Betting NFL Totals

Total score over/under betting is one of the three most popular forms of NFL gambling, along with moneyline betting and spread betting.  Despite being quite difficult to do well, the concept is quite simple: Over/under betting strategy means picking how many total points will be scored in a game.  The number provided as a line is the combination of both teams, and you simply pick: Over? Or under?

There are many reasons to bet the over or under, but the most important reason for sports bettors is because it is the easiest form of sports betting to beat! Do NOT believe me?  Then, why do you think the sports books put such low limits on totals wagers?

Many sports bettors, especially those betting on football,  are fixated on the point spread. Sure, it’s more fun, as nothing is more excruciating betting on an “under” but you have to go where the money is at if your serious about winning at sports betting.

If you do NOT want to make money, then the best way to bet totals is to understand each team if their an over or an under, when 2 overs play each other bet over, when 2 unders play each other bet under, when an over plays an under just watch.  However, if you wish to make money, then read on…

Another reason to bet totals is that the juice is lower as is the risk.  It is generally a coin flip bet, unlike parlays and teasers where your forced to pick more than one game which decreases your odds of winning.

Another reason to bet totals is that often times there is great value in betting totals without even knowing any information at all!  Most sports bettors love to see a game with a ton of points scored.  The sports books know this. Thus, they then have you in a tough spot as your biased to one side of the total, being the over, which allows them to inflate the total a little bit higher sucking the value out of that side of the play.

The thing that you will notice is that there are odds attached to each outcome – each over or under.  This reflects the golden rule of sports gambling: The goal of odds-makers is always to promote even action on both sides of a wager.  Changing the odds to make wagers more or less profitable to gamblers is the way that odds-makers prompt even action on both sides of an over/under bet.

With the above being said, in a matchup between two hot defensive teams that sport very little offense, bookies know that “Joe Public” is going to figure no offense, great defense, low score.  So they adjust the opposite way as well, deflating the total making for an “under” play very difficult to hit while those that have the gonads to bet the over are more likely to cash in.

In addition, the inflated “over” lines are often times inflated more-so on nationally televised games where the book expects to get a ton of action.

TIP:  before you bet NFL totals, you may want to check to see how the rest of the general betting public is playing the totals.  You do NOT want to be on the same side as them, especially if their one siding the heck out of a game.

With this basic idea of how over/under bets work, let us now look at when you should place an over/under bet, which is tantamount to knowing whether the odds offer good value.

It is extremely important to keep in mind that there is no magic statistical formula that will tell you whether or not a game will go over or under.  There are a host of systems out there – like betting the under in divisional games and the over in non-conference games, betting the over if the game gets to 41 or 42 or 44 total points, betting the over in games played in below-freezing temperatures, and any number of others.

But once again, statistical systems must be taken with a grain of salt.

In my opinion, a prudent sports bettor who likes betting the over/under bets requires an understanding of value. Value betting is generally defined as wagering only in situations when you feel very confident about what the outcome of a wager will be while at the same time you feel that the odds for a particular wager hold the potential for a nice payoff!

The betting systems mentioned above are after precisely this type of value, albeit in a slightly misguided way.  When a betting system points out some statistical anomaly about how often a particular set of situations has prompted a winning over or an under, it is useful to note the conditions they reference, but this does NOT mean you should take what they are saying as law.  Consistently finding value requires combining together a large number of different betting systems with a large number of situational factors.

With total score over/under betting, the single most important factor, in my opinion, involved in making money in the long-run is being smarter and more disciplined at wagering only on good value bets.  This is a skill that you will get better at the more often you do it.  As you place more wagers, you will develop a feel for when there is good value to be found in a particular bet.

In addition, when you look at the line, make careful note of how different your personal decision on the total score is from the decision that odds-makers framed for the gambling public.  You could be dead on (in which case, you are probably right but there probably is NOT value) or you could be way off (in which case, you are either right, and there is value, or you are just wrong).

Once again, there is no exact science to knowing whether or not you are right (and the odds are different) or you are wrong (and the odds were right).  The most honest thing I can tell you is this: the key to a good value bet is when you feel certain of a given outcome, while the gambling public and/or the odds-maker feels differently.

As always, I suggest that an under  bet should first be considered, however NOT all games go under so you need to pick your spots.  An astute NFL handicapper should hit 60%+ year in and year out only betting totals.  Just a little something to think about and trust your gut, learn from your mistakes, and you will be well on your way to becoming a profitable football gambler.

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