Out of five major sports – basketball, football, hockey, soccer and baseball – basketball is one of the easiest to bet on. With so many teams and leagues to choose from, there are tons of odds you can choose from as well and that brings us to over/under betting which I’ll now discuss.
Over/under betting is the second most common type of wagering in basketball after point spread betting. In over/under betting, you are simply wagering whether the total score is going to be over or under a certain number predicted by a basketball betting site. If it is higher than the predicted number, then the over wins; if it is lower than the predicted number, then the under wins.
The sportsbooks odds are obviously available. I actually did a test which I display on our sports ranking page and it shows that over 30,000 odds that I’ve tracked, 5dimes.eu has lowest over/under odds by more than 3.5 times their competitor. Let’s now discuss how this betting style works.
Calculating Over/Under Basketball Bets
* Please see illustration below to help understand over/under bets, text explanation follows.
Let us say the Los Angeles Lakers are playing against the Houston Rockets. In this match, Lakers are the favorites and Rockets are the underdogs. A sportsbook predicts a total of 184, with the odds listed as follows:
- Totals: 184.5
- Over (-110)
- Under (+110)
In this case, if you are betting $110 that the total score will be over 184 points, then you could win $100. Similarly, if you are betting that the total score will be 184 points exactly or under, then you could win $110 by betting $100.
Important: Sometimes, a sportsbook will present the odds with (-) and (+). The signs, (-) and (+), represent the less likely to win (the underdog with the positive sign) and the more likely to win the game (the favorite with the negative sign) as well as how much you need to bet and how much you can win as explained in the above example.
Total Score Specifics
To get the total score, you add up the final scores of both teams of a match. For example, the total score between the Celtics and the Lakers in a particular match was 85-90. The total score is thus 175 (85+90) points.
Unlike football and soccer, you will not see the same totals for all of the over/under bets (see our Football and Soccer Over/Under Betting articles). Accordingly, you will often see a predicted total of 37 in football and a predicted total of 2 in soccer in over/under odds. Basketball totals can range anywhere from 160 to 220. Sportsbooks look at a lot of factors in their prediction of the basketball totals, including teams’ history and statistics.
Basketball Over/Under Betting Tips and Strategies
Study up on the history of the teams and their performances. One of the most important things you should check is the total points scored on previous encounters of the two teams. If a team has scored between 100 and 110 points in the last five encounters, then it is likely that they will fall within that limit the next game. Also, if the teams have faced each other many times before, look up their point history. It even does not matter who won or lost; just look up at the total points scored for an estimated reference.
Bet On The Lowest Total
Sometimes you will see multiple over/under totals listed in one day. There will be four games listed with different odds. Remember, this is basketball and those totals can differ significantly. Look for the lowest totals. First of all, since they are the lowest, they are the farthest from the average totals that day. Common sense in basketball is, the furthest they are from a daily average, the less likely they are to happen. The reason why you are betting on the lowest rather than the highest score is because there is a lot of pressure on the teams to get high scores, entertaining the fans. However, statistically, you will see more high score games in a given day than less high scoring ones. Of course, you have to consider many other factors including the history of those teams.