The Over/Under in College Basketball

How the Over/Under Works and When You Should Play It

In NCAA Basketball, the over/under is a standard wager in which bets are made on the total number of points that will be scored by both teams. Bettors wager on the total either being over or under a certain amount. Like spread or moneyline wagers, you have one of two choices with an over/under bet, making it an even odds wager.

How the Over/Under Looks and Works

Usually, the over/under is listed with a point spread or moneyline. Here’s an example of this type of bet with a point spread.

Radford          +25.5


Duke               -25.5

In this example, if the total points equal 158 or higher, then the over wins and if they are 157 or lower, the under wins. It’s fairly simple. However, that does not mean that this is a bet that you should make on a hunch or without considering the teams involved.

How Over/Unders Are Determined in NCAA Basketball

Bookmakers put time and effort into determining the over/under on each college basketball game. The projected number of points is decided after analyzing how many points each team has been scoring and allowing during the season and by considering matchups and recent play. Thus, in order to decide if you’re going to bet on the over or the under, you need to first do the same type of analysis.

When to Play the Over/Under

In NCAA Basketball, this can be a very difficult bet to figure out. You should play the over/under only if you have a clear picture as to how each team is likely to perform. Look for teams that one-way or another have been playing consistently. If the clubs have met recently or do so annually, study past performances.

It also helps if you can determine if the point spread is accurate. If in the above example, you find that the point spread makes sense, then for these two teams to be within 25 to 26 points of one another, the final score would be something like 95- 70 for a total of 165 points, putting the game over.

If, however, you feel that the spread is too large and that underdog Radford will make a game of it, then the final score might be something like 80- 70. Chances are Radford won’t score a boatload of points against Duke, but that they will defend better than thought, thus lowering the score. The total on the game projected above would be 150 points and then the under wins.

The primary thing to do in deciding on whether to bet the over or the under is to create as accurate a game scenario and outcome as you possibly can. That will give you the best chance of making the correct choice.

Play the Over/Under Carefully

As with point spreads and moneylines, you’re going to find a few solid over/under bets that make sense. Don’t spread yourself thin on these types of wagers. It’s better to risk more units on a few good bets rather than smaller amounts on a lot of over/unders. Only make good bets that favor you.