Under and Over team totals are a betting market that involves placing a single stake on a team, most commonly a football team but possibly a rugby, volleyball, handball team and US sports teams to score more or less than the suggested line. For football teams expected to struggle the Over/Under line could be set at 0.5, whilst teams expected to perform well could see their Over/Under team total line at 1.5 up until 4.5 or more on rare occasions. If you bet on an Over 0.5 team total, you need that team to score just one goal. If you bet on the Under 0.5 team total, you need that team to score less than 0.5 goals, which obviously would mean zero goals. The same logic applies to 1.5 and needing a team to score two or more goals (over), or one or fewer goals (under).
Pros and Cons
- Pro - There are many ways to research thoroughly the stats behind this market, and it’s easy to keep on top of weather, team news, etc, which are all things which inform this market.
- Pro - If you are backing a team expected to score goals, by avoiding the overall goals market or a variation that includes both teams to score also, you may avoid the risk of the other team not turning up. The only thing that matters if the performance of the team you’ve backed.
- Con - Teams whose games feature a lot of goals must be in some way unpredictable with their performances. If you opt to bet a team total instead of overall game total, you may fall foul of one team hogging all the goals.
- Con - Because this type of market is such a risk to bookmakers with just two options to choose from, and considering they usually offer a good chance of high success rate, the built-in bookmaker margins are pretty high.
There is no direct correlation between betting on the team total and the overall total of a game, but these markets do work with exactly the same logic being applied to both. If you’re new to these betting markets, then it may be worthwhile reading all about Under/Overal Totals market here, as you’ll then be able to judge if betting the overall total of a game or just on the total of one team involved in a game.
What is a team total?
A total can refer to runs, points or goals depending on the sport. You can read a more detailed breakdown about that right here. The most common sports that offer bettors the opportunity to bet on a total are football, rugby, US sports, tennis, cricket, volleyball and netball. When you bet on a team total, you are betting on the number of goals, points or runs that specific team will score. The actions and performance of the opposing team or player within a game does not count towards the total that you are betting on.
The total is a number set by a bookmaker which reflects their expectations of a game. The total gives you a rough but presumably well-researched prediction on the most likely outcome of the game in terms of run, goal or point scoring expectations.
Here are a few examples of what some team totals may look like.
Over 1.5 goals 8/11
Under 1.5 1/1
LA Lakers (NBA)
Over 95.5 points 7/10
Under 95.5 points 9/10
Over 24.5 points 9/10
Under 24.5 points 9/10
New York Giants (NFL)
Over 26.5 points 6/5
Under 26.5 points 8/11
Manchester United Over 1.5 goals 8/11 Under 1.5 1/1 LA Lakers (NBA) Over 95.5 points 7/10 Under 95.5 points 9/10 Bath (Rugby)Rugby Over 24.5 points 9/10 Under 24.5 points 9/10 New York Giants (NFL) Over 26.5 points 6/5 Under 26.5 points 8/11
If you are betting on a team total and bet on the Over, you are betting on a select team to score more points, goals or runs than the total specified by the bookmaker. The total specified by the bookmaker is based on strong historical and statistical factors amongst other things.
What is betting on an Over?
If for example the bookmaker has put Manchester United’s goal total at 1.5 and you bet on Over, this means you need Manchester United to score more than 1.5 goals. The minimum number of goals Manchester United will need to score for you to win is two. It doesn’t matter if they score two, three, four or more, providing they score more than 1.5. Bookmakers set totals at decimal numbers instead of whole numbers to add risk that favors them.
What is betting on an Under?
If you are betting on Manchester United to score Under 1.5 goals, then you’ll need them to score one or fewer goals. A team clearly can not put the ball in the net 1.4 or 1.6 times, so the most simple way of understanding the market is to look at Under 1.5 as United to score less than two goals, and Over 1.5 as a bet on United to score more than one goal.
Team total betting is most common within football but arguably there is more risk than betting an overall total. When betting on games where goals are expected, that is presumably down to the fact neither side is fantastic at defending. It’s surprising how the balance of goals can be delivered in a winning overs bet with many lopsided results a possibility. Equally, a team could score two goals and beat the over/under total which you’ve bet against them doing, and the opposition could fail to score, meaning an under 2.5 total goals bet may have been more appropriate. It may be fair to say that overall this is not one of the more popular markets amongst casual punters or professional bettors.
A team total is a good option if you are looking to cash in on the expected dominance of a team, but the match odds don’t allow it. The same may be said for a dangerous attacking team that you don’t trust defensively. You’ll still get good odds for this market, but it will omit the risk of perhaps backing a side who are likely to concede on the asian handicap market. It’s a market that requires thorough research, but it’s easy to carry out and source the information needed. The fact that it is so much easier to exploit than other markets can endear it to the professional bettor who wants to beat the bookmaker as often as possible. But it’s not an option that should be applied liberally to any teams that are expected to win or win well. A good betting strategy would mean to judge each game individually on its own merit and apply the market where appropriate.