Total Bets and Over/Under Bets - Everything You Need to Know

If you're searching for information about totals and over/under bets, you've come to the right place. We've built this page to equip sports bettors with all of the knowledge they need about these bet types. No matter if you're brand new to sports betting or an experienced bettor, we've got details below that will help you walk away more knowledgeable on these popular sports bets.

In our detailed guide to totals and over/under bets, we'll get things started with the basics such as what these bets are and things that you can place them on. Then, we'll get a bit more detailed while talking about strategy for these bet types and also giving you other valuable sports betting resources and FAQs.

For those of you looking to gather as much information as possible, we'd suggest that you read this page from top to bottom so that you don't miss anything. However, if you're looking to learn about a specific portion of things, we've included some handy jump links below so that you can get directly to what you're interested in. Simply click on the one that you'd like more detail on, and you'll head straight there.

What Is a Totals Bet?

Up first, we want to help you clarify one thing to make sure that you don't get confused. For the purposes of this page, we use the terms totals bet and over/under bet interchangeably. In the sportsbook world, they both represent the same type of wager. The reason for the difference is that in the United States, it is often called a totals bet; meanwhile, the rest of the world usually calls it an over/under.

With a totals bet, you're betting on some numerical total that a sportsbook has posted for a sporting event. In many cases, you'll be betting in relation to the total combined score of a game or match. With this type of wager, you only need to decide one of two things. Your decision is if you think the total score of the game will be higher or lower than what the sportsbook picked.

Here's a sample for you. In an upcoming match between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers, a sportsbook posted a totals figure of 195 points. What the sportsbook is saying here is that they believe both teams will have a combined score of 195 points when the game is all said and done.

To bet this type of wager, you then have a decision to make. It's up to you to choose if you think the actual combined score will be more or less than the figure posted by the sportsbook. If you believe that the score will be less than 195 points, you will bet the under on the game. On the flip side, you can also bet the over if you believe that the two teams will have a combined score of more than 195 points. For you to win this type of bet, you'll need to pick the over or under decision correctly.

One of the nice things about this type of bet is that you only have to make the decision about total points. Luckily, it doesn't matter which team wins the game, nor which team scores the most points. All that matters to you is what the combined total score is.

Below, we've included an image to give you an idea of how this type of wager typically looks in an online sportsbook. Below, we'll talk a bit about how you can read and interpret this data. The image showcases real betting options on NCAA college football games.


When checking out the snippet above, bring your attention to the right-hand side of the image in the gold box section. It's here that you can view the information about the over/under bets for these games. For example, in the first game listed between Texas A&M and South Carolina, the totals number posted by the sportsbook is 58 points. If you wanted to bet on the total for this game, you'd just select if you think it will finish up over or under 58 points.

It's also worth bringing to your attention the second game listed between Wake Forrest and Louisiana Monroe. First, the total for this game is lower than the first game. However, it's also using a half-point figure. With the total by the sportsbook having been listed at 45.5 points, that means if you bet the over, the combined score will need to be 46 points or more. Conversely, betting the under will mean that you'll need the final scores to sum up to 45 points or less to win.

In the next section, we'll give you some color on the different types of betting options that you have to use this type of wager.

What You Can Bet On

Many folks mistakenly believe that you can only bet on final scores with total bets. While that is what they are most commonly used for, there are plenty of other options that you can use this type of bet type for.

As long as it's something that can be counted, there's a good chance you may find a totals bet available for it. For example, you can bet on the total number of yellow cards in a soccer match. Similarly, you can also bet on how many birdies will occur during a golf tournament. Another good example is betting on the total number of home runs that will happen during a game of baseball.

As you can see from the samples above, there are lots of different things that you can place totals bets on. We mention this to you here so that you look for these other totals betting options. Adding in these options outside of the final score betting can be a great way to diversify your over/under betting strategy.

Strategy for Totals and Over/Under Bets

If you'd like to get a bit deeper into totals and over/under bets, we've also developed a strategy guide for this bet type. On this page, we'll dive deeper into the best practices you can use when placing wagers. Specifically, we'll talk about sucker bets, key numbers, and pricing. If you'd like to see how you can strategically elevate your totals betting game, don't miss the link below.

Commentary on Different Sports

In this section, we wanted to provide you with a little bit of color specific to some different sports. If you're new to betting totals and over/unders, this will give you a general idea of what to expect for these sports. It's important to note that each sporting event should be viewed independently. However, using the information below, you'll be able to recognize when something is outside of the usual pattern of what is typical for these sports.

NFL Football

When it comes to betting on totals on NFL games, things are pretty consistent. The reason for this is that in most cases, the NFL teams are pretty well matched. Since the NFL is a professional league, you don't find too many instances of one side completely dominating another as you do in other leagues.

On average, the typical totals line for a game will be around 41 points. If you find a line that is lower than this, that means that you have two strong defensive teams facing one another. Conversely, lines higher than this mark often will signal two offensive powerhouse teams facing each other.

NCAA Football

Unlike NFL football games, not all NCAA college football games are between well-matched opponents. If you're a fan of a top team like Alabama, then you're very familiar with the fact that there are some hard games, and there are some cake walks. Traditionally, the Homecoming games are always scheduled against an easy opponent that won't be difficult for the home team to beat.

Because of the inconsistency with the level of teams playing one another, the totals line of college football games will move around much more than the NFL. Be sure to keep this in mind if you plan on betting totals on NCAA football as there will be large variances depending on who is playing.


When it comes to hockey, the totals line tends almost always to be the same. In general, you'll find a line around 6.5 goals for most hockey games. If you find a totals line significantly varied from this amount, be sure to dig in and see what's causing it. Either you have two very well-matched teams (if the line is lower) or you have a dominating team playing a very weak one (if the line is higher).


