Over/Under Definition, Examples

Over/Under Definition, Examples article feature image

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

  • An over/under in sports betting is a wager on the total number of points scored in a game, though you can bet an over/under on hundreds of different statistics.
  • You're not trying to guess the number exactly, but bet on whether or not the total points will go over or under a number set by the sportsbook.

Table of Contents
1. Over/Under Definition
2. Over/Under Examples
3. How To Make an Over/Under Bet
4. How Much it Pays
5. How Are Totals Made?
6. Over/Under Strategies

Over/Under Definition

An over/under or total in sports betting is a wager on the number of points scored in a game by both teams.

As a bettor, you’re trying to predict whether the total score will go over or under a certain amount set by the sportsbook. You’re not trying to guess the exact number. If the over/under lands on exactly the posted number, it’s a push and your bet is refunded.

A bet on the total points scored by each team is the most common over/under, anyway. But there are hundreds of other over/under markets on a given game, like points scored by a particular team or in the first half, over/under a certain player’s statistics, and more.

Totals are among the most popular wagering options in sports betting, behind point spreads and moneylines.

Over/Under Examples

DraftKings set the over/under at 52 for Chiefs vs. Titans in the 2020 AFC Championship Game.

Bettors had the option to wager on the total points in the game going over or under 52.

The Chiefs won 35-24 — a total of 59 points — putting the game over the total. Anyone who wagered on the over won their bet. Anyone on the under lost.

If this game landed exactly at 52 points, it’s called a push and all bets are refunded.

Over/unders come in all shapes and sizes — you can wager on the total points scored in a game, or on prop bets like total field goals in an NFL game or total rebounds by an NBA player.

Here is a recommended resource list to help you bet smartly on football:

» Return to the table of contents «

How Do I Make an Over/Under Bet?

It’s easy to make an over/under bet at any sportsbook, from BetMGM to a heavyweight national player like DraftKings.

  • Navigate to your desired sport
  • Click on the over or under in the game module (the over will always be listed on top) to highlight your bet.
  • Head to the bet slip on the right side of the page (on your phone, it will pop up automatically).
  • Click “Login to Place Bet” and login, then submit your bet

DraftKings will give you a $1,000 sign up bonus to bet totals or anything else you want to wager on.

» Return to the table of contents «

How Much Do You Win on an Over/Under Bet?

A standard bet on a total is treated just like a point spread. The sportsbook will take its 10% cut, displayed with American odds. You can use our odds calculator to determine your payout.

For the most part, you’re going to be betting $1.10 for every $1 you want to win on a total bet in a football game. That’s what the -110 odds mean next to the Chiefs-Titans total points.

So if you bet $11, you’ll win $10. If you risk $55, you’ll win $50.

In low-scoring sports like hockey, soccer and baseball, a sportsbook will often adjust the juice before moving the number.

Let’s say a YankeesRed Sox game has a total of 8.5, but the sportsbook makes its projection closer to 9 than 8.

In that case, a sportsbook may make the over -120 and the under +100 to reflect its projection of how the game will go, forcing anyone who bets the over to risk a little bit more.

You can read more about how to read American odds here, but at -120, you’re risking $1.2 for every $1 you want to win, and at +100, you’re risking $1 for every $1 you want to win.

If the Red Sox win 5-3, under bettors win. If they win 6-3, over bettors win.

If you want to start betting on baseball, here are a few resources to help you wager with skill:

» Return to the table of contents «

How Are Totals Made?

There’s a lot that goes into making odds like totals, and it of course varies by sport. Bookmakers and bettors use many inputs — including how fast each team plays, offensive and defensive efficiency, weather, and more — to create a total.

Here are the average betting totals for each of the four major U.S. sports for the 2019-2020 seasons, per our data at Bet Labs.

Sport Average Total
NFL 45.4
NBA 222
MLB 9.1
NCAAF 55.4
NCAAB 139.8

Average totals are constantly changing as rules and team philosophies evolve in sports.

Just five years ago, NBA betting totals in the 180’s were common. But there has not been an NBA total under 190 since 2017, as small-ball and 3-point shooting have taken over the league.

There have been six NBA totals in history greater than 245, with five coming in February and March of 2020.

In the 2016-17 season, the average NBA total was just 210.6 — almost 10 points less than the 2019-20 season.

Here are a few assets to help you start betting responsibly on basketball:

» Return to the table of contents «

Over/Under Strategies

If it was that easy to pick one side, you’d be retired on a beach somewhere.

But unders have been a better bet in every sport over the last five years — just not enough to blindly bet them and become profitable because of the cut the sportsbook takes.

Here are betting records for each sport, listed as overs-unders-pushes.

Sport Record Under Win %
NFL 629-671-35 51.6%
NBA 3010-3052-158 50.3%
NHL 2913-2991-529 50.7%
MLB 5810-5918-550 50.5%
NCAAF 2551-2771-128 52.1%
NCAAB 11350-11414-301 50.1%

It’s human nature to root for points and offensive success instead of rooting for offensive ineptitude. So the betting market tends to price totals slightly too high.

Your bet is also never technically dead when you bet an over — there’s always a chance the game goes to overtime, or there’s a flurry of late scoring to push it over.

» Return to the table of contents «

Does Over/Under Bets Include Overtime?

Yes, any points scored in overtime will count toward your over/under bet. Sorry, under bettors.

This includes almost every type of total — second-half totals, team totals, player props. Overtime will count toward everything but specific markets like first half bets and fourth-quarter bets, for example.

What Happens if the Over/Under Lands on the Number Exactly?

Landing on the number results in a push, and bets are refunded.

Week 8 Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns

Here are the live-odds (via BetMGM) for this upcoming Week 8 battle. Check out more about this matchup here.

Steelers Odds +3
Browns Odds -3
Steelers Moneyline +125
Browns Moneyline -150
Over/Under 44

Next in Betting Education 101: Moneylines

How would you rate this article?