What Does Over/Under Mean? How to Bet on Totals in Texas

Fact Checked by Jeremy Botter

What's more exciting than watching high-scoring games? Well, having a bet on the over while you watch the game unfold would be nice. Let's dive into betting totals and how to get started on sports betting in Texas.

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What Does Over/Under Mean?

Over/under total bets are wagers on the points scored in an event. For example, an NFL game may have an over/under (also known as a total) set at 45 points scored. If you think the two teams involved will score more than 45 points, you bet the over; if you think they will score fewer than 45 points, you bet the under. Totals are offered for sports such as football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, and more.

How is the Over/Under Determined?

Over/under lines are set by Texas sports betting apps based on many factors, including each team's offensive and defensive metrics, advanced statistics, the weather, who's playing, the coaches, and more. For example, if the Texans are playing the Cowboys and both teams have poor defenses but good offenses, you can expect the game to have a higher total. Conversely, if two teams have great defenses and poor offenses, most sportsbooks will have a lower total.

How to Read Over/Under Odds

Over/under bets are listed with the primary betting options, such as the point spread and moneyline odds. If you are looking at the Kansas City Chiefs against the Dallas Cowboys, you will see a wagering option for the total points scored. This is the over/under. Each side should have -110 juice each way, but you may see the over by -120 while the under is +100. This means the sportsbook believes the implied probability of the game going over is higher than it going under.

How to Bet the Over/Under

If you are looking at a sporting event, say a Rockets vs. Mavericks NBA game, you will see the spread, the moneyline, and the over/under. The over under will be listed as a number, for example, 220 points, with juice on each side. The juice on totals is generally -110 on each side, but they can range from +100 to -120. Say the over/under is 220 points -110 each way. If you think more than 220 points will be scored, you bet over 220 at -110. Conversely, if you think fewer points will be scored, you bet under 220 -110. If the game lands at 220 exactly, you are initially refunded the amount you bet.

What is the Payout on an Over/Under Bet?

The vig on the side determines the payout on an over/under bet. A sportsbook takes a tax for taking a bet. If you bet a total at -110, the standard juice, you would need to bet $110 to win $100.

Types of Over/Under Totals Bets

There are multiple types of over/under bets at multiple sportsbooks. There are total points scored bets on each quarter/inning/period, each half of each event, and finally, the entire game.

Standard Over/Under Totals Betting

Standard over/under total points scored bets are as we described earlier. The standard total could be set in a football game at 44.5 points. Since there is half a point, there is no opportunity to push. Bettors can wager that the game will go under 44.5 points or over 44.5 points. If the outcome lands under and you have an under bet, you win and make money.

Team Over/Under Totals Betting

Another way to bet on totals is the team total market. A team total bet is a wager on the amount of points one team scores in an event. It is important to ensure there is a small difference in the total for the full game compared to one team's. If you think one team will score more points than the listed team total, bet the over, and vice versa.

Alternative Over/Under Totals Betting

Not only do events have a standard over-under, but sports also have alternative total bets. These alt lines will have better odds if you like a game with a high total to go over the set total and vice versa. For example, if a football game has a total set at 50 but could go over 60, you can get much better odds by betting the alternative total. On the other hand, if you think there will be a lot of points scored, but you think 50 is too high, you can pay more juice to bet an alt total at 48 points instead.

Quarter or Period Over/Under Totals Betting

MLB, NBA, NFL, NCCAF, and NHL events also have total bets for individual innings/periods/quarters. You can bet if you think the Knicks and Celtics will combine for over 50 points in the first quarter of an NBA game. You can also bet if you think the Astros and Rangers will score less than four runs in the first five innings of an MLB game. These markets exist in most online sportsbooks.

Halftime Over/Under Totals Betting

In football games, basketball games, and soccer games, sportsbooks will release second-half totals for these sports when it reaches halftime. For example, in an NBA game, when halftime hits, sportsbooks will offer second-half lines during the 10-minute halftime. If you expect more scoring than in the first half, this could be a great opportunity to bet the second half over.

Prop Over/Under Totals Betting

Prop bets are among the most popular bet types, and prop bets have over/under as well. Prop bets can be broken down into game props and player props. Player props are when you bet on if a player will go over or under a specified stat line. Game props are betting on things like the time of the national anthem in the Super Bowl. Still, both wagers are based on an over/under.

Key Factors to Consider in Over/Under Totals Betting

Over/under betting is a challenging task - sportsbooks have many resources, and many factors are included in the lines they set. Here are some bare minimum aspects to consider when betting on a total.

Team Offense and Defense

When looking at a total bet, one of the first things to consider is how each team performs on offense and defense. If two teams are adept at the passing game in football and have poor passing defenses, the over may be worth a look. With that being said, the sportsbook also knows which teams are good and bad at offense and defense, so these metrics will already be included in the number oddsmakers set.

