Understanding Totals (Or Over/Under) Betting

Considered by seasoned bettors more likely to bring winnings than other types of betting such as money lines and point spread, totals or over/under betting is an excellent starting point for the inexperienced. It’s guaranteed to add excitement to a game, and, quite often, generate cash winnings.

Overview

Over/under or totals are used interchangeably to denote a type of betting in which you win by choosing not the winner of the game, but a figure that is either over or under the score of the two competing teams put together. In order words, you choose a figure and you hope that the combined score of the game will be either above or below it. There are no other requirements.

Rules

The following three rules are normally enforced all over the world, not just in Europe and the U.S.A..

  • Whenever the score of the two teams put together is equal to the figure in your ticket, it’s a push. The bookmaker declares the bet to be no action and normally issues a refund.
  • The odds of special games may be modified by purchasing certain points sold by the bookmaker.
  • The totals bet can be used alongside other kinds of bets such as point spread or money lines in combinations.

Example

To illustrate how totals betting works here is an example which supposes that the L.A. Lakers faces the Chicago Bulls. The game concludes with the L.A. Lakers winning, 100 to 90. If you have wagered on over, and have chosen 180 as the combined score, then you will win because 100 + 90 = 190. On the other hand, if you have wagered on under, and have chosen 180 as the combined score, then you will lose because you’re 11 points off the mark (if the margin was 10 points it would have been a push and you would have still not won anything).

Comments

Obviously, the combined totals of games can be significantly different: football totals are lower than basketball totals. Moreover, notable differences can be seen in the same sport when looking at two distinct levels, the national league and the college league. For example, college league football totals tend to be higher than national football league totals because there are huge differences between the defensive abilities and offensive abilities of some college teams. In the NFL, teams tend to be better all-round and the attack/defense disparities are less pronounced.

Here are a few tips that may help when betting totals:

  • The totals in the NFL rarely exceed 52 unless the clashing teams are reputed for their poor defensive players. On the other hand, the minimum total doesn’t normally drop beneath 30.
  • The totals in college football are sensibly higher, for the reasons mentioned earlier. It’s not uncommon to see the combined results of two college teams reach somewhere in the region of 65 points.
  • NBA totals frequently exceed 190 when two offensive teams meet, whereas in the NCAA the totals are much lower, 130 not being uncommon at all.

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