An "Over or Under Total Bet" is a slight variation on the general total bet. Instead of wagering on the exact numerical total of points scored by each team in a given matchup, you can bet against the house's oddsmaker and guess whether or not the final total will be over or under what the house predicts. Online Sportsbooks that offer Over/Under Total bets generally have very good oddsmakers that are careful to mitigate all game factors when considering what the final total will be, so that the book will not stand to lose a lot of money.
It's Saturday afternoon, and the Uconn Huskies are playing Georgetown. Since it's a basketball game, you're thinking that the total will probably be fairly high, perhaps about 180 points when its all said and done. Your sportsbook's linesmaker (or oddsmaker), however, predicts the game will be low scoring: the total is forecast to be 120. Based on this estimation, you can bet against the house and choose whether or not you think the final total will be over or under this amount. Because you think 180 points is probably more accurate, you bet the "over" option, and place your wager accordingly.
Over/Under bets offer a unique opportunity to go head-to-head with your sportsbook's linesmaker. It's an interesting matchup, because framing up this bet is a three step process: 1) Your bookie picks what he thinks the total will be; 2) You pick what you think the total will be; 3)Based on your guess and the bookie's guess, you compare results and bet "over" if your point total is greater, or "under" if it is less. This is an interesting betting alternative because the actual total of the game really isn't much of a factor, unless you're psychic and can see the future. Instead, you are matching wits with your online sportsbook's linesmaker, and seeing who would be right.
At first glance, and over/under total bet would appear to be 50/50 odds, since there are only two options. Generally speaking, however, this is not typically the case, for the following reasons: 1) The house has to have an edge somwhere to make money (see our article on "Juice") and the Oddsmaker has to figure a point total that will sway the odds of the various over or under wagers in favor of the house, if at all possible. Without a doubt, there will be an imbalance in the number of players who bet "over" and the number of players who bet "under", so this means the sportsbook has to be careful not to allow itself excessive losses on these bets.
Over/Under bets are fun, but generally don't pay out nearly as much as a multiple team parlay or other long odds bet. Essentially, you're picking result A or B against the book's estimate, so the payoff is going to be similar to a straight bet, where in some cases, you get 1:1 or less on your money. As with standard total bets, over/under totals can very with the particular sport being contested. Basketball games are more challenging than hockey games, because of the sheer number of points that are scored. A higher variance in the number of possible points scored means guessing over/under is harder than in a hockey game, where the combined total could easily be between 4 and 6 goals. We believe over/under totals are generally a fairly safe bet, especially if you're knowledgeable about sports and have a good feel for how your bookie's oddsmaker calculates game totals. With this information in mind, you can make a better, more informed, and most importantly more profitable bet! Enjoy!
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