When most gambling enthusiasts think about the various ways of betting on sports, moneylines and point spreads seem to be two bet types that come to their minds most frequently. Even though these might be exciting bets to make, punters normally have multiple other wager types to decide between, with over/under bets being among the options that are invariably available for NFL games.

Unlike moneyline bets that are all about picking the outright winner of the match and point spread bets that have to do with the margin of victory, when placing an over/under bet, punters are not required to compare the performance of the two teams. Another thing, which appeals to punters, is that placing an over/under bet does not involve any complex calculations.

Whether punters should make such bets part of their portfolio and how over/under bets actually work are only some of the questions NFL bettors might be asking themselves. If you want to learn the nuts and bolts about this wager type and how it works while betting on the NFL, this article might be of use.

How Over/Under Bets Work in NFL

Over/under bets are also known as totals, and one of the main reasons why avid sports bettors prefer to place such bets is that they offer greater flexibility. As the name of this bet type suggests, it deals with the total number of something, and most of the time, gambling enthusiasts will be allowed to bet on the total number of points that are scored throughout the particular NFL game.

In this way, NFL bettors can make wagers on the way the game will flow without being concerned with its actual outcome. This is to say that the outcome of over/under bets will not be determined by which of the teams wins the game or the way this happens.

Let’s take a look at a game in which the Denver Broncos are playing the Washington Commanders to ensure that things will fall into their places.


As punters can see, the projected total for the game in which Washington Commanders are playing the Denver Broncos is 70.5. Another thing NFL bettors should pay attention to is that in this scenario, both sides are given equal odds. The negative sign indicates what amount punters need to put at a stake in order to stand the chance to collect $100. Thus, if we assume that NFL bettors want to stake $200, they will potentially get a payout of $369, no matter if they decide to bet over or under.

What gambling enthusiasts should bear in mind is that the odds for over/under should not necessarily be the same. Let’s take a look at a game between Jacksonville Jaguars and Las Vegas Raiders. This time, the projected total is 33.5, and the odds introduced for the two sides are not the same.


In this case, if punters stake $200 on over, they will stand the chance to get $375 in winnings. Still, if they are convinced that the total score will be under 33.5 points and stake $200 on that side, a correct pick will bring them a payout of $383.

As you can see, bookmakers introduce a number, which is based on how they envisage the match will play out from a scoring perspective, and what punters need to do is just to decide whether the final result will be over or under the preset value. It is worth mentioning, however, that the set total applies to the combined score of the contending teams, and not the total number of points one of the teams will score throughout the match.

Thus, if NFL bettors think that they are about to bet on a high-scoring game, they will bet the over, while those who think that the teams will find it challenging to score more points than the projected total will bet under.

Why Over/Under Bets Have Half Points

As is the case with point spread betting, the over/under market also normally ends with a half-point in order to avoid ties. If half points are not used when the market is introduced, and the exact score hits this number, the bookmaker will need to refund punters’ bets no matter if they have bet over or under. Sports bettors might already know that the numbers bookies introduce are often quite prescient, which is to say that on many occasions, even half points can make a huge difference. NFL bettors might still stumble upon bookmakers that introduce totals betting lines as a whole number, but this happens rather rarely.

That being said, NFL bettors should not be left thinking that bookmakers are invariably on the money, and finding such opportunities can bring them good value.

What punters should keep in mind is that some bookmakers introduce over/under bets not only for the final result of the game but for other parts of the match as well. Another thing to keep in mind about such bets is that not all NFL betting sites available out there introduce the same bet limits for point spread betting and totals, and on most occasions, over/under bets have lower limits.

Does Overtime Affect Over/Under Bets

An important thing NFL bettors should take into account is that even if the game goes into overtime, this will not have an impact on their over/under bet. In simple terms, over/under bets are in no way different from other NFL bets that have to do with the final score of games. What punters should consider, however, is that when the game runs into overtime, this might work to the advantage of punters who have bet the over, while the overtime might cause punters who have bet the under lose their stakes since both teams will be given the opportunity to touch the ball.

