Totals Betting on American Football

Totals betting, often referred to as “over/under” betting, is a popular form of wagering in American football, including both the NFL and college football. This type of bet revolves around predicting the combined score of both teams in a game, offering a unique angle compared to traditional win-loss bets.

What is Totals Betting?

  • Predicting Combined Scores: In totals betting, bookmakers set a number for the combined final score of both teams in a game. Bettors then wager on whether the actual combined score will be over or under this set number.
  • Focus on Game Scoring, Not Winning: Unlike betting on who will win, totals betting is purely concerned with the total number of points scored in the game, regardless of which team scores them.

How Does Totals Betting Work?

  • Understanding the Over/Under Line: Bookmakers set a line, which is the predicted total score for a game. For example, if the line is set at 48.5 points, bettors can wager on whether the actual total score will be over or under this number.
  • Placing a Bet: You decide whether you believe the total score will be higher (over) or lower (under) than the line set by the bookmaker and place your bet accordingly.
  • Factors Influencing Totals: When setting the line, bookmakers consider various factors such as team offenses and defenses, weather conditions, injuries, and historical performance.

Examples of Totals Betting in American Football

  • High-Scoring Teams: In a game featuring two high-scoring offenses, the total line might be set higher, and you might bet on the over if you expect a shootout.
  • Defensive Battle: Conversely, in a game with strong defensive teams, the total line might be lower, and betting the under might be appealing if a low-scoring game is anticipated.

Strategies for Successful Totals Betting

  • In-Depth Analysis: Researching team statistics, recent performance, and head-to-head records can inform your betting.
  • Consider External Factors: Weather and playing conditions can significantly impact scoring in football games and should be factored into your decision.
  • Watch Line Movements: Pay attention to how the total line moves as the game approaches, as this can indicate where the majority of bets are being placed.

Why Try Totals Betting?

  • Alternative to Moneyline and Spread Betting: Totals betting offers a different approach, focusing solely on the score rather than team performance.
  • Opportunities in Every Game: Every game has scoring, regardless of the teams playing, offering consistent betting opportunities.

Understanding the Risks

  • Unpredictable Scoring: Football games can have unpredictable scoring patterns, making it challenging to accurately predict the total score.
  • Impact of Late-Game Decisions: Late-game strategies, like a team running down the clock, can significantly affect the total score.


Totals betting in American football adds an interesting dimension to sports betting, focusing on the combined scoring prowess of both teams involved. It requires careful consideration of various factors but can be a rewarding and engaging way to participate in football betting.