Over Under

After the point spread, over and under bets are one of the most popular ways to wager on NFL football. With over and under bets, bettors are simply wagering on the total points scored by both teams combined.

Commonly referred to as O/U, over/under bets are great for bettors looking to predict the way a game will unfold, without picking an actual winner. The proper name for over/under bets is actually totals, as bettors are typically wagering on the total score.

Over and under are signifiers attached to a specific point total, with the purpose being to predict which side the outcome will fall on. A typical over/under wager will consist of bettors predicting whether the combined score of a game exceeds a particular number.

For example, if the total is set at 41.5, bettors must decide whether to bet the over (>42 points) or the under (<41 points). Over and under bets can also be applied to other outcomes unrelated to the game total.

O/U RECORDS

A team’s O/U record is the amount of times their games went over or under the Vegas total.

O/U records are listed like SU records, with over in place of wins, under in place of losses and push bets in place of ties.

For example, the 2017 Minnesota Vikings were 7-9-0 O/U, which means 7 of the team’s games went over the total, while nine remained under and no games ended up as a push. The Vikings finished the season 13-3, and went 11-4-1 ATS, so as you can see, this O/U record has very little bearing on the team’s overall success. To further prove that point, the Packers went 11-5 O/U, but were 7-9 SU and ATS.

On surface value, this suggests that the Packers were able to score, even when losing and that the Vikings were able to regularly win low scoring games.

Although O/U records can sometimes suggest a discrepancy between a teams offensive and defensive ability, the numbers can be deceiving. If the Vikings play the Packers with a 42.5 total, and win 37-3, that still counts as an under, even though they almost topped the total themselves. On the flip side, if they scored one more field goal and won 40-3, the Packers get credited with an over, despite only scoring 3 points.

As a general rule, the O/U record says more about Vegas’ ability to accurately handicap a total than it does about the team itself.

For example, in 2017 the defensive minded Jacksonville Jaguars had a dominant team, but finished 8-8 O/U. This suggests that Vegas was adept at setting the total for Jaguar games. On the flipside, the Pittsburgh Steelers finished 5-10-1 O/U, despite having relatively similar numbers to the Jags, and a better win/loss record – this suggests that the total for Steelers games was frequently set too high, overvaluing the Steeler offence and undervaluing their surprisingly stingy defence.

A teams over/under record can be a useful tool, but it is important to factor in total points scored and total points allowed.

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TOTAL POINTS

Similar to the point spread and moneyline odds, there are a number of factors that contribute to the Vegas consensus game total.

Oddsmakers will analyze the relative strengths and weaknesses of both teams, as well as individual matchups, injuries and home field advantage. Weather can also play a factor when setting the game total, as wind can impact kickers significantly, while snow, rain and extreme heat can have an adverse effect on players and make it difficult to move the ball.

OVER AND UNDER PROP BETS

In addition to wagering on game totals, over and under prop bets and futures can be made at most sports books. Bettors can wager on just about everything, from win totals over a season to rushing yardage during a game.

For example, a bet may be Cleveland Browns Win Total O/U 1.5. An under bet pays out if the Browns win one game or fewer, while and over bet pays out with 2 wins or more.

Indiviual prop bets can vary greatly, from a players in-game rushing yardage (ex. Marshawn Lynch O/U 80.5 yards) to a players season long stats (Jalen Ramsey O/U 4.5 INT).

Team totals and prop bets can also be added to point spread of moneyline wagers as parlays. For example, if a bettor thinks a game will go over and wants to bet on the favorite to cover, this will improve the eventual payout.

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