How to Bet Totals
Sports Betting Expert
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WHAT ARE TOTALS?
Totals, often referred to as overs and unders, is a number created by the sportsbook used to establish the mark for how many total points will be scored in a game. It is the combined points of both teams. Last season, Super Bowl LVI had a final total of 47 ½ and when the Rams beat Cincinnati 23-20 the combined points fell below that number so under bettors were the ones cashing tickets.
This wager is very popular for multiple reasons and some expert sports bettors consider them the best way to win at sports betting. You can bet these totals all by themselves as a straight bet just as you could with either team. They can be used to take a play on the last game of the week and turn your Monday Night Football bet into a 2-team parlay.
Another thing that makes betting totals attractive is that, even though you are betting on a game, you do not care who wins. Maybe, when you’re handicapping an NFL game, a point spread might seem a wee bit too many to give. Another game could be such an even match that the point spread is set at zero. These are occasions when betting totals may be the easiest way to isolate a play on a contest.
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Be aware that when betting totals, you may encounter times when strangers will interrupt you during a break in the play to ask you what team you’re rooting for. People can be confused when you’re cheering for both defenses looking for a scoreless tie since you have the under. Other times, when you’re acting like a proud parent at a youth soccer game, loudly cheering no matter which team is moving the ball, they may not realize your ticket has the word over imprinted on it.
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TOTALS BETTING STRATEGY
There is quite an array of situations that would allow you to have a totals betting strategy.
PREVIOUS RESULTS AGAINST THE SPREAD
Previous ATS results from recent games will show you clubs that are consistently falling over or under the number. Once you notice teams that have all their games on one side of the total you need to learn why. Are all their contests overs because they are allowing a ton of points or the result of giving up a bunch? Is it an under every week because their defense is tough or because they simply don’t score?
OTHER METRICS TO WATCH
How important are statistics when you’re looking at how to win bets playing the total? If one team is last in the league in passing yards allowed and they’re lining up against a top-notch offense you can catch a game where one team gets you all the points you need to win an over bet. Sometimes, checking the league stats can help you identify opportunities where it’s a matchup of two great defenses and a couple of offenses that aren’t exactly clicking on all cylinders and you find a winning under wager.
HOW TO BET TOTALS - FAQ
WHAT IS A GAME TOTAL BET?
A game total bet is a wager on whether or not the combined points of the two teams involved in the contest are more than or less than the number posted on your sportsbook. You can play a total as a separate wager and get straight odds or include it on a parlay ticket where every event has to win for your wager to win.
Most sportsbooks will offer totals for other sections of the game as well. You can usually wager on the total for all four quarters, both halves as well as the entire game. If you like a total for the game, it usually makes sense to also bet it for those other options too.
DO YOU ONLY HAVE TO BET TOTALS ON THE GAME?
More and more books are offering lines on incremental totals. These are wagers that involve just a section of the game. The best hockey sports bettors like wagering on that 1 ½ goal in the first period. Remember how often you heard about the Warriors and their third-quarter heroics when they went on that run?
Waiting until halftime to wager while paying attention to the start of a contest to see which version of the teams actually showed up that day makes betting second-half totals a great way to cash tickets. If your sportsbook offers live-action wagering, they’ll usually have an in-game total that gets updated throughout the play. Take advantage of these when they’re available because there’s no better handicapping than watching a game. Sometimes a “betting the totals” winner will drop right in your lap.
WHAT DOES +200 MEAN ON A BET?
When you see the odds for a wager are +200 that means that you’re getting 2-1 odds on that bet. If you risk $100 and win, you’ll get back your original wager plus another $200. There are two main amounts you use to wager when betting with the odds. The risk amount and the win amount.
Normally, when a play is +200 most sports bettors are risking their money to get the return of those 2-1 odds. A player that is wagering on a -200 favorite might want to win $100 and would need to wager $200 to get back an extra $100. If you go to the window and ask for $100 on a -200 play, you’d get a ticket back showing your risk as $100 but your win potential would only be an extra $50.
HOW DO YOU BET THE TOTAL IN FOOTBALL?
Football is a great sport to use when betting totals. The number for the total in a football game is usually easy to find on your local book or on their app. Normally, you don’t need to involve too much searching. Find the point spreads and money lines for a football game and the total number won’t be far away.
You can also bet individual team totals as well. These are also totals but instead of the combined points for both teams, it’s simply the number of points scored by that specific team. Team totals are another unique way to watch a football game. Betting a total means you’re not invested in who wins the game. When it’s a team total on your betting slip you don’t even care what the other team does on offense. If your team scores more points than their team’s total number, you win, that’s it.
Always check your ticket before you click to submit online or walk away from the window at your local casino. Sure, that’s a no-brainer, right? It’s an important point for any wagering but even more crucial with betting on totals. In most situations, not only is the total the same for both the over and the under but so are the odds. These facts make both options look very similar to each other, even when it’s a mistake.
CAN YOU BET TOTALS IN ALL SPORTS?
Sports betting is exploding. You’ll find the major sports books are offering totals on most sporting events. They’re very common on the boards for all four major sports in the US and both UFC and soccer have totals. You can find a wager for how many rounds there will be in a fight and the number of goals in a match on the betting menu for those sports.
Betting totals as a way to wager on sports is so prevalent in the US sports betting market that it actually found its way to a little bit of Americana and is out front every year when we celebrate the fourth of July. There’s no better tradition than turning up the grill and betting how many links and buns the professional eaters will devour during the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest held on Coney Island every summer.