Over/under betting, or totals, as it is more commonly called, is a type of bet in which the sportsbook predicts what it believes the total score of both teams added together is going to be. You place a wager “over” or “under” that number. Along with betting the point spread, betting the total is one of the most popular types of sports bets.
Defining The Over/Under
The over/under or totals bet is offered on most major sportsbook markets but it is most popular in higher scoring sports like basketball or football. For each game, the total number is set by the sportsbooks along with odds on both under and over.
For example, in an NBA game between Houston and Dallas, the sportsbook might set the total at 212.5 and offer -110 odds on both the under and over. Odds are generally, but not always, the same for one side of the over/under. In this example, they are -110, regardless if you are placing a wager on the over or the under. That is the most common odds at sportsbooks. It means that the sportsbook considers the outcomes to be equally likely, and a $100 bet will pay $90.91 if it wins.
If the final score of the game is Houston 100 – Dallas 103 then we would add 100 + 103 = 203 total points in the game and anyone who bet on the under would win. On the other hand, if the final score was Houston 121 – Dallas 105, then the total points scored would be 121 + 105 = 126 and the over would payout.
Importance Of The Over/Under To Sports Bettors
The over/under is such a popular bet for a few reasons.
It is a relatively straightforward type of bet. Both outcomes are about equally likely so you do not need to know much about a game to bet the total. You can be wrong on the winner and still win your bet on the total.
It is affected by just about every play in the game. While a two-minute stretch of scoreless basketball may be boring to the casual fan, it is actually a very exciting time for someone who bet the under. Likewise, garbage time points in a blowout win may not mean much to spread bettors but they might make all the difference to someone who bet the over.
Psychology Of The Over/Under Bet
The over/under or totals bet is a very interesting type of bet. Over/under betting is also interesting from a human psychology standpoint because, on average, people are more likely to bet the over. The basis for this is thought to be based on the fact that there is an infinite number of scores that can make up the over, as in this example, there are only 212 outcomes that lead to a win.
There is another school of thought that bettors generally don’t want to cheer for a low-scoring game and therefore select the over. Sportsbooks are very aware of this fact and usually adjust the odds accordingly.
Over/Under Betting FAQs
Statistics show that sports bettors are more likely to bet the “over” than “under”, simply because there are more possible outcomes that would lead to victory.
Yes. In fact, the over/under bet is one of the most popular types of sports bets on the market.