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Sports Betting 101: What are "totals"?

Philadelphia Eagles v New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

Totals

When you’re looking at the betting odds for totals, this is a reflection of the combined score of both teams. That means that you are looking at whether the combined score of both sides will go over or under a set number. (For that reason, this type of bet is also often called an over / under bet.) For example, the sportsbook might set the total at 66 for a college football game. This means that they predict that the two teams will score a combined total of 66 points. You will then place a wager on whether the actual combined score will be over or under that amount. If you think that one or both teams has a particularly strong offense and it will be a high-scoring affair, you would bet over. If you think it will be a defensive struggle, ending in very low scores on both or either side, then you would bet under. If the final score is something like 44-40, then the combined score would be 84, meaning the game is an over. If the final score is something like 33-32, making the combined score 65, then it is an over.

Sometimes, the combined scores will land right on the total. In our example, if the score ended up being something like 34-32, then the combined score would be 66, exactly the predicted total. This situation is called a push or a tie. In these cases, no one wins the bet, and you would simply get your money back. To avoid these situations, sportsbooks will often set the total at a half number, like 66.5. This way, if the final combined score was 66, it would be an under, and a 67 would be an over.

 

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