What Does the Over Under Mean in Football Betting?

The over under (sometimes shortened to over/under) is a type of wager used in sports wagering, particularly in American football. It is, generally speaking, a wager placed on the total number of points scored in a game. In basketball, the wager might be based on the total number of made free throws. In sports betting, the line is typically set by the bookmakers to either favor the home team or the opposing team. The term over under can also be used in ice hockey to reference the total number of goals scored. (Wikipedia)

How Does It Work?

Traditionally, an over/under wager has been used with a fixed outcome. In other words, if you bet on the game winner to be over 16.3 points, you would win your bet (assuming the game ended in a tie). The evolution of sporting events – particularly in North America – has led to more flexibility in the betting structures and the use of statistical analysis to determine the result of a game. This has, in turn, made over/under wagering more complicated.

Fixed Odds and Variable Odds

Up until the 1960s, American sports leagues were generally not as professional as they are today. Games were generally only recorded as a score and usually didn’t have any significant meaning outside of the actual game. In addition, most bookmakers adjusted the odds on a game based on the score, with the assumption being that the game would end in a tie. This made the overall odds of a game more equitable. (Bookmakers adjust the odds of a game in order to compensate for the fact that they cannot give you a sure thing when it comes to betting on sports. A sure thing means that if the game ends in a tie, there is no need to adjust the line as the odds would already be correct.)

By the late 1960s, however, this began to change. With the rise of the counterculture and the subsequent creation of Woodstock, there was a dramatic increase in the number of people interested in alternative lifestyles. Along with this came the rise of a new type of betting called variable odds. With these types of bets, the odds of winning are not set in stone and can change as soon as the puck drops. (For more information on variable odds, check out our guide on what to watch out for when betting on sports.)

Variable odds and alternative lifestyles were a potent mix and, over time, this resulted in a complete overhaul of the way sports are bet. Today, with more athletic competition and a greater variety of sports available, over/under wagering is one of the most popular types of bets in the U.S. Additionally, many American sports books now offer a “decimal option,” which means you can bet on the number of points scored in the game with complete precision.

Why Is It Popular?

There are several reasons why over/under wagering is so popular. First, it is easy to place a wager. This is largely due to the fact that most sports books offer a simple “over under” wager, where you choose one of the two teams to win the game and the bookmakers will take care of the rest. (Some books still offer “scorching” or “indestructible” straight-up bets, but these types of wagers are generally more difficult to place.)

Another reason why over/under wagering is so popular is that it affords you a chance at winning. If the total number of points scored in a game is above the posted line, you would win your bet. If the total number of points scored in a game is below the posted line, then you would lose your bet. This is in comparison to other types of wagers, such as “straight up” or “against the spread,” where for every dollar you bet, you are guaranteed either to win $2 or lose $2. The opportunity for profit is, in theory, greater with over/under wagering.

How Are Bookmakers Regarded in Society?

Most people who bet on sports do so for entertainment purposes. This is particularly true with over/under wagering. Since these types of wagers generally have a clear winner, there are fewer variables for the bettors to worry about. This, in turn, makes it easier for people to place wagers and, generally speaking, sports books are considered to be a good place to do so.

More Than Meets The Eye

Besides the fact that over/under wagering is a popular way to bet, there is also a whole lot more going on behind the scenes. Many books now offer a variety of wagers and, generally speaking, these wagers are based on more than just the outcome of a game. For instance, if you bet on the New England Patriots against the Pittsburgh Steelers, you would likely be betting on the match-up between the two head coaches as well as the fact that the Patriots have a good chance of winning.

In terms of the coaches themselves, Bill Belichick is one of the best in the industry. He has been named the National Football League Coach of the Year a record five times and has won more than 90 percent of his games, including 11 straight wins this season. On the flip side, Mike Tomlin is just 44-42 in his three seasons as head coach of the Steelers. (USA Today)

As for the Patriots, they have a good mix of veterans and young guns on their roster. Players like Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty, and Dont’a Hightower are proven superstitions and have been a key part of New England’s success. In addition, Bill Belichick is a chess master and has an uncanny ability to figure out an opponent’s weaknesses and exploit them. (New England Patriots bio)

On the other side, the Steelers are mostly made up of former college football stars. This reflects the overall evolution of American society in general. More and more people are heading for a professional career instead of going to a traditional university. This has resulted in an increase in the number of players joining the NFL each year. Not only is it a great league for athletes, but the pay is very good and the publicity is great, too.

While the Patriots have been fixtures in the top spot for most of the season, there is no clear-cut favorite when it comes to the Super Bowl. The New York Giants are currently leading the way with a 12-2 record and, as you would expect, are the heavy favorites to win the big game. However, as we mentioned above, this is a game that is more about the head coaches than the players. It is very possible that the Giants and the Patriots could meet in the Super Bowl and the match-up between these two legendary coaches could end up being the deciding factor.

The Rise Of The Analyst

All of this being said, the evolution of sports gambling has made it much more complicated. This is largely due to the fact that sports books now utilize advanced statistics and trends to set the lines and make predictions on games. In particular, many books utilize data analytics to study sports trends and, as a result, are often able to predict future scores with uncanny accuracy. In addition, many books and sports analysts now work entirely online, making it much easier for punters to place wagers from home. (If you’re thinking about placing a wager, you might want to consider doing so online. It’s a much easier and safer way to place a wager these days.)

The Future Of Sports

This brings us to the present. The future of sports is definitely not behind us. In fact, it is coming at us fast. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, the lines are likely to continue bending in favor of the athletes, coaches, and teams.

These technologies have made it possible for individuals to study sports in great depth and, as a result, make informed predictions on games. If you’re looking for a way to win cash, you can do so by placing a wager on the outcome of a game and profiting from oddsmaking. Just remember: the more information you have, the better. This is especially true if you’re planning on placing a wager. The more data you have on an athlete, team, or coach, the better chance you have of winning. Now is not the time to be blinded by emotion or to rely on gut instinct. Always keep your eyes open for the facts and make the most informed decision possible.