Over Under Betting

Over / Under betting is a sports betting type whereby you have to predict how many combined points or goals the contesting teams or players will score collectively – you then select whether you think it will be over or under the predicted score set by the sportsbook. Read on for a detailed explanation of Over\Under betting, how it works and the attraction of Over/Under betting for bettors. 

What is Over / Under Betting?

Over/Under betting, also referred to as totals betting, is a sports betting market whereby a sportsbook will set a predicted combined total score between two contesting teams or players, bettors then have to decide whether they think it will be over or under the allocated score set by the sportsbook.

How Does Over / Under Betting Work?

As already touched upon, a sportsbook will set a predicted combined total points score between two contesting teams/players. The sportsbook traders will have all the detailed stats and form across both opponents and will set the total score prediction based on previous games and the strengths & weaknesses of both teams/players. Bettors then need to decide if they think the sportsbook has set that combined score too high or too low. If they think the sportsbook has pitched the score too low, bettors would back over the score, if bettors think the sportsbook has pitched the score too high, bettors would wager on under the score. You will traditionally see odds of -110 set on both under and over. 

Over / Under Betting Example

You might see an over / under bet (or totals bet) on an NFL game like this: 

Denver Broncos   Over 49.5:      -110

Dallas Cowboys   Under 49.5:    -110

You can see that the sportsbook has predicted that Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys combined will score 49 points. So for those who think the score will be a combined 50 points or higher they’d bet on the over option, for those who think it could be a tighter affair or perhaps just not much in the way of point conversion, they’d opt for the under 49.5 option, thinking that the game will finish with a combined total of 49 points of less. 

Now let’s take a look at an example of a low scoring sport such as hockey and how that over/under market would look like:

Nashville Predators      Over 6:    -110

Edmonton Oilers         Under 6:   -110

So as you can see with an NHL hockey over/under betting market the margin for goals is quite small in comparison to high scoring sports such as football and basketball. Meaning that anybody who bet on the under here would only want to see a combined 5 goals between both teams, whereas 7 or more goals would settle over backers as winners. 

Half Point vs Whole Number Over/Unders

Using the two examples above we can see for the NFL market between Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys that the over/under market is listed as half points (49.5). Whereas the NHL hockey over/under market between Nashville and Edmonton has been listed as a whole number (6). 

The key difference between a half point over/under and a whole number is that occasionally a sportsbook will offer a push option on whole number spreads. Let’s say that the game between Nashville and Edmonton ended 3-3 meaning that the total score of the game is 6 goals, which is neither above or below the over/under mark. In some cases this will activate push, which effectively means your stake is returned to you and the bet is void if you backed either over or under. 

When to Place an Under/Over Bet

Placing an under/over bet over a standard moneyline or point spread bet can be a savvy strategy for bettors in certain circumstances. Here’s a list:

  • When you’re not sure who will win, but are sure the game will be high or low scoring: This is probably the most common reason a bettor will place an over/under bet over a moneyline bet, when they have a strong feeling the game will either be a tight affair with less points/goals than the one set with the sportsbook or if they feel like both teams have a strong attack and weak defence so there is a high chance of the game being high scoring. This is a great option as you don’t have to worry about either team winning or losing and can just focus on the score. 
  • When there is a strong favorite but their moneyline odds are too short: Often in two way moneyline markets, if there is a superior team and favorite, their odds will be so short that the risk to reward just simply isn’t worth betting on. However, as so often over/under bets will be -110 or -105 odds, you will get better value in backing the over/under market on the contest than the moneyline on a favorite. 
  • When taking into consideration historic stats: You don’t have to be a Vegas sports betting pro to do some basic/historic research on stats between the two teams, all of this information will be available online and can really help you get an edge against the sportsbooks. It might be that historically one strong team always struggles at a certain stadium and hence you might want to back on the under market for the game or that one team has a strong/weak attack or strong/weak defense that could have a big bearing on the final score.
  • When external factors could potentially influence the game: Sportsbooks will first set a market based on the strengths and weaknesses of a teams roster, the quality of their individual players and recent form. However external factors can also have big influences on how a game will pan out for example the weather, treacherous conditions will make a game harder to play and hence you might consider backing the under market.

Over Under Betting FAQs

An over under bet is a sports wagering type, whereby a sportsbook will set a predicted combined total score in a contest between two opponents and bettors then simply have to choose whether to bet over or under the amount set by the sportsbook.
A sportsbook wil set a predicted combined total score between two competing players or teams and then bettors will then either bet on over or under that amount. Let’s say the sportsbook have set an over/under market of 45.5 on an NFL game. For those who think there will be 46 combined points or more in the game, they would bet on the over. For those who think it might be a tighter, more low scoring affair than projected by the sportsbook, they would back the under market and hope that the combined total score is 45 points or below. Under or over bets can be half numbers (.5) or occasionally whole numbers.

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