Sometimes abbreviated as O/U, this type of bet is one in which a sportsbook predicts statistics in a given event, most often the total number of points or goals scored by a combination of both teams and then it us up to us to bet on whether we think the total will be higher or lower than that figure.
How to Win At Over / Under Betting
Firstly find the average numbers associated with your chosen event, calculate the probabilities and finally decide what odds are worth betting on (details below).
Betting On Totals – Over / Under
Basically we are always betting here on the total number of goals or points to be scored in a specific event. All we have here are two choices; bet over or bet under.
Basketball, football and lots of other sports are popular with over/under bettors but here we’ll use a soccer example. Typically the sportsbook will set the total at 2.5 goals in the game and because of the half point there is no draw possible.
We have a 50% chance of getting this right. If you bet over and there are 3 or more goals scored you win, if you bet under and there are 2 goals or fewer scored then again you win. Example:
Newcastle United v Chelsea
Under 2.5 Goals = 10/11
Over 2.5 Goals = 10/11
Say you put $100 on ‘under’ and the game finished 1-0, you would return $190.91 and so you would be in profit. If the game had finished 2-1 or anything above that then you lose. This gives us a very simple choice to make, usually based on whether we feel the two teams involved have solid a defense or whether all-out attack is the name of the game.
What Happens If The Result Is Neither Over or Under?
The draw is taken out of the equation with this bet in some cases, so your stake will be returned. Naturally there are plenty of other options if you would like to slightly hedge your bets, such as Asian Handicaps and the like, but in this case it’s a simple refund.
On the above example we have half points so there will always be a winner, you simply have to be over or under. But with higher scoring points games such as basketball, you may see whole points on over such as over / under 200 points and in this case the bet could finish dead-on, then it’s the refund.
When Is Over / Under Betting Best To Use?
Firstly this is a good bet to play when you are unsure of who you think will win the game. You do not want to throw your money behind a certain team because you think the game will be too close to call, however the result doesn’t matter with over / under, as long as you guess right on the points or goals total.
Soccer games featuring very attacking teams or those with bad defenses are good to bet as we can be pretty confident about the ‘over’ result, though sometimes the odds will reflect this.
Step By Step Guide To Over and Under Betting
There are some pretty simple guidelines available when thinking about taking an over / under bet and following these can give us a very fair chance of getting things right, even if we don’t consider calling ourselves expert on a certain sport:
Step 1 – Finding the Average Number of Goals per Game / League / Team
Some teams or even some individual coaches are known for conservative tactics which can keep the average goals scored per game to a minimum, but sometimes an entire league is known to be high scoring or low scoring so check out some stats on industry standard websites for that. League tables for every sport are widely available on the net.
Things change quickly too so make sure you are not using historical data going back too far. The average points scored in an NBA game in recent years may not match up to how things were 10 years ago, likewise within soccer a few coaching changes and some new players into a league can drastically change the stats over the course of a season or two.
Step 2 – Calculate Probabilities
Calculations should be made by keeping emotions out of things. To look too deeply into a current team’s set-up could be dangerous as on any given day they may over or under perform which could in turn lead to a greater or less number of points scored than we thought.
Take a look at the recent results of the team in question and take a simple average of the number of points or goals scored in their games. This gives you a good base. Do the same for the opposition and a pattern may emerge; though remember the sportsbook will have done just the same thing so you are looking to have an edge.
Say a soccer team has been averaging 3.08 goals per game of late and the bookmakers are sweet on the ‘over’, leaving the ‘under’ at good odds. Then you hear that their leading goal scorer is injured and may not make the game, you can make a fair assumption that on the balance of probabilities they are now carrying less of a goal threat and so ‘under’ becomes much more of a possibility.
Step 3 – Decide and Determine What Odds Are Worth Betting On
Perhaps having worked on the above example, you feel there may not be as many goals in the soccer game you are betting on than the sportsbook believes. Imagine ‘over 2.5 goals ‘is 17/20 and ‘under’ is 19/20. Given the vig, this essentially means the bookmakers believe there is a 51% chance of over and 49% chance of under.
The fact that your chosen team barely averages over 3 goals per game anyway and they are now missing their best player, it would seem that the ‘under’ should be up above 50% probability and so in this case we feel like we are getting good value for money, so we take the bet.
Doing even a little calculation like this and not simply leaving it to chance gives us a fair opportunity to make some profit out of over / under betting over the course of a season.