What’s the Betting Over and Under in Football?

So you’ve decided to become a savvy sports bettor and made the plunge, you made the right choice! Congrats! Now it’s time to learn how to bet the odds and win most of your bets. Let’s cut to the chase and get into the essentials of understanding the betting over and under in football.

Key Terms and Aids to Study

If you’re reading this, then you’ve already decided that you want to venture into the exciting world of sports betting. Congrats! This is a dream come true for many of us. To help you along the way and make your dream a reality, we’ve put together a list of key terms and aids to study before you begin laying down your bets. So sit back and get ready to learn!


The odds are the amount of money that you’ll need to wager in order to win $100 if you bet on the favorite team to win (also known as the home team). For example, if the favorite team is the New York Jets and you’re betting on them to win the Super Bowl, then the odds are 2.8 (278.8%). Similarly, if you wager $100 and the underdog team wins, then you’ll win $100 plus the $100 you wagered – making your overall winnings $200. For this reason, odds of less than 1 are popular amongst gamblers because if the favorite team wins, then you’ll only win a dollar.


If you’re new to the game and still learning the ropes, then it may be difficult to understand the concept of an over/under bet. The over/under bet is when you place a wager on whether a team will score more points or will allow more points to be scored against them. For example, if you pick the New York Jets to win the Super Bowl, you’re likely to want to wager $100 that they will score at least 30 points. The over/under bet is a popular choice amongst gamblers because if the favorite team scores at least the amount of points you predicted, then your wager will be a profitable one. Another perk of this type of wager is that if the underdog team allows more points to be scored against them, then you’ll actually lose money because your winnings will be less than you wagered (minus your initial investment).


Just like the over/under wager, an under/over wager is when you place a wager on whether a team will win or lose a certain amount of yards or will a certain player score a particular number of points. For example, if you pick Tennessee to win the game, you might want to wager $100 that Tennessee will cover the point spread and defeat Jacksonville 20-19. In this case, you’ll make a profit if the Tennessee Titans win because you’ll win $100 plus your $100 wager – totaling $200. However, if the Jacksonville Jaguars score at least 20 points, then you’ll lose because your bet will be greater than your initial investment. (Keep in mind: this is a very risky wager because if the game ends in a tie, then your $100 will be lost!)

Point Spread

The point spread is a line that represents the amount of points that the favorite team is expected to win or lose against a particular number. The point spread is used to determine the over/under wager and to set the odds for the game. For example, if the point spread is 3 points and the favorite team is favored to win the game by 2 points, then the odds will be 3 to 2 in favor of the Jets.

Field Goal

A field goal is a score that is made from kicking the ball through the uprights of the goalposts. Most goals are between 10 and 19 points with the majority being kicked between 15 and 19 points. Kicking the ball through the uprights of the goalposts is no easy feat. It requires a great deal of strength and is dangerous because you stand a chance of hurting yourself on the goalpost if you miss.

Punt Return

Similar to a field goal, a punt return is a score that is made by taking a punt and returning it for a touchdown. The distance that you have to return the punt varies from 2 yards all the way up to 80 yards. A 75 mile-per-hour speedster would have nightmares about returning a punt that far! Thankfully, very few people attempt to do this because it’s one of the most dangerous positions on the field, next to quarterback. If you’re in junior high school or high school and don’t want to end up like Ric Flair, then you may want to reconsider trying out for the teams that return punts. Your parents will thank you for this decision.

Yards After Touchdown

A touchdown is a score that is given to a team when they kick the ball through the uprights of the goalposts and it stops inside the opponent’s territory. The number of yards that the team will score after the touchdown is determined by a variety of factors. First, the distance that the kickers put the ball into the uprights is a key determinant in this case. Second, the field conditions are a factor because if it’s muddy and the ball skips around a bit before settling in, then the yards after touchdown may be higher than expected. Third, the style of play of the team also factors into the equation because some teams are known to march down the field and score quickly while others like the Dallas Cowboys take longer to establish themselves in the game.

Total Offense

The total offense is a sum of the total yards that are gained by the offense during the course of the game. (i.e. Passing yards + Rushing yards). This includes all defensive and offensive plays whether it’s a reception, punt, or a touchdown.

Turnover Margin

The turnover margin is a measure of how many turnovers a team commits compared to how many they prevent. For instance, if a team turns the ball over twice and none in their defense, then they’ll have a positive turnover margin. If a team turns the ball over 5 times and they prevent 3 of those turnovers, then they’ll have a negative turnover margin. A team’s turnover margin is usually a key consideration when it comes to handicapping a game because if you want to know how likely they are to commit turnovers, then you may use this as a guide to figure out how much you’ll need to bet on them.


Finally, we come to the most important number of them all: the scoring. The scoring is the sum of the point spreads, field goals, and touchdowns scored by both teams. (i.e., 2 point spread + 4 point spread + 8 point spread = 14 point difference in favor of the Denver Broncos). When evaluating a game with respect to its scoring, you have to keep in mind that if the game is low scoring, then you may want to wait until the fourth quarter to place your bets because in the first three quarters the odds usually favor the home team, and in the fourth quarter the spread is often smaller and more vulnerable to change. Of course, this only applies if both teams score.

Money Line

This is probably the most popular type of wager amongst gamblers. Essentially, the money line is used to evaluate the total amount that you’ll need to wager in order to win or lose the game. For example, if you pick Arsenal to win the Premier League, then you may want to wager $100 that they will cover the 2.8 points spread or you may choose to wager $100 on the underdogs (Newcastle United) in order to win $200 in profit. Money line betting is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll either win or lose the amount of money that you’ve wagered, nothing more, nothing less.

Hopefully, this information was useful to you and helped you understand the basics of betting on sports. Now that you’re equipped with the basics, you may be better equipped to place winning bets!