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What is over under betting?

The over under betting market is a type of bet, where the focus is on predicting game variables rather than the final result. We explain what a over under betting market is, and how to calculate your payout.

Over under bets - also knows as total bets - are an alternative to 1X2 and handicap bets, where you aim to predict specific game variables such as total goals, rather than the final result.

You can back or lay both individual players and teams on whether or not the total goals/points in a game will be either Over or Under a specific number.

Unlike handicap markets, there is no push option, meaning you will either win or lose your bet at the end of normal time.

How to calculate your payout for a back bet on a over under market

There are two stages to calculating your payout for a back bet on a over under betting markets. As an example let’s say you backed the FA Cup final to go Over 2.5 goals with a stake of £100 at odds of 2.40.

Step 1: Calculate return excluding commission

It’s calculated as:

Odds * Stake = £ return

So in our example: 2.40 * 100 = £240

Therefore if the game went over 2.5 goals your bet would return £240 - including stake, with £140 profit.

However, because betting exchanges don’t add a margin into the odds - unlike bookmakers - you need to subtract the commission off the profit.

Step 2: Calculate return with commission

It’s calculated as:

((Stake * (Odds -1)) * Commission rate

In our example that would be: ((100 * (2.40 -1)) * 2% = £2.80

Therefore you would be charged £2.80 commission, meaning your return would be £237.20 - a profit of £137.20.

If the match ended Under 2.5 goals, you would have lost your bet, and therefore your stake.

Even when commission is factored in to the odds, you will generally find Smarkets will have the best price - a result of our industry low 2% commission on winning bets only. Once you have learnt how to calculate betting margins, you can compare margins across bookmakers and exchanges, to find who offers you the best value odds.

How to calculate your payout for a lay bet on a over under market

Unlike a bookmaker when betting on over under markets, you can also lay the result. As an example let’s say you lay the FA Cup final to go Under 2.5 goals with a stake of £100 at odds of 2.30.

Similarly to calculating your payout for a back bet, there are two stages for a lay bet.

Step 1: Calculate return excluding commission

It’s calculated as:

Stake = profit

So in our example: £100 = £100

Therefore if the game ended 1-1 - Under 2.5 goals - your bet would win, giving you a £100 profit (before commission).

Step 2: Calculate return with commission

The next stage is to calculate your lay bet profit, with the exchange commission factored in. At Smarkets - 2% commission - you can use the following calculation:

Stake * 0.98 = profit

In our example that would be: 100 * 0.98 = £98

Therefore you would be charged £2 commission, meaning your profit would be £98.

When laying outcomes on a betting exchange, you should be aware of your liability on a lay bet - the amount you would need to payout if the game had gone over 2.5 goals. This article explains how to calculate liability on an exchange.

For this example if the game had ended 2-1, your liability would have been deducted, resulting in a loss of £168.

Apply this to betting

You now understand what a over under betting market is and how to calculate your payout - giving you the best chance to make a profit on this betting market.


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