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Comprehensive Guide On Sportsbook Over/Under Totals

Within the Las Vegas Sportsbooks, the most popular wager is spread line bets on basketball and football. Although, this doesn’t mean you should discount the power of over/ under bets. 

In every sportsbook on the Strip, college and NFL football is the biggest moneymaker. Here, football spread line wagering is chased by ATS wagers on college basketball games and NBA. This is the same for almost every individual and online sportsbook, too. 

Without the pursuit of betting action, sportsbooks would essentially wither and fade out of existence. That being said, there is a significant difference between succeeding and surviving, too. 

While some sportsbooks can use ATS actions as a means to survive, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll succeed. For instance, for sportsbooks to survive in the long run, they’ll need a good mixture of both over/under action and ATS action. 

This is otherwise known as total wagering, handicappers are required to wager over/ under wagers to go above or below a specific amount of points. 

With this in mind, this article will explore everything you need to know about over/ under wagers, as well as how online sportsbooks, vegas books, pay per head agents, and individual bookies make a profit from these procedures. 

What Does Over/ Under Mean?

If you’ve never come across the term over/ under goals, then they may seem slightly confusing at first. This is chiefly due to the fact that there are ‘half a goal markets’, too. 

Various bookmakers, including Betfair and Paddy Power, allow you to bet on over/ under goals. Essentially, here, you are placing bets on whether there will be more or less than a certain amount of goals. 

For instance, the most popular over/ under goal to bet on is the 2.5 goals, although you have the option to bet on other numbers, too. 

Below, we have explained some of those markets and what they mean. 

  • Under 0.5 goals – Here you’re betting there are going to be zero goals. 
  • Over 0.5 goals – Here you’re betting there are going to be 1 or more goals. 
  • Under 1.5 goals – Here you’re betting there are going to be under 2 goals.
  • Over 1.5 goals – Here you’re betting there are going to be 2 or more goals. 
  • Under 2.5 goals – Here you’re betting there are going to be under 3 goals. 
  • Over 2.5 goals – Here you’re betting there are going to be 3 or more goals. 
  • Under 3.5 goals – Here you’re betting there are going to be under 4 goals. 
  • Over 3.5 – Here you’re betting there are going to be 4 or more goals. 

Profiting From Over/ Under Wagers

Now that we have determined what an over/ under wager is, we will now look at all the bookie tips for succeeding in over/ under wagers. 

College Basketball & NBA Over/ Under Totals

If you weren’t previously aware, basketball games account for the second most popular over/ under total wagers. Thus, it is only natural that basketball games are only going to have more totals than football games.

Here, NBA games account for much higher totals than college basketball games. 

In college basketball games, you can expect the highest total to reach something around 170. Therefore, this score of 170 would suggest that both teams score a total of 85 points.

During the 2019-2020 NCAAB Season, the highest-scoring college hoops squad was Gonzaga. 

Here, they received an average of approximately 88.6 per. This is a 5-point drop from the second-highest-scoring team: the Dukes, at 83.4. 

From here, the points only go down. In college games, they only offer a total of 130 over/underscores. This is chiefly due to the tighter rules that surround college games as opposed to NBA teams. 

In NBA teams, it is normal to see something exceeding 200, and, thus, it is rare for anything to fall below it. 

Sportsbook App Over/Under Totals

College & NFL Football Over/ Under Totals

Most sports betters based in the United States will wager on college and NFL football games. For booties based in the U.S., NFL games are the ones to ensure the most over/ under wagering action. In close second is college football. 

To get players to wager over or under football totals, bookmakers aren’t allowed to provide any sort of encouragement to achieve this. After against-the-spread bets, this type of wagering is the second most popular. 

The different over/ under totals range from 34 to 55 in the NFL. That said, for college football games, these over/ under totals can range between 42 to over 60 – with half a point added to totals sometimes, too. 

MLB Over/ Under Totals 

Similar to NHL totals, Major League Baseball is also on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of scores. That being said, they are typically higher than hockey over/ under totals. 

During a 2019 match, the New York Yankees managed to average 5.8 runs per match. When set up against an opponent that is lacking good pitching, the Yankees often provided per head bookies with totals exceeding 9. 