How Bookmakers Create the Total Projected Numbers

As likely as not, gambling enthusiasts might be wondering how bookmakers come up with the projected totals for NFL games. It is important to note that while designing this number, bookies take into account various factors, and first and foremost, their decisions are guided by statistics and betting trends.

To determine whether the match total will be a low or high one, or it will be something in the middle bookmakers pay exceptionally close attention to the environment. The weather conditions are among the factors bookmakers are particularly interested in while determining the over/under value as they have a significant impact on the way the game might play out.

In addition to this, bookmakers pay attention to injuries as the absence of players can also affect the scoring record of the teams. Although the opinions about home-field advantage are rather controversial, this is yet another factor, which should be considered. The teams’ win percentage at home and their win percentage on the road are also factored in when introducing the projected total.

The number of points the teams have scored during previous games is also taken into account as thus, bookmakers can gain an insight into the number of points the team is most likely to score throughout the week.

Lastly, while determining the over/under value, bookmakers also pay attention to the way the betting public reacts to the market. Thus, if bookmakers notice that the betting action on one of the sides gets too big, they will try to balance out the bets by bumping up the totals value.

Key Numbers for Over/Under NFL Bets

As likely as not, gambling enthusiasts are already aware that there are certain key numbers that are common when betting the point spread, and knowing the recurring margins of victory can be extremely useful when punters are trying to assess the chances of the teams to cover the spread.

Therefore, it is a must for gambling enthusiasts who prefer betting the over/under to know the numbers that apply to this wager type as well. Please keep in mind that the most common NFL totals might not be as useful as the most common point spreads for the simple reason that they are not as consistent as the margin of victory normally is. As punters might already know, the most common point spreads are three and seven.

Punters who want to learn the intricacies of NFL over/under bets should know that the most common totals are 27, 34, 37, 40, and 41 points. Please keep in mind that if you are not only interested in betting on the NFL but on the NCAA too, the most common totals will not be the same.

As we explained already, when placing total bets, punters are not advised to pay too much attention to the aforementioned key numbers as they might push them in the wrong direction with their betting decisions.

NFL Over/Under Bets Line Movement

It is essential to note that when they introduce odds, bookmakers want to make sure that both sides in the game will take in approximately the same amount in bets. What punters should know is that, in most cases, the odds that are introduced for total bets are below -110 and by paying at a lower rate than even money, bookmakers guarantee their profit at all times.

It is worth mentioning that when low-scoring sports are concerned, bookmakers are more in the habit of changing payouts, while the totals line remains hugely unchanged.

When NFL totals are concerned, bookmakers will maintain the balance between the two sides not by adjusting the odds as is the case with other markets, but by altering the total numbers for each team. In simple terms, if we assume that more money starts pouring on the under, for example, the bookmaker will adjust the totals line in order to attract more betting action on the over. It is not excluded to see the over get more attention than the bookmaker wants, and if this happens, punters will see how the lines shift back and forth until the operator restores the balance.

The attempts of bookmakers to drive the betting action in one direction or another is not the only reason why punters might see how the totals line changes. Line movements can also occur when news about injuries starts to spread out.

NFL Over/Under Bets Payouts Explained

Now, let’s walk you through the way payouts work while placing over/under bets. Total bets are preferred by seasoned NFL bettors and rookies alike because of their simplicity and the ease with which payouts are calculated. An essential thing gambling enthusiasts should note is that depending on the kind of sport they have chosen to place total bets on, there might be certain differences between the payout practices.

As punters might already know, American football is among the high-scoring sports, where game results run into two-digit numbers. As we said already, on most occasions when punters place an NFL total bet, the odds they will be paid at will be -110, no matter if they will bet over or under.

As for the way over/under payouts work, NFL bettors should remember that they will be able to work out their potential returns in the same way as with moneyline bets. In other words, the odds that are attached to the over/under number can be used to figure out what their prospective payout will be depending on the staked amount and depending on whether there is a negative or a positive sign. Thus, punters will figure out how much they are required to put at a stake to potentially get $100 and how much they can get for every $100 they stake.

Now, let’s assume that the New Orleans Saints are playing the Cincinnati Bengals, and you want to have a flutter on this match.


