NFL Betting Lines: The Total Points

The Total Points

The third and last common wagering type that can be found on the NFL betting lines is the Total Points bet. This is an extremely simple type of wager that a sports bettor can use when he wants to expand his betting into other areas and not just the money line and the point spread. This wager is part of the straight bets, meaning that it either happens or it doesn’t. In terms of betting on the NFL, it would mean that the total points were a certain number or they were not, it is that simple.

As the name suggests, this bet has to do with the total points that are scored during any particular NFL matchup. Online sportsbooks give their members and other sports bettors a certain value, which is what they believe will be the average total amount of points that will be scored during the match. A bettor would simply compare the value against the total amount of points scored after the match is over; in other words, they would ass both teams final scores in order to get the total points.

Finding and Understanding the Total Points

New and inexperienced sports bettors, as well as experienced, will most likely be betting on the latest NFL match-ups using the online sportsbooks. These sportsbooks sometimes refer to the Total Points bet in different manners, some simply call them Over/Under, while other call them Totals, either way they are all the same type of wager.


What are the Total Points

As mentioned before, this wager is based on how many total points will be scored during any given match. The value that is given by the sportsbook is what they predict will be the amount of points scored during the match, and it is up to the bettor to determine whether that value is too high or too low. This is where the term Over/Under comes into play.

If the bettor believes that the NFL match will end with more total points scored than the value at the sportsbook, they would place a wager on the Over. However, if they believe the NFL match will end with less total points than the value at the sportsbook, they would wager on the Under. A pretty simple concept when it is explained.

The Bet

The Favorite and the Underdog does not really matter when it is about the total points, but what is important is how well each of the two teams has performed throughout the season. This is why there are no significant symbols in front of the total points value. A Sports bettor needs to always keep in mind that the total points bet is completely independent of the other bets, as it does not matter which team wins or by how much.

The Pay-In and Payout

The payout structure for the total points bet is determined by the Price, which is always included along with the total points value. Just like it was for the money line bet, the bettor simply has to look at the price and determine how much they would need to invest or how much they could win. It is all determined by the symbol in front of the price value. The negative () value would mean that the bettor needs to wager that amount in order to win $100. However, if it is a positive (+) value it means that the bettor would need to invest $100 in order to win the value given.

Calculating the Payout

With most total points bets, it is very unlikely to encounter a price with a positive (+) value. This means that the bettor would just have to do one type of calculation to determine how much they would have to wager or how much they could win if they wagered a specific amount.

To determine how much you need to invest based on how much you want to win:

  Desired Payout Calculation Amount to Wager
$70 (Odds / 100) x Desired Payout $77
$230 $253

To determine the payout amount based on a set amount of money you want to wager with:

  Amount to Wager Calculation Payout Amount
$85 Amount Wagered / (Odds / 100) $77
$135 $122

Calculating payouts or how much you need to invest in order to win a certain amount should start becoming second nature by now. Remember, practice makes perfect and it doesn’t hurt to remember all of this.

Total Points Value

There will always be different values for the total points that are given at the online sportsbooks. There might be different match-ups that have low total points or high total points, and that should help you determine which bets to place; or at least what information to look at before placing a bet.

Usually when the total points are low, it can mean that both teams are equally balanced in terms of defense and offense, so that the scores will remain low. It is up to the sports bettor to determine whether or not that is true.

When the total points value is high, it can mean two things, that one team is very much better than the other, and it will result in a high score – low score, or it can mean that both teams focus more on their offense than defense, leading the bettor to believe that both teams will be able to get high scores.

Total Points Bet Example

By looking at this particular NFL betting line between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders, we can see that the sportsbook value that is given is of 45.5 points. There are two possible bets that can be made, Over or Under. It will depend on whether the sports better believes there is a better chance of the game’s total score ending lower or higher than the sportsbook value.

If the sports bettor places a wager on the Over, this means that the final total score would have to of 46 points or above; since there are no half-points in the NFL. However, if they place the wager on the Under, the final total score has to be less than 45.5 points; as there are no half-points, we would assume that it is of 45 points or below.


The bettor has just placed a $70 bet on the total points to be Under the sportsbook value of 45.5. The game ends with a score of 30 – 17 with the Raiders winning the match; which is only important if you like the Raiders, as it does not influence the total points bet.

The way things would be calculated is:

Final Score Total Points Sportsbook Value Bet Won Payout Amount
30 – 17 47 points 45.5 points Yes $63

Do not forget to research and analyze the different stats that could influence your decision regarding the total points. There is certain information and strategies that can be used, so be sure to read and understand these strategies to help you on your way to becoming a great sports bettor and understanding the NFL betting lines.