An over/under bet, or totals bet, is a wager on the total points, or other metric, that will be scored in a game. The sportsbook typically sets a total for the game and you can choose to place either an over or under wager against the sportsbook.
Do you sometimes have a feel for a game, a team, or a player? In sports betting, moneyline and spread bets tend to hog the headlines. But for the sports betting fan, over/under betting can offer another type of thrill when settling down to watch a game.
Requiring a different strategy and mindset, over/under betting accounts for a large number of pre- and in-game markets, and in this Over/Under (Totals) Betting Guide, we are going to break down exactly what over/under betting is, how it works, and bets you can place in various sports at all the best NY sportsbooks.
The classic over/under bet in sports betting is a wager on the total points that will be scored in a game. That is, the combined total of both teams’ points totals. For example, a sportsbook may offer the following NBA odds:
Golden State Warriors @ Boston Celtics
- Over 216.5 points (-110)
- Under 216.5 points (-110)
Or for NHL:
New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators
- Over 6.5 points (-110)
- Under 6.5 points (-110)
This type of bet can be viewed as the typical over/under – but there are many types of over/under bets aside from game totals, including over/under bets based on player and team achievements within a game. We’ll move on to the other variations of over/under bets in our specific sports sections, further on in this guide.
To make an over/under bet, you will choose if the total of points (or another metric such as three-pointers, rebounds, or strikeouts) scored by two teams, one team, or a player, will be over or under a total set by the sportsbook.
In essence, an over/under is a simple choice – will the total points (or another metric) scored - by both teams in a game, one team in a game, or a player – be over or under the total set by the sportsbook. If the over/under total for an Orlando Magic @ New York Knicks NBA game is set at 214.5, you decide whether there will be more (at least 215) or less (a maximum of 214) points in the game.
You may notice that in live over/under markets, the total points chosen by the bookmaker for an over/under may change according to whether the game is developing into a high or low-scoring contest.
Using the example bet above, let’s discuss how to calculate your winnings for an over/under bet:
Orlando Magic @ New York Nicks
- Over 214.5 points (-110)
- Under 214.5 points (-110)
You calculate your winnings for an under/over bet using the same format as a standard bet that involves wagering on a single outcome. If you bet $20 on the over, and the combined total of points in the Orlando Magic vs New York Nicks game was 215 or more, you would receive a total return of $38.18 (your $20 stake and $18.18 in profit). As the odds for the under are the same (-110), you could also expect this total return if there were less than 215 points in the game.
It is common for classic over/under wagers on game point totals to have odds of -110 for both the over and the under. This is called a ‘flat rate’.
The first benefit of over/under bets to consider is that they are a simple choice. There is no overwhelming array of options to choose from, or even ‘middle ground’ such a draw.
With classic points total over/under bets, you can count on both teams working for you. Take a basketball game that offers an over/under of 216.5 points – for the over, in order to reach this total, you’ll be urging both teams to score, rather than backing one. Conversely, if you chose the under, you’ll likely take pleasure from a tense, error-filled game that is relatively low scoring.
This guide has mainly focused on the classic over/under bet on game points totals. But there are also a number of team and player over/under markets that you’ll see for various sports.
Let’s put a spotlight on prop bets in a number of sports:
America loves its football. From September through to February the NFL is the talk of the nation, and the NCAAF gets almost as much attention as the stars of the future are born. Over/under bets are available to play on many elements of football, from games to teams, and player performances.
Here are some examples of over/under bets in football:
- Total points: over/under 48.5
- Austin Ekeler pass receptions: over/under 3.5
- Josh Allen touchdown passes: over/under 2.5
The NHL offers over/under opportunities from October to April, and during the off season, there are European hockey leagues such as the Liiga, Swedish Hockey League and Champions Hockey league to get your teeth into. You’ll find a range of individual and team or game over/unders.
Here are some examples of hockey over/under bets:
- How many hits will Chris Kreider have: over/under 2.5
- How many points will Auston Matthews score: over/under 1.5
- Total shots on goal by Toronto Maple Leafs: over/under 30
Baseball is a stat-heavy sport, which means MLB - and other baseball competitions such as the Venezuela Professional Baseball League and KBO – can be ideal for over/under betting.
