How to Spot Betting Value in Over/Under Totals

Moneylines and parlays are always fun, but there's real money to be made with the over/under totals if you know how to capitalize on them.
How to Spot Betting Value in Over-Under Totals

Mastering the art of identifying value in over/under totals can be a game-changer in sports betting.

This betting style, focused on predicting the combined score of both teams in a game, is a popular choice for bettors — and when you see how you can effectively find value in some bets, you can see why.

What Are Over/Under Totals?

When you place an over/under bet, you’re wagering on whether the total score will be above or below this line. 

A great example of this is the Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Super Bowl Over Under for 49ers and Chiefs on DraftKings

The “O 47” suggests that if you bet the over, the total combined score of both teams needs to exceed 47 for you to win. Conversely, “U 47” means you’re betting the total score will be less than 47 points.

The odds, “-112” for the over and “-108” for the under, show the amount you’d need to bet to win $100. These odds also reflect the bookmaker’s commission or ‘vig,’ which is why you’ll need to bet a bit more than the even $100.

Successful betting on over/under isn’t about wild guesses; it’s about informed predictions. It involves analyzing both teams’ offensive and defensive records, considering any external factors such as weather or injuries that could impact scoring, and understanding the context of the game – is it a high-stakes match where defenses might tighten up? This Super Bowl example might be a matchup where the QBs try to dominate and put on a show, racking up the score well above 47.

This knowledge and understanding of the odds and how they are set can lead to a more strategic and hopefully successful betting experience.

Analyzing Team Statistics and Trends

Analyzing team statistics and trends is akin to gathering intelligence before making a strategic move. It’s not just about the raw data but also about the story those numbers tell about a team’s potential performance. 

Here’s how you can leverage this information—

  • Examining offensive capabilities. How many points does a team average per game? Consider the robustness of their scoring strategies—are they reliant on a star player who might be out due to injury, or do they have a well-rounded offense?
  • Shift focus to defensive prowess. A team with a solid defensive line might consistently hold opponents to low scores, which could make betting the under a more appealing option.
  • Look at recent performances to gauge the current form. A team on a hot streak could be more likely to exceed expectations, while a team with recent struggles might fall short of a high over/under line.
  • Don’t overlook how teams play in different environments. Some teams thrive in certain venues or under specific conditions. For instance, colder weather can often lead to lower scores due to the impact on the players and the game equipment. We love taking the under on an NFL game with heavy snow or rain forecasted.
  • Pay attention to head-to-head matchups. Some teams just seem to have each other’s number, leading to either high-scoring affairs or defensive battles regardless of their overall season performance.

This approach is not about predicting the future; it’s about making educated assessments that give you an edge in over/under betting. 

By dissecting the layers within team statistics and trends, you’re not just betting but investing in an outcome informed by data and trends. 

While you’re at it, note that this applies to both teams, as the over/under is a combined score.

The Impact of External Factors

External factors often play a significant role in a game’s outcome. 

Weather, player injuries, and even team morale can drastically affect the total score.

A rainy day might slow down an otherwise high-scoring football game. We find that many bookmakers are slow to respond to developing weather events, so if you catch the weather in time, you can get out ahead of the odds.

A key player’s absence could lower a basketball team’s scoring potential. If it’s an ongoing injury or an absence that is expected, most sportsbooks will adjust the odds of the over/under to reflect such a move, but don’t always count on that.

Keep an eye on these elements—they’re often the difference between a winning and a losing bet.

It’s All About the Odds When it Comes to Value Betting.

Value betting isn’t just about predicting outcomes; it’s about finding where the odds may not reflect the true likelihood of an event. Just like the weather and players’ absence we previously mentioned.

There’s value if you think the chance of an outcome is higher than what the bookmakers believe.

It’s not always about going with the obvious choice but about finding undervalued opportunities. And we love some undervalued opportunities. That’s where the real money in sports betting is.

Avoid Common Traps

Steering clear of the common pitfalls in sports betting, especially with over/under totals, can make a significant difference between a seasoned bettor and a novice. 

Awareness of these traps helps in maintaining a disciplined approach to betting. 

Here’s an insight into some of these common traps and how to avoid them—

  • Recency bias. Avoid putting too much weight on the last or last few games. Teams can have off days or exceptional performances that aren’t indicative of their usual play.
  • Star player overemphasis. While the absence or presence of a star player can impact the game, don’t let it overshadow the collective capability of the team. Look at how the team performs as a unit.
  • Public opinion. The public or media hype around a team can sometimes sway the betting lines. This can create a trap where the value may actually lie in going against popular opinion.
  • Overlooking defensive units. An excellent defense can be just as influential as a potent offense. Games aren’t won by scoring alone; how well a team prevents scoring is equally essential.
  • Chasing losses. If you’re on a losing streak, don’t bet more aggressively to win it all back on the next game. Stick to your strategy and bet sizes.
  • Ignoring game context. Each game has its own stakes. A regular-season game may play out differently than a playoff game, where defenses might tighten.

By avoiding these traps, you’re more likely to place bets based on a solid understanding of the teams and the game rather than getting caught up in the hype or your own biases.

Don’t take these the wrong way since everyone, including us as sports betting pros, has biases.

Pick the Over/Under Like a Pro!

Spotting betting value in over/under totals is an art that combines statistical analysis, an understanding of external factors, and a keen sense of value against the odds. 

Approach it strategically, and remember, every bit of information could be the key to your next successful bet.


Matt Brown

Head of Sports Betting and DFS

Matt’s love for sports betting and daily fantasy sports, coupled with a deep understanding of football, hockey, and baseball, shapes his innovative thoughts on Hello Rookie. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and a M.S. in Project Management.