Hence, totals are often set by oddsmakers based on games featuring good pitching as opposed to batting. When two great teams come face-to-face against each other, you will generally see a total of 5 ½ to 6 1/2. 

NHL Over/ Under Totals

When it comes to hockey totals, these are much different from football and basketball ones. During football, on every touchdown, teams can receive 6 points.

During basketball, on every possession, you can score 2 or 3 points. However, in the NHL, the scoring is much tougher. 

During the 2019/2020 season, the highest-scoring team in the National Hockey League was the Tampa Bay Lightning – scoring an average of 3.9 goals per game. In the 2019-2020 season, only 11 other teams in the league averaged 3.0 or more goals per match. 

Therefore, when it comes to NHL over/ under totals they generally range from between 4 ½ to 6 ½ goals. Sometimes, a bookie may experience a 6 to 8-goal total, however, these are extremely rare. 

Soccer Over/ Under Totals

Soccer games are also a way for sports bettors to play over/ under totals, too. That being said, these over/ under totals tend to be much smaller than the ones found in hockey. 

For instance, if a team were to gain three goals – this would be remarkable! During the 202 Champions League match against Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, the match was a total of 2 ½ produced. 

In a Champions League match in 2020, the total between Tottenham versus Leipzig was 3. 

In the same year, the Champions League – which saw no quarter-finals – saw a goal total of over 3. 

In some instances, the goal total had the ability to rise to 4 or even 4 ½. However, this never generally happens. 

Although, when it does happen, it is the result of one team being much better than the other. 

How Profits Are Wagered From Vegas?

If you’re familiar with ATS wagers, Vegas over/ under wager profits work in a similar fashion.  Here, there are two methods that Vegan sportsbooks use to make profits, these include: the inflated rate over/ under and the balance of the book method. 

With this in mind, below, we have outlined these two popular methods. 

Inflated Rate Bookie Method

The term ‘inflated rate’ is something that originated in the financial industry. Generally, in finance, the term is used to talk about bubbles. For instance, it can be used to describe an inflated interest rate on homes that have been purchased in a particular year. 

However, bubbles tend to burst. So, what happens here?

Well, in the sports betting industry, a bubble burst the same way it would in the financial markets. Typically, you’ll see these bubbles burst in spread wagers, but they can also burst from over/ under wagers, too. An example of this would be in the 2020 NBA game on February 3rd. 

This was highlighted in a match between L.A. Clippers and San Antonio Spurs. Here, the San Antonio Spurs averaged between 114 and 115 points per.

The Spurs allowed 114 to 115 points on average. On the other hand, the points earned on average by the clippers were over 115 points per. 

Here, the over/ under total was set at 228 by oddsmakers. This total would assume that both teams are able to achieve 114 points.

As such, it was assumed that if the Spurs weren’t to score 114 points, then the Clippers would knock them out of the park. The spread was set by the oddsmakers to see the clippers at -9. 

Therefore, no matter the outcome, it was assumed by betters that the total would exceed the 228 thresholds. This is likely to happen due to a bubble forming over the total.

Thus, it went from 228 to 229 ½. You may be wondering, what happened? Well, the bubble burst. As a result, the Clippers beat San Antonio 108-105. 

While the Clippers ensured less than 110 per, the bookies generally allowed the bubble to form. It can even be assumed that the bookies added the ½ point to make it aligned with the inflated rate. 

That being said, most sportsbooks try to keep the amount of action the same on both sides to ensure the bookie’s fee is protected. 

However, if a bubble were to form over a single side of a spread, those cunning bookies have a chance to make a risky shot. The key to making maximum profits here is to know when to and when to not take this shot. 

Sportsbook Software

Balance The Book

When it comes to sportsbooks, most of the time the goal is to even the money out on both sides for the wager. For instance, if Team A were given a $1,000 bet which covers -6 ½, the sportsbook’s role is to change Team A’s odds for Team B to attract more wagers. 

Here, the odds change from ½ a point to a full point, sometimes it can even go up to 2 points. This is all dependent on how much ‘action’ is taking place, whether the book has already reached Team B or the betting dollars.

