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Best Sportsbooks US / Betting Guide / Betting Under & Over Explained

Betting Under & Over Explained

Publish Date: 30/03/2022

Betting Over/Under Explained

Did you know that you don’t always have to bet on the straight outcome of a game? Betting under & over instead gives you a great chance to bet on stats, rather than results.

The over/under line is the only one of the three primary betting lines that don’t require you to bet on the outcome of the game. In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know about this betting. Additionally, we’ll also give you our experts’ top tips for betting the over under.

Betting over under explained – an introduction

When looking at the basic line for any sports game in a US online sportsbook, you’ll typically be met with three primary wager types. Namely, these are the moneyline, spread and the over/under, sometimes referred to as totals. With both the spread and the moneyline, you are ultimately betting on the direct outcome of the game – i.e. you have to pick a winner. With the over/under, though, you are betting on the total points number, meaning that whoever wins and loses doesn’t have an influence on your bet.

In betting what does under & over mean?

So now let’s take a direct look at the betting over under definition, which is actually pretty self-explanatory. With over/under betting, you are betting on the total amount of goals or points scored by both teams combined in a game. For example, let’s say you’re looking at the live betting options for an NBA game between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls. The over/under line in this game might be 212.5.

If you were to bet on the over here, there would need to be a total of 213 points or more scored in the game by both the Celtics and Bulls combined. If you were to bet the under, you would need there to be 212 or fewer total points scored in the game. Who wins or loses between the Celtics or the Bulls wouldn’t matter to you at all when betting the over under – your sole focus is on the points total.

Why does the betting under & over line have half numbers?

Many of you most probably noticed that the over/under example that we used above had a half number. It is of course impossible to score a half-point in basketball, just as it is in the vast majority of other sports as well. However, the majority of the over/under lines that you find will be half points rather than around numbers. But why is this?

There’s a simple reason for this – because it rules out the possibility of a tie or a push. With the totals lines above being 212.5, it’s guaranteed that the points total will never land on the exact number – 213 or higher will see the over win, and 212 will see the under win. It’s in the sportsbook's interests to avoid pushes, as they can’t make any money on them. If the above line were 212, for example, and the total points scored in the game were to end up being exactly 212, then the sportsbook would have to refund all bets. The sportsbook needs there to be a winner and loser in order to make a profit.

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The odds and spreads for betting over under explained

Most commonly what you will find in a sportsbook review is that both the over and the under will start off being offered at -110. However, this can then fluctuate depending on the betting activity that the sportsbook sees happening. In high-scoring sports, such as basketball and football, the odds and spreads are less likely to venture too far from the original -110. For example, if the sportsbook saw a lot more money coming in on the over, they might reduce the odds and spreads there to -115 and increase the under odds to -105 in order to try and balance the books.

With lower scoring sports, a small shift in the perceived favored outcome can see a bigger shift in the odds and spreads. This is because half a point or a single point shift makes a big difference in the likes of hockey and soccer. It’s therefore not uncommon for a betting hedge calculator to find the odds and spreads on the over being -140 and the odds on the under being +100.

How to read the betting under & over odds and spreads

The odds and spreads for betting under & over are read in exactly the same way as they are for the moneyline and the spread. If you're unsure what plus and minus mean in betting, feel free to check out our guide.

In the examples above, we’ve used the American odds format, as it is the default odds/spreads method used when betting on sports here in the US. How American odds are read is fairly simple, and you have two different types of numbers to be aware of – positive and negative. Below, let’s take a look at how to read the odds and spreads for betting over under explained in full.

With positive number odds/spreads, the number represents the profit you would stand to win from a $100 bet. If we refer to the example above, with odds of +100, you would stand to win a total payout of $200 from a $100 bet: your $100 stake + $100 profit.

With negative number odds/spreads, the number shows you the amount that you would have to bet in order to yield a $100 profit. If we once again use that -110 example, you would stand to yield a $100 profit from a $110 stake on the bet.

With the moneyline and the spread, you will generally find that the favorite is offered at negative odds and spreads, with the underdog at positive odds/spreads. However, as we saw above, that’s not usually the case with the over under, where both outcomes tend to be offered at negative odds and spreads. Let’s take a close look at why this is below.

Betting over under explained – the favorite and the underdog?

