What is a Total or Over/Under in a Sports Betting Event?
The total is the combined scores of both teams involved in an event. Totals are posted on the betting board for all the major sports at Las Vegas and online sportsbooks. Sportsbook’s juice or also known in sports betting terms as vigorish, vig or commission is 10%. That explains what the –110 you see on a sports book betting sheet next to the totals sports betting option. Totals can be used in teaser bets and in parlays at both Las Vegas sportsbooks and online gambling establishments.
Rather than betting on which team will win the event, you can bet on whether the game will go over (o) or under (u) the specified amount – which is why this type of line is also known as an over/under. The NFL receives the most bets at sportsbook casinos. Professional gamblers follow the best practices when betting totals from the NFL. Sports bettors take into account the strength of each teams offense and defense when betting a total. They look for matchups and how one team may exploit the others weakness for opportunities to score. For example a good passing team may face a team with poor pass defense and bettors will look first at playing over the total. But if that good passing team faces a strong pass defense the good passing team may have to run the ball more which creates less plays from scrimmage in the game and a better chance for the game falling under the total. Weather is a huge factor in both college and pro football when betting a total. You often see huge line movement moving under the total when bad weather is forecasted at game time at the site of the game. Wind plays a huge factor in the passing game as it takes away the deep pass for the offense. Wind will force teams to throw short and run more. When the deep pass is taking away from offenses because of bad weather many sports betting professionals will look to play under the total because it will take longer for teams to score on each offensive drive under these conditions. The best practice for professional gamblers when handicapping is checking the weather forecast for every NFL and College Football game.
When betting totals in major league baseball professionals look at starting pitching. Pitching plays an important role in baseball. Bettors often track pitchers current form and many sharp betting professionals always look to bet under when there is a matchup between two starting pitchers in excellent form. It’s also important to track the ballparks because in baseball the stadium configuration varies from team to team. Some ballparks are configured to aid the pitchers and some for scoring. Sports bettors follow the best practice of handicapping the ballpark.
Let’s look at how an NFL betting total is graded at a Las Vegas or online sportsbook when a sports bettor places a bet. For example, suppose the total for the game between the New York Giants and the St Louis Rams is listed as 46. If the Giants end up winning 27-20, the final combined score is 47. If you bet over, you would win. If the final combined score matches the total (in this example, if the combined score is exactly 46), the wager will be graded “Push” and your money will be refunded. Again, how much you stand to win is determined by the moneyline odds attached to the over or under. Most total money odds are set at –110. A sports bettor who bets on a total must bet $11 to win $10. So a winning totals bet would return $11 plus the $10 that you bet for $21. A loss and you would lose your $11 bet. If the combined scores of both teams lands exactly on the posted betting total you will be given a full refund of your $11 bet.