Betting on Totals
February 24, 2011
There are lots of ways to bet on basketball and one of the easiest is betting on the game total. Totals, or Over/Under betting, is action that a sportsbook offers on whether the total number of points scored in a game will be Over or Under an amount handicapped by the book.
Total: 206 Line: o -110, u -110
Most totals for a basketball game will be around the 200-point mark. In this example a book is offering a total of 206 points on a game with a payout of -110 on either the Over or the Under bet.
If you think that a game will be a defensive battle and the total score will remain low, you can wager that the total will be Under 206 points. If you’re right, and the game total is 205 points or less, you will get paid -110 on your bet, which is the equivalent to $100 for every $110 dollars wagered, or the proportional equivalent.
In the example above a correct wager on the Over bet pays the same -110 payout as the Under bet. The -110 line on both options is a 10% cost (or juice) that the books charge on both bets in order to profit from the action - otherwise the payouts would be even money and the books would not make any money off the action. Juice can vary up or down between sportsbooks and games, so make sure you include the price in your decision process.
Savvy game total bettors look for information that could give them an edge in deciding if a particular game will go Under or Over. Tracking how both teams are performing and reviewing their records against recent game totals are just a couple of ways for bettors to use stats and reports to help predict how a game may play out.