Over/Under Betting Guide

Find our complete guide to over/under betting below, which will break down what the practise is and how you can participate.

It is widely believed that over/under betting, also known as the totals, is considered part of the Holy Trinity in US sports betting. It works similarly to moneyline and spread betting, however, over/under bets are based on total points scored, not on the game’s result. 

We’ll explore how the over/under betting system works and how you can make better decisions about them.

Over/Under Betting: What Is It?

An over/under bet is about how many points are scored. There can be slight differences based on the sport and type of market, but generally speaking, the betting is based on a total number of points. Some sportsbooks and betting sites may refer to it as a “Total” or O/U market, but they mean the same.

Sportsbooks set lines for games and you have to decide whether you want to bet over or under it. It doesn’t matter the game’s outcome here, you are just interested in the overall scoring.

Winning bets are those that meet the criteria specified for the bet. It doesn’t matter how under or over a line you are, as long as you remain on that line. The bet pays out whether you are over or under by one or 20 points.

Ties in Over/Under Bets

With over/under odds that don’t include decimals or fractions, there is a chance your wager could end in a tie. Take baseball as an example. If the over/under line is set at eight, and the game ends four-four with 8 runs scored, we would call it a tie.

As a result, the bet is considered a “push”. Here, your bet is refunded. it will not be counted as a loss by the sportsbook. If there is a decimal number in line, for example, 8.5, a result will always be given, so there’s no chance of a tie. The under in this scenario would be eight runs or fewer, while the over bet would be at least nine runs.

Under/Over Sports Betting

Many sports and games can be bet on with the over/under system. In principle, they all work the same way, with slight variations in execution according to the sport in question. 

In the US, there are four major sports for this betting: football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. It can also be applied to many other sports such as hockey, tennis, cricket, golf, darts, snooker, and cricket.

Under/Over NFL

Each NFL game has an over/under wager attached to them. Every game has a different line. Generally, each sportsbook calculates what they believe the spread will be for a particular game. Typically, the point spread for most games will range between 45 and 55 points. 

If the lines exceed or fall below this level, they are considered extreme because of the elevated volatility compared to the standard. 

When it comes to over/under bets, you’ll find that you have two types to choose from. The first number is in fractional form (0.50), while the second is a whole number. As we have discussed, there will always be a result in a fraction. There is the possibility of a tie or a push in the whole number. If this happens, you will be entitled to a refund of your money.

For the NFL, the Super Bowl is the season’s highlight and it is notorious for being low-scoring, so picking the under is usually a good idea. The highest over/under result ever in a Super Bowl was 58, when the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons. Compared to the most high-scoring regular-season game with 113 points, the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants game.

Over/Under NBA

It is relatively straightforward to bet on the NBA over/unders, just like the NFL. There is a significant difference in the line being higher, often exceeding 200 points.

For NBA games, lines typically range between 200 and 225 points a game. For NBA spread lines, fractions and whole numbers are also applied, as they do in the NFL. In the same way, the bet will be refunded in the event of a push.

The average points per game per NBA team have been a consistent upward trend for the last ten years. The score went from 99.6 in 2010/11 to 112.1 in 2020/21. Sportsbooks have been forced to adapt as the over/under lines continue to increase.

It is a mathematical exercise to make NBA over/under picks. Since the season lasts so long and so many games are played, stats can strongly impact the outcome of a game. Comparing teams by their average point per game can be an excellent place to begin when betting on NBA over/unders. The NBA offers many other markets where over/under bets can be made. There are also markets for team points, half-time and quarter-time team points, player totals, total player points for the season, and a range of options based on players.

Over/Under MLB

You’ll find that the MLB has one of the lowest under/over lines. The average line is based on the number of runs scored,which is even lower than in hockey. Due to the lower number of runs in baseball, you’ll notice the variance of these bets will be a lot less. Because of this, most wagers will consist of whole numbers rather than decimals, increasing the chances of a push.

Generally speaking, that’s a good thing for you since it reduces the risk associated with these types of bets. On average, over/under lines will begin at around eight points. In 2021, the MLB averaged 4.53 runs per game. Compared to the NBA, this number tends to change from season to season, and we haven’t seen a trend over the past 20 years. Picking MLB over unders must reflect the current season’s trends, not just assume the number will increase each year.

Over/Under NHL

Over/under betting on the NHL has decreased again, typically with the total goals being between five and six. Logically, hockey’s range of over/under total lines changes the least, since nearly all games fall within this range, as opposed to basketball and the NFL over/under totals that are much wider. 

