Total Over-Under Bet Explained

Complete over under total bet overview. Learn all about total betting, how to bet totals, and how game results determine a winning outcome. Watch our enjoyable total betting video below. Or, read the extensive text tutorial that follows. Our live total bet example explains possible outcomes for an upcoming matchup.

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What is an Over-Under Total Bet?

A total bet line combines the estimated final scores of each team including overtime. Sportsbooks may also offer total lines for a half, quarter, or period. You bet on whether the actual result will be Over or Under the sportsbook’s line. Odds for each side determine risk and win amounts.

Here’s another way to understand a total bet. Look at your favorite team’s most recent game result. Suppose they scored 25 points and their opponent scored 30. The game total would be the sum of both scores: 30 + 25 = 55 points.

How Does the Total Bet Win or Lose?

A bet on Over wins if the final total is greater than the sportsbook’s line. For example, consider a 45 point total line. If the actual game total is 50, over bettors win.

A bet on Under wins if the final total is les than the sportsbook’s line. Consider again a 45 point total line. If the actual game total is 40, under bettors win.

When Do Total Bets Tie or Push?

Total bets tie or “push” when the actual game total equals the sportsbook’s total line. For example, consider 60 point total line. If the actual game total is 60, all bets push. The sportsbook will refund your bet.

Half-point total lines like 42.5 or 110.5 cannot tie. The actual game total will determine whether the over or under wins. For example, if the total line is 50.5 and the actual result is 52, all over bettors win and all under bettors lose.

How to Place an Over-Under Total Bet

  1. Review the total line odds or “juice” on each side. Assume -110 when no odds are given.
  2. Decide whether to take the over or under. o is for over. u is for under.
  3. Remember, the bet pushes or ties if the actual total equals the sportsbook’s line. This can only happen with whole number totals like 36, 57, or 120.

What Do Total Bet Odds Numbers Mean?

The odds next to the total line indicate each side’s risk and win amounts. The sportsbook wants to balance its action. It will frequently change the total line and odds values to encourage betting on one side more than the other.

Minus Odds Numbers
A minus number indicates how much you risk to win $100. -110 odds mean you risk $110 to win $100.

Plus Odds Numbers
A plus number indicates how you win if you risk $100. +120 odds mean you win $120 for risking $100.

PK, EV or +100 Odds
PK, EV, or +100 odds means the sportsbook will pay even money on a winning bet. You win what you risk. A winning $100 bet with +100 odds pays $100.

More about Reading Betting Odds

SportsBetting3.com’s article “How to Read NFL Odds” discusses how to read betting odds in detail.

SportsBetting3.com Live College Football Bets Explained

Live Example College Football Bets Explained

Game
BetRivers BetRivers
Bet
Nebraska
Northwestern
8/27/22 12:30pm EDT
Taking the Over - Over bettors risk $100 to win $90.91 at -110 odds.

An Over 49.5 bet wins if the total is 50 or more. Your Over 49.5 bet loses if the total is 49 or less, or a 0-0 tie.

Taking the Under - Under bettors risk $100 to win $90.91 at -110 odds.

An Under 49.5 bet wins if the total is 49 or less, or a 0-0 tie. Your Under 49.5 bet loses if the total result is 50 or more.

How Do Sportsbooks Grade the Over-Under Total Bet?

The following explains how example total bets win, lose, or tie.

Denver  150.5 o -120
New York 150.5 u +100

The sportsbook’s total line for Denver vs. New York is 150.5. Risk $120 to win $100 on the over. Risk $100 to win $100 on the under. The half-point total means either the over or under will win. No tie or push is possible.

  1. The actual point total is 155.
  2. 155 is greater than 150.5. Over bettors win.
  3. The sportsbook pays Over bettors $100 for risking $120.

Tie Total Bet Example

The following explains what happens when a result ties the total line.

Dallas 52 o -110
Los Angeles 52 u -110

The sportsbook’s total line for Dallas vs. Los Angeles is 52. Risk $110 to win $100 on the over. Risk $110 to win $100 on the under. The whole number point total means the final result could be over, under, or push.

  1. The actual point total is 52. This result ties the sportsbook’s 52 point line.
  2. All bets push. Neither the over nor the under win.
  3. The sportsbook grades the result “no action” and refunds all bets.

Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Easy to learn. Only two outcomes are possible.
  • Bet on game, half, quarter, or period total lines.
  • Multiple total bets can be combined into parlays, if bets, and reverses.

