Betting the Over/Under (Totals)

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Betting the Over/Under (Totals)
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Betting the Over/Under (Totals)

As a sports bettor, it’s important to learn the different betting types you might encounter on online sports betting sites. Totals betting is a simple and easy-to-understand betting option that is available on virtually every sport and game. When selecting a totals wager, you will be predicting if the final collective score for both teams will be over or under the oddsmaker’s set line.

Essentially, you’re adding the total number of goals or points both teams might get, and deciding if you think that amount will be higher or lower than what the oddsmakers have determined it will be. They will do plenty of statistical analysis and sometimes they can be very accurate when setting these lines, which also means you have to be as well.

Totals betting is a great option if you aren’t particularly fond of either team, or you don’t know who might win. You get to be subjective with your wager and simply evaluate the potential number of points that these teams may score in the game or match. You don’t need to know the players all that well, you will just need to do a little digging into the team’s statistics and past game records.

Totals betting can be different across each sport, and you won’t find huge underdog or favorite odds when betting totals as you would betting on moneylines. The odds are actually quite modest and stay in line with standard juice (-110) for the most part. These odds essentially tell you that it’s fairly even in terms of whether the total will go over or under and the oddsmaker doesn’t want to take a huge risk.

When looking at American odds, you’ll see these totals odds ranging from -120 which signifies that it’s more likely to occur, and +110 which signifies that it’s less likely to occur. American odds are most easily viewed as what you would wager or win on a $100 bet.

You can view your totals bets in decimal odds or fractional odds as well, but American odds tend to be the most prevalent in Canada and the United States. An easy trick for viewing decimal odds is that the decimal represents what you’d win for each dollar you bet. And an easy trick for fractional odds is that it will show you how much you’d win (numerator) by betting the denominator.

Now that we’re a little more familiar with totals in general, let’s look at some examples:

NFL Totals Betting

With such high-scoring games in most cases, NFL totals betting can be a great way to win some bets and make some money betting on the NFL. Totals betting on NFL Sundays can be a popular option, especially early in the season when you aren’t totally sure how two teams might perform against one another.

You might be swayed by offensive and defensive stats – learning a team’s defensive line gives up an average of 25 points to teams with great pass offense. This would make us think that the total might go over as the opposing team will likely score quite a few passing touchdowns.

NFL totals usually are in the 40’s or 50’s but can end up being on either side of those numbers if the oddsmakers feel the game will be a bit of an outlier.

Let’s look at an example:

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Buffalo Bills, and the oddsmakers set the line at 53 points. This means that you will have to choose if you think the total number of points by both teams will be over or under 53. If you pick the over and the final score is 38-29 that would mean your bet would have won because the total was 67. If the final score was 28-24 that is a total of 52, and the under would have won.

NBA Totals Betting

If you’re an NBA betting fan, you won’t see a huge difference in over/under bets from the NFL, so we will follow the same guidelines. The only difference will be that the totals will be much higher as basketball is such a high-scoring game and it’s easier to get points in basketball than it is in football.

You will be trying to predict if both teams will score more or less than the oddsmakers line again, so you might see a 201-point total, which sounds high but is totally normal in professional basketball.

Where the number doesn’t have a half-point, there is a risk of a push if the total ends up hitting 201 on the nose – this would just mean that you will receive your stake back if the final score is 109-92 or another combination. If the final score is 106-102 the over would be the winning bet.

NHL Totals Betting

On the complete other side of the scale is hockey with much lower scoring potential. Hockey totals usually end up being in the 5-10-point range, as scoring is so inopportune in the sport. Many games will result in 4-2, 5-3 or 1-0, so it’s important to keep that in mind when betting totals.

Keeping an eye on goaltender stats and which teams may be top scorers on the opposing team will help you with your NHL totals betting.

MLB Totals Betting

Betting on totals in baseball can be a little more interesting, as you will need to pay attention to various other aspects like the batting order or who is pitching. An average total for MLB betting would be 7.5, and this would indicate that both teams would either score 7 or less runs, or 8 or more.

If we’re looking at the Braves vs the Phillies and the total is 7.5, we will first need to look at who the starting pitcher is, and the batting order to determine how we want to approach this bet. If the final score ends up being 6-3, the over would be the winning bet.

Soccer Totals Betting

Soccer can be a really tricky sport to bet on totals as it can be one of the lowest scoring sports in the world. Totals betting on soccer can be only a few goals – often times it can be a 2.5 or 3.5 total posted by the sportsbooks. Soccer games frequently end in a draw as well, so the unders are extremely juicy in soccer betting.

A 3.5 total would mean the final score would need to be 2-1 for the under to cash, and if you picked the over, a score of 4-2 would win you the game. Over/under betting is one of the many exciting goals betting markets offered by soccer betting sites.

Best Online Sportsbooks for Totals Betting

Now that you have a good idea how to bet on totals or over/under wagers, we can choose an online sportsbook for you to use when you make these bets. Betting on a reputable and trustworthy online sportsbook is extremely important, as there are many bonuses and perks to using legitimate sports betting sites.


We have plenty of sportsbook reviews available that outline all of the most important criteria that you’ll need to look for when shopping for a sports betting site. We have a great selection of the best sportsbooks in the industry, and in-depth reviews for each one.

If you’re looking for more sports betting 101 content, we have great guides on moneyline betting, point spread betting and parlay betting.


What is a totals bet?

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Do you have to pick a winner in totals betting?

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Are totals and over/under bets the same?

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What if the total is the same as the final score?

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