A “Total bet” is a wager placed on the combined number of points scored by both teams in a matchup. Any other points acculmulated during game extensions – such as overtime or penalty time – are included in the final total.
Suppose the Yankees and Redsox are playing tomorrow. You think the Yankees will score 6 runs and the Redsox 3, making a combined run total of 9. If you placed a “Total” bet on this game, you would wager the Yankees/Redsox Total would be 9 for tomorrow’s game.
Total bets can be fun in contests that are low scoring. That is, a game result usually decided by 3 or 4 units/runs/goals/points. This makes guessing the total much easier. Accordingly, soccer, baseball, and hockey are three top total betting sports. Most of the time, the total bet will be less than 12.
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Things get much trickier in high scoring games. Another complication is if points can be scored in different ways.
For example, in football, teams can score with a 3 point field goal, a 6 point touch down (and 1 point field goal or 2 point conversion), or a 2 point safety. This makes guessing the final point total more difficult. The result is contingent on many more variables and scoring options. Likewise, with Basketball, with 1 point foul shots, 2 point shots, or 3 point shots, game totals can easily range from 80 to over 200. Thus, guessing the total for a basketball game is more challenging and almost sheer luck if you’re able to nail it.
As a result, the odds for totals are adjusted per the difficulty of picking the total. Baseball and hockey game totals don’t pay as much as football or basketball totals. Totals make the game a more interesting, because you’re essentially routing for both the winner and loser at the same time. You want each team to score a specific amount of points. Whomever wins is unimportant unless placed a different bet on the spread or moneyline.
Totals hinge on many game variables. Referee calls, weather, competitor matchups such as quarterbacks or baseball pitchers, penalties, umpires, etc. all can make a drastic impact on the final tally of the game. Essentially, you’re looking for a fair contest with no goof ups by the officiating crew that “goes as planned”. Is a total bet a sucker’s bet? Yes, it can be. If you’re betting basketball totals, good luck – this is literally more difficult than a crap shoot or black/red bet on the roulette wheel. With hockey, you face better odds but won’t get as much money in return.
Our suggestion is to bet totals very carefully. Stick to one’s you think you can win. And, if you’re also betting on the general outcome of the game, bet a smaller amount of money on the total bet, because if you lose your total (harder to win than a straight bet) you don’t want to nullify your straight bet winnings. Have fun and Good Luck!