How to Bet Totals

There is a common way of betting on most sporting events without having to takes sides and still have the ability to win money, it’s called betting the totals. This is not to say that betting the point spreads or the money line is not a fun way to bet or for that matter, not a lucrative way to bet. What is being said; is options are available. Betting on the total or what may be more commonly known as the over/under, this is a fun way to bet without the risk of one team losing. Sure, the bettor still takes a risk on winning the over or under and for that reason, you must know how to bet the totals, not who to bet, but how it works. 

What is a total?

The beauty of betting on the totals is for the simplicity of the bet itself as well as the simplicity of explaining how to bet a total. Betting the total can involve a couple of different ways in which to bet. 

A. Betting the combined total of both teams final score. 
B. Betting the single team total score. 

Online sportsbooks nearly always set a total on most sporting events offered throughout the betting day.

*When betting, either way, you may bet either the under or the over. 

How Totals Pay

There will be a money line on the betting total. The money line is often the industry standard of -110, but not always. Often, totals are risky for the online sportsbook, and for this reason, you may see totals with a number of -115, -120, -130, and in some rare cases, even more. 

Football Totals

Totals work the same when betting NFL totals, as well as betting NCAAF totals. Online sportsbooks set a totals line for each game's full game, first half, the second half as well as for each quarter. When betting totals in football, the line may often end with the “half point”.


New England vs. Denver

Score a total of 52.5 points in the game

Over (-110)

Under (-110)

If you bet the over, the total combined score between the Patriots and the Broncos must go to at least 53 points, or you would lose the bet. If you bet the under, the total combined score must not go to more than 52 points, or you will lose.

NHL/Hockey Totals

Betting NHL totals is much the same as betting the totals on any sport but with some significant differences.

There will be a game total in which you can bet before the faceoff/start of the game. These totals are usually set at 5, 5.5, 6, and 6.5. You may also bet period totals in hockey's three periods.

Hockey totals may or may not include overtime. Hockey offers the option of three-way lines. Be sure to check with your online sportsbook.

Soccer Totals

Betting soccer also involves a three-way line, so the key here is to know the rules of your online sportsbook and exactly what kind of totals bet you are betting. 

Soccer can vary between 2-5 goals and they will also often be set in this format:


Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

Score a total of 2.5 goals in the game

Over (-130)

Under (+110)

Most sportsbooks offer first half and second half soccer betting.

Baseball Totals

Betting baseball totals is as simple as it gets with most books usually offering three options:

1. Betting on the number of runs for the entire game

2. Betting on the number of runs in the first half (First 5 innings)

3. Betting the Grand Salami, which is the total runs scored in all the games scheduled that day.

Several online bookies will offer even a live betting on the games.

Basketball Totals

Betting NBA totals can be a lot of fun because the action is fast and there can either be a lot of points or not so many points. The key to basketball totals is knowing the teams scoring capabilities. Are defensive teams playing or are they offensive minded? 

Just as in football, in basketball, either in the NBA or when betting NCAAF, you may bet the first half, the second half, and the quarters. You may also bet team totals and props such as “race to 20 points”. 

Golf Totals 

Betting golf totals involves finding the right online sportsbook that is willing to offer this betting line. Usually, the way golf totals work is by individual players. There will be a set score total, a strokes total. You may either bet the over or the under on an individual player total. Example: The Masters—Tiger Woods -71. You may either bet over 71 or under 71. There will be a money line attached, such as -110.

Boxing/MMA Totals

When betting boxing/MMA totals, you are betting on the number of rounds the fight will go. The MMA can be, and they tend to be very quick fights. You must know your fighters and their opponents very well. A traditional boxing match can, and will often go the distance, again, know your fighters. 

Betting Tennis Totals

Betting tennis is a way to make very nice money very quickly. There are more than a few ways to bet the tennis totals and they involve betting the total games within a match, betting the final score of a match, betting the time of a match—how long will the match go. There are many tennis leagues around the world, making tennis a highly available sport to bet on year around. 

Betting Props

There are literally dozens and dozens of prop bets with betting totals available, and in nearly every sport that most of the online sportsbooks offer for betting purposes. Betting the totals on prop lines can be lucrative and it is a fun way to avoid having skin in the game when it comes to choosing a side. 


Future totals are also a great way to bet if you think your NFL, NHL, NBA, or NCAAF teams will come through for you in the future. Most of the major sports have a future wins total attached to them and most of the sportsbooks offer these future bets. Do yourself a favor by researching what teams have a chance and what teams may not have a chance to go under or over the wins total in any given season.

About the Author

Having lived in several different states I am never quite sure where I should say that I am from! I was born in WA. State. I did not grow up there. My family moved to Idaho when I was a young boy, where we lived for 11 years. As a result of my fathers occupation; I have had the privilage to experience many states and different cultures around the country.

I have lived in WA, OR, CA, ID, CO, KS, NY, MO, TX, FL, IN, NV, AZ, and Hawaii. I have also lived in Puerto Rico, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. I have managed to visit or live in, 49 of our great states and travel extensively throughout Central America. My travels have taken me to such places as Sinaloa, Chiapas, Myan ruins in Guatemala, and many, many others.  I believe that I have had the honor to visit every Mexican state.

I am an English teacher by trade and love helping others improve thir lives through education. I have taught for institutions such as The University of Washington (Go Huskies) Berlitz, and a few other international language academies. I have obtained many degrees in the school of hard knocks, by way of old fashioned experience!  Such as driving taxi, working at McDonalds, working for giant retailers as well as giant casinos! A jack of all trades for sure.

I love sports! My passion is sports. I love talking about it, arguing about it, following and keeping up with the current state of affairs. Having lived in many places helps me connect with many different fan bases. As a writer, this is a real advantage to have. I can connect with a Yankees fan, or a Chargers fan.  I love it and I hope to continue to give readers a different perspective than the average, run of the mill story will give them.

As you read my stories; I hope you enjoy them. I hope they make you think, maybe make you happy and even make you mad! As you read further you may discover that over the years; I have been influenced by people such as Jim Rome, or Colin Cowherd. These are the kinds of folks that make me think and make me see sports differently.