The Over/Under is also known as the Total and what both of these terms refer to is the combined score of the two teams playing.

What Does Over/Under Mean In Sports Betting?

While there are many ways to bet on sports, the most obvious is to pick the winner of the game. If you’re not sure of who is going to win the game, another option for you over under betting. If you’re new to this type of bet, we’re going to walk you through what over/under wagering means and explain why you should consider this when betting on sports:

What Is The Over Under?

While there are many situations where you can bet on an over under, the most common is for a specific game. The over under is also known as the ‘total’, and what both of these refer to is the combined score of the two teams playing. Let’s take a look at an over/under example that you might see at a sportsbook like MyBookie:

Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots
Total: 52.5

What we see here is that the Packers are playing the Patriots, and the total for this game sits at 52.5. What this means is the oddsmakers are projecting that the combined final score of the two teams will be at or near this number. What you have to do is predict whether there will be 53 or more combined points scored, which will push this game over, or whether we’ll see 52 or less points, which means we’ll see an under.

If the final score is 60-20, 34-30 or 30-23, the game will have gone over the number. If the final score is 10-7, 19-10 or 30-22, the game will have gone under the number.

See: How to Bet on Football

What about Whole Numbers?

From time to time, you might see an over-under that is a whole number. For example, it might be 45. Typically, a half-point is used so that the game either falls over or under the total. But what happens if the over under is exact and we land on the combined score equals the whole number? In the case that the game lands exactly on that number, all total bets are deemed ties and you get your money back.

For example, if the final score is 45-0, 28-17 or 25-20, all bets are graded as ties and all over and under bets are refunded.

What About Overtime?

In almost every sport, overtime counts as part of the game. If it’s an over under Super Bowl bet in football and the game goes to overtime, the points scored in that extra frame factor. The over and under betting rules in basketball and baseball are the same: the whole game is included.

The two somewhat common case where the over-under odds are slightly different is in hockey and soccer. The standard or default is that overtime is included in all over under bets for hockey. However, some sportsbooks will specifically note that the lines include overtime or only include regulation, so keep an eye out for that. In soccer, it’s somewhat similar as there might be a total for just the 90 minutes played where as some other totals incorporate the final score at the end of the game – regardless of how long it takes.

The overtime factor is important to note for strategy because it has a sizable impact. Obviously, under bettors would rather the game end as soon as possible with as few points scored as possible. However, playing overtime means more points can be counted towards the total, which is better for those who bet on the over.

Halftimes, Quarters

The most common type of over under you’ll find deals with the full game. However, just as you can bet on spreads and moneylines for segments of the game, you can also do the same with totals.

For example, if the total for a football game is 40 points, the total for the first half will probably be 20 points. That means you can decide whether the combined score of the teams in the first half will be over or under the 20-point mark. The same is an option for you with quarters; the total will be prorated accordingly and you decide which way you want to bet for that segment of the game.

In-Game Over-Under Betting

One of the most popular ways to bet on sports these days is with live betting. Even as the game is happening, the betting lines adjust based on what’s happening in the game and you have the opportunity to place a bet. The same goes for the total but keep in mind that the number is constantly shifting.

For example, let’s say the Packers and Patriots have a total of 50 points in their game. However, they’ve now played a quarter and the game is still 0-0. The in-game total would shift down to the range of 40 points and then you can decide whether it will go over or under at that point. Or let’s say the two teams are engaging in a shootout and now the total has shot up to 60 points, you can make your decision accordingly.

The advantage of live betting is it gives you evidence to work with. You can watch the game and place your bets at any point. If it starts raining or a key player gets injured, you can use those factors to your advantage to get an edge and place your bet.

Over Unders With Fight Sports

One notable difference with over-unders worth mentioning is with fight sports. That’s because the over under meaning here is slightly different. When you see a betting line between two fighters and the total is set at 1.5, that refers to the length of the fight. What you’re betting on here is whether the fight will go over, which means lasting longer than one full round and the halfway mark of the second round or whether the fight will end before then.

In boxing, rounds are three minutes long, so the halfway mark of a round is 1:30. In the UFC, rounds are five minutes. That makes the halfway round at 2:30. You have to decide whether it will be a long-drawn-out fight (over) or whether it will be quick (under).

Over Under With Props

While we’ve mostly been discussing over-unders with game totals, there are a number of other types of over-unders.

Prop bets are a type of bet that focuses on all sorts of other outcomes not necessarily related to the winner of the game. For example, you can bet on how many receiving yards a player will have in a game, how many wins a football team might finish with in a given season or how long it takes to sing the anthem in the Super Bowl.

In these cases, you’ll similarly see an over-under betting line and you have to decide which way to bet. For example, the Patriots regular season win total might sit at 9.5 wins before the season starts. You have to decide whether the Patriots will finish the regular season with 10 or more wins, or if they’ll win nine or less. Or if you’re betting on the over-under for the singing of the national anthem at the Super Bowl and the number is set at two minutes, you have to decide whether it will take longer than two minutes to sing or whether the final note will be finished before two minutes.

Nearly all sports betting sites offer over/under betting options and now that you know what over/under means, hopefully you’ll have a basic understanding when you see the lines.

The Strategy Behind Over Under Betting

Let’s examine some basic strategy in terms of betting the lines. This will give you a quick introduction into understanding how to bet on totals.

  1. Game Flow
    When it comes to the major sports, when you’re really looking at with over and under betting is the game flow. Are you expecting a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair? If so, you’ll want to bet the over. If you feel that there are two elite defensive teams going up against each other and that there won’t be many points, then you would consider betting the under.
  2. Take Note Of Trends
    One of the best times to look at sports betting trends is for totals as they can reveal a story. For example, sometimes divisional rivalries in football produce a pattern where teams play overs or unders. Or maybe a hockey team is playing excellent at the defensive end right now, so they’ve played five unders in a row. Or maybe in basketball, a team is clicking on offense and is terrible on defense, so their games lead to high-scoring affairs.These are the type of trends you’ll want to study before placing your bet.
  3. Are There Injuries?
    One of the biggest factors to impact over under gambling is injuries. If a starting pitcher is replaced, an important quarterback is ruled out or an NBA star has the night off for load management, those types of losses will have a big impact on the total. Make sure you keep an eye on the latest injury reports because a key absence can have a sizable impact on how many points are scored.