Injuries and Absences

Injuries and absences are key in betting totals, especially in sports like football, basketball, and baseball. In certain situations, this is a huge factor. If Patrick Mahomes is going to miss a Kansas City Chiefs game, odds are the Chiefs are going to score fewer points than they would will Mahomes. Finding out who is playing and who is not before a sportsbook moves the line is a great way to make money by betting on totals.

Recent Performance

When considering which side to bet on an over/under, understanding each team's form is critical. You should only bet on recent performance because statistical regression must be addressed. Still, a totals line could be set lower or higher based on how each time is doing now, so it could be an opportunity to fade a higher line if you think the sportsbook over-adjusted their total to recent performance. This is a great place to start for new bettors.

Historical Matchups

Understanding historical matchups is a place to start, but this is not an end all be all. For example, if you are looking at historical matchups in NFL games, but the QBs or coaches in the current game are different, the historical data is irrelevant. I think historical matchups can give you an idea about how teams play each other. Still, of all factors to consider, I'd encourage you to dive deeper than basing a wager solely on historical matchups.

Weather Conditions

In outdoor sports, the weather can dramatically change the total, and it is not a stretch to say that the weather is one of the most important factors in betting totals in sports like football and baseball. If winds are howling in baseball or football, odds are there will be a lot fewer points/runs scored. Beating the sportsbooks to this information is a way to gain a massive edge.

Advanced Strategies for Over/Under Totals Betting

As I mentioned earlier, betting totals is not a walk in the park. Before we went over some basic things to consider, below are more intricate things to keep on your radar when betting totals.

Line Movement Analysis

Sportsbooks do not move lines for fun. They move lines when sharp customers place limit bets on a side. For example, if the total in the Super Bowl is 50 at open, but by game time, it is 47, this is not an accident. This means sharp sports bettors are betting the under, so sportsbooks adjusted their numbers. This does not mean to bet the under blindly, but monitoring this information gives you valuable insight into how the market views this specific total.

Identifying Value

In most cases, the sportsbooks will have more information than you do. A simple way to identify value and get an edge is to have access to multiple different sportsbooks. Betting a game at even money instead of -110 will save you money on losses over time. Also, getting a half point on a total increases your chances of making money on that specific bet.

In-Play Betting

Another way to get an edge in major sports is by betting totals live. In sports betting, you can get down on a totals bet while the event occurs. If you think a high-scoring first quarter is a fluke, and the sportsbook has the live total set too high, this is a great opportunity to bet the under and vice versa.

Betting Against the Public

This is easier said than done, but trying to zig while the public is zagging is generally a good way to go about being a bettor. In sports betting, the public is the vast majority of people who bet without an edge. If you see your entire Twitter timeline talking about betting the over in a hockey game, but the line moved toward the under, the under is probably the sharp side, and betting the under would be against the public.

Utilizing Advanced Metrics

Utilizing advanced metrics is another great starting point. For example, you must catch up to the times if you are betting on baseball and still using basic boxscore stats like ERA, WHIP, batting average, and OPS. Sportsbooks also have access to these advanced metrics, and they are priced in the total, so there is not a huge edge to be found by looking at solely advanced metrics. That said, understanding these statistics is more crucial than basic metrics.

Top Sports for Over/Under Totals Betting

NFL Totals Betting

The NFL is the most popular sport in America, and who doesn't love a shootout? If you love high-scoring games, and you think two teams are poised to put up a lot of points, you would bet on the over. If you see the weather is supposed to be bad in an outdoor game and both teams have poor offenses in the first place, there could be money to be made betting the under.

NBA Totals Betting

Betting on an NBA total is another popular way to bet. If you think a total is set too low, you bet the under, and if more points are scored than the total, you win your bet. On the other hand, if two teams with bad offenses play, you would win your bet if you bet the under and the game goes under.

MLB Totals Betting

Betting on MLB totals is a wager on the combined runs scored by both teams in the game. For example, if a total is set at eight runs, if you bet the over, you need nine or more runs scored to win, and if you bet the under, you need seven or fewer runs scored to win. Baseball is among many low-scoring sports, so totals generally do not exceed 12 runs.

NHL Totals Betting

The NHL is one of many low-scoring sports, but betting on totals in the NHL is still very common. An NHL total consists of the combined goals scored by both teams in the event. If you think the combined points scored by both teams should be under the set total, you bet the under, and vice versa.

Get Started Betting Over/Under Totals in Texas

Over/under betting has existed for as long as betting has existed, and it's a great way to get involved in betting action. Betting totals is difficult, so we highly recommend you look at all the aforementioned strategies in this piece. By understanding advanced metrics, tracking who's playing, and keeping up to date on the weather, there are a lot of edges to be found when betting on totals.

Once betting is live, we also recommend taking advantage of the many Texas sportsbook promos that will be available to maximize your totals wagers. 

Texas Sports Betting Over/Under FAQ


Eric Pauly

Eric Pauly focuses his time on reviewing the top sportsbooks and casinos in the world to ensure gamers and bettors know exactly what they are getting when they sign up to a new site or download a new betting app. Eric also loves sports betting and considers himself an avid sports bettor, despite handicapping not being his core focus.

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