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How to Bet on Sport with Over/Under or Totals?

Over/Under or Totals as they are commonly known, are unique in sports betting. When you place these types of bets, you are not showing allegiance to either team – you're simply betting on the total score. In this comprehensive guide we answer some of the most common questions about over under bets: .

What are Totals or Over/Under Bets?

Over/Under is a single bet on whether the combined score, run total, or points from one game will be over/under the total set by the oddsmaker before the sports match started.

With over/under betting, you don't have to worry about how many points your team scored, or whether your team won the game – you simply check the total score to determine whether you won the bet.

Let's say you’re ready to bet on the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox – a classic MLB over under bet. It's tough to call an outright winner, and many MLB bettors routinely select Over/Under bets as their preferred bet selection. These are also known as Totals bets, and the terms are used interchangeably in sports betting circles.

Totals are popular betting options for NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, and boxing matches. It doesn't matter which team or player wins the match; all that matters is whether the final score is Over or Under the points total set by the oddsmaker. Before the match begins, the oddsmaker typically sets a -110 bet for these Totals. That means you have to bet $110 to win $100

With our MLB over under example above, the Total set by the oddsmaker is 7.5. Both teams need to score a combined average under 7.5 for the Under bet to win, or over 7.5 for the Over bet to win. If the final score is 7.5, it's a push and neither bet wins. Note that Over/Under bets are popular proposition bets too.

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How to Read Over/Under Odds?

Over/Under odds are available on a wide range of betting options including NFL over under, NBA over under, and MLB over under selections. It can get a little confusing understanding all of the odds and bet selections with sports betting.

With Over/Under odds, you will notice the Total figure is identical for both teams or athletes in the bet. There are money line odds associated with each competitor, and the letters ‘O’ and ‘U’ representing Over and Under respectively. Several examples will help clarify how to read Over/Under odds:

NBA Over/Under OddsUK Premier League example:

  • Atlanta Hawks 225.5 (-120) O
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 225.5 (+100) U

The number 225.5 represents the Total. If you believe the total points scored in this NBA over under bet will exceed 225.5, you will bet $120 to win $100. If you believe that the total points scored in this NBA over under bet will be less than 225.5, you bet $100 to win $100.

NFL Over/Under Odds

  • New York Jets 36 (-110) O
  • Buffalo Bills 36 (-110) U

The number 36 represents the Total. If you believe the total points scored in this NFL over under bet will exceed 36, you will bet $110 to win $100. If you believe that the total points scored in this NFL over under bet will be less than 36, you bet $110 to win $100. NFL totals are often less than 45.

NHL Over/Under Oddsds

  • Canadiens5.5 (-110) O
  • Red Wings5.5 (-110) U

The number of 5.5 represents the total number of goals scored during the NHL match between the Canadiens and the Red Wings. You have to bet $110 to win $100 if you believe the total will be Over 5.5. If you believe the total goals scored in this NHL over under bet will be less than 5.5, you bet $110 to win $100.

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What Happens if the Over/Under is Exact?

Whether you are betting on NBA over under odds, NHL over under odds, or other sports, and the over/under is exact, you will have your bets refunded to you. This is known as a push.

It is entirely possible for over/under bets to generate exact outcomes, particularly when fractional points are absent. In order for this to occur, the final results of the match have to be exactly the same as the totals line set by the oddsmaker.

Let's take the case of the NFL over under odds between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills listed above. If the final score between these two teams ended on 36 points, neither the over nor the under bet would win. In this case, the sportsbook such as 888 sport NJ would refund your stake. Since nobody wins, nobody gets paid.

Now, let’s take another example from the NFL:

  • San Francisco Giants 46 (-110) O
  • Dallas Cowboys 46 (+120) U

Assuming the San Francisco Giants and the Dallas Cowboys have over/under odds of 46, and the final score is 32-14. What happens in this case? The San Francisco Giants win the game by a margin of 18 points, but the over/under bet is a push.

It doesn’t matter whether you bet that more points would be scored, or less points would be scored – you would be refunded your money in either case.

Note that most over/under bets have the 0.5 number at the end, making a push impossible. If we go back to the same example and the San Francisco Giants are taking on the Dallas Cowboys with totals of 45.5, there is always going to be a clear winner in this type of bet.

Does Over Under include Overtime?

Over and under bets, like money lines and point spread betting options always factor in the score of the sports match once the final whistle has blown and the players have left the field.

This means that any additional periods of play will be counted, and any points (goals, or runs) scored during extra time and overtime will feature in the final calculation of the over under bet.

The totals bet therefore includes overtime. This is true for NFL over under bets, NBA over under bets, NCAA over under bets, and NHL over and under bets, although specific rules apply to NHL betting.

HOT TIP: Sports matches regularly going to overtime – injuries, stoppages, no results, etc. When this happens, there will be no change to your totals bets.

The good thing about over/under bet totals is that they hold true for the duration of the game whether it goes into overtime, features an extra innings, or not. If you expect the game to go into overtime, you may be inclined to bet on the Over component of this bet since extra time gives your teams additional opportunities to score more points!

Can You Push on an Over Under Bet?

Absolutely! Over under bets can result in a push if the Total figure presented by the oddsmaker results when the final whistle is blown.

