How to Overs and Unders in Sports Betting

Boredom and an eagerness to win sometimes get the best of us, especially when it comes to sports betting. We’re often drawn to the ease of placing a wager, but without careful consideration, this habit can drain our bank accounts (and we all know what a thrill it is to hit the big time). Let’s have a look at how we can stay in the green and avoid the bust.


Overs are those bets where we are more likely to win than lose. If you are making an over bet, you are simply agreeing to lay odds that are greater than one (1.0 or more) on our favor. Whether it’s through a bookmaker, a website, or an odds maker app, chances are there is an option somewhere that will satisfy your need. Let’s have a look at how we can make smart over bets and what pitfalls we need to avoid.


Under bets are those bets where we expect to lose. Just like with overs, there are options available to make an under bet. However, you need to be extra careful here as you can actually lose money if you bet on a team you think is going to win (but, for some reason or another, ends up losing). The key is to pick your poison wisely by considering the following points:

  • The type of game
  • The point spread
  • Whether it’s first or second half
  • Whether it’s an all-or-nothing bet (either we win or lose)
  • The total amount of points scored by both teams in the game
  • Whether the team is a favorite or not
  • Whether the team is at home or away
  • Whether the team is ranked higher or lower than expected
  • Whether the team is hot or cold
  • Whether the team is playing well or not
  • Whether we need a win or a loss to decide the series

Types Of Games

In most sports, there is an even number of teams competing for a prize (e.g., the Super Bowl). In these cases, a coin flip is used to determine who will play in the championship game. While this is the most common type of betting scenario, it is not always the case. Some games, like college football, have a much greater number of teams participating. In this scenario, it is common for there to be a large number of under bets. In college football, for example, there are often between 10 and 20 ranked teams that all have a shot at the championship. Naturally, this creates a greater opportunity for disappointment.

Point Spread

In most cases, we are not directly betting on the final score in a game. Instead, we are placing a wager on which team will win an upcoming game. In this scenario, we need to consider the point spread. The point spread is the amount by which the spreader (the team he is betting on) will cover (or lose against) the number he is trying to bet on (e.g., +3 or -3). For example, if he is trying to bet on an Over and the number is +3, then he will need to win by at least 3 points to make it worth while.

Half Time

The first half of a football game is often decided by a touchdown or an interception. These are clear-cut wins or losses that we can easily track. The second half is a whole different ballgame as there is a great deal of luck involved in determining the winner of this part of the game. This is one reason why it is not uncommon for there to be a large number of over bets (especially early in the game) and a great deal of volatility (i.e., changes) in the odds (i.e., a ‘roller coaster’ of bets). The good news is that most people tend to stay away from the latter part of a football game since a typical user perceives this phase to be more random (and thus, more likely to end in a loss). This is why, in general, we should avoid making early bets in a game (especially on teams we are not familiar with or do not follow closely).

All Or Nothing

An all or nothing bet is one where we are either winning or losing the entire wager. In other words, we are not being given the chance to win part of a bet. All or nothing bets are often used in sports to describe a scenario where the payoff is either a certain amount of money or nothing at all. Typically, all or nothing bets are used in games with well-defined endpoints where we have a good idea of who is going to win (e.g., the Super Bowl, the NCAA basketball tournament, or the World Series).


Nowadays, sportsbooks offer odds on just about everything. From the winner of the next race to the winner of the upcoming game. These odds can help us make informed decisions when placing a wager. Let’s take a quick look at how they work and how we can use them efficiently.


The moneyline is the most common way of presenting odds, especially when discussing sports. This is because most people are familiar with the moneyline and can more easily comprehend the odds. Simply put, the moneyline odds state the total amount of money that will be won or lost on the bet. For example, if you are putting $100 on a game and the moneyline is set at -110 (meaning you will win $110 if you bet on the underdog team), then you are essentially agreeing to risk $100 on a bet where you can win $110 (plus your original $100).


The oddschecker is almost identical to the moneyline, with the exception that it does not require us to risk our entire bankroll. Instead, we can set a maximum amount that we are willing to risk (e.g., $100). When placing an oddschecker wager, we are effectively risking $100 on a winning bet (if we pick the right team). The key to making effective oddschecker bets is to consider the following points:

  • The type of game
  • The point spread
  • Whether it’s first or second half (or whether it’s an all-or-nothing bet)
  • Whether the team is at home or away
  • Whether we need a win or a loss to decide the series
  • Whether the team is a favorite or not
  • Whether the team is hot or cold
  • Whether we have heard of the team
  • Whether the team is playing well or poorly
  • Whether the team is a local or a visitor
  • Whether the team is a champion or pretender

To illustrate how the odds can be used effectively, let’s take a look at some data from the 2013 Super Bowl (also known as the New England Patriots vs. the Seattle Seahawks). The game was a pretty close one with the final score ending up being 24-21 in favor of the Seahawks. If you were to search for odds for this game, you would have found a number of bookmakers offering a variety of lines on the game. Consider the following example:

If you were to search for a moneyline bet for the Super Bowl at 10:00 pm EST on January 30th, you would have found a number of different options at different bookmakers. For example, at one of the major online sportsbooks, you would have seen that the Seattle Seahawks were listed as 1.65-to-1 (meaning they would win you $1.65 for every $1.00 you invest) while the New England Patidfs were listed at 3.5-to-1 (i.e., you would need to lay $3.50 to win $1.00). However, if you had instead picked the New England Patriots in that same scenario, you would have lost your $100 since they were listed as 22-to-1 (meaning you would lose $22 for every $1.00 you invested).