Guide to Over/Under Sports Betting & Point Totals

When you think of sports betting, the first bet that comes to mind is picking who’ll win the game outright.

However, there are other exciting wagers to make, including over/under betting. Also known as totals betting, this allows you an alternative way to bet on a game for which you may not have a strong stance on the moneyline or spread.

Here, we’ll do a deep dive on over/under betting, including what it is, explaining the different contexts of over/under sports betting, payouts, strategies, and more.

Best Sites for Betting Over/Unders

Table of Contents

What Is the Over/Under In Betting?

In a way, over/under betting is wagering on both teams in a contest.

The over/under usually has to do with the combined number of points scored in a game. With this bet type, the game is given a line of total points, runs, or goals (depending on the sport), and you’ll wager whether it will go over or under that amount.

There are ample other ways it’s used, but that’s the most popularized version.

Over/Under Betting Explained

While over/under betting is most well known when it comes to the total points scored in a game, there are still many other over/under bet examples to mention.

  • Total Points at Halftime
  • Single-Player Props: Total Points, Touchdowns Thrown, Catches, Assists, Hits, etc.

There’s another popular prop in which the over/under is defined a bit differently — draft position.

Example: In the NFL Draft, if a player has an over/under on their draft position of 7.5, the over indicates the player will be drafted later, whereas the under indicates the player will be drafted earlier. If you think a player will be drafted to the Atlanta Falcons at #8, you’d take the over.

What About Whole-Number Totals?

Like the spread, the total can be presented as a whole number or with an added “0.5.” There’s a guaranteed result with the half-point, as no game can finish with half-point total.

Odds Board

With a whole number, there’s a chance the game could end exactly on that number.

When this happens, it results in a “push” — or draw — and you’ll receive your original wager back.

What If the Contest Goes to Overtime?

When you bet on the total of the game’s final score, the result factors in any overtime points scored. Generally speaking, if you bet the over, overtime is a good thing.

Over/Under Betting Payouts Explained

When you’re betting on the over/under, there are betting line odds associated with it.

Example: You bet the over on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears for a line of 39.5 total points. The line odds are -110, and you bet $110. The final score is 24-20. You win the bet, and with the $110 wager, you’ll win $100.

In the example above, we looked at negative lines, however, there will be positive lines available as well.

Example: You bet the over on the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Rams for a line of 54.5 total points. The line odds are +110, and you bet $100. The final score is 35-31. You win the bet, and with the $100 wager, you’ll win $110.

Here’s the best way to think about betting odds:

  • Negative Lines: You must bet the number the line shows to win $100. Whether it’s -110 or -1000, you’ll need to bet $110 or $1000, respectively, to receive $100.
  • Plus Lines: On a $100 bet, you’ll win whatever the line is. If the line is +135, you’ll win $135 if you bet $100. If you bet $200, you’ll earn $270.

How to Bet the Over/Under – 6 Strategies

No matter which way you want to wager on your favorite moors betting online, there are strategies that’ll, over time, result in more money in your pocket.

Here, we’ll discuss easy-to-understand strategies you can use right now.

Line Shopping

The best part about online sports betting is that you can play anywhere (with a mobile device), and you use multiple sites at once.

This can be used to your advantage, as you can see which line is most profitable for your desired wager. This is line shopping — going to numerous online sportsbooks, finding the most profitable line, and winning more money in exchange for a little detective work.


Nowadays, with most online sportsbooks, you can create parlays within the same game, or across multiple moors betting online You can take a stance on who’ll win each game and the over/under. You can make a two- (or more) leg parlay with the moneyline, spread, over-under, props, and more.

Handful of Parlay Bet Tickets

If you feel confident about a game and have an idea of the final score, you can  generate even more profit by creating a parlay.

Live Betting

Live betting odds and lines change rapidly, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be had. With live betting, you get the unique vantage point of seeing where the game is at in real-time.

You can evaluate the weather, injuries, player performance, and team strategy. From there, you can adjust your initial thought process.

Live betting the over/under can prove to be incredibly profitable – if you keep a watchful eye.

Weather Conditions

This strategy only matters for moors betting online played outdoors (of course). Unique weather conditions could play a role in deciding the over/under.

You should never let it be the only deciding factor, but high winds or torrential downpours should be noted when they may affect scoring output.

Keep in mind that weather is often factored into the online sportsbooks’ over/under line already.

Evaluate the Defense

With over/under bets, we’re focused on the total points scored, and with that, the first thing we think about is the offense. However, the defense plays a direct role in how many of those points are scored. This can especially apply to a sport like hockey, where a great goalie performance can totally shut down opposing offenses.

In sports like baseball, the defense can matter, but it’s mostly pitching, and in basketball, there are still plenty of points allowed; it’s just a matter of how much.

MLB Pitcher Throwing a Pitch

Here are critical defensive metrics to look at for the four major U.S. sports:

  • Baseball: Fielding percentage, Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA), Outs Above Average (OAA), and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR).
  • Football: Expected Points Added (EPA), Completion percentage allowed on short, medium, and long plays, Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), Total Yards Allowed, Total Touchdowns Allowed.
  • Basketball: Defensive Rating, Defensive Rebound Percentage, Opposing Points Per Game Allowed.
  • Hockey: Goals Allowed Per Game, Saves Per Game, Save Percentage,

Use Bonuses And Promos

At each new online sportsbook you go to and make an account, you’ll have a new welcome bonus and existing-player promo options available. Whether these are deposit bonuses, risk-free bets, parlay insurance, or something else, you can use these on over/under bets to help pad your virtual wallet that much more. An early cushion helps offset losses as you find your footing as a new bettor.

Be sure to visit the promotions page of the online sportsbook you’re playing at.

How Do Sportsbooks Determine the Over/Under Bet Line?

Online sportsbooks use math algorithms to determine the over/under line. For the equation, however, elements such as:

  • Pace of play
  • Weather
  • Star players
  • moors online betting field
  • Efficiency
  • And more!

With all bets, sportsbooks do ample work to offer balanced lines they can still make money on.


  • How Do I Bet the Over/Under in the NFL?

    Over/under betting can be used in multiple ways in the NFL.

    • Total Points
    • Total Halftime Points
    • Single-Player Props: Total Touchdowns, Total Catches, Total Yards, etc.
    • Draft Position.

    There are multiple things to consider when it comes to how to bet the over/under in the NFL.

    The list of factors includes weather, injuries, the defense of each team, the offense of each team, where the game is being played, the spread, and more.

    Example: If the total is 48 points and the spread for the favored team is -12, that puts a heavy burden on the favorite team to carry the total to the over.

    As far as team offenses, if a team is known to run the ball more, this’ll likely correlate to the under. When you run the ball and stay in bounds in football, the clock continues to tick. The same can be said for a completed catch, but with passes, they’ll typically be for deeper down the field, thus closer to the end zone, thus ending drives quicker. Plus, incomplete passes stop the clock.

    Each NFL defensive unit has its unique strengths or weaknesses — of course, some are all-around elite or simply bad.

  • How Do You Choose the Over/Under in 3-Way Bets?

    Three-way bets are most commonly used in soccer for picking the winner or a tie. Therefore, you won’t see over/under bets available in this context.

  • What Works More Often – Betting the Over or the Under?

    Interestingly enough, regardless of the sport, the over/under is almost always a 50/50 shot. With that, there’s not really an upside to always betting one side and hope for the statistics to work itself out — make sure to evaluate each bet individually.

  • Are My Odds Locked In Once I Bet, Even if the Over/Under Changes?

    Yes, once the bet is placed, that’s the bet you have no matter if the lines change leading up to the game.