What Does Over – Under (O/U) Mean?

Over – Under is a type of bet in which you predict whether the total number of points in an event will be over or under a total set by an oddsmaker.

An alternative bet type to choosing a winner in a matchup is to bet on “the total”, which is nothing more than the combined scores of both teams in a matchup.

Taking a number of factors into consideration, oddsmakers decide what the most likely number of points scored in the matchup by both teams combined. Take this hypothetical example:

Lebron James has been on a tear lately, averaging a triple-double in the last 4 games with over 30 points per outing. Clevelands next game is against the New York Knicks, a team allowing over 100 points per game in the season. The oddsmaker takes these factors and others and uses them to determine a total for bettors to choose sides of:

Over 208 – 1.91
Under 208 – 1.91

Your job is to decide whether the total number of points scored in this matchup will be more than 208 (called “the over”), or less (called “the under”). As you can see the prices for each side are the same, as is quite often when betting on totals. Because the total is set by the oddsmaker there is no underdog or favourite side.

If you chose the over and the final score was Cleveland 114 and New York 100, then you correctly predicted the total number of points and would have won! On the other hand, if you had chosen the under you would have lost. If the total number of points in an event is equal to the total (eg a score of 102 – 100), then it is known as a push. A push is basicly the same as calling it a tie. Sportsbooks give everyone back their stake and it is as if the bet never happened.

Why do some totals end in .5?

Quite often, you will see oddsmakers set totals with half-points at the end. For this baseball game, they could have set the total at 201.5. Adding a half-point to a total simply eliminates the possibility of a “push” outcome.