What is Over/Under Betting? Totals Bets Explained

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala defends Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala defends Giannis Antetokounmpo. / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The over/under also known as the “total” is a wager in sports betting on the total number of points in a game.

Bettors can choose whether or not a given game will go over or under a set number of points/runs/goals that will be scored in the game. 

Here is everything you need to know about betting on the over/under.

Over/Under Explained

When betting on an over/under or total, you are trying to predict the combined number of points/runs/goals in a respective game. You are not trying to get the exact total score of the game. 

The over/under has more uses than simply the final score of the game, as prop bets, win totals and other wagers also use over/unders.

An example would be a prop bet for the number of passing yards that a quarterback will throw for. 

In that case, Patrick Mahomes may have a prop bet where he can go over or under 275.5 passing yards in a game. You can wager on whether or not he will put up the stats to go over or under than number. 

Betting on the total, however, is the most popular use of the over/under, as total bets are behind just spreads and moneylines in popularity. 

In the AFC Wild Card Game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals, the over/under or total is set at 49 points at WynnBET Sportsbook.

In this game, if you bet on the over, you will need the Bengals and Raiders to combine for 50 or more points in the wild card round. If you take the under, you need the Bengals and Raiders to score 48 or fewer points in this game. 

If the Bengals and Raiders scored exactly 49 points, then your bet would push and all bets are refunded.

  • If the final score was 27-24, over bettors would win
  • If the final score was 21-17, under bettors would win
  • If the final score was 28-21, the bet would push

Over/Under Definition

An over/under is betting on whether or not a total, prop or another form of bet set by the sportsbook will go over or under the set number. Since you are not trying to guess the exact number, if the bet lands on that number, it is considered a push

Betting on the total – which is the combined number of points between two teams – is the most common over/under betting. Still, the concept is applied to so much more, including prop bets, win totals and total lines within games (first quarter total, first half total, etc.)

Over/Under Examples

Let’s break down a few examples of how you can bet on an over/under in a game. 

NBA Over/Under

In the game below between the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks, the oddsmakers at WynnBET have set the total for the game at 223 points.

Let’s say the Warriors end up winning this game 111-105. In this hypothetical scenario, the game finished with 216 combined points. Therefore:

  • If you bet the over, you would lose this bet
  • If you bet the under, you would win this bet

NFL Over/Under

Here’s another example in the NFL:

The oddsmakers at WynnBET have the total for the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers set at 46 points.

Let’s say that the Chiefs win this game 26-20. In this hypothetical scenario, the total lands right on 46 points. Therefore:

  • If you bet the over or under, your bet would push.

Now, if the game ended with the Chiefs winning 35-14, here’s how the winners would look in that case: 

  • If you bet the over, you would win this bet
  • If you bet the under, you would lose this bet

Let’s do one last example with a player prop: 

WynnBET Sportsbook has set the over/under for New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones’ touchdown prop at 1.5 against the Buffalo Bills.

If Jones throws for two or more touchdowns in this game, then bettors who took the over would win the bet. If he throws for fewer than two scores, then bettors who took the under would win the bet. 

How Are Totals Made?

There are several factors that go into making a total, and it changes based on the sport. Bookmakers will look at several factors, including how many points per game a team scores, their offensive and defensive efficiency, their pace of play, weather, injuries and other factors to set a total. 

Totals change depending on the team and the way that the sport is being played. For example, the NBA has seen totals rise in recent years as pace of play and the 3-point shot have increased league wide. 

How Much Do You Win When Betting on an Over/Under?

When betting totals, a standard total bet is usually similar to a point spread where the American odds will be -110 on the over and the under. 

Basically, this means that normally you will need to risk $1.10 for every dollar that you want to win on a total bet. 

However, in lower-scoring sports like baseball and hockey, the sportsbook will often adjust the juice on the total rather than simply moving the number. 

For example, if the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves have a game with a total of 6.5, but the sportsbook thinks the game is more likely to go over, it will place different odds on each end of the total such as: 6.5 (Over -120/Under +100) or (Over -115/Under –105).

In this scenario, you would have to risk more to win a dollar if you bet on the over than you would if you bet the under. 

Do Over/Under and Total Bets Include Overtime?

The short answer is yes.

Any points scored in overtime will count to your over/under bet, and that includes if you bet on an over/under for a second half, team total or player prop. 

The only way that overtime wouldn’t affect an over/under bet would be if you simply bet on the fourth quarter or the first half. 

What If an Over/Under Lands on the Number Exactly?

As mentioned above, in this case the bet would be considered a push and bets are refunded.

Learn more about sports betting in the US in our Sports Betting Education guide.