In a gambling world inundated with novel betting terminology, ‘over/under’ is one of the expressions that can puzzle a novice punter. More specifically, what does it mean to ‘take the over’ in a bet? First, let’s see how the Over/Under bet works.
Over/Under Examples in Major Sports
Over/Under In Soccer Betting
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and the one that commands the biggest online betting revenues. The object of the sport is to score goals, and the team that scores more than the opponent wins the match. Therefore, the most obvious context for over/under in soccer relates to the total goals scored. To bet this option, the punter predicts whether the total goals scored in the match exceeds or falls under a certain line. The ‘line’ refers to a specific figure for the punter to forecast if the match total would be over or under. Let’s take for instance a match between Man City and Liverpool that ends 3-1 in favor of Liverpool. The total goals from the match is four. The bookmaker might set a line of 2.5 goals, which is actually the most popular over/under line in soccer. This would mean that:
- Picking ‘Over 2.5 goals’ wins the bet since the total from the match is 4 goals, which is more than the specified line of 2.5 goals.
- Conversely, picking ‘Under 2.5 goals’ loses the bet since the total from the match is 4 goals.
Over/Under In Tennis Betting
Over/Under is also a popular option in tennis. When it comes to tennis, over/under usually refers to games or sets played. The punter tries to predict if:
- The number of games in a set will be over or under a certain line, e.g. 2.5 games, or
- The number of sets in a match will be over or under a certain line, e.g. 2.5 sets.
Generally, tennis matches are longer when the players have comparable skill and vice versa.
Over/Under In Basketball Betting
The Over/Under bet is also highly popular in basketball betting. It is in fact the second most common option behind only point spread betting. The concept is very similar to that of soccer. Where in soccer the punter predicts total goals scored, in basketball one predicts total points scored. The bet does not consider which team wins or loses the match. The bookie will specify a line, say 130.5 points for example. If the total points scored by both teams is, say, 150:
- Picking ‘Over’ wins the bet since 150 points is more than the specified line of 130.5.
- Picking ‘Under’ loses the bet since the 150 points total is more than the specified line of 130.5.
Taking The Over In Over/Under Betting
Essentially, ‘taking the over’ means choosing the ‘over’ option in an Over/Under bet. It means the punter predicts that the goals or points total will be over the line specified. The punter’s pick wins if the total goals are more than the line and loses otherwise. Something else that a betting amateur might find curious is that the line is usually a decimal number, e.g. 1.5, 2.5 or 3.5. There are no half points or half goals so how is this? Well the decimal lines are actually a safeguard against an impasse or deadlock. Let’s say for example a line of 2 goals was specified for a soccer match. If the match ends 1-1 or 2-0 to either side, the total goals from the match would be 2. That total would be neither over the line of 2 nor under it, and thus impossible to settle the Over/Under bet.
If the line were specified as 1.5 goals, on the other hand, the above bet would be easy to settle. An Under selection would lose, since the total of 2 goals is more than the 1.5 line, and an Over selection would win. That’s why lines are usually specified as decimal figures for all sports.