Sides vs. Totals Debate: Which Should You Be Betting?

Posted by Joe Solari on April 14, 2016 in

Side betting and total betting are two of our most popular markets, which isn’t much of a surprise, given the insurmountable profits that come with wagering on either—or both—of the two options. With this in mind, we’ve decided to take a compare-and-contrast look at these two betting strategies so that bettors can know when to opt for one option or the other.

Sides vs. Totals Debate: Which Should You Be Betting?

Side Betting at a Glance

Side betting essentially refers to betting on point spreads, a practice that is mostly associated with basketball and American Football betting. Side bets are a mere representation of how much edge a team supposedly has over its opponent (in terms of points or goals), based on factors like betting trends and public perception.

The point spread, in most cases, offers you a chance to win more money than when you do in money lines, especially in instances where we have alternative spreads that allow you to stake more money on particular side bets for potentially larger profits. For example, rather than bet on a +3 point spread at +110, you can wager on a +1 spread at +160, meaning more profits for you if your team indeed covers that spread.

Total Betting at a Glance

Total betting, often denoted as UNDER/OVER bets, refers to the total number of points scored in a game, and you bet that the eventual total points scored in a game will go OVER or UNDER the set number. For example, the total for the NCAA Championship game can be set at 67.5 points. If you think that the game will total fewer than 67.5 points scored, then an UNDER is the way to go. If the final score turns out to be 68-or-more points, the UNDER bettors will lose, but if it stays below 67, the UNDER bettors will cash in.

Typically, novice bettors love to bet on OVERs and this often leads to their demise because not all games are usually shootouts. Total betting essentially depends on where the set game total is relative to how many points you think (not feel or hope) both teams will combine to score, taking into account factors such as defenses vs. offenses, injuries, team strategies, pace of the game and sometimes weather patterns, among others.

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Side vs. Total Betting

When choosing or debating between side and total betting, the most basic thing you need to consider is that each sport is different, meaning you will find different values when betting on either of the two sides. For example, most bettors and pundits are of the opinion that American Football (like the NFL) offers better chances for more success when placing bets on the sides than on the totals. Meanwhile, most hoops bettors claim that basketball games (like the NBA) offers a chance for more success when betting on the totals than on the sides. This simply tells us that you can find value on both sides and totals, as long as you use the right strategies and find the option that works best for you.

Once you have mastered the art of betting on sides and totals, find a good balance and know when to apply one strategy or the other, or even both at the same time (like in parlay bets). More importantly, find the strategy that works best for you in terms of racking up profits and strive to exploit that advantage, rather than venturing into other strategies that are less profitable.