Most sports betting revolves around finding the winning team and then making a Side bet. Sports books in Vegas estimate that only 14% of bets they handle are on the total points market, also known as betting the Over / Under. Why are these bets not as popular when it comes to sports gambling? And are you making a crucial mistake by not betting total points markets, especially in the NBA and college football?
The answer to the second question is a resounding “yes!” If you fancy yourself a sports handicapper or even a casual sports bettor who would like to make some extra cash then Over / Under bets have to be placed regularly. They are one of the professional sports handicapper’s biggest weapons. The reason most gamblers ignore total market plays is that they find them less interesting than Side bets. They are largely ignored in College Football betting and NBA betting, and another reason for this is a lack of knowledge.
It takes a lot of handicapping research and hard work to formulate an opinion on the total points that might be scored in a mid-week MAC game between two colleges you’ve never seen play before. Well, guess what, it is hard work for the Vegas oddsmakers as well and frequently they are not up to the task. They don’t care as much because the general betting public doesn’t care as much, consequently total points lines are much softer than other lines.
NFL points spreads are calculated by the best in the business, and can be very tough to beat. It is possible of course, but it requires some luck and a ton of discipline. A lot of very smart people determine those lines and sometimes being as smart as they are is not enough. But total points markets are not popular, therefore, the guys who determine those lines don’t need to spend as much time fine-tuning them. This is especially true in college football and the NBA, where the sheer number of games means that there will be oversights.
Everyone prepares for NFL games. You have the time as a sports bettor, you can go to wagering websites such as www.NFLOnlineBetting.com, and the sports books certainly have the time as well. But there are so many NBA games, and fluctuations can occur so rapidly in form that sometimes mistakes will be made by Vegas books, and that’s where we come in and thrive.
Don’t ignore the points total bet. There are many instances when a game is too close to call, and rather than wasting your money on what could be a coin-flip scenario you should consider the Over / Under bet. Remember that most OT games result in games going Over, and we like to factor this in when making our Total Points picks (we’re mainly talking about the NBA here).
How Totals are Set
More often than not, the total will be set based upon the offenses and defenses of both teams. That may be very obvious, but there is a calculation that is used a lot in order to set the Over / Under. Here is an example that uses this general formula:
San Diego Chargers: Average points scored per game - 27.5; Average points allowed per game - 24.0;
Total points average 51.5
Kansas City Chiefs: Average points scored per game - 23.0; Average points allowed per game - 21.5;
Total points average 44.5
Chargers Total 51.5 + Chiefs Total 44.5 = 96 points ÷ 2 (teams playing each other) =
Over / Under of 48 points
This total may fluctuate by a couple of points depending on certain circumstances. But the chances of a large difference is minimal when dealing with the sports with a lot of regular season games. This formula doesn’t take into account certain match ups when one side has a clear advantage over the other side. This can easily swing the balance and make the Over or Under more likely. This is where a good handicapper can make money by doing lots of research to find these instances.