How To Bet Totals

The totals bet is very popular these days and in this bet you are now wagering on a team to win or lose, but rather if the total points or goals scored by a team is over or under the posted total. This is also the reason a totals bet is also referred to as betting the Over/Under, as those are the 2 choices you have. The 2 most popular totals bets are for football and basketball, but they also have totals for hockey, baseball, and soccer.

One of the advantages of the totals bet is that it is so simple to understand. The sportsbook will offer a totals number for a game that they think will be the total number of points scored by both teams. You can then wager if you think the total number of points will be under the posted total or under the posted total.

Here is an example of a totals bet for football:

Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys – 42

As you can see the posted total for this game is 42. If you bet on the Over the total number of points in the game has to be 43 or more points and if you bet the under the total number of points has to be 41 or under. It is that simple. Let’s say you bet the over and the score of the game is Redskins 24 Cowboys 21. You will win this bet, as 24+21 = 45, which is Over the posted total of 42. Conversely, if you bet the Under and the score is 24-21 you will lose. It’s that easy.

One thing you should know about is the tie in the totals bet. Let’s say you bet the Over in the Redskins vs. Cowboys game and the Redskins win 26-16. The total of the game is 42 and since it is the same as the posted total the bet would be a push, so you would win your original bet back. For this reason many sportsbooks will put a .5 after the total so there is not chance of a tie. You will see a totals number such as 43.5. Since there is no way a team can score a ½ point the push in the bet is taken out of the equation.

Typically for games in the NFL the sportsbooks will put the total from 32-52 points and for the college game from 30-70 points. For NBA basketball games the posted total tends to be from 190-210 points and for NCAA basketball games the total will tend to be from 120-150.

There are totals bets for baseball, soccer, and hockey and in these totals bets you are betting on the Over/Under on a certain amount of runs or a certain amount of goals.

Here are some examples of a baseball, hockey, and soccer totals bet.

Baseball

Yankees vs. Red Sox 9.5 runs – You are betting the Over or Under if there will be a total of 9 (Under) or 10+ (Over) runs scored in the game.

Hockey

Bruins vs. Red Wings 5.5 goals – You are betting the Over or Under if there will be a total of 5 (Under) or 6+ (Over) goals scored in the game.

Soccer

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid 2.5 goals – You are betting the Over or Under if there will be a total of 2 (Under) or 3+ (Over) goals scored in the game.

Many times the soccer total will always be at 2.5 goals, but there will be different odds for the Over or Under bet. In the football, basketball, hockey, and baseball totals bet the payout will always be around 1-1.