Betting Strategies
30.05.2023, 08:09
20.05.2024, 11:13

Over-Under Bet: Exploring the Definition, Types, and Examples of this Popular Wager

An over-under bet, or total bet, is a popular type of wager in sports betting. It involves predicting whether a specific statistic for a game will be higher or lower than a predetermined value. The most common application of this bet is predicting two teams' combined scores in a match.

Exploring the Definition, Types, and Examples of this Popular Wager

Bettors can wager on whether the total number of points scored will exceed or fall short of a set value, known as the "over-under" for that particular game. If the bettor's prediction is correct, they win the bet. If the actual number matches the over-under precisely, it results in a push, and all bets are refunded.

Key Takeaways: Mastering Over-Under Bets

  • An over-under bet, also known as a total bet, involves predicting whether a specific statistic for a game will be higher or lower than a quoted value.
  • The most common type of over-under bet is based on the combined score of two teams in a match.
  • When placing an over-under bet, it's essential to consider the odds or vigorish (vig) set by the sportsbook, as it affects the potential payout.
  • It's important to understand that gambling always carries a negative expected return, meaning the house has the advantage.
  • However, by employing careful analysis, strategy, and responsible betting practices, bettors can make informed decisions and potentially achieve positive outcomes.

What Is an Over-Under Bet?

Over-under bets, also known as totals or O-U bets, are a popular type of wager in sports betting. They involve predicting whether the actual number of a specific statistic in a game will be higher or lower than a set value determined by the sportsbook. This is commonly applied to the total points scored in a game, but it can also be used for other statistics like rushing yards, assists, or home runs.

What Is an Over-Under Bet?


For example, if the total points set for a football game is 54 and you believe the defensive strength of the teams will limit scoring, you would place an underbet. If the final score results in a total of 44 points, your bet will be successful. However, your bet will be unsuccessful if the score exceeds the set value, such as 58 points.

In the event that the final score matches the set value exactly, it is called a push, and all bets are refunded. Over-under bets are popular among beginners because they offer a simple and intuitive way to engage in sports gambling. They are one of the most popular wagering options, alongside point spreads and money lines.

Over-under bets allow bettors to have a rooting interest in all aspects of the game by deciding whether the outcome will be over or under a specified number of points or statistics. While they can relate to various statistics, the total points scored are the most commonly referred to in sports discussions.

Understanding Over-Under Bets

Sportsbooks employ various strategies to set the over-under for a game and aim to balance the betting action on both sides. They rely on pace and efficiency to predict the most likely value for the over-under. These predictions are not fixed and can change based on betting patterns and the influence of sharp bettors.

Understanding Over-Under Bets

In addition to setting the over-under, sportsbooks establish the vigorish or vig, representing their commission on the bets. Typically, the vig is set at 10%, resulting in both outcomes being quoted at -110 in American odds format. This means bettors must risk ₦110 to win ₦100. If the betting action is evenly distributed on both sides, the losers' wagers are used to pay the winners, and the sportsbook retains a 5% profit.

The sportsbook aims to create a balanced book where they are guaranteed to make a profit regardless of the outcome. Sportsbooks ensure they can effectively manage their risk and generate revenue by adjusting the odds and managing the betting action.

When there is an imbalance in the number of bets on the over and under for an over-under bet, sportsbooks have two strategies to even out the numbers:

  1. Change the over-under value: If there are too many bets on the over, the sportsbook may adjust the over-under value to encourage more bets. For example, if the original value was set at 45 and there is an influx of over bets, the value might be adjusted to 46 to entice bettors to take the under.
  2. Change the odds: Another strategy is to modify the odds. The sportsbook can lower the odds on the under and raise the odds on the over. By offering more favourable odds on one side, they aim to attract bettors to choose the under.

Regarding payouts, over-under bets follow a similar principle to point-spread bets. The sportsbook takes its commission, the vig or juice, from the total wagered amount. The remaining funds are then distributed as payouts to the winners.

It's essential to pay attention to the odds (vig) when placing an over-under bet, as they impact the potential payout. Understanding the vig allows bettors to assess how much of their winnings will be deducted by the sportsbook and make more informed betting decisions.

Over-Under Bet: A Precise Example

Let's consider a fictional example of a Yankees-Red Sox game with an initial over-under set at 8 points and a vigorish of 10%.

If you place a bet on the over or under, you would be betting ₦1.10 to win ₦1, representing -110 odds. Correctly predicting whether the total points scored will be less or more than 8 will result in a win. The same ratio applies to all bets, so an ₦11 bet would yield a ₦10 win, a ₦55 bet would yield a ₦50 win, and a ₦110 bet would yield a ₦100 win.

In some instances, the odds may be adjusted to reflect the sportsbook's game projection. For instance, if the total is set at 8.5 points but the sportsbook's projection leans closer to 9, they may set the over at -120 and the under at +100. This means that those betting on the over would need to risk ₦1.2 to win ₦1, while those betting on the under would risk ₦1 to win ₦1. If the Red Sox win 5-3, the under-bettors will win, but if they win 6-3, the over-bettors will win.


How does an over-under bet work?

In an over-under bet, the bookmaker sets a specific number (total) representing the game's combined score or other specified metric. Bettors then wager on whether the actual total will be higher (over) or lower (under) than the set number.

What sports can over-under bets be placed on?

Over-under bets can be placed on various sports, including football (soccer), basketball, American football, hockey, tennis, and more. The availability of over-under markets may vary depending on the sport and the specific game.

What is the significance of the set number in over-under bets?

The set number, or the total or the line, is the benchmark to determine whether the combined score or metric will be higher or lower. Bettors must predict if the total exceeds or falls below this set number.

Are over-under bets limited to the final score of a game?

No, over-under bets can be placed on various metrics depending on the sport. For example, in football, it can be the total number of goals scored, while in basketball, it can be the total number of points or rebounds. Different sports have different metrics for over-under bets.

What happens if the total exactly matches the set number?

If the total exactly matches the set number, it is called a push or a tie, depending on the sportsbook. The bet is considered void in this case, and the bettor's stake is returned.

How are over-under odds determined?

The odds for over-under bets are determined by the bookmaker based on various factors, including team performance, player statistics, historical trends, and general betting patterns. The odds reflect the bookmaker's estimation of the likelihood of the total exceeding or staying below the set number.

What strategies can be used for over-under bets?

Strategies for over-under bets involve analysing team strengths, offensive and defensive capabilities, playing style, weather conditions, and recent trends. Understanding these factors helps bettors make more informed predictions and find value in the over-under markets.


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