Typical MLB over/under bets may include:
- Total home runs hit: over/under 2.5
- Combined points total: over/under 100.5
- Tyler O’Neil total hits, runs and RBIs: over/under 2.5
New York’s sportsbooks offer over/unders in the NBA, including individual and team or game over/unders. It’s not only the world’s top basketball league that you might see over/under markets in – also watch out for them in the Olympics and EuroLeague, as well as college basketball.
Typical NBA over/under bets can include:
- Indiana Pacers @ Chicago Bulls total points: over/under 216.5
- Nikola Jokić total rebounds: over/under 7.5
- James Harden combined points/rebounds/assists: over/under 31.5
In the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the UFC is king, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities for over/under betting, especially when it comes to the big pay-per-view nights. Total rounds is the classic over/under for UFC – requiring you to decide whether a fight will last over or under a certain number. For example:
- Daniel Cormier vs. Francis Ngannou total rounds: over/under 2.5
Let’s look at over/under betting strategies. We can break down some key considerations for over/under betting by each sport:
Football - Some people tend to favor the over for NFL total points because they like to see a high-scoring game. A sway towards the over in the days leading up to the game can cause the total to climb as the line is adjusted. For this reason, if you favor the over, try to place your bet as early as possible.
Hockey - Having a solid knowledge of netminders can be key. Most teams have a goalie rotation system, and once you understand this, it can help you get one up on the sportsbook; getting in on the action before it is announced that a backup is starting the game.
MMA - look closely at the style of each fighter when considering how long the fight will last. Are these two technicians with a low KO percentage, in a contest that looks likely to go the distance? Or are we dealing with two heavy-handed competitors that prefer to go in for the kill? In a clash of styles, look for the fighter with the better track record to have things their way.
Baseball - When betting on an over/under for a team’s points total, such as ‘Chicago Cubs total runs: over/under 5.5’, pay close attention to a team’s earned run average (ERA) and batting average. ERA is a figure made up of the runs given up by pitchers per nine innings, and batting average is worked out by average hits divided by the number of bats. This can help you to identify weak scoring teams, as well as teams that are historically hard to score against.
Basketball - High-scoring teams go over! It may not be rocket science, but it’s true. If you have one of the NBA’s highest-scoring teams involved in a game, you can expect the over to be a better bet when it comes to total points. Also, watch out for back-to-back games. When a team is playing their second game on the bounce, they might be more tired, leading you to favor the under.
Over/under bets are everywhere – so much so that you might not see an over/under section at your favorite sportsbook. That’s because over/under bets crop up in pre-game markets and live game markets. If you want to see the most over/under bets possible, look at the odds under individual games, and head to prop bets sections, where many game, team, and individual prop bets are structured as over/unders.
In general, it’s easy to place over/under bets on New York sportsbooks such as DraftKings, BetMGM and Resorts World Bet. Such is the prevalence of over/unders in game, team and, player betting for sports such as NFL, NBA, tennis, and soccer, that you just need to navigate to the game you want, and read through the available markets.
Best for depth of over/under options - FanDuel & DraftKings
We found FanDuel and DraftKings offered a particularly impressive depth of over/under options.
Best for NBA over/under betting - BetMGM
If you’re an NBA fan head to BetMGM to choose from a plethora of over/under bets on team and game totals. They’re also very strong for depth in NFL, NHL and soccer and have some great promotions including a risk free first bet.
Best for ease of placing over/under bets - WynnBet
Players looking for depth of over/under bets may look elsewhere, but while WynnBet may offer fewer options, they more than make up for it with their clean and easy to use interface when placing over/under bets.
For something a bit different - Pointsbet
Pointsbet offers a unique system when it comes to over/under bets, whereby the extent of your win or loss is controlled by the margin of victory.
Over/under bets require you to choose whether a points total (or another metric, e.g. strikeouts, rounds, goals), will be over or under an amount set by the sportsbook.
In the case of overtime, the extra time period typically still counts as part of the bet.
In most over/under bets, there is no possibility of a push due to the figure set by the sportsbook including a .5 – this means the eventual points total will either be higher or lower.
Yes, you can include an over/under bet in parlays.
All New York sportsbooks – including DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, Caesars, WynnBet, Resorts World Bet, and PointsBet – offer over/unders.
Odds can change for many reasons, including form and expected line-ups.