What Does Under Mean In Sports Betting?
by Doc's Sports - 10/9/2014
One popular and common way to bet on sports is totals betting. The linemaker will set a total for a game - the number of points they expect will be scored by both teams combined in the game. Bettors then have two options. They can bet that the two teams will combine to score more points than the total - that they will go over. Or, they can bet the under - that the teams will combine to score fewer points than the total. You can bet the under in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, or pretty much any other sport with two teams and points of some sort. Obviously, though, the total will be much lower in baseball or hockey than in football, and much lower than in basketball. A standard total in hockey, for example, is 5.5, while an NBA total can be over 200.
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You aren’t limited to just the final scores of games if you want to bet the under, either. Sportsbooks will offer totals for the first half of football or basketball games, for example. At halftime they will post another total for the second half. You can also look for opportunities to bet the under in prop bets. There could be a total, for example, offered on the number of yards that Frank Gore will rush for in an upcoming game, or the number of touchdowns that Andre Johnson will score against AFC opponents. You can also look to bet the under in futures bets. Most commonly, you can bet at the start of each season in major sports on how many games each team will win.
The big mistake that a lot of casual bettors make when betting the under is that they think of the teams independently of the total. They’ll see a game that features a strong defense against a weak offense, or one played in weather that will make scoring difficult, or one with injuries to key offensive stars, and they automatically assume the game will go under. The logic is fine, but what they miss out on is that the linemakers set and adjust lines according to who is playing and what is expected. While it is quite probably true that teams won’t score many points under the scenarios mentioned, if the total is quite low for the game then it is still possible that it will be more likely than not that they will go over that total. You need to look, then, at expectations relative to the posted total, not just general expectations.
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