Sports Gambling 101: What Are Game Total Bets?

Our Gambling 101 series continues with a breakdown of “game total” betting options. Which sports offer total wagering and how do bettors get in on the action?
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Part of the standard “big three” wagering choices, game total odds are posted along with point spreads and moneylines. Also known as Over/Under betting odds, game totals focus on the final score of a sporting event. Simply stated, bookmakers set a number and bettors are asked if the final total will go over, or stay under, the posted number. Game totals vary, depending on the sport, and range from 0.5 goals in soccer and up to 240 points or more in basketball.

Shop Around for the Best Game Total Odds

Bettors are advised to shop around for the best game total odds. The Baltimore vs. Cleveland NFL 2020 odds below illustrate that, as the total odds varied by 1.5 points at FanDuel and DraftKings. Players backing UNDER were getting their best odds at DraftKings (49.5) while FanDuel (48.0) offered the best line for those betting OVER. If players wanted to take a gamble, they could bet on both sides and cash two tickets if the final score was exactly 49 points.

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Similar to point spread betting odds, game totals are posted with various amounts of juice. Standard (-110) pricing is common on many total odds. In the example above, a $110 bet on either side returns a $100 profit. While it is risky, covering both sides isn’t a huge monetary risk as players stand to lose $10 if the final score doesn’t add up to 49 points. Discrepancies. in total betting numbers between various bookmakers, are common across a range of sports markets.

Live and Futures Total Betting Options

Beyond standard full game odds, there are many opportunities to bet on totals before and during contests. Prior to a match, or while the action plays out, bettors can wager on timed events like periods in hockey or quarter and halftime results in basketball and football. LIVE betting on totals brings added excitement to baseball games as bettors can bet on options like total runs and hits during every inning. Posted at FanDuel – sports fans can even bet on table tennis.

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Fans of futures betting also have access to a multitude of total options. Prior to the start of a season, players can bet on how many wins each team will have in a variety of sports. Illustrated in the 2020 NFL example below, Jacksonville was in for a long year while a successful season was the forecast in Kansas City. 

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Player prop totals are popular and offered on many sports as well. Below are total passing yards odds for Joe Burrow prior to his rookie NFL season.

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