The over/under bet, also known as the totals bet, is a profitable way to bet on sports without worrying about the result. Because it’s easy to understand, it’s popular with both professionals and casual bettors.
However, there’s a lot more to over/under betting than meets the eye.
This guide will show you everything you need to know about the over/under bet, from the basics to the advanced.
What Is An Over/Under Bet?
An over/under bet ie a totals bet is a wager on the total number of points, goals or runs scored in a game.
It doesn’t matter if one team scores all the points, goals or runs. All that matters is the total scored.
Here’s an example.
These are the totals odds for an NBA game between OKC and the Grizzlies:
As you can see, the bet itself doesn’t contain the two competing teams, only the number of points.
In this example, the bookmaker thinks there will be 217 points scored. So, they drop this number down by half a point, giving you the opportunity to bet on 217 points or more being scored, the over, or fewer than 216 points, the under.
The reason why the line is set to 216.5 and not 217 is that the bookmaker wants to avoid a tie scenario. This occurs when the total number of points scored equals their betting line. In the event that line is not set to half a point, bets are refunded but you don’t win the bet.
The way over/under bets pay out vary depending on if they are high-scoring sports or low-scoring sports.
We’ll look at each scenario separately.
High-scoring sports refer to basketball and football, particularly the NBA and the NFL, where scores can reach high into double and triple figures respectively.
When you place a totals bet on one of these sports, the payout will usually be at the same rate, no matter if you bet on the over or under.
The earlier example showed this but here’s another between the Magic and the Heat for further clarity:
As you can see, both matches pay out at -110 ie you need to wager 110 units to win 100.
While it’s possible for these payouts to shift, the majority of the time, they will stay at -110.
Low-scoring sports refer to MLB baseball, NHL ice hockey and soccer. In the vast majority of matches, the total number of runs or goals scored will remain in single figures.
In fact, particularly for soccer, if the lines change by even half a goal, they would expect to see a lot of action on the other side.
So, to prevent this from happening, the over/under lines are fixed for every game. This means that the odds aren’t always set to -110 and payouts vary.
Here’s an example of totals odds for ice hockey:
In this example, you’ll be paid out at a rate of +100 for a correct overs bet and at a rate of -120 for a correct unders bet.
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Over/Under (Totals) Betting Strategies
So that covered the basics around over/under betting. Now let’s move into the more advanced part of this article.
Here are some over/under betting strategies we like to use.
While the weather doesn’t have an impact on indoor sports, it plays a huge role in determining the totals for sports like football and baseball.
When the conditions are great for scoring, bet on the over. On the other hand, if the playing conditions are terrible, bet on the under.
While the bookmakers are aware of the impact of a change in weather, they are unlikely to change their lines until a flood of action goes on a certain side.
This means that if you’re quick enough to see the change in weather and make your bets before the bookmaker adjusts its line, you can score some easy value.
Lineups, Injuries And Suspensions
Here’s the deal:
Certain sports are reliant on specialist positions. For example, in baseball, the whole betting system is centred around the starting pitcher. For totals, the best starting pitchers keep the runs scored down while weaker pitchers tend to concede more runs.
Another example is the quarterback in football. While not as important as the pitcher in baseball, they still have a big influence on the number of points their team scores.
This makes it vital that you understand how teams lineup for every game.
With this in mind, there are also injuries and suspensions to consider. Key players sidelined have a massive impact on totals. Going back to football, an injured or suspended dominant pass rusher changes an entire defense in football.
Look at the entire team lineup and how the gameplan can be affected by an injury or suspension.
Don’t Ignore Defense
While offense is a great angle to look at, sometimes you’re better of looking at the other side of the game.
Good defense is just as valuable as good offense. So, while everyone else is focused on how well one team scores, you should focus on how well their opponents defend.
Some coaches build their entire game plan around being a better defensive unit than their opponents. For example, in basketball, if you know that one team does very well guarding against the perimeter, you may wish to bet on the under as there will be fewer 3-pointers scored.
Pay particular attention to the individual matchups and spot any mismatches. This is great way to gain an edge as the bookmakers don’t go this deep. They just look at the lineup in general, creating a great opportunity for finding value.
This guide will give you all the information you need to become a profitable totals sports bettor.
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