An over/under is a wager on the total amount of points scored by two competing teams in a game. It is also referred to as a total bet. For the sake of brevity, we’ll use the two terms interchangeably in this article.
Typically, a sportsbook sets a total for a specific game, and the bettor decides whether the total will be over or under the already set figure. Therefore, in a totals bet, the loser or winner of a game does not matter. What matters is the number of points (goals, runs, tries, etc.) scored.
For example, if you wager on the over/under total points of a soccer game. The bet set by the sportsbook might be over/under 3. If the total number of points scored by both teams is over 3, the over bet wins. Conversely, if the total scored is under 3, the under gains.
What if the over/under number is exact?
Well, it often happens that the total points in a game equal the over/under odds set by the sportsbook. In such a scenario, the result is referred to as a push. For example, if in a soccer match between Manchester United and Everton, the final score is 2-1.
Manchester United has won by a margin of one goal, but the over/under bet is a push. In such a scenario, the bookmaker refunds you the entire bet amount, regardless of the side you bet. To avert such an occurance, the sportsbook sets the points in half points to avoid ties i.e., 2.5.
As you see, the totals wager allows you to cheer both teams to score more or both of them to score less for you to win. Most sports tournaments, by their nature, allow bettors to place their wagers on the number of over/under points scored. Other sport games will also allow punters to place their bets on the over/under of different occurrences.
For example, golf betting sportsbooks allow punters to place their bets the number birdies there will be on a specific hole at any particular tournament. Similarly, in boxing, a bettor can make a proposition bet on the number of rounds required to give the winner victory.
Other sports allow punters to place their bets on variables such as the number of penalties, cards issued, corners, and etc., which will likely occur in a specific match. Basically, the possibilities for Over/Under bets are only limited by imagination.
Does Overtime Affect the Over/Under Wagers
Sports matches often go into overtime to make up for the stoppages, injuries, no results, etc. When this happens, your bets don’t change. Over/under bets, like any other bet, hold for the entire duration of the game. Therefore, it is the final score that counts, irrespective of the number of overtimes. If you expect that a game is likely to go into overtime, you may be tempted to bet on the over, because additional time means more chances of more points. However, for those who bet under, overtime can be an abomination.
How to Use Over/Under Bets
Most totals bets are paid out at -110 but can be shifted by different sportsbooks to smaller or higher odds depending on some factors.
What does the -110 mean?
In sports betting, -110 is a magic number because it defines the amount required by a betting site to earn $100 on either side of most bets. Simply explained, a bettor must place $110 to win $100 when betting on points spreads, which are set by oddsmakers, with the anticipation of getting equal action on both sides.
From the perspective of the sportsbook, the number ensures that they make money from the bettor and stay in business. It is often called the ‘juice’ and refers to the commission earned by the sportsbook for the bets wagered. Sometimes, betting sites reduce their commissions to around –105 to attract more bets.
From the perspective of the bettor, the -110 is like betting on a small Moneyline, but with a total or spread involved, that enables you to take one side or the other to cover the number. A winning bettor will win $1.91 for every $1.00 bet.
For example, if the Detroit Pistons is playing against American Eagles, you might see these odds:
- Over 145.5 -110
- Under 145.5 -110
Let’s assume that the final score of the game is:
- Detroit Pistons 98
- American Eagles 88
If you place a $100 bet on the over, you will win because 98+88= 186. 186 is greater than 145.5, so the over wager wins. With regard to payout, you will be paid out at -110, which will give you a profit of $90.91(($100 *$100)/ $110)) or simply (($1.91 *$100) - $100)).
If you place a $ 100 bet of the under, you’ll lose your money in this instance. But if the totals are less than 145.5, you’ll receive the same amount of profit.
In some instances, you might notice that totals bets are set with different odds on either side of a tournament. Usually, this happens in sports which have a rarely changing over/under line. For example, in soccer, most games tend to be over/under 2.5 goals. For such a game, the odds will appear as such:
- Over 2.5 1/5
- Under 2.5 11/5
For such a game, the sportsbook believes that it is likely to be a high scoring game.
If you placed, a $100 bet on the over and won, you will get a net profit payout of $20.
If you placed a $100 bet on the under and won, you will get a net profit payout of 220.
Are There Totals Bets For Partial Games?
Like all sports betting options, Over/Under bets have expanded to include totals for partial games (periods or quarters).Additionally, unlike before, when bettors could only wager on pre-game sets, nowadays, you can participate in live betting and in-play bets.
Partial game totals may be a wager on the number of points that will be score within a specified timeframe. On the other hand, the in-play bets could be the adjusted total for the entire game.