If you are new to online betting, you have likely come across a number of terms that you have yet to understand properly. The gambling industry has a language of its own when it comes to nuances of the betting process, so this is nothing to be surprised about.
One of the most commonly used terms that are not immediately clear to novice gamblers is Over/Under, and it is typically used when referencing a type of betting. So, if you wish to explore different types of bets, betting strategies, and alike, and learn not only what options are there in betting but also how to make the most of this experience, Over/Under is as good a place to start as any. With that said, let’s take a deeper look into it and see what it is all about, how to calculate it, and how to use it.
What is Over/Under?
The Over/Under bet, also known as the Totals bet, is one of many different types of bets. When there is a major game going on — let’s say a hockey match — oddsmakers will make a prediction about the final score of the game. Then, you, as a bettor, can use Over/Under to bet on whether the true score will be over or under the prediction made by the oddsmakers.
So, if you believe that the game will have more scored points than what the oddsmakers have predicted, you would bet Over. Alternatively, if you believe that the number of points will be lower, you would bet the Under.
As you can see, the idea behind Over/Under betting is fairly simple, which is why it became one of the most popular betting options among sports bettors. In fact, it is about as common as Moneyline and the point spread.
So, to summarize, the Totals bet, or Over/Under bet is simply based on how many points are scored in the game. It has no connection to the actual outcome of the game, so those who use this bet essentially do not care about who won the game. As such, this is one of the bets that can be used in pretty much any sports, whether it is football, college football, basketball, baseball, hockey, or anything else that has a standard score system.
How does Over/Under betting actually work?
Now that you understand the concept behind Over/Under betting let’s take a look at how it actually works on a real example. If we use the example of Super Bowl LIV, the Over/Under for this example was 53 points. Each side (Over and Under) has a cost of placing a bet, which is commonly known as vig or juice. Usually, the vig for most Over/Under bets sits at -110 on each side, although this can change in some situations.
But, assuming that this is just another regular case, that would mean that you need to bet $110 in order to win $100. In Super Bowl LIV, the winner was Kansas City, which won with a final score of 31:20. That means that the total number of points was 51, which was below the projected total of 53 points. So, anyone who bet on the Under won their bets, while those who believed that there would be more points than 53 in total lost.
What does it mean if the oddsmakers predict a number with a half point?
Sometimes, the oddsmakers might not choose a straightforward number such as 53 from our previous example. Instead, it is possible for them to use a half point, such as during the NBA match between L.A. Clippers and L.A. Lakers, when the total was set at 222.5.
If you see something like that, do not be alarmed. Oddsmakers often choose to use these half points for Over/Under totals for a very simple reason — to avoid the situation where the final score is exactly the same as the projected total. That way, if you want to bet on Over, you would have to choose at least 223 or a higher number, while those betting on Under would be free to select 222 or a lower number.
What if the odds for Over/Under are not the same?
In our first example, we mentioned that the odds for Over/Under are typically set at -110 for both bets. However, this is not always the case. In MLB, for example, the betting total for a match between Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers was set at 7.5. But, the Over had a vig of -120, while the under was set at +100 or EVEN money.
Such variations are common when there is a slightly higher probability of one outcome over the other. In this situation, the oddsmakers deduced that it is more likely that the final score might total 8 runs or more, but they still set their prediction at 7.5. In order to encourage bettors to bet on the less likely scenario, they changed the odds in a way that will make it more rewarding if the less likely scenario wins.
That way, bettors who are fine with taking a bet that has a greater risk would get a greater reward. So, in this specific situation, if you were to bet Over and predict 8 runs or more, you would have to wager $120 to win $100. Meanwhile, those who bet on Under, which was the less likely scenario, would win $100 if they wagered $100.
What are the payouts for Over/Under?
Previously, we mentioned that most Over/Under bets come with a vig of -110 on both options, Over and Under. This is commonly referred to as the flat rate. In other words, if you wish to win $100, you have to bet $110. In other words, the payout for every wagered $1 is about $0.91.
However, as we have seen in the MLB example, the sportsbooks might choose to change the vig in certain situations. In doing so, they entice bettors to wager more money on one side, as opposed to the other, by offering greater winnings for smaller wagers. Of course, this usually comes with increased risk.
Sportsbooks might also choose to do this if one of the bets gets a lot more money wagered than the other, simply to give bettors an incentive to bet more on the other side and eventually, make the bets on both sides equal. In the end, one of the easiest ways to calculate the payouts is to simply use the Over/Under betting calculator, which will immediately present you with the payout for a bet based on the vig.
One last detail that we wanted to cover is how the Over/Under bets are determined, as this is also commonly asked by bettors new to the gambling industry.
Essentially, as the name suggests, the oddsmakers are the ones who do it, and they do it by taking numerous factors into consideration. This goes beyond simple offensive or defensive stats of the teams that will play in the match. They even include things like the weather, which can have a major impact on the number of scores when it comes to outdoor sports. For example, in football or baseball, wind can have a very strong impact on the game.
Then, there are things like injuries, coaching plans, lineups, scheduling, home and away results, and much more. All of this is considered and measured, discussed, and finally, transformed into odds for the game, which is then presented to the bettors through the sportsbooks.
Even the bettors themselves can help impact things with the amount of money that they wager, as we mentioned previously. If more money is being wagered on the Over, sportsbooks may decide to boost the total in order to encourage betting more on the Under. Meanwhile, if more money is wagered on the Under, the opposite might happen, as it is important for the sportsbooks to keep a certain balance.
In the end, Over/Under is one of the simplest and, therefore, most popular types of bets out there. It does have certain nuances that are fairly easy to understand and take advantage of, but at the end of the day, your own prediction is what matters the most, as you will use your own expectations to select either Over or Under. That also means that you will have o do your own research in order to come up with the most precise and most likely result. Just remember that this is still gambling, and losses are just as probably as winnings. Your in-depth knowledge of the matches, the players, and alike, can be of great use, but anything can happen during the games, so keep that in mind when making bets of any kind.
Lloyd is passionate about online gambling, he lives and breathes blackjack and other table games, and he enjoys sports betting.