What is a Totals Bet? Over and Under Betting Definition in Sports Betting
Much like in baseball where the traditionalists complain that the new wave of players are taking over and disrespecting the game, sports betting is slowly becoming geared to the younger generation of players. The demand for quick results and instant gratification have taken the sportsbooks by storm and sportsbook have replied by offering up more and more obscure bets. However, one of the simplest form of betting has remained the same and that is betting on the “over/under” for a particular game or event.
What Does Over/Under Mean?
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If you hear the phrase “over/under” being talking about during a sports betting discussion, it is referring to the options available when betting on the total of a specific game. In order to understand how the “over/under” works, you must first understand what betting on totals entails.
To keep it short and sweet, linemakers set a total for the number of points they think the two teams will combine to score in a particular game. Bettors then have two betting options to choose from – the “over” or the “under”. Taking the “over” means you think that both teams will combine for more than the linemakers posted total, while taking the “under” is the exact opposite.
The concept is straightforward but throwing in an example never hurt. Let’s say you are looking at a football game between the Chiefs and Chargers and the linemakers set the total at 39.5 points. If the teams combine for 40 or more points, any bet on the “over” would be graded as a winner. If there are 39 or fewer points scored, “under” bettors would be the ones celebrating a winning bet.
Different Types of “Over/Under” Bets
Almost every single sport available for wagering will have a posted total that you can choose to bet on. In it’s simplest form, bettors typically choose to wager on the “over/under” for the entire game. This does not mean that it’s the only option available.
Sportsbooks give bettors the opportunity to wager on the “over/under” for half time totals, team totals, individual performance totals and future bets. To keep it simple, I will use the Chiefs and Chargers example to explain each of these options.
The half time “over/under” option means you will be wagering on the half time total- which is generally half of what the full game total is. If you are playing team totals, the Chiefs may have a team total of 21.5 points in which case you would have to choose either “over/under”. There are also individual performance totals available, such as the number of yards thrown by a certain quarterback or the number of rushing yards by a specific running back. And lastly, if you decide to lay a future bet down on the “over/under” you will likely be betting how many games a particular team will win over the course of the season.
Betting Strategies for the “Over/Under”
Just like any betting option, you will come across a totals opportunity every once in a while, that is just screaming out at you to bet it. These are the opportunities that you need to capitalize on in order to be a successful handicapper over an extended period of time.
Betting strategies surrounding the total often time revolve around the weather in a particular matchup. In football, if it’s snowing or raining profusely, the total could be effected which is why the “under” may be worth looking into further. Now, I’m not telling you to bet every game that has snow or rain “under” the total. I’m telling you to do your research and understand that snow and rain effect all aspects of the game and could take away the part of the game a team has success in (think pass-happy team playing in snow storm – probably won’t be the greatest result).
In terms of totals betting in baseball, from my experience, I find betting the “over” in games featuring two end-of-the-rotation type pitchers. Typically, these guys aren’t that good and can be hit around more so then the aces of a team. However, it is vital that you do your research before wagering blindly on a total just because two bad pitchers are starting.
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