What is a totals bet?


4 min read

If you’ve never heard of a totals bet before, you might know it better as an over/under bet. In a totals bet, you try to predict the combined total points that both teams will score in a game. Essentially, the sportsbook or online betting site will set a figure for the total points, and bettors can decide whether the total score will be over or under that number. A totals bet is one of the more simple bets you can take, but having extensive knowledge on both teams can help increase your chances of winning the bet.

Totals bets can be placed on individual games, but they can also be part of parlays, allowing you to combine multiple bets for larger payouts.

What is an example of a totals bet?

To better illustrate a totals bet, here is an example using the most recent Super Bowl featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. Although we now know the outcome and score of that game, but let’s pretend we didn’t and your favorite sportsbook set the total points at 70.5. Since the final score of Super Bowl LVII was 38 (Chiefs) to 35 (Eagles), the total combined score was 73. If you took the over, you would have won the bet. If you took the under, you would have lost the bet. Pretty straightforward, right?

How does the payout work for totals bets?

The payout for totals bets will depend on the odds that are set by the sportsbook. Continuing with our above example, say one sportsbook set -110 odds for both over 70.5 points and under 70.5 points. That would mean you would need to bet $110 to win $100 for either the over or the under. Not every totals bet will have the same odds for over and under, as sportsbooks sometimes adjust them to balance the bets or account for other factors like weather or injuries.

Who should wager on totals bets?

Totals bets appeal to bettors who enjoy analyzing game statistics and making predictions on the overall performance for each of the teams. Totals bets are also good for casual bettors, as it ultimately doesn’t matter which team wins or loses — just the combined score of the game. So they’re a great wager to make if you don’t have a preferred team in a specific game.

What happens if a game goes to overtime?

Most totals bets will include overtime, although exceptions may apply. Therefore, before you place a wager on a totals bet, make sure you know what happens if the game goes to overtime.

What happens if the final score is exactly the same as the line?

If the final combined score of the game is the exact same as the set total, then the totals bet is considered a push. That means no one wins the bet and your original wager will be refunded. This is one of the primary reasons you will see a half-point in the set total, to help prevent a push from occurring.

Can I just bet on a single team instead?

You can bet on totals for individual teams in a totals bet — these wagers are called a “team total” bet. You might also known them as an individual team over/under bet. In these wagers, you bet on whether an individual team’s score at the end of the game will be over or under the value set by the sportsbook.

Can I place live or in-game totals bets online?

If you find an online betting site or sportsbook that allows live or in-game totals bets, then, yes you can. Live or in-game totals bets means you don’t have to place the bet prior to the game starting, but keep in mind that sportsbooks will often update the totals line in real-time based on what’s happening during the game. Look for an online sports betting site that offers live betting if you are interested in placing live or in-game totals bets.

Are there any strategies for betting on totals bets?

Like all forms of wagers, it’s essential to conduct thorough your research and analyze statistics prior to placing a bet. Gathering as much information as you have time to research will help you make a more informed decision on your wager instead of blindly betting — although that can be fun too, so long as it’s controlled. If you are planning to place a totals bet, just make sure you account for any external factors including injuries or weather. For example, if it’s snowing or raining, for example, there’s a good chance it will be a low-scoring game.

What are half-time totals bets?

Some sportsbooks will offer what’s called half-time totals bets, allowing bettors to place a wager on the combined score of both teams at the end of the first half of a game. It’s a variation of a totals bet and you can use information to your advantage. For example, a key offensive player on a team may be suspended for the first half of a game, which might lead you to believe it’ll be a low scoring first half.

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