Over/Under Betting

Whether visiting a high-street bookmaker or betting online, some of the most common wagers available revolve around over/under markets. They are popular across a wide range of sports and involve predicting whether a particular total will be above or below a stated number. Depending on the sport, this number may equate to goals, tries, runs, points or more.

Some events will only have one over/under option, which will typically be a prediction made by the bookie to encourage an equal amount of bets on either outcome. For example, there may be a football match with a market for over/under total goals, and the price of under 2.5 goals will be 5/6 and the odds of over 2.5 goals may also be 5/6. In this instance, the bookie has decided that there is just as much chance of two or fewer goals being scored as there is of three or more goals being scored. The reason why values are not usually set at whole numbers is to avoid confusion and so that bets are either won or lost. If you think there will be two goals in the match, you would bet on under 2.5, while if you reckon there will be three you would bet on over 2.5.

Bookies will also open up over/under markets where the outcome is considered more likely to fall either above or below the stated total, but when this happens the odds will reflect the probability of each result to lure customers into betting on both sides.

  • Example - New Zealand are facing Australia in the Rugby World Cup final and a bookie decides to have an over/under market on the total number number of points at 36.5, with odds of 5/6 that the total will be over or under.
  • They also decide to offer odds of 10/1 that there will be under 20.5 points, and odds of 1/33 that there will be over 20.5 points.
  • Another market is opened with odds of 1/8 that there will be under 51.5 points, with a price of 9/2 that there will be over 51.5 points.
  • Punters who feel very confident that a match will have over 20.5 points or under 51.5 points have to bet more to get a decent return, while those backing under 20.5 points or over 51.5 points have less chance of being successful but would get a good reward for a low stake.

Lots of events have many over/under markets as the options are not restricted to the total number of goals, tries, etc. In football, for example, it is sometimes possible to place over/under bets on the number of yellow cards, corners or the time of the next goal, either for one team or a combined total.

Some bookies prefer to set their over/under figures as whole numbers, in which case there will also be the option for betting on one total exactly. For example, the available bets might be under two goals at 11/5, over two goals at 21/20 or exactly two goals at 23/10. Either way, over/under bets are enticing for many punters as there aren’t as many possible outcomes as many markets, and can offer better value than standard bets on the result of a match for those sporting fans with a good understanding of what they are wagering on.