How to Bet on Win Totals

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Apart from being one of the most fun, long-term bets at Maryland sportsbooks, win totals are also easy to understand. The goal is to predict whether a team’s total wins during the regular season will be above or below the line that the sportsbook has set.

Win totals are popular among NFL fans, as the season is relatively short (only 17 games per team), and there’s enough information about each team to make an educated guess. However, this bet is also available across other sports and leagues, like the NBA, MLB, NHL, and others.

If you want to learn more about win totals like how they work, where to find the best odds, and what things to consider when making your picks, we’ve got all you need to know.

Win totals odds

You can bet on win totals immediately by using the odds feed below, which contains Maryland sports betting sites and their offers for this market. Use the drop-down menu to alternate between sports and find the best available prices.

How to bet on over/under win totals

Season win totals are an over/under futures wager. That means that the goal is not to predict the exact number of wins a team will have during the season but to guess whether its win total will surpass or end below a given line.

For example, let’s say that you want to bet on the NFL win total for the Kansas City Chiefs. The sportsbook has set the line at 12.5. If you were to bet on the over, you would hope for the Chiefs to end the season with a 13-4 record or better. Alternatively, you can bet on the under, in which case your wager would be successful if the Chiefs win 12 or fewer games. The line reflects the team’s chances of getting to a certain number of wins. Since this is an over/under market, you can expect the odds on both sides of the bet to be similar.

Teams that sportsbooks expect to do well, such as the Chiefs, will have higher lines, like the 12.5 we used in our example. You can also bet on teams with much lower expectations, with the lowest lines coming in at around 4.5 or 5.5. Of course, teams could finish well below or above the projections as the result of unexpected circumstances like injuries or vastly improved play.

While the chances of a certain team going over will significantly decrease if a key player is injured, the bet would still be valid. Sportsbooks will void win totals bets only if the league cancels its season or unexpectedly reduces the number of games.

Predicting win totals in shorter vs. longer seasons

A shorter season means fewer games and less variance, which makes predicting win totals easier in theory. However, note that sportsbooks and their oddsmakers always set the win totals betting lines and odds in a way that realistically reflects a given team’s chances of getting to a certain number of wins.

But a longer season can have its benefits too. For example, each MLB team plays 162 games during the regular season. Now, guessing how many games a team will win in such a long season can be extremely difficult, but the sportsbooks will have the same problem, which leaves more room for them to make a mistake that you can benefit from.

No matter how you cut it, predicting win totals is difficult. Since you can only make this bet prior to the start of the season, you simply can’t know what will happen during the next several months. Injuries can play a large part in how a team does, and so do midseason trades. The only thing you can do to increase your chances of getting it right is to analyze the teams as much as possible and hope for the best.

3 tips for betting on win totals

To succeed at betting on win totals, you’ll have to put in a lot of research and know how and where to take your bets. Here are three pieces of advice to consider if you’re thinking about betting:

  1. Go odds shopping: Getting the best odds is a must when placing any bet, including this one. Plenty of sportsbooks in Maryland will offer win totals betting, so make sure to explore your options and find where the best odds and lines are. Consider using the odds feed above, as it will save you a lot of time.
  2. Consider the public: As a general rule, tracking public opinion is critical when looking for good sports betting value. To do this, serious bettors track how odds and lines move over time to make bets accordingly.
  3. Don’t bet as a fan: It’s sometimes easy to overestimate the team that you’re cheering for, following your heart rather than your mind. Your bet may still be successful, but most of the time such a move will cost you money.

When is the best time to bet on win totals?

You can place a win total bet almost as soon as the playoffs are over. Some sportsbooks will release their lines for the next NFL season just a few days after the Super Bowl. But does this mean you should place a bet right away?

The answer is not that simple. On the one hand, placing a bet early creates an opportunity to find good value. However, choosing correctly will be much harder, as there are plenty of things that can happen during the offseason that may affect the team’s future performance (draft, trades, injuries, etc.), so you’ll have to do a lot of speculating.

On the other hand, if you bet late you’ll have much more information to work with. The problem is that the sportsbooks will have that same information and will adjust their lines and betting odds accordingly, so finding good value may be much harder.

Who sets the lines for total wins?

Oddsmakers at sportsbooks will evaluate each team and come up with realistic expectations on how those teams will perform in the next regular season. They will use a variety of models and analytics and take everything into consideration when making their predictions like the overall strength of the roster, the team’s schedule, its recent history, how it finished last season, and potential trades.

Other popular futures bets in major sports

Win totals are just one of many long-term bets, otherwise known as futures. If you find this type of wager interesting, you may want to look at some other common futures at Maryland sportsbooks:

While these are all NFL futures, similar wagers will likely be available for the NBA and NHL, as well as MLB betting, and betting on the MLS. Sportsbooks also offer futures odds for golf and tennis.