Cons

  • Initial sportsbook line subject to change. Oddsmakers want balanced action.
  • Overtime counts when wagers are graded. Consider the probability of regulation ties into your handicapping.
  • Carefully compare sportsbook juice to maximize profit. Values may vary across multiple sportsbooks.

Tips

Know common NFL totals

See our NFL Key Numbers Table below. Bet over games with low point totals <= 37. Bet under games with high point totals <= 51.

Caution: many other factors could warrant unusually high or low totals. See other sources for more NFL total data.

Total lines vary between sportsbooks

Lines will vary and change as each book is rebalancing its action. Find inconsistent total lines with point spread and total comparison calculation. See the reference section below. Shop sportsbooks for inconsistencies. Bet over a lower number and under a higher number.

Review each team’s scoring trends

Results from the last 3 football games or 5 basketball games are helpful when assessing a line. Do not rely on last week’s results or season averages. Averages can include atypical results. They do not reflect the likelihood a team will score a certain amount of points.

Shop sportsbook total lines

Identify opportunities as sportsbooks rebalance action. Compare juice on similar lines. Some sportsbooks will offer less juice on the same line.

Bets to Try

  1. Parlay Total Bets – Combine multiple totals into one parlay. Each prediction must be correct for the parlay to win.
  2. MLB Under Bet – Look for games with high run totals. Take the under. A keen eye for bad lines combined with basic handicapping skills are required.
  3. College Basketball 1st Half Correlated Parlay – Look for large spread to small total ratios. For example, a 25% Correlation means a 15 point spread to 60 point total (15/60 = 0.25). Bet 2 first half parlays: 1) Favorite and Over, 2) Underdog and Under.Caution: Many sportsbooks prohibit correlated parlay betting. Football Correlated Parlays are rare.
  4. Grand Salami – Baseball Prop bet on total runs scored in all games on a given day.

Over Under Bet History

The over under bet was likely invented in the United Kingdom during the 19th century. It became popular as sports suitable to total betting became common: soccer, football, basketball, baseball, hockey and cricket.

Other Names

  • Over/Under Bet
  • Totals Betting
  • O/U Bet (Abbreviated)

Similar Bets

  • Prop Bets
  • Futures Bets

Tables and Reference

Table 1: NFL Key Numbers
Common NFL Totals
37
44
41
43
51
40
47

NFL Total Calculation Considerations

  • Points Per Game each team, last 10-20 games.
  • Previous meeting results and stats.
  • Down Conversions.
  • Field Goal Percentages.
  • Rushing Yards.
  • Completions and Interceptions.

Identifying Opportunities from Sportsbook Point Spread and Total

Use the following calculation. Example for Boston vs. New York:
Boston 205.5 -4
New York 205.5 +4

  1. Divide point spread by 2. 4/2 = 2
  2. Divide over-under by 2. 205.5/2 = 102.75
  3. Favorite Boston projected points = 102.75 + 2 = 104.75
  4. Underdog New York projected points = 102.75 – 2 = 100.75
  5. Figure projected total = 104.75 + 100.75 = 205.5

This total is consistent with the sportsbook’s spread. If projected total was under sportsbook’s total, bet under. If projected total was over sportsbook’s total, bet over.

Review other sportsbooks’ lines. For example, bet over if another sportsbook’s total is <205. These changes can be profitable betting opportunities. An over under bet is against the bookmaker not the game.

How to Calculate Juice for Opposite Side of Line

Calculating Opposite Side of Line
3rd party odds tables provide most expensive line value.
Calculation is for opposite line.
Juice Calculation Example
Juice -101 to -109
  1. Drop – sign.
  2. Subtract value from 110.
  3. Add difference to 100.
  4. – sign for opposite juice.
  1. -107 becomes 107.
  2. 110 – 107 = 3.
  3. 100 + 3 = 103.
  4. -103 is opposite juice.
Juice -110 to -119
  1. Drop – sign.
  2. Subtract 110 from value.
  3. Add value to -110.
  4. Difference is opposite juice.
  1. -118 becomes 118.
  2. 118 – 110 = 8.
  3. -110 + 8 = -102
  4. -102 is opposite juice.
Juice -120 or more
Less Common
  1. Drop – sign.
  2. Subtract 110 from value.
  3. Add value to 90.
  4. Difference is opposite juice.
  1. -125 becomes 125.
  2. 125 – 110 = 15.
  3. 90 + 15 = +105
  4. +105 is opposite juice.

Required Reading

References


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over%E2%80%93under
http://www.gamblingconsultant.co.uk/articles/a-history-of-gambling-in-the-uk-until-1960