Therefore, if you will pick NHL over/unders, it is essential to observe the line first, then the odds. There will be fewer differences between the lines than in other sports, but the odds will be significantly different.

Under/Over Soccer Betting

The over/under system for soccer is different from all other sports. There is a primary over/under the market of 2.5 goals in all games. However, there are times when you can make bets on whole-number goals, but it’s somewhat uncommon than in other sports in the country.

Based on this approach, the sportsbook adjusts the betting odds accordingly. It will be much more diverse when it comes to odds betting instead of them constantly changing lines and getting closer to even money betting, as they usually do for other sporting events.

It is relatively easy to make over/under picks in soccer since the line can be adjusted to suit potential score lines.

Betting on the Over/Under

It is relatively easy to place an over/under bet. You might find it a little tricky if you’re new. We are going to explain the process of betting on the over/under. See the steps below:

Create an Account

The first step is to sign up for an account with the sportsbook.

Choose a sport

It’s important to choose the one you are most familiar with. Choose your sport from the navigation menu website.

Select Your Game

The next step is to select the game you wish to bet on.

Pick Your Favorite

You now have the chance to place your over/under wager.

Make Your Bet

You can add this selection to your bet slip by clicking over or under the buttons. When the bet slip is loaded, you can decide how much you want to wager and place it.

Strategies For Betting On The Over/Under

Our next section outlines some betting strategies that can be used on over-under bets. Occasionally, we will use examples from specific sports or games, but these examples are applicable in all sports.

Make Use of the Data

This kind of bet can be very analytical, one of its best features. Without ever finding the winner of the game, it is possible to make a more accurate conclusion from a lot of data. A good starting point is the average points scored or goals scored per game. You can find this data from many online sources, so your win rate will increase significantly if you use it for your bets alone.

The Starting Lineups

It is important to consider how playing rosters may impact games. The score will almost always be affected in the absence of key players, or at least the data used to place your bets will change. 

It is easiest to start with a defense or an offense roll that lacks influential players. For example, during the 2021 season, Tampa Bay was the highest-scoring team with 32.5 points per game, but if Tom Brady wasn’t part of the team, the number would probably be lower.

There is sometimes more to it than that, though. The elite sports teams consist of many components and the omission of a few can be detrimental.

External Influences

Over/under bets can be affected by external factors such as the weather. Games tend to be more difficult in windy and rainy weather, resulting in lower scores. The weather is as important as any other factor.

The three highest-scoring teams in the NFL for 2021/22 are Tampa Bay, Arizona, and Dallas; Detroit and Chicago were the lowest, given their differences in climate.

Focus on Defense Rather than Offense

If you are betting over/under, it’s only natural to consider goals or points scored and bet on the over. There is no ceiling on the over the market, whereas there is one on the under market. It’s essential to take the time to analyze the defenses of each team compared to one another. It isn’t necessarily just a general comparison but more of a matchup between two individuals. 

The elite sports teams are typically well matched, regardless of their ranking. There are small margins, which means finding head-to-head battles will significantly impact total points.

The chances of scoring points are limited in an intense match, while a mismatch may produce more points.

Of course, the offense is an important aspect, but most people only focus on it, which is problematic. Consider both the defense and the offense to come to the correct conclusion.

Advantages of Over/Under Betting

The over/under market offers you the advantage of having both teams in your bet working toward a common goal, rather than requiring just one to win.

You can also combine over/under bets with other bets, which is why we like them. It would be possible to make a parlay bet, such as the over/under points of an NBA game. This market lets you link tons of bets.

It is possible to place many different over/under bets for essentially the same bet. For over and under bets, you can often choose the line you want. For example, it is most common to see lines of 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5+ in soccer games.

Disadvantages of Over/Under Betting

This type of betting can be risky when a high scoring game results in an under-bet. Usually, this means you are losing the bet quickly, especially if you are betting on hockey or soccer where lines are low.

Furthermore, you will find that over-bets have no value at all. It has already been noted that most bets placed in this betting market are on the over-line, and books adjust their prices accordingly. Therefore, the value of the bet often ends up being the underdog, which means that it can lose rather quickly.


Among the types of bets available in the gambling industry, the over/under is one of the most lucrative and analytical. This form of betting allows you to place bets on markets that are not based on the outcome but rather focus on the final scoreline.