Soccer is another sport like hockey where the totals line is nearly always around the same figure. On average, the line on soccer games will be around 2.5 goals. With soccer being such a low-scoring game overall, it's rare to see it get much higher than this.

Additional Resources

In addition to all of the helpful information we've provided above, we also wanted to bring you some other useful resources related to sports betting. If this is your first time using our site, you should know that we have built this site to be your go-to stop to learn more about gambling. Be sure to check out our additional guides below and check out the ones that can help you step up your sports betting skills and knowledge.

Types of Bets Guide

Totals and over/under bets are just one of many different types of sports bets that you can place. If you're looking to expand the types of bets that you're making, then don't miss our guide on the different types of bets. Using the link below, you can learn about all available bet types and see which of them might be a good fit for your sports betting strategy.

Beginner's Guides to Sports Betting

Many of you may be new to sports betting in general. For those of you, you don't want to miss our beginner's guides on sports betting. In the two guides below, we'll get you equipped with all of the jargon and basics that you'll need to understand to start placing wagers. Simply click on the links below to begin quickly ramping up your knowledge on sports betting.

Sports Betting Essentials

Once you've got a good handle on the basics, your next stop should be our sports betting essentials guide. This page is perfect for beginners that have read the two guides above, but it's also a good starting point for folks with some experience betting on sports. In this guide, we'll go deeper into the essentials of betting on sports, including strategy and more. To visit this page, use the link below.

Odds Converter

If you ever come across a sportsbook using an odds format that you don't fully understand, our odds converter page will be your new favorite tool. On this page, you can convert odds from one form into one that you prefer. By doing this, you'll make sure that you always know exactly what your odds are before you risk real money on a wager. Just click on the link below to visit this free resource.

Suggested Sports Betting Sites

For those of you that don't already have a sports betting home, we've got some helpful guides to aid you in finding an online sports betting site that's perfect for you. We've gathered up links below to our pages dedicated to the best all-around sports betting sites, mobile-friendly betting sites, and live betting websites. We've done the research and homework for you so that you can begin betting now.

Frequently Asked Questions

We didn't want to wrap things up without leaving you with some frequently asked questions relating to totals and over/under bets. Below, we've gathered up some questions that we regularly receive on these types of sports bets. If you still have some questions after checking out our guide above, we hope that these will assist you.

Are totals and over/under bets good for beginners?
Yes. These types of bets are some of the ones that we suggest beginners use when starting their sports betting adventure. Along with totals, it's also good to use win and spread bets if you'd like to use more than one bet type. If you are a beginner, we'd suggest that you stay away from more advanced bets like parlays and permutation wagers until you have a good grasp of the more basic bet types.
How much should I bet on a totals bet?
Unfortunately, there isn't an easy answer here that will work for all individuals reading this page. How much you should bet for any totals bet will depend on many things. Samples of what you'll need to factor in are the size of your betting bankroll, your risk aversion, and your knowledge of the sport you're betting on. If you don't have a bankroll management plan established yet, that's something you should do as soon as possible. We're big believers in using these plans to help you strategically decide how much you should bet on any wager. These plans will help you calculate an exact amount of your betting bankroll that you should risk. If you'd like to read more about bankroll management and see how you can make a plan of your own, be sure to check out the link below.
What if a game goes into overtime? What happens then?
As with moneyline and spread bets, totals and over/unders also account for the total final score of the game. Anytime that a sporting event goes into extra innings, overtime, etc., the points scored in the additional periods will all be factored into the final calculation on the totals wager.
What is a push?
With totals betting, it is possible for your wager to end in a push. For this to happen, the total final combined score of the game has to be precisely the same as the totals line set by the sportsbook that you placed your over/under wager on. Here's a sample: let's say that your sportsbook set a totals number of 49 points on an upcoming game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. If the final score of the two teams combined ends up being precisely 49, your wager will result in a push since the actual result was neither over nor under what the sportsbook posted. If you ever have a totals bet push, the sportsbook will end up refunding your stake. Essentially, you and the sportsbook have tied, so there is no reason for you or them to get paid on the bet. For a push to happen, the number posted by the sportsbook has to be a whole number like 35, 40, etc. When you come across a published totals number that includes a .5, a push can never happen. For example, if that same sample game above between the Packers and the Cowboys was posted as 49.5, a push is impossible since it's impossible to score half a point in a football game.
What are the payouts for totals bets?
Typically, over/under bets will have the standard moneyline rate of -110 associated with them. In this scenario, you'd win $100 for every $110 that you wager on the bet if you pick it correctly. This is especially true for major sports like football and basketball. However, payouts can vary on these types of bets. A sportsbook may decide to post a payout different than the standard -110 when they need to shift more funds to one side of a wager. It's not uncommon to see some at -105 or other values depending on how the sportsbook is working to hedge their bets. Certain sports also tend to see higher payouts than -110. For example, both tennis and MMA fighting often have stellar payouts associated with their over/under bets. Ultimately, be sure to check out what the payout options are for any totals bets that you're considering making.

If you're still searching for more answers, we've got you covered. In addition to the list of questions above, we've also built out an entire page dedicated solely to sports betting FAQs. On this page, you'll find a vast collection of questions and answers. If you'd like to view this page, click on the link below.


Hopefully, you've gained all of the information and details that you needed relating to totals and over/under bets. If this is the first time you've visited our site, be sure to look around and see all of the other helpful resources that we have to provide. We've built this site with the goal of helping gamblers of all types and experience levels to elevate their betting game. This page is a just a drop in the overall bucket of the other resources you'll find here. Thanks for reading, and best of luck with all of your future totals and over/under wagers!

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