What Is an Over/Under (Totals) Bet?
So, what does over/under mean? It refers to a number set by an Ohio sports betting app or site, most commonly representing the combined point total of the teams playing.
You place a wager based on whether you think the total points scored will be higher or lower than the number set. You can also get over/under action as a prop bet, which is simply a wager that's not related to the final outcome of the game. For instance, if BetMGM Ohio sets the over/under for a Reds/Dodgers game at 11.5, you're betting on whether the two teams will have a total combined score that's higher or lower than the 11.5 runs posted by the sportsbook.
How Does a Totals Bet Work in Ohio?
Totals bets are one of the most common standard bet types available, along with spreads and the moneyline, so you'd better at least know how a bet like this works, even if you tend toward other wagers.
Here's a quick example of an NFL over/under: Let's say the Cleveland Browns played Pittsburgh in the wild-card round, and Caesars Sportsbook Ohio set the over/under at 43.5.
Let's say you took the over. Because you're betting on the total score, it doesn't matter who won the game, as long as the final score was 44 or more. Because the Browns won 28-27, the final score in total was 55, well above the over/under set by Caesars. If the final had been 21-20, or any other combination of 43 points or fewer, you'd have lost.
How to Read Over/Under Betting Lines in Ohio
The most common way to see over/under sports betting odds listed on the apps and sites is along these lines:
Disregarding the run line (spreads) and moneyline boxes, what we see is that the operator set the over/under for the Guardians/Twins game at 7.5. The lines are just a little off even money on the over and a little more expensive for the under.
Over/Under Totals & Payouts
You'll also want to get a close look at the odds of your over/under bet before you lay any money down. A total bet tends toward having pretty close odds, at least at game time.
If you're watching an over/under line of any kind in a live betting experience, you should expect some fluctuation. But let's start with the basics.
Plus Odds (+)
Plus odds refer to a situation that's unlikely enough that the oddsmakers will pay out more than you wagered if it hits. For instance, imagine you saw a line on FanDuel Ohio in the 8th Inning during a Reds/Dodgers game -- Under 14.5 runs at +120, with the score 8-6. Keep in mind, there had already been 14 runs scored by that point, so it's more likely that no more runs will be scored.
It's not especially common to find plus odds on a straight over/under bet prior to a game's starting, but they can come up during live betting. And most providers will have alternate lines posted when you go deep into a betting option, and you can regularly find plus odds there.
Plus odds pay back winnings indicated by the posted number on a $100 bet if it hits. So if you'd bet $30 on that Reds/Dodgers option and it had hit, you'd get your stake back plus $36 dollars in winnings, a total of $66.
Minus Odds (-)
When you're getting minus odds, you're betting on an option that's likely enough that your potential winnings will be less than your stake. Most odds will be around -105 or -110, which is about as close as you can reasonably expect to get to even money, considering the juice or vig.
When you place an over/under wager before a game, you're usually going to see the lines at or around -110, since the books are looking for even action on both sides. However, you may see -140 while live betting, which of course means you'll need to wager $140 to win $100.
What happens if you bet on the over/under and the total number of points scored is exactly the number listed by the sportsbook? Suppose you found an over/under for the Bengals vs. Rams Super Bowl that was set at exactly 43 points. What then?
Has anyone told you to read the house rules yet? Read your operator's house rules to be sure you know what they do. Some may differ from others, too. For example, DraftKings Ohio may have different push/tie rules than competitors, especially when it comes to soccer, tennis and some other sports where it is common.
The most common result is that when there's a push, the bet is canceled and your stake refunded. Additionally, if the over/under bet is a leg of a parlay and it pushes, the leg is canceled and gets dropped from the parlay, i.e., a four-leg parlay becomes a three-leg. A lot of times you'll over/under bets listed with a line expressed in terms of half points. That's to prevent a push; it's not like the Columbus Crew can score a goal and a half.
Types of Totals Bets in Ohio
Betting total amounts is most often on the final score of a sporting event, but different sports can offer different options, and will require careful consideration to strategies.
NFL/Football Totals Betting
The over/under bets on NFL games are some of the most popular wagers in the United States. Every legal sportsbook coming to Ohio will give you chances for betting total scores as well as a large array of over/under props such as receiving yards, rushing yards, and sacks. You can even take an over/under on how many games the Bengals will win if you know where to look.
NBA/Basketball Totals Betting
The second most popular betting sport in America is the NBA, thanks to its long season, fast pace, and tendency toward putting on a high scoring game. The total bet action around the NBA goes beyond total points scored and gets deep into prop bets. Bettors win when wagering wisely around how their team plays and how individual stars perform. In addition to totals around the number of total points scored in a Cavs game, you'll be able to bet totals on individual scoring, assists and rebounds to name a few.
MLB Totals Betting
The most basic of the over/under wagers for MLB games are, naturally, around the score at the end of the game, and even though some operators will give you three-way totals (Over/Under/Exact), there's more to baseball totals bets than that. You can bet on Jose Ramirez's total hits, RBI or total bases in his next game, or how many outs Hunter Greene records, or for that matter how many Ks he notches, an that's just to name a few.
