Using Totals For Your Sports Betting


Have you ever wondered if you could make money from betting on your favourite sporting events? It may not be as difficult as you might think, but you do have to master the basics first. From the outside, working the odds can look quite confusing, but once you get to understand what you are doing, you can establish a hobby that may just net you some cash into the bargain.

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Knowing how totals work in different sports can be a valuable asset. Sports betters have quite a few different options open to them when placing their wagers. You may hear terms thrown around like ‘making bets on the money line’ or going ‘with’ or ‘against’ the spread. Or you might choose to go for the most popular option, the total wager. Sometimes referred to as the ‘over/under wager’, this form of betting still requires strategy.

You need to gather your statistics, evaluate game histories, tactics and player form, to have the best chance of success. Plus there are a few other factors that can give you the best chance of making winnings. If you can learn to identify and take advantage of totals, you can aim to create a better win rate.

Using Statistics In Your Betting

The first and most important factor for a serious better is the statistics. This is really what separates the casual luck-driven better from someone who can reasonably hope to make money from it on a regular basis. Start from the statistics that are available to you. In this way, it doesn’t really matter what the sport is – to a certain extent – so much as having the right information at your fingertips.

Start with the total average –  of points, goals, runs or whatever scoring system applies to your particular sport. Work this out for each team involved. For extra insight, you might look at one average figure for the team when they’re at home, and one average when they play an away game, as the numbers naturally tend to be stronger for a home game. Your estimated total score for each time – one for home games, and a second for away – is the basis of your betting strategy.

It gives you an idea of what the bookmakers are thinking, because this score is comparable to the totals they offer. This creates an informed knowledge base, into which you can weave other factors and insights. It’s a good baseline figure. Occasionally, you may find that a bookmaker’s totals vary significantly from those you have calculated.

This should ring an alarm bell in your head. What other factor could you have missed? What needs further investigation? A bookmaker will be adding in other knowledge to their baseline total. However, if your baseline matches their quite closely, this can be a valuable opportunity. You may be able to find a deeper context that gives you an unforeseen advantage.

Going Deeper

With that baseline figure in place, you can start to layer in other knowledge to make your bet a more informed one. There are lots of different factors that you can include to start to hone your bet. Things like the current win/lose streak for each team, what happened in any past matches between the two if they occurred fairly recently, injuries in the team and the starting line-up can all figure into your calculations. Even the weather, the team’s schedule of travel, the distance they have come to play the game and the strength of their defence and offense can make a big difference to the final total. Your baseline figure is necessarily an average.

That means it can deviate greatly where an opposing team has a very strong defence, and so weakens the offence, or vice versa. The best way to understand this is simply to study as many games as possible before placing your bet. Watch how they defend and attack for a variety of different opponents. What changes? How do they respond? This enhanced knowledge base is crucial when it comes to slimming the odds down further in your favour.

Evaluate a team’s offensive and defensive reaction over time and a range of opponents, and you’ll end up with reasonable adjustments to make to your expected total. Weather conditions also have more of an influence that you might suspect on the result of a game. Especially in sports like baseball, or anything played on an outdoor pitch or court.

Teams tend to do better in native weather conditions – so if they come from somewhere prone to rain, then naturally they tend to be better at dealing with playing in rainy conditions.Even the recent restrictions on fan attendance have affected different teams in different ways. It’s another thing to factor into your calculations – these details are crucial in elevating your decision making process and making you more accurate.

Starting Team Line Up

Who starts the game is also the most critical part of the line-up, so pay extra attention to this formation of the team. When talking about baseball games, starting pitchers have a huge influence on the overall runs scored – usually more than any other factor. So it’s important to pay attention to that. If a pitcher starts strong, then the overall number of runs tends to be lower for the game.

If it’s a weaker pitcher starting? Then you can expect an inflated total. Bullpens and their relievers also have an impact – how well rested are they? Have they pitched recently? Constantly analyzing and asking questions will prepare you with as much knowledge as possible. Injuries are another important component of the overall final score. Not just who is out injured – that one is obvious and will already be reflected in the bookmakers estimations. Take it a level beyond that.

To use baseball as an example again, if you have a star catcher out injured or is on rest, it has an impact on the pitching and the defense. The entire defense lineup ability can change depending on a key player. Each will change the expected score or ability to defend. Look at the last time the opposing teams played each other – was it recently? What was the result? Were the weather conditions similar or different to the ones predicted for the day of this game?

Were certain players out injured or on rest? What was the travel schedule like? Also, don’t underestimate the psychology of either team being on a long winning or losing streak – that is a powerful factor. The mental side of games has a huge influence on the outcome and can be just as important as any of the physical factors, and yet it’s usually overlooked by sports betters. A team on a winning streak expects to win again, and this is a huge influence.

It’s much harder for an underdog to make good on a losing streak. There is also the context of the team to take into account. Some teams are more resilient and seem able to bounce back from a streak of losing games better – which may be down to coaching. So the line up of the coaching staff also has an impact. You begin to see why there are so many factors which go  into the art of betting. Remember that bookmakers will also be expert in evaluating all of the above. That means that you need to seek out value-add opportunities and insights in the lines. That’s where you can really make your money. This generally comes with time and experience.

Doing Advanced Total Evaluations

So, that is a whole lot of factors to consider – and it really does take time to seek out all the information you need. But think about the teams you’re looking at. What separates the winners from the losers? Often it’s the willingness to go the extra mile. And that’s how you have to approach your betting for true success. Go one further and find out those extra factors that most betters ignore or are simply too lazy to use. Advanced metrics are where this extra value lives, so they are a really important step. So ask yourself:

  • In the past record of the team, how much have the offensive or defensive statistics been influenced by the end of the game?
  • What is the general leadership style of the team? Do they go in hard and aggressively? Do they tend to let up once they have a lead established?
  • How does the team play if they’re falling behind?

These less meaningful times within the game tend to be disregarded by other betters – but they are actually very telling. How much of a team’s total scores have been won or lost in a close competition or suffered a last minute blow-out? This is where the coaching and leadership of the team has the most potential to make big, game-changing impacts. 

Successful Betting For The Win

Betting on totals can be a great way to enhance your game, and it’s not as hard as it might look – it all comes down to understanding the history of the team and the factors specific to that game. If you can get your head around it, you have a great way of being able to make money from your favourite sporting events. 


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