In every game, Vegas will offer a spread and a total. The total is quite simply how many points Vegas thinks will be scored in the game. You will have the option of betting over, or under. If you bet the over, you are betting that more points will be scored than the total that Vegas set. If you bet the under, you are betting that there will be less points scored than the total that Vegas set.
Example and Exercise
Here’s an example: Let’s say the Cowboys are playing the Eagles in the NFL. Vegas has set the total at 44.5. This is saying that Vegas predicts that the two teams will combine for approximately 44 points. If you bet the over, you think the teams will combine for at least 45 points. If you bet the under, you think the teams will combine for 44 points or less.
Exercise: The Lakers are playing the Knicks in the NBA. You think it’s going to be a high scoring game, so you bet the over. Based on Vegas’s line and final score below, did you win the bet? How much would you risk to win $100?
Total: 216.5 (-120)
Final Score: Lakers 115
Answer: Yes, the over hit and you won the bet. You would’ve had to risk $120 to win $100.
Vegas will also always offer team totals with a full game total. This is basically just betting on how many points one of the teams will score. If you think one team will score a lot of points, but are unsure if the other team will score much, betting the over on just that team’s total would be a good option.
Totals are a very simple concept. If you can’t decide on who to bet for the spread, but think you have a read on how many total points will be scored, betting the total is a great alternative.
You are quickly becoming a gambling pro but still have much to learn. You are now ready to learn about spreads. Check out Lesson 3: Spreads by clicking the button below.