What is NBA Total Points Betting?
When you place an NBA Over/Under bet, you are focused on one single statistic of that game – the total number of points scored in the game by both teams. Over/Under points betting is also available for each 1/4 or 1/2 of a game, depending on the bookmaker.
Aside from Head to Head betting, betting the Over or Under or “O/U” is the most popular betting type when it comes to betting on the NBA.
With NBA Over Under betting, you are simply wagering whether the total score of a game is going to be over or under a the total given by the bookmaker. If the total score of the NBA game is higher than the O/U given by the bookie, then the over wins; if it is lower than the predicted total, then the under wins.
Let’s say the Golden State Warriors are playing the Houston Rockets. The bookmaker will look at game total averages for both teams, past matchup totals, injuries and other factors to predict a game total that is 50/50 to be beaten by the Over or Under (bare in mind, they may try to sway an O/U one way or the other).
The bookmakers have decided that this game will be very high scoring, and give an O/U total of 235.0. The line and odds will be displayed as follows:
- Totals: 235.0
- Over (-110)
- Under (+110)
In the above case, if you are betting that the total score will be over 235.0 points, then you could win $100 by betting $110.
Similarly, if you are betting that the total score will be 235.0 points exactly or under, then you could win $110 by betting $100.
How do they get the Over Under Total Points?
Once the NBA game is over, the scores of both teams are added together to get the O/U total.
Let’s say that the total score of the game example given above was 123-120, that would mean that the total points went over the 235.0 margin, and the bettors who outlaid on the Over (-110) would win that bet.
How to pick the Over/Under in NBA basketball
When it comes to picking the O/U in NBA basketball, the main things to focus on are –
- Previous matchup totals between the two teams – Some teams score more against certain opponents depending defensive and offensive matchups, and their style of play.
- Season average Total Points for each team – These become more relevant as the season goes on, but adding the total averages of two teams together can be helpful.
- Injuries to players – If a high scoring player is out, the Total Points will likely be lower. Similarly if a defensive player is out, the total points will be higher.
- Previous total points scored in last 5-10 games – As teams often go on slumps and winning streaks, checking their form over the previous 5-10 games can be a better indicator than total points averages, particularly early and late in the NBA season.
If a team has scored between 105 and 120 points in the last 10 games, it is likely that they will fall within that same total margin the next game.
1/4 and 1/2 Over Under lines
Depending on the bookmaker, they may offer total points lines for 1/4 and 1/2 time markets.
This is basically the same as the the above, however unlike taking the total score at the end of the game, the market will broken down in quarters and halves.
(Using the example above once again)
The Warriors are playing the Rockets. The bookmaker will look at quarter and half total averages for both teams to predict how many total points will be scored in a 1/4 or half of the game.
The bookmakers have decided that the first quarter will be very high scoring, and give an O/U total of 65 for the 1st quarter of the game.
The line and odds will be displayed as follows:
- Total 1st 1/4 Points: 65.0
- Over (-110)
- Under (+110)
In the above case, if you are betting that the total score will be over 65.0 points, then you could win $100 by betting $110.
Similarly, if you are betting that the total score will be 65.0 points exactly or under, then you could win $110 by betting $100.
What if the total points matches the O/U line?
The bookmaker will list the Total Points line as either a solid number, or to a decimal point.
For example; the bookie may list the O/U as 235.0 or 235.5.
Generally the odds for the solid number will be less, as there are now 2 outcomes that can favour the bettor not 1.
If the O/U points line is set as 235.0 and the total game score is 235.0, the bettor has chance to “Push” the bet, and get their money back, or win the bet outright.
If the O/U line is set as 235.5, the only outcome for the bettor is a Win or Loss.