Betting Totals in Sports Picks; Unders Often Smart Bet
In the 2019-20 college football season, twice I lost unders in overtime in spite of concluding
regulation more than 30 points under the total. And they were far from the only totals just in
said season that didn’t go over the total until multiple overtimes with me being on the
excruciating end of a bad beat.
I’ve heard even keen gamblers renounce wagering on unders, most notably in college football.
Of course, it’s immeasurably more desirable to bet an over from a rooting perspective.
A game can go over long before the game ended, but an under is never, well under until
it’s…well over. I get it, but betting with the criterion of which wager is easier to cheer for is
After I sustained that second 30something point overtime to rip my heart out, a sharp gambler
who I’ve known for decades chided me the cliched, “You just have to hope they even out over
Probably not the case for me in college football, but that’s okay. A majority of my greatest
systems betting college football totals support the under.
In every sport, the under comes in more than 50 percent of the time, not shockingly college
football at the highest proportion. Though it’s a modest 51.5 percent, it’s also over more than
12,600 games. Oh, and I have plenty of over systems too. Nobody is proposing to blindly stake
The reason is simple. A disproportionate percentage of bad beats are on overs because of
overtime (or extra innings), bombing and fouling in college basketball and NBA, hurry-up
offenses at the end of football games, topping a list. Because of the college football overtime
rules, unders can be heartbreaks on steroids. See above.
I’ve warned against charging yourself “phycological juice.” Yes, a loss betting on horrible teams,
against top squads, or betting an under, which was on pace to win easily most of the way, only
to collapse at the end, all “seems” to hurt more.
Underophobia by many gamblers, creates opportunities for the sharps, because even the best
sportsbooks must adjust for over bias. I cannot not emphasize enough, a triple overtime loss on
the under is excruciating, but never bet with a broken heart. The added opportunities that
overlay creates is our compensation for bad beats of the worst kind.
You have heard the slogan, “No pain, no gain.” It’s so true in gambling. The toughest bets to
root for so often produce the best results. When handicapping totals, the best handicappers so
often win under pressure…so to speak.
The author Joe Duffy is America’s only Grandmaster Sports Handicapper and CEO of