What Does Over/Under in Betting Mean?

When you place a wager on a sporting event you will most likely come across the terms even and odd meaning that the bet will be even or odd. You might see a bookmaker offer odds such as 4/1 (4 points per pound) for a win, 2/1 (2 points per pound) for a draw or 10/1 (10 points per pound) for an upset.

What does over and under in betting really mean? In the simplest terms, it means that the expected outcome is better (in favor of the underdog or counterparty) than expected or desired, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. This article will discuss the ins and outs of over and under betting along with offering some examples of how it can be used effectively.

Odd Means Better Than Even

When we think about betting we usually think about evens and odds. After all, that’s what we’re used to dealing with. When you place a wager on an event you are essentially placing a wager that the odd will happen more frequently than the even. In general, we can say that the odd will be better than the even when considering the following:

  • Small Sportsbooks

    If you are placing your bet at a small sportsbook you will notice that the spread between evens and odds is often quite wide. This is usually a sign that the bookmaker isn’t sure which outcome will occur more frequently. For example, if you wager $100 on the NCAA Football Championship and the spread is 40 points, this essentially means the bookmaker doesn’t know which team will win by how much. In this case, it would be best to wager on the underdog since the odds will be more favorable for a win than an even outcome. Generally, we can say that smaller books prefer to take smaller bets in the first place. This means that they will have a better feel for the odds of an event.

  • More Matched Up Teams
  • When we consider the NFL it’s easy to see how the evens and odds for each game are determined. Each week the two teams will play each other and the spread (the amount of money wagered on each team) is what determines the odds of each game. With more people wagering on each team this system ensures that the odds for each game will be in line with what is expected. This makes perfect sense; after all, if nobody is wagering on the underdogs then the bookies don’t have to adjust the odds in their favor. In general, we can say that when there are more participants the odds will be more favorable for the underdog. For example, in the 2020 NFL season the New York Jets have a 0.5% chance of winning each of their 10 games while the over/under was 53.5.

  • Underdogs Have A Better Shot
  • Let’s say you are a football fan and you believe that this year’s Super Bowl will be between the Los Angeles Chargers and New York Giants. You’ve been collecting stats and information on both teams over the past year and, being a good judge of character and performance, you know that the Giants are the superior team this year. As a fan, you’ve got a rooting interest in this match up and you want the Giants to triumph. If you believe that this year’s Super Bowl will be a close game with the Giants potentially winning, it would be smart to wager on them. If you check the odds in sportsbooks you will notice that the Giants are currently favored to win the Super Bowl this year with the bookmaker giving them a 7-point spread.

    The point is that sometimes the evens and odds don’t reflect reality and it’s important to consider all the information available. If the spread is too far in either direction it could mean that either team is capable of winning and, in some cases, the odd could be better than even if both teams are supposedly equal.

    While all the statistics and prognostications may indicate that the Giants are the superior team this year, somewhere, deep down, as a fan, you knew that the Chargers were going to crush the Giants in a blowout. This is what makes football so much fun—you never know who is going to show up and play on any given Sunday. Sometimes the favorites end up being the underdogs and sometimes the underdogs end up being the favorites. You just have to be able to discern which one it is on any given day. This is why it’s important to constantly compare the odds and consider all the variables, especially on a day when the spread is huge.

    There are times when an even match makes sense and, in some cases, an upset can be the result. It all depends on how you look at it. If you need help figuring out which to choose, reach out to a member of our team and we will be happy to help you decide which outcome is best for you.

    Don’t Bet On Wins, Only On Longer Odds

    Sometimes a game may end in a tie or there may be a controversial call that results in a no score or a very low score. When this happens the sportsbook is forced to offer longer odds in order to make the wager pay off. For example, if you bet $100 on the Super Bowl and the half time show is coming up while the score is still close you may see the bookmaker offered 3/1 (3 points per pound) for a win, 1/1 (1 point per pound) for a tie and 11/1 (1 point per pound) for an upset.

    This system ensures that nobody is ever really expecting a tie and it gives people the opportunity to bet on unlikely events. This is why you should only bet on the longer odds when it makes sense to do so. You are essentially placing a wager that the game will end in one outcome or the other. This is similar to when you might make a proposition bet; in this case you are saying that you believe one team is going to win by a certain amount while the other is going to lose. If you look at it this way then you have to consider that a tie is a form of losing so, in this case, it doesn’t make sense to wager on a tie.

    Some people like to take the opposite approach and will only bet on evens when the game is close or there is some suspense about the final result. This is usually a mistake since it’s generally better to wager on the longer odds when possible. There is also the risk of the game ending in a tie which would leave you with nothing to show for your wager. This is why you should always bet on the longer odds when possible. In some cases an upset can be the best result since in some sports, particularly football, it’s common for the favorite to blow the game open in the second half. This is why you should only bet on the longer odds if the first half is relatively close and there is still time left in the game.

    Remember that if the game is close at halftime then the odds will likely have changed since the lines were originally posted. You should check the odds as soon as you get up to speed after the break or if there is a flag to call for a suspension or distraction in the middle of the game.

    Adjusted Odds Are Often The Best

    There are times when a game’s result is determined by a controversial call or a very close call. In these cases the sportsbook will often adjust the odds in order to right a wrong. For example, if you wager $100 on a game and the score is tied at the end you might see the odds adjusted. The goal here is to ensure that the correct result is posted regardless of which team wins the game. This isn’t always possible but it’s worth the effort when possible. In some cases the bookmaker might even take into consideration all the wagers that have been placed on the game and adjust the odds accordingly.

    In cases where the spread is very wide then it might be best to avoid wagering on that game altogether since there is no way of knowing what the final outcome will be. This is why it’s sometimes best to wait until the lines are adjusted or, at the very least, have a good idea of what the final result will be before committing any money to the game. Sometimes getting the right result is worth the effort and in some cases it’s worth risking a little money on a game that you know is going to be close.