Sports Betting: Understanding Totals

Betting Sites » How to Bet on Sports » Sports Betting: Understanding Totals

Many bettors will run to their sportsbook and focus on the moneylines for a matchup. Or if it's football or basketball, they'll zero in on the spread. But there is something that you can do for all sports and that is betting on the totals. It's an underrated way of betting on sports because it doesn't relate to who wins. However, if you are good at it, you can make quite a killing.

What Is The Total (Over-Under)?

Betting on totals is exactly how it sounds: you are betting on the total combined final score. It could be runs or goals, or points, whatever sport you are wagering on. The sportsbook will set a number for the total and your job will be to bet on whether the actual amount will come in over or under the number posted by the oddsmakers. This is why you might here totals referred to as over/unders.

Bovada Review
5.0 rating
Bovada Bonus: $750 In Free Bets
T&Cs Apply
New customers only

Please see Bovada’s General Rules for full Terms and Conditions, which apply to any and all promotions from Bovada.
MyBookie Review
5.0 rating
2022: MyBookie Bonus: 100% Deposit Match Up To $1000
T&Cs Apply
New customers only

Please see MyBookie’s General Rules for full Terms and Conditions, which apply to any and all promotions from MyBookie.
BetUS Review
5.0 rating
BetUS Bonus: 125% up to $2500
Editors' choice: top sportsbook.
T&Cs Apply
New customers only

Please see BetUS’ General Rules for full Terms and Conditions, which apply to any and all promotions from BetUS.

What Factors Come Into Play?

With totals, research really comes into play. That's because you have to look into the factors that affect over-under. For example, if it is in football, where is the game being played, outside or inside? What is the weather like? Are there any major injuries in regards to the team's best players? In baseball, which pitchers are on the mound? In hockey, which goalies are in the net that day? There are so many factors you have to consider when it comes to totals.

Totals Use Moneyline Pricing As Well

The totals for MLB odds and NHL odds are obviously going to be much lower than football and basketball. The games have different flows and different levels of scoring. But for all of the sports, you will always see a moneyline price next to the set line. For example, you might see a total of 9.5 in a baseball game and then -145 on one side. This means you have to bring your knowledge of moneylines into the equation. If you're familiar with that, you would gather that -145 means a $145 bet pays $100 if it wins.

Half-Points Help Avoid Pushes (Ties)

Something else that you will commonly see in totals betting is an extra half-point on a line. That is because oddsmakers are trying to avoid a push. A push (or tie) is when the actual total lands right on the total that they had set. For example, if a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Mets has a total of 9 and the final score is 5-4. In the event of a push, the player gets their money back and no one wins. Since a game cannot end on a half-point, this ensures that there will be a winner in the bet.

The Basics Of Totals Betting

Those are the basic principles of totals betting, but the most important factor is the research you do. Make sure you know what type of game you are looking at before you bet on the over or the under, so you can make the smartest possible pick in your sportsbook. You can definitely boost your sports betting account by wagering on totals.