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Totals Bets: Predicting and Profiting from Over/Under Bets in Sports

Totals bets, also known as over/under bets, provide an additional way for bettors to engage with their favorite sports. Whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned bettor, this guide will walk you through the ins and outs of totals bets. You’ll leave with the knowledge to make informed decisions and potentially boost your winnings.

Totals bets predict whether the total combined score of a game will be over or under a specific number that is set by the sportsbook. This number represents the expected goals, runs, total points, or any other relevant scoring unit. The totals bets focus on the cumulative score of both of the teams, not the outcome of the game.

However, if a game ends up with a total that is equal to the line set by the sportsbooks, this is called a push and all bets are refunded.

Understanding the Basics

When placing a totals bet, the sportsbook will set an over/under number. This is also known as the “line” or “total”. In an NBA game, for example, the total might be set at 205.5 points. Your task as a bettor is to predict whether or not the two teams’ score combined will be over or under this number.

In totals bets, you have two options- betting the over or betting the under.

If you believe that the total score will be above the number set by the sportsbook, you would bet the over. If you think the total score is beneath the line, you would bet the under.

How is an Over/Under Determined?

A sportsbook takes into account many factors when setting the over/under line.

A few of the factors that affect the over/under are:

  • Quality of defense
  • Quality of offense
  • Pace of the team/athletes
  • Injuries
  • Weather in outdoor sports
  • Stadium/venue consideration (mostly baseball)

Once the line is set, the betting market takes over as soon as the market opens. As more information comes into the market, the totals move as the game approaches. Information could be anything from weather in an outdoor sport to injuries to key players.

A sportsbook may respond to high-limit wagers from respected players, where the line is then nudged in the same direction as the bet. The line closes when the game begins. This closing line is the betting market’s most accurate prediction of the expected results.

Consider the Factors

It’s important to assess the defensive and offensive strengths of the teams. Teams with potent offense or weak defense are more likely to contribute to a high scoring game, which in turn makes the over bet more appealing. Analyze factors such as shooting percentages, defensive strategies, and scoring averages to help you make an informed decision.

Keep track of any injuries to key players that could impact the scoring potential of the teams. If a star player is injured, their absence can affect a team’s offensive output significantly, which would lead to a lower-scoring game. Make sure to keep up to date with the latest injury report and any changes to the lineup to make an informed betting decision.

Understanding the teams’ playing style can also guide your decision when placing totals bets. If they play a fast-paced game, it is more likely that it will be a higher-scoring game. If a team is more defensive-oriented, a lower-scoring game is more likely.

Advanced Strategies

Pay attention to any line movements that may occur leading up to the game. Sportsbooks could change the odds at the last moment. If a line moves significantly in one direction, it may indicate sharp bettor activity or important news that influenced the perception of the scoring potential. This could lead to opportunities to capitalize on discrepancies and find value in your bets.

When deciding to bet the over or under, research historical data and trends to identify patterns for a specific team, matchup, or even the venue. Some teams may consistently fall short of the set totals when playing against a specific team, or they could far surpass it when historically playing a team. However, don’t let the past get in the way of the current team dynamics and any present factors that could sway the game.

Be Responsible

It is important to set a clear budget for any sports betting activities. Determine the amount of money you are comfortable wagering, whether for a particular game or a budget for the whole season, and stick to it. This can help you avoid chasing losses or betting impulsively.

It is also important to only wager what you are comfortable with based on your confidence level in the bet. Stick to a predetermined strategy and avoid making impulsive decisions based on biases or emotions. Stay focused on your analysis and make rational decisions based on the information available to you.

Make sure you are regularly reviewing your betting performance and analyzing the outcomes. Identify any strengths or weaknesses you may have when it comes to making a certain type of bet. Refining your strategy can help you improve your betting skills over time.

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