Totals betting is an easier concept to understand than the first two traditional betting lines.
Essentially, in a totals bet, you are choosing whether or not you believe the total points that both teams will combine to score at the end of the game will be either ‘Over’ or ‘Under’ the amount predicted by the sportsbook.
So let’s say the Over/Under for the Patriots-Dolphins game is set at 40.5 points. The final score could be New England 35, Miami 7, and that would mean the Over hit. The final score could also be New England 24, Miami 27, and the over would also hit.
The winner doesn’t matter in this case, only the points.
The reason that the number of points is presented with a decimal on online sportsbooks is to prevent the sportsbook from accidentally picking the exact total number of points.
For those learning how to read betting odds this could be confusing but keep this in mind.
If they did, then that bet would be graded as a Push which means that the sportsbook would refund bettors on both sides their money back. The sportsbook won’t make any money doing that, hence why this wager and even the spread could have a decimal.
No result can end in a decimal, therefore guaranteeing that there will not be a push.