points or the correct score, although there are odds markets for these predictions as well.
It’s completely irrelevant which team wins the game or whether one team scores all the points. All that matters is the total number of points and if that number is below or above the projected figure.
How do over/under bets work?
We will display a few examples using local Florida teams to better explain how this betting market functions.
Say that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing the New England Patriots in Week 4 of the NFL season. The sportsbook has established an NFL over/under line at 51.5.
The over bet (indicated by O 51.5) predicts the combined points of the two teams will be 52 or greater. If you were to bet on the under, you would hope for the point total to be 51 or lower (U 51.5). If the game ends with the Buccaneers winning 19-17, that means the total number of points was 36 and the “under” was the successful side of the bet.
Over/under bets are especially exciting markets for high-scoring sports, like NBA basketball odds. If the Miami Heat plays the Orlando Magic, the over/under odds line will often be 200 points or more.
Sportsbooks put the half-point mark on their line to avoid pushing wagers. If the line was, say, 211 instead of 211.5 for a basketball game and the game ended with the home team winning 109-102, the bookie would have to return your stake, regardless of your bet. Check out the rules for other common bets here:
Over/under bet payouts
Sportsbooks will look to place an over/under line at the most realistic number. That’s the reason why either side of the over/under bet usually comes with identical odds, often around -110.
The -110 means that you will need to wager $110 to get a $100 profit, but, of course, you can always choose to wager a different amount. The payout will be calculated accordingly.
How to place a totals bet in Florida
Before you can begin betting on totals, you’ll need to find a reliable sportsbook. There are plenty of top online sportsbooks in Florida that all feature over/under betting. To choose the right sportsbook for you, take a close look at each one, their sports and market selections, sportsbook sign-up bonuses, odds, payment options, and other vital aspects.
Once you’ve made your decision, there are two ways in which you can begin betting. You can connect directly with the online sportsbook or download the sportsbook app (if available) to your phone and do all of the logistics right on the app.
Creating an account at the online sportsbook requires no downloads, and you can also use your phone. But if your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or your tablet is your primary device for sports betting, the easy choice is just to download and install the app from the jump. You can download the betting app directly from the online sportsbook.
In any case, after you’ve decided on the sportsbook and platform, the process of signing up and placing over/under bets goes something like this:
- Click on the Sign-Up, Join, or Register button on the sportsbook’s website or app.
- Create your log-in credentials and complete the registration form by inputting the requested details (full name, date of birth, address, etc.).
- Activate your account and go to the deposit page.
- Choose a deposit method and place a deposit while minding the minimum and maximum limits associated with the selected banking option. The deposit should go through almost momentarily.
- Once the money reaches your betting account, browse the list of available sports and find the event that you’re interested in.
- Find the over/under market (it should be listed near the top), choose over or under, decide on the betting amount, and confirm your wager.
- If your bet is successful, the winnings will be immediately credited to your betting account.
Best sports for totals betting
The over/under system of betting can be incorporated into almost any sport. As mentioned, the market is ideal for high-scoring sports, like football betting and basketball betting. However, it can be seen in many low-scoring sports as well.
Soccer is one of the lowest-scoring sports in the world, but over/under is also a popular market here. It’s just that the line is put much lower, like on 2.5, for example, and the odds don’t necessarily need to be equal on either side when betting on soccer.
When wagering on tennis, the over/under market relates to the number of games because there can be dozens of them. Still, some sportsbooks allow you to place the over/under bet on the number of sets. This basically means guessing whether the match will finish in two or three sets for best-of-three matches.
In sports where the score isn’t the focus, like betting on MMA fights or boxing, the over/under market might relate to the number of rounds.
Live betting the over/under
Another great thing about the over/under market is that you can explore it during any game. Following up on the game’s progress might allow you to better predict the final score. However, the sportsbooks take into account the same information and will change their sports betting lines accordingly.
For instance, let’s say that the pre-match over/under line for a basketball game was 227.5, meaning that a relatively high score is expected. However, after the first quarter, the two teams combined for only 48 points. The original over bet now seems less realistic.
If you noticed that the score would be lower than suggested on time, you would have been able to take advantage of this, but expect that the sportsbooks will realize this as well and quickly lower the line. In some instances, the sportsbook might even make it’s over/under market unavailable for a few moments to adjust the line.
Speaking of quarters and halves, you can also take over/under wagers for any given period of a game or predict totals for individual teams instead of a combined score.
Top three tips for totals betting
Totals betting can seem exciting, but there are many aspects to consider if your goal is to be successful at it. Here are our top three tips for betting on over/unders.
1. Don’t always bet the over
Most bettors are optimistic when over and under betting and think that the game will always have a higher score than predicted by the sportsbook. Another reason people do this is that they find it easier to cheer for points and goals than against them.
However, in reality, both the over and the under sides of the bet have an equal chance of occurring. Try to be realistic in your approach.
2. Go line shopping
Apply this over under betting strategy to a variety of different markets. Not all sportsbooks have the same lines and odds for a given over/under bet. For example, DraftKings Florida might post a line of 49.5 on a Tampa Bay game, while FanDuel Florida sets it at 51.5 with the same odds.
In other words, you should browse through all available sportsbooks to find the best line that is most favorable to your initial prediction.
3. Take advantage of multiple lines
If you’re undecided on an over/under or simply don’t like the odds, check whether the sportsbook has some alternative lines for that game.
For instance, BetMGM Florida might put the main totals line of 213.5 on a basketball game with the odds of -110 for each side of the bet but also offer some alternative lines like 210.5 or 216.5. Of course, these lines will also come with different odds and allow you to take a safer or riskier bet, depending on your prediction.
Which hits more, the over or under?
Oddsmakers are a pretty accurate bunch and always construct the main over/under line so that it has a 50/50 chance of going either way. And it works.
When taking large samples of games from three of the most popular sports in the U.S.—football, basketball and baseball—the results undeniably suggest that neither side has a considerable advantage.
Many think that the over bet is for squares and the under bet is for sharps. While this is somewhat true, considering that most people take over instead of under, that does not mean that the under bet is always the best choice.
What happens with Over/Under bets that go to overtime?
What happens to your over/under bet if the game goes to overtime? Under most sportsbooks’ rules, your bet will remain unchanged, meaning that all the points scored in overtime periods count toward the totals.
This is another thing that makes over/under sports betting exciting. If you wagered on the over and were a few points short, the overtime would give you a second chance. Alternatively, overtime is often described as under bettors’ worst enemy.
Over/under betting rules
Over/under bets are pretty simple and don’t feature too many rules or exceptions. However, many people wonder whether their over/under bets are valid in certain situations.
For example, what if the game was postponed or canceled? What about in the case of a pitching change or a change in the starting lineups? Well, whether your over/under bet is voided in these instances depends on the individual sportsbook and its rules.
If the postponed game is scheduled to occur shortly (within a couple of days), your bets will likely stand. Pitching changes usually constitute “no action” on all previous bets, but changes in the starting lineups of other sports typically don’t result in voided bets.
This is why it’s essential to always read the small print on the sportsbook’s rules page to know what to expect in these unexpected scenarios. See more sportsbook rules here: