What Does Over Under Mean in Betting?

In horse racing, the term Over Under means that the winner will cover the entire stake – either the favorite will win, or the favorite will lose. The opposite, Under, means that the runner-up will win, or the favorite will lose.

In other sports, such as baseball and basketball, the opposite of Over Under applies – the favorite will win if the total is over the line, and they will lose if the total is under the line.

The reason the opposite does not apply in horse racing is that there is extra value in a complete coverage – an Over Under horse will almost certainly cover the entire stake, so there is no reason to risk missing out on any part of the action.

Over-Under Equals Extra Value In The Game

Take the example of the 2020 Kentucky Derby – Who will you back? Will you bet on the favorite, or the long shot?

If you are considering betting on the favorite, you are likely wondering what the point of backing a horse is if you are sure to lose all of your money. The answer is that although you will likely lose your money on the favorite, you stand some chance of winning money on the long shot – often times, the winning horse will be the long shot, and you will win a lot of money.

While this may be a unique situation, it is not hard to find examples of this in action. Look no further than the 2020 Kentucky Derby, where the long shot Sunny Beach placed second, but the favorite Zoom placed first – Sunny Beach covered the entire 12.9 point spread, while Zoom fell short by 2.4 points.

Not only did the long shot cover the entire point spread, but he also covered his entire win bet – in other words, if you had bet $100 on Sunny Beach, and she won, you would have earned $112.40. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the favorite Zoom had to settle for second place, earning you only $65.60, because he lost the entire $100 bet.

This is the kind of situation you will find in horse racing, where the long shot has a much greater chance of winning than the favorite, and the opposite applies when it comes to Under bets. This is because there is more value in backing the long shot and having him win than there is in backing the favorite and having him lose. In fact, the opposite often applies in basketball and baseball – that is, the favorite will earn more money if he wins than the long shot does if he loses (though this can vary by sport and by the size of the bettor).

Over-Under Means You Will Never Lose

It is a common misconception that if you bet on an Over Under horse, you are certain to lose your money. In reality, this is far from true – you will often win, as long as you are not counting on the favorite to win. This is because most racehorses do not come in at full value, and there is always the chance that the favorite will lose, or that the payout will be very low if he does lose.

Take the example of the 2020 Kentucky Derby – what would you have won, had you backed the favorite instead of the long shot? You would have lost $65.60, the amount you would have won on Zoom.

The point of this, is that although most bets come with a risk of losing money, this risk is far from certain, and there is always the opportunity to win – as long as you do not rely on the horse you are backing to necessarily win, you can never lose.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you are considering betting on the Under, you are probably wondering how anyone could possibly lose money on a bet like this. After all, the favorite is almost certainly going to win, so there is no downside for you if he does – you lose nothing, and if he wins, you win double (his prize plus the payout of the bet).

The answer is that there is always the possibility of a big payout if the favorite wins, but there is also the possibility of severe financial loss if he loses – for example, if the total was 11 instead of 10, the payout would have been only $55, and you would have lost $100 on an Under bet. So, while there is no downside for you if the favorite wins, there is a very real possibility of losing money if he loses – which makes the Under a very risky bet, as you are almost certainly going to lose some amount of money, no matter what happens.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a way to make money in sports betting, you should seriously consider whether or not to bet on Over Under horses – particularly in the NBA and the MLB, where the long shot often covers the entire spread, and the opposite almost always applies.