NFL Totals Betting

Betting on NFL totals is when you wager on the combined scores of both teams involved in an event. Oddsmakers will set a line on a football game and rather than betting on which team will win the event, you’re betting on whether the game will go over (o) or under (u) the line set by the oddsmakers, which is why this type of line is also known as an over/under.

How does betting on the total work?

Here’s an example of a typical NFL totals line:

Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers 
Over (+130)/ Under (-115) 45 points

If you bet the over, you believe that the final score will be above 45, which means 46 or more points. If you bet the under, you believe the final, combined score will be 44 points or less.

What happens if the final score is exactly the same as the total?

In many cases, you’ll notice that a total ends in “.5”, which means that you’ll have a definite result that would look like this:

Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers 
Over (+130)/ Under (-115) 45.5 points

Games can’t end on a half-number, so it will either definitively be over or under the set total. The half-point eliminates the possibility of a push occurring. Therefore, the bet can only be won or lost. However, sometimes oddsmakers set the total as a whole number, such as in our first example. When that’s the case and the final score is exactly the same as that total, then the bet results in a push.

As always, how much you stand to win is determined by the moneyline odds attached to the over or under.

Why do I see a moneyline/point spread for a game, but I don’t see a total?

Sometimes the oddsmakers will wait closer to game time to post the total for a number of reasons. Usually, if there’s a moneyline and/or a point spread posted but no total, that likely indicates a weather related factor. In other words, there could be potential for a snow storm or something of that nature, and that would have a serious impact on the total. In other cases, an injury might be a factor as to why you don’t see the total posted. Until those unpredictable factors are a little more certain, the line may be off the board.

Check out other betting strategy articles to learn more about the different types of NFL wagering.