NHL Totals Betting
Even relatively low scoring sports like hockey can give you an opening with a shrewd over/under. It can be as simple as a player prop where Oliver Bjorkstrand's number of goals scored is set at 0.5. You'll commonly see fewer points on the final score over/under than even MLB, but the totals action in player props delivers.
College Sports Totals Betting
On average, betting totals around college games gives more volatile lines than the pros, but the expectation is that there will be no major restrictions on betting on college sports in Ohio. So if you have a number in mind for the total wins for the Buckeyes, you should be able to make that wager happen for you.
Prop Bets Totals
A proposition or prop bet is simply a wager that's not directly tied to the final result of the contest. Over/unders, if you haven't put it together yet, are often used as a base for prop bets. You can totals lines on how many games the Reds will win this season, how many sacks Myles Garrett will rack up for the Browns, or how many yards TreVeyon Henderson will rush for THE Ohio State University.
Parlay bets are individual wagers combined into a single bet where all the component wagers are dependent on the the others. Bettors win only when each leg of the parlay hits. And over/under wagers are frequently built into parlays. For instance, you can build a three-leg parlay entirely out of over/unders.
Over/Unders Betting Strategy
Before you bet on the totals, you'll want to keep a couple things in mind to give yourself the best chance to win. It's all about finding the opportunities to get the most out of your wagers.
There's a reason the most common lines bet on with over/unders are on the final scores. Because who wins the game is irrelevant to the bet, you can focus on the momentum of the game itself and not worry about teams. The operators tend to favor the over slightly due to a sports fan's tendency to prefer an high-scoring game. There's even merchandise chastising people who bet the under. That's why you have to bet with your head and not your heart.
We said it earlier and we'll say it a second time: Read the house rules. Most houses are concerned with the score at the end of the game, but some only count regulation play - no overtime, no extra innings etc. Know what you're betting on before you put your money on the table.
Offense and Defense Trends
Take a close look at both sides of the ball. If you've got two gunslinger QBs lining up against below-average pass rushes, you're likely to see a pretty high number set as the over/under. But if Hunter Greene is facing Shane Bieber, you'll probably get a lower than average totals line, especially if you're only betting on the first 5 innings.
Promos & Profit Boosts
Be sure to keep an eye out for specific Ohio sports betting promos, as many of these can offer better odds or boosted profits. Whether it's full game totals, player prop totals, or team totals, you may find some occasional offers that help you boost your profits or get more favorable odds.
The speed of the play is also a factor, especially when you're live betting on in-game action. If teams are slowing down the game with strong defensive play and the chances to score are few and far between, the time may be right to put something on the under. Conversely, if the offenses wake up and start finding chances to score, you could have a chance to get in on the over before the lines move too much.
Oh yeah, the lines will move, that's what live betting is all about: the odds changing in reaction to what's happening on the field of play. Once the game gets started, you should be on the lookout for a game that's trending against what was expected, like if the Reds rock Corbin Burnes in the 1st, or DeMar Derozan has to come out of the game against the Cavs. Plenty of more subtle shifts will change the course of the game, but if you can anticipate the movements and time your bets accordingly, it could pay off. We also recommend exploring a PointsBet Ohio promo for over/under bets, as the operator has some very unique totals markets.
Bet the Over/Under in the Buckeye State Today!
So those are the basics. The best way to really learn how over/under betting works is to give it a try on your favorite sportsbook app. Anywhere you choose to play will give you plenty of over/unders on the most popular sports.
FAQs About Over/Under Totals Betting in Ohio
In an over/under wager, the house sets a total for the number of times it anticipates an event will occur over a period of time. Most commonly the bet is on the combined score for both teams. You simply bet on whether you think it will be more or fewer than the house's set number.
Technically, yes. Betting on sports is legal in Ohio, though the legal sportsbooks are currently in the process of applying for licenses. Betting on over/unders will be a major part of the wagering handled by the online sportsbooks when they commence operation.
In most cases. If you're betting on the score at the end of the game, that will almost always include overtime. You should confirm with your preferred operator's house rules before placing your bet. You may also find separate action around over/unders at the end of regulation.
Usually, a push leads to a canceled bet and a return of your stake, since you neither won nor lost. This also reduces the number of legs in your parlay by one. Read the house rules to confirm, and to see if your operator takes three-way bets, which allow you to bet the over, the under, and the exact score.
It's better to bet the side that wins. Fans want a high-scoring contest, and "life's too short to bet the under" as the saying goes. But the books take that into account when they list their lines. There's no legitimate way to say one is unilaterally better than the other. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to take your money.
You certainly can. Parlays just made of over/under wagers for a day's slate of NFL games are common, for instance. By and large, it behooves the house to let you make the kind of bets you want to make, so that includes the chance to parlay a series of over/unders.