Now, if we presume that you have staked $50 on over, and the combined score of the teams is 56, the payout you will get will be $95. In this case, punters will get back the staked amount of $50, while their profit will be $45.

If we assume that gambling enthusiasts have bet the under and the pooled score of the two teams is indeed under the preset value, putting $50 at a stake will bring them a payout of $102. In this scenario, punters will again get back their initial stake of $50, but their profit will be $52.

As for the chances of punters to place a winning over/under bet, on certain occasions, they might reach 50%. This might be the case when the market is sharp and high-limit stakes have shifted the line close to the closing number.

Another thing NFL bettors should know is that most bookmakers will allow them to add their over/under bets to parlays. This is a great opportunity for gambling enthusiasts who eye bigger payouts, but they should not forget that the chances of losing their stake will increase too. Most of the time, betting over/under is also possible when NFL bettors want to go for in-game betting as this opportunity is usually offered together with moneylines and point spreads.

Can NFL Bettors Handicap Over/Under Bets

NFL bettors who are about to place an over/under bet should be aware that the variables they need to pay attention to are far more when compared to the variables they need to assess when betting the moneyline, for example.

There are many factors punters need to consider when betting the totals, and they need to pay attention to the reports of previous games between the two teams, their standing, team reports, the environment, the offensive and defensive trends, and injuries, to name a few.

As we explained already, the weather has a significant impact on the way NFL games pan out, as rain and extreme heat will determine the number of points that will be scored throughout the game to a great degree, which will not be the case with basketball, for example, or other games that are played indoors.

Handicapping totals is not at the least a walk in the park, and it is up to punters to decide if they want to examine all the above-mentioned information with a fine-tooth comb or not. Still, using all this information can indeed help NFL bettors spot inefficiencies in the market they are about to bet on and hopefully turn them to their advantage.

Benefits of Placing Over/Under NFL Bets

Placing NFL totals has many advantages when compared to the other betting opportunities gambling enthusiasts can normally decide between. The main reason why punters prefer to place over/under bets is that they have a higher winning percentage in comparison with other wager types.

When betting on the NFL, many punters prefer to stick to totals because such bets are exceptionally easy to understand. Even if punters are about to learn the intricacies of sports betting or the way odds work, they can still place a total bet and potentially get a payoff. With this wager type, gambling enthusiasts are required to decide between just two options, which makes NFL totals suitable for sports bettors from all levels of knowledge.

The lucrative payouts are without a doubt the biggest motivation for NFL bettors to place such bets. That being said, punters should keep in mind that in order to stand the chance to collect heftier payouts, they will still need to place a fair-sized wager.

Tips for Placing Over/Under Bets

An essential thing gambling enthusiasts should keep in mind before they start placing over/under bets is that whether their bets will win or lose will depend to a great extent on their ability to properly assess the scoring potential of the contending teams. In order to ensure that their assessments will be as accurate as possible, NFL bettors should pay more attention to these tips.

  1. In the first place, NFL bettors should take their time to find the best spots. Many punters think that the only way to get the desired profit is to place bets on as many games as possible, but this approach rarely helps them achieve their goals. What they should do instead is to look for good betting opportunities and make the most out of them. In other words, gambling enthusiasts should be selective and place bets when they are confident that the game will be a low or high-scoring one.
  2. The team’s offensive efficiency is among the deciding factors in terms of the number of points that will be scored during the game. It can safely be said that the teams’ offensive is what most gambling enthusiasts tend to focus on, but what they tend to forget is that the defense can limit their scoring ability.
  3. Before they place an over/under or any other type of NFL bet, punters should always compare the odds and lines bookmakers offer. No matter what the sports punters want to bet on, finding the best deal for the money they put at a stake should be a must for them if long-term success is what punters are eyeing. When checking this market, punters should not only focus on the odds but on the totals the bookmaker has introduced as well.
  4. Betting at the right time is one more vital thing punters tend to neglect. In spite of the fact that bookmakers have already taken into account the way the public is most likely to react to the market when they introduce the opening odds, the line might inflate or deflate depending on the betting action the market attracts. Because of this, many punters prefer to place their bets as close to the game as possible, as, in this way, they might see extra points added to the totals value.
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