Question: What is the over/under and how does it work?
Answer: In last week’s article, we covered what the -110, +110 and even money mean; prior to that we covered “against the spread” and “moneyline”. The listed odds will govern a winning payout by a sportsbook. Moneylines will always list the odds for a given contest. To know how much a winning bet pays, look at the line; often it is -110, +110, or even money. Even money doubles a winning bet, -110 wins 90% of the bet, and +110 wins 110% of the bet. A wager placed against the spread may not always list the odds.
Courtesy of our friends over at Sportsbook.ag, we’ll provide an example.
First, unless it is otherwise stated with an over/under bet, the line is -110 for sides. Remember, if you wager $110 you win $100, for a total of $210. Focus on the game involving Penn State and Ohio State. First, the bottom team is always the home team. Focus your attention on the first column, where 741 is next to Penn State and 742 is next to Ohio State. Remember that this is the betting identifying number. The first number to the right of the team names is what is the moneyline. Note that there is no moneyline for the Penn State/Ohio State game; it simply isn’t worth it financially for a sportsbook to take bets on a moneyline where the spread is too large. The next column, is to the right of the moneyline, is the point spread; note that the spread was 21.5 with Ohio State as a favorite. Remember that if you placed on bet on this spread, on Ohio State, Ohio State would have to at least win by 22, in order for the bet to be a winning one.
The final column is the over/under. The over/under is the combined point total between the two teams for the entire game. If the game goes to overtime, overtime is included in the bet.
Assume you bet the “over” for the Penn State/Ohio State game. Because the listed point total is 127, the combined point total between the two teams would need to exceed 127, at least being 128, in order for the bet to be a winning one.
Instead, assume you bet the “under” for the Penn State/Ohio State game. Because the listed point total is 127, the combined point total between the two teams could not exceed 127, being at most 126, in order for the bet to be a winning one.
Ohio State won 78-54; the combined score was 132. Because 132 is greater than 127, the over would be a winner.
If the combined point total is 127, the bet is considered a push and money is returned to the parties who placed a wager with that point total.
One trick, when contemplating a bet on either the point spread or the over under, is to figure out what Las Vegas projects the final score to be. Take the over under from the game and cut the total in half. Then take the point spread and cut it in half. For the team that is favored, add half of the point spread to their half of the over/under. For the team that is an underdog, subtract half of the point spread to their half of the over/under. Following this formula, you will arrive at what Las Vegas (and other sports gamblers, on average) projects to be the final score.
Let’s look at an example. Look again at the Penn State/Ohio State game. First, cut the over/under in half; half of 127 is 63.5. Next, cut the point spread in half; half of 21.5 is 10.75. To arrive at Ohio State’s projected point total, the favorite, add half of the over/under and half of the point spread; adding 63.5 and 10.75 equals 74.25. To arrive at Penn State’s projected point total, the underdog, subtract half of the over/under and half of the point spread; subtracting 63.5 and 10.75 equals 52.75. Based on Las Vegas initial lines, coupled with sports wagering since those lines opened, a 74-52, or 74-52, final is projected, with Ohio State winning. Why does this matter? You can use the final score to determine whether you think the point total is too high or too low, placing your bet accordingly.
Keep in mind that the over/under point total can always move.
Other notes related to over/under:
- How do I place a bet in Las Vegas?: If you were placing this bet in Las Vegas, the proper way to place the bet is by the identifying number. You do NOT approach the bookmaker and say “I would like the Northeastern moneyline”; instead, say “744 moneyline”, remembering that 744 is the unique identifier for Northeastern. Remember, if you tell a sportsbook “744”, the assumption is you are betting against the spread (with the exception of baseball). Be sure to indicate whether the bet is for a single game contest or whether it is part of another wager. Two things: (1) The unique identifier may be different from sportsbook-to-sportsbook, do NOT assume that they are the same; (2) The minimum sports bet at Las Vegas casinos varies, from $5-$10 a contest. Consult your sportsbook for exact minimums and maximums. Not all contests will have a moneyline available. Most contests where the spread is high, a sportsbook will not allow a moneyline wager.
- When can I collect my winnings?: Depending on the sportsbook, contests are collectable once a final result is posted. If you are placing a sports wager, other than online, you may be able to mail in a winning ticket. Consult the sportsbook of your choice as to whether that method is available.
- What if the game goes into overtime?: Remember that a contest generally includes overtime. So if the team you bet on wins, in overtime, you win. If that team loses, you lose. Note that over/under wagers generally include overtime. Consult the sportsbook of your choice for their rules.
- When does a contest go final?: It depends on the sportsbook and what sport you are wagering on. In baseball, a contest is considered final once a team wins, obviously. If however, the game needs to be shortened, it is considered final after at least five completed innings have been played, and where one of the teams is leading. Where an inning has not been completed or where the score is tied, in the case of baseball, the event will be suspended (picked up where it was left off) or cancelled (the event will start over from the beginning, but wagers placed on the original contest will be refunded). Consult the sportsbook of your choice for their rules.
- The moneyline changed since I placed by wager, what happens?: NOTE: Whatever your ticket says is the moneyline for the contest matters! Do NOT refer to a different moneyline. For example, assume you bet Northeastern -320. Since you place your bet, Northeastern moneyline moves to -280 (this would be due to more people betting Delaware moneyline as opposed to Northeastern moneyline). A Northeastern win means your payout is based on the -320 line, not -280. Generally, you may not cancel and re-bet in order to gain the benefit of the more favorable spread. By contrast, a less favorable line that occurs after the placing of a wager does not affect your wager.
- I want to wager on a game, but I don’t see it as being available: Not all games will be available to bet on. Sportsbooks pick the contests that are likely to have the most action. Note that some sportsbooks will not accept bets on certain teams (The Palms will not accept bets on the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, because the Maloof family, owner of The Palms, owns the Kings; Harrah’s casinos will not accept bets on the NBA’s Boston Celtics because Harrah’s has an ownership interest in the Celtics).
- The game I wagered on says “refund” or is no longer on the board, what happens now?: Sometimes a sportsbook will remove a game which they had previously allowed bets on. This may occur due to an injury or some other concern. When this happens, sportsbooks will refund the amount wagered, and a new bet can be placed once the new odds are posted. Occasionally, a sportsbook will still honor the original bet; consult the sportsbook of your choice for their policy.
- I saw that The Palms Las Vegas had one set of odds listed, but Flamingo Las Vegas has a different set listed, will the Flamingo Las Vegas honor the odds listed at The Palms Las Vegas?: Sportsbooks may have various odds for a given game. Note that whatever sportsbook you place a wager at, those odds (which are listed on your ticket) govern the game. Generally, you cannot request different odds other than the ones that are posted.
Other questions related to “over/under” or another Sports Wagering question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.