Total Bets - Explained

With sports betting being as popular as ever, bookmakers are continuously looking at ways to improve their service. They want customers to keep betting and enjoying the experience.

Traditional sports betting markets have an established place on many sportsbooks including the win-draw-win and correct score bets amongst many others. 

An increasingly popular market is known as Total bets. This is a simple bet which will be appealing to many sports betting fans. The total bet is also known as the over/under market and can be explained with some examples.

The Total Bets Market

The Total bet is the bookmaker deciding on what the total number of points will be in a specific game. For example, an Australian rugby match is being contested by Western Force and Canberra Vikings. The bookmaker will decide on the total points scored in the match and the betting customer must decide whether to bet over or under the total amount. It is inconsequential which team scores all of the points. It is the predetermined total score that the bookmaker has set which is being wagered on.

In the example of Western Force v Canberra Vikings the bookmaker may set the final score and total bet at 20.5 points. The punter will wager whether the games end result will be over or under 20.5 points.

The reason why bookmakers use a 0.5 is because it is impossible to score a half-point in a game of rugby and therefore, by using this method, the bet will be completely settled.

Total bets or the under/over markets are not solely offered on the final result of a sporting contest. Betting customers will often find this market on the number of goals scored in a soccer match or the number of tries scored in a game of rugby. Again like the final result market, the bookmaker will offer odds on the number of goals for the match and the customer will bet over or under that amount. For example, in a game of soccer, there are many over/under markets and all will have .5 added to the total. If the punter believes there will be more or less goals scored then they choose the outcome accordingly.

Bookmakers have started to go one step further and offer an over/under market for different halves of a sporting fixture. This means that the punter is able to choose odds on a particular score for each half. Continuing with soccer, bookmakers also offer under/over markets on the number of corners per game. There are also bookmakers that offer under / over markets on the number of fouls certain teams and players will concede during a specific match.

There are many other sports that betting customers will find the opportunity for over/under markets.

A popular sport for betting fans in Australia is cricket and there are plenty of total bet opportunities. Gamblers will find odds on total runs scored by a team or player, total sixes or boundaries, a bowlers total wicket haul as well as player runs. The method is exactly the same. The bookmaker sets the total and the bet is placed over or under that amount.

Tennis is a great example to use this market. Punters are able to bet on the number of sets that are won by a particular player. The bookmaker will set a specific total and the punter will choose to bet over or under that amount. Likewise, there are over and under markets on games and total matches within a tournament.

As the over/under market is completely suited to sports with two competing teams for points there are also opportunities to bet on American sports.

Like other contested sports, American football, will have markets available on the final score, and individual player touchdowns.

In basketball markets are offered on the match score, team score and number of points scored by individual players. Once again the system is the same. The betting customer will decide whether to place a stake under or over those amounts set by the sportsbook.

Total Bet Systems and strategies

Betting customers are able to create strategies and plans to implement this type of bet. The total bets market can be difficult to predict, nevertheless, there will always be favourable odds. In two-sided sporting fixtures, there will always be team form, opposition strengths, weather conditions, recent results, player injuries, tactics and head to head results. A gambler that likes to study statistics and information will be better placed when choosing the total bets market. A betting strategy such as this often works better when the information is gathered over a longer period of time when the deciding factor on which market to choose, can be justified. 


This market is completely suited to betting strategies and live betting. Total bets, as a betting option, certainly adds more excitement to gambling on sports, over the traditional win market as more thought has to go into the number of points, tries or goals being scored. The odds can also be favourable as narrowing down a victory to the number of points is much harder to predict than just picking the winner.  


It is extremely difficult to predict scoring outcomes and the odds on offer can reflect this. This increases further in instances where punters don’t have prior knowledge or a system in place before placing the bet.

To summarise

There are a huge number of total bets markets, varying from sport to sport but the methodology remains the same. Like any bet, the punter needs to decide what they consider good value in terms of odds nevertheless the different options make the under and over markets a really attractive prospect for betting customers.

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