How to Bet Totals
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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 over/under 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.
LEARN HOW TO BET FROM OUR EXPERT, JOE OSBORNE!
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.
BEST OVER/UNDER BETTING SITES
*In-person registration and betting only in MS. The BetMGM app is available for mobile wagers in Washington DC, but only at Nationals Park.
OVER/UNDER BETTING STRATEGY
There is quite an array of situations that would allow you to have a over/under 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 or OVER/UNDER?
A game total bet or over/under is a bet that you can place at legal sportsbooks. This type of bet requires you to decide whether or not the total score of the game (added up between both teams) is over or under a set point. This is an interesting bet because you can win even if your preferred team doesn't win.
HOW DO YOU READ A TOTALS BET?
Reading a totals bet is simple. OVER means that you're betting for the cumulative score (the total earned by both teams) to be over the amount set by the sportsbook, let's say 33.5 points. A half point is included to avoid the situation where the team scores exactly 33 or 34 points. UNDER means that you're betting for the cumulative score to be under that set amount.
IS IT BETTER TO BET THE OVER OR THE UNDER?
That all depends on the matchup and your expectations. In some cases, you'll expect a well-rested team to perform better than anticipated, which might push the score OVER. In other cases, you might expect the score to be lower than anticipated. Use your best judgement: it helps to be a fan of at least one of the teams participating, so you have a good idea of how they might perform.
HOW ARE TOTAL ODDS CALCULATED?
Odds and total scores for over/under betting are set by oddsmakers working for each sportsbook. Due to the competitive nature of online sportsbooks, it's unlikely that the oddsmakers will be pricing lines that don't compete with other books, so finding fair lines is usually easy.
Other great topics to read to learn more about sports betting:
Betting Odds Explained | Futures Betting | Hedge Betting | Prop Betting | Point Spread Betting | Teaser Betting | Glossary Betting Terms