Totals wagers are more commonly referred to as an Over/Under bet. The name of the wager is interchangeable and both are used in sportsbooks and in the media. A totals bet is one of the easiest and most popular bets to make in the sportsbook. The only more popular bet is picking winners. Betting totals are available for most major professional sports such as football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.
In most cases, when wagering on a total the bettor is simply choosing whether the total number of points scored by both teams will be over or under the listed total of points to be scored. That’s it. The winner and loser of the game don’t matter in a totals bet. The only thing that matters with this kind of bet is the number of points (runs, goals, etc.) scored.
Before a game begins betting over or under the total points scored is usually a -110 wager. Bettors will wager $110 to win $100 for a pre-game totals bet. If bettors wager a lot more on one side of the total, the moneyline might change before the actual point total moves. At a certain point, the sportsbook will reset change the total and the moneyline will move back to -110.
Here’s a sample Total from Super Bowl 52:
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
- Over 52 (-110)
- Under 52 (-110)
The Eagles defeated the Patriots 41-33 for a total of 74 points scored. The bettors who wagered the Over side were winners since 74 points are greater than 52 points. Had a total of 51 or fewer points been scored the Under bettor would have won the bet. If exactly 52 points were scored by both teams the wager would be a push and all bets would be returned.
Like all kinds of sports betting options, totals bets have expanded. Betting a total is no longer only available for pre-game bets. There may be totals available for partial games (quarters or periods), individual teams, and during In-Play and live wagering. A partial game total might be a wager on how many points will be scored in a certain time period. Meanwhile, In-Play bets could just be an adjusted total for the entire game.
Even though Totals and Over/Under may be used interchangeably for scoring, there’s another way to make Over/Under bets. An Over/Under bet can also be a proposition bet where there’s a wager made on a specific occurrence. A boxing match is a good example since scoring isn’t quite the same as the major sports:
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor
The fight will last 9 ½ rounds
- Over (-110)
- Under (-110)
Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor by technical knockout in the 10th round and over bettors won this wager. Had either fighter won the match earlier the under would have cashed since the result would have happened in the ninth round or sooner.
Today there are Over/Under bets available for a number of sports beyond the major North American sports. Fights often have how many rounds will be complete while auto racing might have the number of laps finished by a driver. The possibilities for Over/Under wagers are prop bets are seemingly only limited by the imagination. Sportsbook operators continue to expand their betting menu with unique bets that include new Totals and Over/Under options.