So why are the odds and spreads much closer when betting under & over? The logic behind it is relatively simple, and we’ve already touched upon it above. With a moneyline bet, the starting odds and spreads can differ greatly, because there is a clear gap in quality between both teams. However, it’s virtually impossible to have such a gap in quality between two sets of statistics.

As we said before, especially in high-scoring sports the over/under will always start with a line of -110 in most cases. This is because the sportsbooks generally believe that there is a 50/50 chance of each outcome happening. If we are to convert odds of -110 into implied probability, it works out as 52.4%, which means the total implied probability for both teams is 104.8%. That additional 4.8% is known as the vig or the overround and is the margin that the sportsbooks use to protect their profits.

How to win over under betting explained

So far in this article, we’ve covered how over under betting works, but if you’re going to actually be betting the over under on sports betting apps, you will be wanting to know the best tricks and tips for making winning bets. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our sports betting experts’ advice on betting under & over.

Is it better to bet over or under?

The answer to this once again depends on the sport and the individual terms of the betting companies that allow US players, but at the end of the day, it’s all about using your own knowledge to predict the flow of the game. This tends to be easier with high-scoring games, which is why this is usually reflected in the odds and spreads remaining more even. For low-scoring games, predicting the over under can be trickier, but it can pay off dividends if you get it right. Essentially, over under betting can be thought of as a coin toss where you have the opportunity to use your own knowledge to increase your chances of winning or losing.

The most important thing to remember when deciding whether to bet the over or the under is to consider both ends of the court or the playing field. With sports where teams tend to be more defensive-minded, such as soccer, people tend not to forget about the defense. However, in basketball, the most common mistake that’s made when it comes to over under betting is focussing solely on the attacking players. You want to consider all areas of both teams’ attributes and tactics so that you can better predict the flow of the game.

Betting over under explained – other factors to consider

When it comes to the best free bets today on sports that are played outdoors, the weather is a huge factor that has to be taken into consideration when betting on the totals. If we take football as an example, NFL games played in the snow have historically always been very low-scoring. In games like soccer, the wind can have a massive effect on the result as well. With sports played in the summer, extremely hot days tend to result in lower scores simply because the players’ energy levels are down.

In basketball and hockey, which are both played indoors, you have to focus more on the tempo and the tactics of the teams. Will the game become frantic, or will both teams cancel each other out and slow things down? You can also consider team news and off-field antics as well.

Prop betting over under explained

Over under betting is actually one primary example of a wider type of betting known as props betting. Props betting is shorthand for proposition betting and involves betting on any form of outcome that doesn’t involve you having to pick a winner of the game. The majority of props are based on game stats and involve using the over under principle. For example, you could collect sportsbook promotions and bet on the total points scored by just one team, rather than both.

Alternatively, you could focus on a different stat, such as total TDs in football or QB sacks if you want to go defensive. In addition to betting over under team props, you can also focus on player props instead. Popular player props include running years, passing yards, blocks, and home runs to name but a few.

Betting under & over – the conclusion

So that just about wraps things up folks, as we have covered all of the most essential details that you need to know about the concept of over under betting and how it works. Just remember to do your homework well when betting over under lines, and even if you’re using betting deals, don’t treat it like the flip of a coin. While it might not be the type of bet that offers a big potential payday, it is one of the safest and easiest bet types out there. Give it a try next time you’re at a sportsbook near me to see how it works for you! If you find it’s not suitable for your style, betting parlay explained may have the information you’re looking for.

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Betting under & over FAQ

🏆 How do you win in over under betting?

Many bettors view the over under line as sort of a coin toss, but it doesn’t have to be that way at all. You can use your own knowledge of sports and a betting sites odds and spreads calculator to tip the odds in your favor. You can find our latest tips and tricks for totals betting in our extensive betting guide right here – just follow the link for more info.

🤔 What happens if the over under is exact?

This is a very good question and one that we are most commonly asked. What if, say, the over under line was 45 in a football game and the total point was 45 exactly? What happens to the bets? You can find a detailed answer to this and how it works by clicking the link to our expert article.

🏈 What’s over under in football?

Over under is also called totals betting and is popular in football and most other sports. Find out exactly what it is and how it works by visiting and bookmarking our site today. All of our articles have been written by experts with the idea of helping you to place smarter bets and making the most of the betting deals at your disposal. Does over under work differently in football than in other sports? Slightly, but the principle remains the same – get more info here!

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