Essentially, the more action Team B receives, the fewer odds will have to be changed on Team A. 

Once both sides receive equal amounts of action on the spread, the bookies are able to rest easy. Here, no matter which team is covered, the bookies can keep the juice, bookie fee, and profit. 

If there were to be a $1,000 wager, the bookie fee would contribute $100, with no less than $50. Here, bookie fees contribute to the sport – making it all the more lucrative. 

When it comes to balancing the books for an over/ under total wager, it is a similar process to spreading bets. While there are some differences, it mostly remains the same. That said, spread betting isn’t applicable to hockey, soccer, or baseball games. 

Spread betting is sometimes a term used to discuss the puck line, run line, or goal line wagering. Here, the actual term used to describe these wagers are ‘handicap bets’. 

Unlike other sports, handicap betting doesn’t follow the general 10% bookie fee rule. This is similar to over/ under betting on hockey, soccer, and baseball. 

If you’re looking for the best method to handle over/ under betting within the 3 different sports, then your best option is to do nothing.

This is because unlike the totals found on basketball and football games, the cost of investment on a handicap bet will almost always lead to a book balance. 

Types Of Per Head Tools For Over/ Under Profit

Pr head tools provide bookies with the resources to make all kinds of profits, including ones from wagers and over/ under bets. Below, we have outlined the three best tools. 

Line Mover

Using the Spurs-Clippers example, during the match bookmakers added ½ a point to the over/ under and used a line mover to achieve this. When the bookies added ½ a point to the 229 odds, they were, in fact, achieving two things. 

Firstly, they made it possible to ensure that they didn’t have to refund wagers. Secondly, they inflated the bubble, as a result. 

Once the rate hit 228, the bubble was already inflated. We know this because the odds were given to the Clippers at -9. To ensure a cover, the Spurs would have to beat them with ease.

Moreover, once the rate rose to 229, the bubble became more inflated. Then, to make matters worse, and inflate it even more, the bookies added another ½ point. 

In these instances, it is ideal for individual bookies to add half a point since it ensures that they don’t have to refund any wagers. When looking at the case of the Clippers vs. the Spurs, the bubble was inflated on purpose for an added bonus. 

Layoff Account

Similar to the spread bets, when it comes to managing your over/ under bets, your most important tool is the layoff account. 

Here, the layoff account ensures that money remains on both sides of the account. Since both sides are equal with money, the bookie is able to pocket the juice or vig.

Plus, since there is only a 10% fee on the over/ under wagers, then the bookies can achieve lots of profits by keeping the fee. 

However, keep in mind that overuse of the layoff account means that the inflated rate bookie method is destroyed. Plus, overuse of this particular tool means that profit can be ‘left on the table’. 

The Interface Of Live Betting – Over/ Under Total Profit Boosters

If you’re looking to increase profits on over/ under total bets, then live betting can help you achieve this. While a game is taking place, players are able to make wagers. 

On live bets, bookies’ fees tend to be higher, this means that pay-per-head agents contribute even more money on live wagering. Below, we have outlined some reasons why agents should encourage live wagering. 

  • Various live events can help encourage players to place bets on differing sports instead of just their chosen one. 
  • With a longer player activity, it means there is a higher chance of wagers, too. 
  • More live bets and market options are available than ever before. 
  • Pay per head agents have more branding. 

When it comes to live bet wagering, one notable figure in the scene is in Vegas. Here, individual sportsbook owners are required to offer live bet options, too. Here, we’ll use the Super Bowl 54 example to highlight how powerful this can be.

In the second half of the match, the 49ers developed more and more momentum. Here, San Francisco achieved 20-19 against the Chiefs. With less than 7 minutes in the game, the NFC Champions carried this advantage over. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to making the most out of your sportsbook, there are a few tips and secrets to help you achieve this and make the ultimate profit. 

However, keep in mind that different leagues of sports have different over/ under totals, and what may seem like a lot for one sport isn’t much for another. For instance, hockey and basketball have completely different totals. 

Hopefully, this guide has informed you of everything you need to know about over/ under totals – to help you make informed decisions.