Overs/Unders Betting Explained

Written by: Alex Windsor
Fact checked by Brian Webb  
Updated: June 13, 2024

The Over/Unders, often referred to as “totals”, is a remarkably popular type of sports betting where punters have to predict whether the outcome will be higher (over) or lower (under) than the designated threshold.

This broad term encompasses a range of events in the grand world of sports; you can place totals on match results, total goals, or various other props. Moreover, it is possible to place Over/Under bets for scores in specific segments of the game (e.g. first-half totals, or first-quarter totals), just like you can bet on specific players to score points above or below the bar.

In this betting guide, we will break down every aspect of Over/Unders, give you a few tips on how to identify the best totals and provide a few examples to illustrate how this form of betting works.

Over/Unders in Popular Sports Betting Categories

One of the unique points about Over/Unders is that each sports category typically features different configurations of totals. What may be over/under “goals” in football might be over/under “runs” in baseball, or “points” in basketball.

Below is a list of some of the most prominent sports categories and over/unders that are typically listed at UK-friendly online bookies, so let’s start from the top.

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Football O/U

Football O/U

Football is ideal for totals betting because of how volatile matches can get – a game can see anywhere from zero to over 6+ goals on either end, and every match is divided into two halves, allowing you to place over/unders on the match result or total goals for each segment, or at the end of the game.

And then we have “combo totals”, which feature two linked conditions. For example, the trendiest option is “Match Result + Total Goals Over/Under”, where both conditions must be correctly predicted. The highest odds are typically listed for “draws” where the total score exceeds at least one goal.

Basketball O/U

Basketball O/U

The action-packed dynamics of basketball make it extremely suitable for over/under betting since over 100+ points are typically scored in an average game. This means that most bookies will list numerous totals with different odds depending on how intense they believe the match will become.

For example, if major rivals are about to clash in a highly anticipated tournament, you may see odds of 1.90 for the favourite to score over 110.5+ and 1.76 for over 111.5. Similar to football totals, bookies will configure their basketball over/unders in increments of 0.5 to guarantee totals will either win or lose by eliminating draws.

Baseball O/U

Baseball O/U

Roughly five runs are scored on average in most baseball games, but anything may happen in this complex sport. A team that averaged 7+ runs for 3 games in a row may stumble on their next one, just like yesterday’s underdogs may beat the odds and climb out of a lengthy <4 streak.

Betting over/unders in baseball is as simple as in football, although you may see far more diverse extremes in terms of odds and prices depending on where you’re putting your stake.

Combat Sports O/U

Combat Sports O/U

There are points in boxing and karate, but in sports like MMA, there are only winners and losers, so how do you bet over/unders in combat sports?

Instead of points, bookmakers saw an opportunity to list odds for total rounds. Regardless of how the match ends, you’ll be betting your totals on how long it will last. Boxing in particular tends to have matches spanning upwards of 10+ rounds, so you will almost always have at least 5-6 options with different odds.

Tennis O/U

Tennis O/U

Tennis is another sports category suitable for over/unders. Typically, punters can wager on total games overall and over/under games in any of the three sets. The unpredictability of high-profile matches can lead to some very lucrative odds at prominent bookies, so feel free to use our guides to find the best opportunities.

Player Props Over/Unders

This is a subcategory of totals focused on individual players rather than team performance. Player totals are, obviously, only available in team sports such as football and basketball, and not all bookmakers support this type of betting.

The basic concept is the same as with “regular” totals – you only have to predict whether your chosen player will score more or fewer points, runs, goals, or points than what your bookie listed.

Baseball is particularly interesting for player-based over/unders because this sport features clear-cut definitions of player “roles”, including pitchers and hitters. Another unique point about betting on baseball as a whole is that pitchers must be listed before the game starts – if any changes are made, your over/under will be cancelled and will need to be resubmitted.

In-Play Over/Unders

Over/unders can be placed on both pre-match and in-play outcomes. In fact, we can argue this type of bet is even better when it comes to live games, as you can watch the show and make predictions based on everything that transpired so far.

Let’s say team A is playing football against team B. The game is 45 minutes in, and the underdog’s defense MVP just sustained an injury. The favourite already scored three goals, and you can safely assume that at least a handful of additional goals will drop in the net by the time the end whistle is blown.

In-play over/unders carries a degree of unpredictability, and all types of betting are risky, but you can capitalize on the ongoing developments with your sports knowledge.

Push in Over/Unders

The main premise of over/unders is to predict whether the score in question will be higher or lower than listed, so what happens if it hits the mark? Simply put, the wager would result in a “push”, meaning that your bookie will simply return your stake (unless the site’s terms dictate otherwise, which is very rare).

A push occurs when the result is neither over nor under. Let’s assume you’re betting on Team A to score over 96 points in an upcoming basketball game. If they score precisely 96 points, you’ll break even.

The majority of online bookmakers add 0.5 points to their totals to negate the chance of pushed outcomes completely. This way, the selections are guaranteed to either cross or drop below the threshold as half-points are not awarded in most sports categories.

Let’s take the aforementioned bet where Team A is supposed to score over 96 points. Your bookie would simply list this total as “over/under 96.5”. This means that if Team A scores 96 points, the bet is lost; if they score 97 or more, the bet is won.

FAQs

  • What are over/unders?
    An over/under bet is typically placed on the score (e.g. goals in football) being above or below the designated mark. The most popular types of over/unders are team totals, total score, and player totals.
  • Are over/under and totals the same?
    Over/unders are synonymous with the term “totals”, and most bookmakers use them interchangeably.
  • What happens if the result is neither over nor under?

    When the score is equal to the threshold in over/unders, the game results in a push, and the player’s stake is returned. Bookies typically list their totals in 0.5 increments to negate pushed outcomes.

Alex, a ten-year iGaming industry veteran and Managing Editor at BettingTools specializes in sports betting and betting tools. He also provides insightful reviews, ensures the accuracy of all offers, and maintains content quality helping you make informed choices. Combining professional expertise with a passion for football and soccer, Alex ensures we offer you a reliable resource, focusing on betting tools to assist with odds, parlays, and other betting strategies.