The classic sports bets is on which team will win but there are tons of other exciting outcomes to wager on. One of the best is by betting on how many total points you think will be scored in a game. This type of wagering is called Over/Underbetting or Betting on Totals.
It all starts when the sportsbook sets a line before a game to predict how many combined points they think will be scored by both teams. As a bettor, you get to choose whether you think the final combined points scored for both teams will be more (Over) or less (Under) than the casino’s predicted line.
These days we see all sorts of Over/Under betting lines across many different sports as well as with in-game live prop bets. As Over/Under betting continues to grow in popularity, oddsmakers are coming up with more and more exciting variations of totals bets for you to wager on.
It wasn’t long ago that betting on something like the Over/Under for total aces served by John Isner in a tennis match, or how many free-throws DeAndre Jordan would make in a game, were bets you could only make among friends. Not anymore. Prop bet Over/Unders like these are starting to become common on lots of the best online sportsbooks.
If you are not familiar with this style of betting it might sound confusing at first. That’s ok because we’re here to help. This article will explain how Over/Under betting works, strategy tips to win more betting totals as well as give examples of what to look for across all the major sports when it comes to Over/Under betting.
How Does Over/Under Betting Work?
Over/Under betting is one of the easiest and potentially profitable bets and since it’s available in every sport it’s worh getting familiar with how it all works.
Oddsmakers calculate how they think each team will perform in the game and then they combine those numbers into one prediction of how many total points will be scored by both teams.
Here are the key points to remember about Totals bets”
- A bet on the Over/Under line in sports is a wager that only considers the total points scored in the game.
- If the casino’s line for a baseball game Totals bet is 5.5, for example, a bet on the Over will win if both teams score a combined six or more points and a bet on the Under will win if they score a combined five points or less.
- No matter what sport you’re planning to wager on and regardless of whether one team is likely to dominate the other, you can bet on the total points line.
- Typically the odds on both the Over and Under bets are the same. This is because the casino is always trying to set a line that will attract equal action from the betting public on both sides of the line.
- The odds on over/under bets are usually -110 with the extra 10% representing the casino’s commission. A line witj -110% odds is called a Dime Line.
- As a general rule of thumb, you can expect the line to be similar or close to -110 but this won’t always be the case. At times you might see a line like O -105 / U -115. Or even O +105 / U -125.
- The reason we sometimes see this shifting of the “juice” in the lines is usually because the house is trying to balance the total action they’re taking on each side of the line by making one side more appealing.
How to Read Over/Under Betting Lines
Just like all sports bets, Over/Under betting lines can be confusing at first. Once you know the basics, however, you’ll see they’re actually really simple. In this section, we’ll show you exactly what all the betting terminology and numbers mean, step by step.
Let’s look at a Totals Bet example from MLB baseball where the odds are the same on the Over and Under:
- Padres+8.50 (-110)
- Dodgers+8.5U (-110)
The Over/Under line in this game is 8.5 runs. This means that if both teams score 9 or more combined runs the result counts as Over. If less than 9 runs are scored, the result counts as Under.
With odds of -110, you have to bet $110 on either team to win $100 in profit.
In this case, the payout (odds) for both the Over (O) and the Under (U) is the same: -110. With O/U betting, don’t worry about where the O and the U are represented on the screen. It doesn’t correspond to either team; it is just the standard written layout for the Over/Under betting line at sportsbooks with the home team often listed on the bottom.
Now let’s look at an example where the casino is offering slightly different odds on each team:
- Padres+8.50 (110)
- Dodgers+8.5U (+105)
In this example, you’d have to bet $110 on the Padres to win $100 in profit but a $100 bet on the Dodgers will win you $105 in profit.
How to Calculate Over/Under Betting
Understanding payout odds when you’re betting totals is important so let’s take an even closer look to make sure it’s clear. Let’s see what happens if two people bet opposite results for this (above) game so we can exactly what happens when both Over and Under offer equal payout lines of -110.
- If Person A thinks the game will have more than 8 runs (9 or more) and his aim is to make $100 profit, the -110 line means he needs to wager $110 on the Over in order to receive a return of $210 total ($110 initial investment returned plus $100 profit).
- If Person B predicts a lower scoring game and he thinks there will be less than 9 runs, he would bet $110 on the Under in order to also receive a total return of $210
In this example, the sportsbook takes in $220 ($110 from each bettor) before the game and they pay out $210 to the winner after the game. That leaves them with a $10 profit. This is why the house wants equal action on both sides of the line when the odds are the same. It guarantees them a profit regardless of the game’s outcome.
What is a “Push” when Betting Totals?
I gambling, a “push” is another word for a tie bet where the gambler takes back their bet but no winnings.
Most of the time you’ll see the line for Totals set at a half-point, like the 8.5 point line we used in the example above, and since teams can’t score half a point there’s no possibility for a tie bet. Sometimes, however, the line will be set a whole number. If the totals line was 8, for example, the outcome of the game can match the line precisely.
If that happens all totals bets are a push and everyone gets their money back.