With an NFL over under bet, the total score (points scored by both teams added together) can easily be achieved, resulting in a push. This can only happen if the total score is a whole number, and not if there is a 0.5 factored in to the over under bet.

The NBA over under bet between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers can never result in a push since the Totals figure is 225.5.

However, the NFL over under bet between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills can certainly result in a push if the combined score of both teams is 36. The NHL over under odds between the Montréal Canadiens and the Red Wings cannot result in a push since no half points can be scored in a game.

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How to Win an Over/Under Bet?

Total bets, or Over and Under bets require bettors to factor in the total points scored, or the total goals scored in the match between two teams. If the total number of points, or goals, exceeds the Total provided by the oddsmaker before the game begins, the Over bet wins.

If the total number of points, or goals, is less than the Total provided by the oddsmaker before the game begins, the Under bet wins.

An example can easily clarify over/under bet winning options:

  • Pittsburgh Steelers - 39.5 (-110) O
  • Los Angeles Rams - 39.5 (-110) U

If the combined points total of the Pittsburgh Steelers versus Los Angeles Rams is less than 39.5, the under bet wins. It doesn't matter which team wins; the only thing that matters is that the combined points total is less than 39.5 for the under bet to win.

For the over bet to win, the combined points total must exceed 39.5. Once again, it doesn't matter which team wins with Totals. You can win by following all of the bet tips provided in this guide. If you place an over bet you will bet $110 to win $100 for either the over or the under bet.

Which Sports Use Over and Under Bets and are they Different?

Plenty of sports feature over and under bets, including MLB, NBA, NFL, MLS and NHL over/under betting. You can even place prop bets for over/under selections on sports like boxing. It's worth reiterating that it doesn't matter which team wins; only the totals matter.

How does NFL Over Under Work?

  • New York Jets 36 (-110) O
  • Buffalo Bills 36 (-110) U

In this example, the New York Jets are up against the Buffalo Bills with a Totals value of 36. If you believe the score will be higher than 36, you bet $110 to win $100* on the Over bet.

If you believe that the score will be less than 36 points, you bet on the Under bet. In this case, you’re required to bet $110 to win $100, for a payback of 0.91 on every $1 that you bet. The extra $10 is the juice a.k.a. the vigorish that the bookmaker keeps for providing this bet to you.

How Does NBA Over under Work?

  • Atlanta Hawks 225.5 (-120) O
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 225.5 (+100) U

Remember this example from earlier? This NBA game has a Total of 225.5. This means that the total score of both teams must exceed 225.5 for the Over bet to win, or be less than 225.5 for the Under bet to win. Bettors need to wager $120 to win $100 on the Over bet or $100 to win $100 on the Under bet.

How does MLB Over Under Work?

  • New York Yankees 7.5 (-110) O
  • Boston Red Sox 7.5 (-110) U

In this example, the New York Yankees are up against the Boston Red Sox with a Totals value of 7.5. Since there are low scores in baseball, the totals figure is low. If you believe that the total score will be greater than 7.5, you place the over bet. It costs $110 to win $100 on the Over bet.

If you believe that the total score will be less than 7.5, then you place the Under bet. Once again, the bet costs $110 to win $100.

*Sports bettors do not need to bet $110 to win $100 – that's simply a ratio that is provided to make it easy to understand. Any minimum bet is possible on over/under bets. You can even enjoy a Free Bet No Deposit at 888 Sport New Jersey!

How do you Line up Your Over/Under Bets?

Sometimes, your favorite players or teams will be subject to injury concerns, or inclement weather which may affect their gameplay. You can subjectively assess how these phenomena will impact the scoring in the game.

Sometimes injuries to one team will result in higher scoring for the other team, and vice versa. Pitch conditions can also have an impact on the game and affect the scoring that takes place.

With typical sports betting on an NFL game, you will see the point spread and another value – perhaps 45.5 in the following example:

Let’s assume that the San Francisco Giants are competing against the Dallas Cowboys, and there is an over/under value of 45.5. This over/under total is a benchmark for all the betting action. You can bet over that total if you believe more than 46 points will be scored, or under that total if you believe that less than 46 points will be scored.

We now know that the over/under total is for both teams combined. If the points scored in this match are 21-17, the total points scored equals 38. This is under the 45.5 listed. If the total score is 40-21, the combined total is 61 points scored in the game which is over 45.5.

Note that you may also see the following with Over/Under odds in sports betting:

  • 45.5 o -110
  • 45.5 u +105

There has been no change to the over/under odds between the San Francisco Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. What is different is how much juice is required to win on this bet. We can instantly tell that the Over value of 45.5 requires you to bet $110 to win back $100. We can also see that the Under bet requires you to bet $100 to win $105. Clearly, there is a little more probability that the final score (total of points) will exceed 45.5.

At 888sport NJ, sports fans can enjoy live betting, with up to date feeds on top sports events and bet selections. Simply scroll down the listing of NFL bets that are currently available and you will see the over/under odds listed.

Once you understand the vigorish, and how these totals bets work, you can analyze team performances, head-to-head, win/losses, player injuries, and pitch conditions to better understand likely outcomes.

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