Question: What are over/under on win totals and how do they work?
Answer: In our last article, we covered what futures are. Prior to that, we covered parlays, teasers, prop bets, “against the spread”, “moneyline”, -110/+110/even money, and over/under. 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. Over/under looks at the combined total of points, or goals, scored by the participating teams. Prop bets are wagers that do not affect the outcome of the sporting event. Teasers allow the bettor to change the point spread in exchange for a reduced payout. Parlays allow an individual to receive an increased payout if the individual bets the correct result all games listed on his or her ticket. Finally, futures allow an individual to place a bet on an event that may not be collectable until later in the sport’s season.
Courtesy of our friends over at BetVega.com, we’ll provide an example.
Win totals, commonly used in the NFL, college football, and baseball, allow an individual to place on wager on a team’s projected success for the entire regular season. To be clear, over/under on win totals only count for the regular season, not the post-season or pre-season. One potential problem is that some games may be cancelled due to weather – a bigger issue in baseball and sometimes in college football. Those games can hurt someone betting a over/under on win totals.
For example, let’s look at the 2011 win total over/under for college football. We have the opening win totals for Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, and Notre Dame. Look at Michigan. If you bet over, Michigan would have to have won 8 games or more last season in order for the bet to be a winner. If you bet the under, Michigan would have to have won 6 games or less in order for the bet to be a winner. Assuming Michigan won 7 games, there would be no action and money bet on that win total would be returned. Note that Michigan won 10 regular season games, so a bet of over 7 was a winning bet.
Putting $10 on any of the following teams for over under win totals for 2011 resulted in the following:
Michigan – Over $7.41, to Pay $17.41.
Michigan State – Over $4.00, to Pay $14.00
Mississippi State – Under $14.50, to Pay $24.50
Missouri – Under $11.50, to Pay $21.50
Nebraska – Under $6.45, to Pay $16.45
Notre Dame– Under $7.41, to Pay $17.41
Not all betting establishments offer wagers on win totals, check to make sure.
Other notes related to teasers:
- How do I place a win total wager in Las Vegas?: If you were placing a win total wager in Las Vegas, the proper way to place the bet is by the identifying number. You do NOT approach the bookmaker and say “Win total bet on Michigan”; instead, either use the unique identifying number, or say “Michigan over win total”. 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. 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.
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