Betting Totals

The NFL betting lines have their own version of the Big Three. We’re talking about the three most common ways to bet on NFL games: the point spread, the total and the moneyline.

In this game, let’s say the hometown Dolphins are listed as 2.5-point favorites against the spread. The other number you will see is the total.

  • New York Jets 38
  • Miami Dolphins

That’s the “over/under” for how many points the two teams will combine to score. You can bet over 38 or under 38. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll make this an even bet, where you wager $11 to win $10. If the final score adds up to 38 points exactly, it’s a push, and you get your original wager back just like you would with a push against the spread.

Totals are popular on their own, or in tandem with the point spread as one half of a two-team parlay. If you’ve done your homework and you’re ready to bet on whether the Dolphins or Jets will win, then you might also have some idea of whether or not this will be a high-scoring game. Time is money, so parlaying the total with the pointspread from the same game is more efficient than parlaying two different totals or two different spreads.

Betting NFL Totals

It’s also a good rule of thumb to bet the over when the total is low (say, anything below 38 points) and take the under when the total is high – perhaps 53 points or more. But don’t do it blindly, and don’t forget to take the weather conditions into account when you’re looking at the NFL odds. It’s been known to rain in Miami now and then.