What Is Over/Under In Sports Betting And How Does It Work?
When you start betting on sports, there are a great many betting options to get to grips with and as this industry is constantly evolving there are now so many choices that it is quite easy for a rookie to become overwhelmed by it all.
At Responsible Gambling, we want you to have as wide a selection of tools as possible, so that your gambling pleasure never ends. Over/Under, otherwise known as 'totals' betting, is one of those tools. Read on to learn what Over/Under betting is, how it works and how to play those bets.
What Is Over/Under And What Does It Mean?
Every sporting event has a combined score for both teams or athletes involved – hence the name 'totals'. Oddsmakers set a certain anticipated number based on how they see the upcoming match ending. The bettor’s aim is to predict whether the real number achieved by the team or athlete will be Over or Under the set number.
Over/Under Betting Explained
An Over/Under is a bet where you have to try to predict the combined number of points scored by both teams/athletes. You must decide whether the final score will be lower or higher than the number set by your betting platform.
For example, let’s have a look at this season’s Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios. The sportsbooks set the totals at 25.5 points. So assuming both players won 26 games or more combined and you bet 'Over' your wager would win. However, if you had decided to bet Under, you would lose.
There’s also such a thing as an Individual Total, whereby the bookmaker allows you to guess the number of points scored by one team/athlete during the match.
Sometimes sportsbooks set the Over/Under at a whole number of points (2, 3, 4 etc). If you place an Over/Under bet, and the teams score the exact amount of points set by the bookmaker, then your bet will be refunded.
How To Place An Over/Under Bet?
It’s pretty easy to make an Over/Under bet at any online and offline sportsbook.
- Select the event you want to put your money on;
- Whilst scrolling through the available markets, you’ll see the “Over/Under” section;
- Select your bet;
- Enter the amount of money you want to wager and submit.
Examples Of An Over/Under Bet
It’s much easier to understand the Over/Under betting with proper examples. So, let’s have a look at how those bets look in different sports.
Let’s start with the world’s main football league. We have an upcoming regular season match between Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the bookie has set the Over/Under at 46.5 points.
Let’s say you’ve decided to play Over, and the Ravens win with a score of 32-20. In that case, your wager will come through, since the teams will score a total of 52 points. Consequently, if you played Under, you would lose.
Now, let’s jump to the main existing basketball league and have a look at the upcoming Dallas Mavericks v Brooklyn Nets clash. Here, the bookie has set the Over/Under at 225.5 points.
If you play Total and the Mavericks get the job done with a score of 112:100, then you’ll lose your bet, since the team will score only 212 points in total. Your best choice for this outcome would be an Under bet.
Let’s switch to baseball and check out the Over/Under market for the upcoming Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros clash.
When you bet on baseball, keep in mind that bookies are interested in the number of runs, not points. So, in the example above the sportsbook has set the Over/Under at 6.5 runs. You’ll need the final score to total 7 runs or more for your Total bet to win.
Don’t be surprised. Yes, you can also find the Over/Under bets available for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Here is a market available for the upcoming Joshua Weems v Christian Rodriguez fight.
When it comes to boxing, MMA and other kinds of fighting sports, bookies are usually interested in counting the number of rounds. As you can see, the Over/Under for this fight is set at 1.5 rounds. Consequently, the event should last 2 rounds or more for your Over bet to come through.
Of course, we couldn’t go without an example from the world’s most popular sport. Liverpool are about to host a Premier League game against Leeds this weekend, so let’s have a look at the Over/Under market for that clash.
As you can see, this bookie believes there will be a whole lot of goals scored at Anfield on that Saturday night, which is why the Over/Under is set at 3.5 goals with almost equal odds. So, the Reds and the Whites will have to score a total of 4 goals or more for your Over bet to win.
Over/Under In Tennis
If you’re a tennis fan looking to put your money on some ATP or WTA action, you should remember that bookies count both sets and games here. For example, let’s have a look at the Totals market for the upcoming ATP500 Basel clash between good old Stan Wawrinka and American fresh blood Brandon Nakashima (Over/Under odds are displayed on the right).
As you can see, you can bet both on a total number of sets and a total number of games in that match. So, if you decide to play Over 2.5 sets, then Stan and Brandon will have to take it to the third set for your wager to win. If you decide to go Over 23.5 games, then Stan the Man will have to win with a score of, say, 7:6/7:5, so that both players score a total of 25 games, which is higher than the number set by the bookie.
Odds And Payouts
For the most part, the Over/Under odds are set at -110 (1.91), which means that you’ll have to bet $110 for every $100 you want to win. That’s how the oddsmaking works for football.
However, when it comes to low-scoring sports like ice hockey, soccer and baseball, bookies often adjust the odds to force betters to bet more money on one side. For example, if a sportsbook received a lot of Over 2.5 (1.91) bets and a little of Under 2.5 (1.91) bets, then it will most likely make it 1.87 for Over 2.5 and 1.95 for Under 2.5. Thus, those who seek better odds will start putting their money on Under 2.5, providing the bookie with more income.
Over/Under Betting Strategy
If you want to play Totals Only, here is a little life hack for you. Statistically, the Under bet was a better choice in all major sports for the last 7 years. For example, multiple studies show that since the start of the 2016 seasons, more than a half of the matches in all major American sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL etc) end up with the Under bets winning. In order not to be unfounded, here is a table of Over/Under betting records for each major American sports league from 2016 to 2020.
|Sport||Totals Record (Over, Under, Push)||Under bets winning rate in %|
However, you should avoid placing those bets blindly, because it’s never a good idea.
Tips For Over/Under Betting
If you really want to try out betting totals, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Do Your Homework
Placing any bets blindly is always a bad idea. Always stay up to date with the news about the teams and athletes you want to bet money on. This will help you to have a detailed idea of their current shape, which is necessary when forming a forecast.
Bet On Sports That You Actually Watch
When you watch the games regularly, you eventually become an expert in a certain sport to some extent. A good level of expertise is always useful for sports betting.
Do Not Parlay The Totals
We’ve already explained to you why betting parlays might not be a good idea in general. The risk of losing a parlay is much higher than the risk of losing an individual bet, which is why all bookies in the world just love it when you choose those bets. Do not give the bookmakers this satisfaction.
How To Handicap Your Over/Under Bets?
There are lots of factors you need to consider before placing any bet, and Over/Under bets are not an exception here. In addition to tracking the news surrounding the event you want to put your money on, monitoring the change of pre-match odds might also be useful.
For example, you want to place an Over 2.5 bet on a Champions League clash between Manchester City and PSG. Both these teams often score a lot, so that bet would usually be a wise choice. But just imagine both Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe getting injured during the warm-up just minutes before kick-off, leaving both teams without their top scorers. Bookmakers always react to such events faster than any sports media by adjusting the odds, so if you monitor the market carefully, you will be able to adjust your betting choice as well.
Pros & Cons Of Over/Under Betting
Now, let’s overview the advantages and disadvantages of betting on totals.
- Predicting a total number of points scored by the teams is not so hard (if you do your homework properly);
- Betting Totals only is often a working strategy;
- Over/Under can be found in all online and offline sportsbooks.
- Not a good choice for those seeking flexible odds;
- This type of betting requires a fairly deep preliminary analysis.
Our main idea was and remains that gambling can and should be a great way to spend your spare time. No matter which type of bets you prefer, always remember to approach the game responsibly. Set your financial and time limits and never exceed them, use the responsible gambling tools available on your betting platform, and keep your gambling fun.