What is Over/Under in Sports Betting?

Author:

Paul R

Updated:

Aug 22, 2023

Big sports enthusiast, long-time Seahawks fan who loves betting on major pro and college sports.

Over/Under Betting Guide

Over/under betting is a betting type that doesn’t focus on the overall winner of the game. Instead, this bet focuses primarily on the total points scored by both teams.

While the moneyline and point spread are the most popular bets, especially among US bettors, almost all legal sportsbooks offer over/under bets. One of the biggest advantages of this betting type is that you don’t have to predict the winner of the match, instead, you’re betting on whether the overall combined score will be more or less than the projected total.

Betting sites usually represent it as totals bet, over/under, or O/U and the number indicates the projected total combined score by both teams. So, to make a winning bet, you should guess if the final score will be over or under that number – hence the name of this betting type.

In this guide, we’ll explain exactly what over/under betting is, how it works, and the rules around this betting type. We’ll also provide you with some tips and strategies on utilizing total bets with maximum efficiency and determine whether you can use this bet to your advantage.

Over/Under Betting Meaning

Over/under betting, widely regarded as totals, means that you bet on the total number of points or goals that will be scored in a game. The sportsbook will provide a projected total combined score, and you should guess whether the two teams’ combined score will be over or under that number – which is where the name comes from.

For example, if the Knicks are playing against the Heat, the projected total number might be 191.5. So, if you bet on under, it means that both teams should score a combined point total of under 191 for you to win the bet.

Game Lines Example Bet

Unlike moneyline betting, it doesn’t matter who wins the game, or by how much difference. So, if the final score is 101-88 for the Knicks, the total number of points scored is 189, which means that you’ve won the bet. Contrary, if you bet on over, the combined total score should be over 191.5 for you to win the bet.

In most cases, sportsbooks provide half-points betting markets to avoid a tie-in over/under bets. Depending on the game, the projected over/under number varies, as well as the odds. In the case of NBA betting totals, for example, the projected number can be anything from 180 O/U up to 260 O/U, depending on which teams play against each other. The average NBA total offered by sportsbooks is 220.5.

How the Over/Under Bet Works

There are three possible outcomes with every over/under bet: the score can go over, under, or end up as a push in accordance with the betting line set by the sportsbook. A push, or a tie, is only possible if the total is set as a whole number. However, this happens very rarely and is more common with alternate totals. The standard bet usually has a number that ends with .5 to avoid ties.

Operators usually offer over/under betting markets for many sports and most major leagues and competitions, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, college football, college basketball, and more.

Over/Under Example Bet

The betting odds for most two way over/under bets are -110, which means that you need to wager $110 to win $100. The betting markets are usually displayed alongside the projected number. Let’s take an average NFL game for example. Imagine that the Chiefs are playing against the Patriots. The over/under betting lines will be displayed like this:

  • New England – O 48.5 -110
  • Kansas City – U 48.5 -110

This means that you can bet that the total points scored will be over or under 48.5, and the odds are -110 regardless if you choose to bet on over or under.

Over/Under Bet Examples

Many sports bettors choose to bet on over/under bets when they can’t predict who the winner in a given matchup will be.

Instead, the over/under bet doesn’t require an overall winner to be chosen, and it doesn’t matter which team will score the most points. It’s a popular betting type that’s available for many sports, and we’ll present you with some over/under bet examples to help you understand it better.

Over/Under betting in football

Over/under is the simplest way to place a wager on a football game. The sportsbook will put up a total score, and you’re betting on whether the total number of points scored by both sides will be lower or higher than that number. The average betting total for NFL games is 46.5, but it varies depending on the teams in the matchup. For example, this is what the over/under total for Super Bowl LVII looked like:

  • Kansas City Chiefs O 50.5 -115
  • Philadelphia Eagles U 50.5 -105
    Considering that the Chiefs won the game 38-35, the game exceeded the projected total score of 50.5.

Over/Under betting in soccer

Over/under betting on soccer is very similar to any other sport, with the only difference being that the numbers that sportsbooks post are much lower when compared to football or basketball, for example. A soccer game might have a total score of 2.5, which means that both teams should score under 2 goals combined for the bet to go under.

Over/Under Total Goals Example Bet

Sportsbooks typically offer multiple over/under bet options for big soccer games, and the odds differ depending on the betting line.

For example, in the Champions League matchup between Real Madrid and Manchester City, you can bet if the game will have over or under 0.5 goals, 1.5 goals, 2.5 goals, 3.5 goals, and so on. The odds depend on the likelihood of the outcome you’re predicting. This is what a typical total bet for a soccer game looks like:

Real Madrid vs Manchester City total goals:

Over 0.5 -8000ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  Under 0.5 +1300
Over 1.5 -500ย  Under 1.5 +330

Over 2.5 -140ย  Under 2.5 +110

Over 3.5 +180 Under 3.5 -240

Over 4.5 +400 Under 4.5 -650

Tie in Over/Under Bets

A tie in total bets is only possible if the projected number is a round number. However, that’s rarely the case, as most sportsbooks set half-point numbers to avoid such a situation.

