How To Bet Totals

There are always at least a few games that are just too close to call no matter what spread the oddsmakers have come up with. Instead of possibly throwing away money on a guess, ditch spread betting and bet on the total.

Not only is total betting a great second option for betting on games, but they can also be an easy money grab if you can find an edge. An example of an edge could be a shutdown defense in football, or a late injury that keeps a key player from suiting up.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, some of you may be asking “what the hell is a total anyway?” Totals, which are also known as Over Under bets, are wagers placed on whether the final score of a game will go Over or Under a specified total.

That specified total is usually the number located right now to the point spread. Here’s an example taken from 5Dimes.com :

Cincinnati +8.5 (-110) o40.5 (-110)
Baltimore -8.5 (-110) u40.5 (-110)

See the 40.5 listed beside the point spread? That’s the total for this game. If you were to bet the total for this game you would have to decide whether the final scored will go Over or Under 40.5.

Okay, so let’s say after the final second ticks off the clock Baltimore wins 28-12. You add the 28 and the 12 together and you get 40. That’s under 40.5, so anyone who bet on the Under gets paid.

If the Ravens had added another field goal and won 31-12 the combined scores would equal 43, which is Over the posted total.

The other part of total betting is the odds slotted in next to the total. In our example those odds were -110 for both the Over and the Under.

This number is the commission, also known as the juice or vig the sportsbook is charging on the bet. For both an Over and an Under wager in the example, you would have to wager $110 to win $100. Different games have different odds on the total so be sure to known what you’re risking before making your bet.