How the Over/Under Works in the NFL

In sports betting, there are just a few bets that are considered to be regular bets and the over/under is one of them. The over/under is a simple wager where the bettor decides whether the final score of a specific game will be over or under a published number. The number represents the sum total of points scored by both teams. Thus, you either bet on the over or the under.


The over/under is listed in the following manner with the visiting club first.

Chicago Bears

o/u  34.5

Minnesota Vikings

In this game, the over/under is listed with a decimal, which is an impossible outcome. That’s done to avoid a push, which means the total points for this game will end up either above or below the number posted. If the over/under were 34 or 35, then the teams could end up with 34 or 35 points. That would mean there would be a push, a tie, and all bets would be returned.

In our example if the point totals are under 35, the under wins, of they are over 34, the over bets win the money. It’s that simple.

Using the Spread with the Over/Under

In NFL sports betting, the over/under is not simply picked out of the air. Like the point spread, moneyline and all other bets, it’s based on a number of factors, including specific stats related to scoring offense and defense.

Prior to wagering on the over/under check out the point spread. This will tell you how close the experts believe the score will be. Compare that to the over/under number. That will give you a good example of how the scoring is expected to go.

In other words, if the point spread on the game listed above has Minnesota favored at

-10.5 that would mean that the scoring when considered against the over/under is expected to be something like:

Chicago           12

Minnesota      22

These numbers are approximate, but they give you a good idea of what 35 total points would look like if they follow the spread.  If you think Chicago will score less but Minnesota will score about the same number of points, then you may want to go with the under. Likewise, if after doing your research you believe Minnesota will score another touchdown and Chicago will score about the same as you’ve figured, then you’d wager on the over.

However, what if the point spread has Chicago at -3.5? How would that look like with the same over/under?

Chicago           19

Minnesota      15

Once again, looking at that probable outcome based on coordinating the point spread with the over/under, you’d ask yourself if the point total for each team makes sense. If the totals don’t, then based on your analysis, you’d decided if more or less points would be scored by either team and also what your calculated over/under would be. Then you would bet on the published over/under.

Sports Betting is About Information

If you’re able to use all information at your fingertips, including numbers presented by the handicappers, you can objectively determine how accurate the over/under may be. Use this tool to help you make winning bets.