Sometimes, however, operators set the total as a round number. If the over/under lands on the exact number, it’s a push, and bettors win a refund of their bet, regardless if they bet on over or under.

Do Sportsbooks Change Totals?

The total is not a fixed value that stays the same for all matches, but it varies depending on the teams or players that participate in the matchup. Sportsbook oddsmakers take many factors into consideration when making odds.

The main factors are:

  • Both teams’ offensive and defensive efficiency
  • Their season stats
  • The lineups for the match
  • Injuries in both teams
  • The time of day when the match is played
  • The weather

For example, if many key players are injured for an NBA match, the total might be lower.

The weather also plays a role when determining the total, especially for outdoor sports such as soccer or baseball. For example, if the wind is blowing at Yankee Stadium, the total will be lower.

Sportsbooks also often change the total based on the number of bets on over or under. For example, if the majority of bets are over, it means that bettors are expecting a high-scoring game, and the oddsmaker might increase the total to entice betting on under. Furthermore, sportsbooks often offer alternate total points odds that offer better payouts.

Over/Under Overtime Betting Rules

Unless the sportsbook has specified otherwise, most over/under bets include overtime. This is the case for most US sportsbooks and betting lines on leagues such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, etc. Consecutively, if the game goes into overtime, it’s most likely that bettors who wagered on over will come out as winners.

When it comes to soccer, however, the rules differ. While the stoppage time often does count into the bet, in the case of an overtime or a shootout, any goal scored after the 90 minutes and the stoppage time has passed won’t count into the total.

Best Over/Under Betting Apps

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Over/Under is one of the most popular betting types, so it’s widely available across US sportsbooks. However, not all of them offer the same betting options and lines, which is why our expert team went on to discover the best betting apps for over/under betting.

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Widely regarded as the operator that started the shift in the US, DraftKings has a wide betting market portfolio with thousands of betting lines. At DraftKings, bettors can place wagers on all the major leagues, such as NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and more – and has odds for over/under betting for every match.

The odds for most over/under bets at DraftKings range around -110, and users can make the best out of their DraftKings welcome bonus that offers a 20% deposit match of up to $1,000.

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Besides being one of the most popular DFS platforms, FanDuel offers an impressive sportsbook that’s available in more than 20 states. The betting variety is excellent, and all the major and many minor competitions and leagues are covered, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, and more.

Users can place over/under bets on almost all the matchups that are available at FanDuel, and the odds are usually on par with other popular US sports betting sites. Moreover, newly registered bettors are eligible for a FanDuel no-sweat first bet of up to $1,000.

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Is Over/Under a Good Bet?

Over/under is generally considered as one of the best bets for beginners or for derby matches. It’s easy to understand and execute, and you don’t have to predict the winner of the game – which is why it’s preferred by beginner bettors.

The odds are usually close to even money, which makes this bet a preferable option for many recreational bettors who want to enjoy the game without worrying about who will win the game.

Best Sports for Over/Under Betting

Due to the nature of the bet, there are no real ‘winners’ or ‘losers’ when choosing a sport to place an over/under bet. College football often comes on top, with a return on investment of over 90% for most betting types – including over/under. However, considering that it’s an almost even money bet, there are no real advantages or disadvantages with any sport – be it football, basketball, ice hockey, tennis, soccer, or others.

Over/Under Betting Strategies & Tips

Unlike moneyline and point spreads, where the bettor has to determine which team will win, total bettors shouldn’t focus on who the winner in the matchup will be. Instead, total bettors should pay attention to the teams’ scoring trends. If two teams with strong offense and subpar defense are playing each other, you can expect a high-scoring game with more points.

Another aspect that you should pay attention to is the starting lineups and injury lists. If a key player is absent from the lineup or is injured, the team might consider a different strategy and might score or concede more points than usual.

FAQโ€™s

How to win the Over/Under bet?

In over/under bets, you're betting on whether the combined points scored by both teams will be higher or lower than the number set by the operator when the game ends. To win the bet, you should guess correctly if the game will have more or fewer points than the projected number.

What is the best Over/Under betting site?

Most US betting sites offer over/under bets for the majority of their betting options. However, given their size and presence in the US online sports betting market, DraftKings and FanDuel are two of the best options. They both have a wide variety of total betting lines, competitive odds, and great welcome bonuses.

What happens if you tie the Over/Under?

A tie in over/under betting is called a push. It happens when the number of points scored by both teams is the same as the projected number by the sportsbook. If this happens, the bettor gets a refund of their bet.

What does Over/Under 1.5 mean in sports betting?

An over/under 1.5 might appear in low-scoring sports such as soccer. It means that if you bet on under, the game must finish with a score of 0-0, 1-0, or 0-1 for you to win the bet. If you bet on over, both teams must score at least 2 goals combined for you to win the bet.

What happens if the set total is a whole number?

Sportsbooks rarely set the total as a whole number to avoid a tie. Most totals are set at half-point numbers, but if the set total is a whole number, it means that it's a three-way bet in which your bet might end in a tie. It's called a push, and if that happens, the bettor gets a refund of their bet.

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