A very popular bet type in sports betting (almost as popular as picking the winner of the game) is the Totals Bet, or the Over/Under. This bet can encompass many parts of a game or the full game itself, and as you will see from reading this page, it gives players a different way to cheer for a game in progress!
How the Over/Under Bet Works
So, for a bet on the total, or the over/under, there is a very different line than the line on the game itself. Let’s take a look at the line for a typical basketball game:
- Golden State – 8 o 219.5 (-115)
- Cleveland +8 u 219.5 (-110)
So, here we have a game in which the Golden State Warriors are favored by 8 points, and if you want to bet on the point spread, then you can pick either side of that matchup with the points. Now, if you are interested in the over/under bet on the game, you will see it on the other end of the line. Typically, it is listed with the total (in this case 219.5 points) and the over and under odds. If you want to bet on the total in this instance, you are betting that the total score OF BOTH TEAMS in the game will be over or under that number. Then, once your bet is placed, you simply watch the game and follow the total points regardless of the winner of the game!
The payout of the bet is dependent on the number in brackets. This number works much like the money line bet, where it is a factor of every $100 wagered. In the example above, the over bet would cost you $115 to win $100, while the under bet would cost you $110 to win $100. Now, most over/under bets are set at -110 on each side, but in the case of a game like this, the likelihood of the total going over is better than staying under. Adding the extra juice is one way a sportsbook can maintain the number but still add risk to the player. The over/under total can move depending on how much is bet on either side or any factors that come into play before the game like injuries, etc.
You don’t just see totals for the overall game when you enter a sportsbook. In most cases, when you select a game to bet on, you will see an array of bets on the game, which can include the over/under numbers for different parts of the game (periods, halves, quarters, etc.). This is great for someone who has a feeling about an early part of a game but not necessarily the outcome of the entire match.
You will also find over/under odds on many of the individuals competing in a particular game. This is especially true in basketball, where you will find bets available on how many points a player will score. These bets operate in the same manner as the over/under bets on team performance.
Why would players choose this bet type?
There are lots of reasons why someone would bet totals instead of or as well as the winner of the game. First, perhaps it is too tough to pick the winner of a game, but a bettor knows that both teams are either offensive or defensive as a unit, making it easier to determine the total score of the game than the winner. Also, there is the possibility that someone isn’t interested in the outcome of the game one way or another, but still wants the thrill of cheering for or against scoring. Over/under bets also give bettors several more chances to bet on the game, and this is excellent for the fast-twitch style of gambler who needs more action than just the end result.
In-game betting has had an impact on the over/under betting as well. With live betting, the over/under of a game total can be adjusted as the game goes on, giving gamblers a chance to either hedge their bets, double down or try to middle a bet.
Over/under bets in basketball can also be teased by some points, making it easier for games to make the right side of the number. However, in teaser bets, you need to be betting on more than one game in combination. Check out our page on parlays and teasers for more information on those bets.
The Grand Salami – the mother of all over/under bets.
Finally, if we are going to talk about over/under bets, then there is a bet that many players love to make in baseball and hockey. This is called the Grand Salami, and it is a bet on the total number of goals or runs scored in the entire day’s worth of action. This is a lot of fun to play because it keeps all the games in play right until the end. You can bet on the over or the under for this bet just as you would for each individual game. Not every sportsbook offers this bet, so if you are interested, you should shop around until you find the right spot to make your wager.
The over/under bet really takes sports betting to another level, allowing gamblers to have more betting options per game and increasing the frequency of the result from just the final outcome of the game or match. Over/under bets are also popular as prop bets, which we explain on its own page on this site.