Total in basketball betting


Basketball matches attract lots of bettors from all over the world by being a popular sport with lots of outcomes and events for betting. The most attractive basketball league is the NBA, but a number of international competitions, Asian and European championships also attract lots of fans.

In this article, we will examine the total bets and strategies in basketball, as well as share the effective tips for getting a stable income from betting.

What does total mean in basketball betting

In order to understand the meaning of total in basketball betting, we must first understand the essence of the "total" term. Total is a type of bet wagered on the number of any kind of events set in a certain period of time of the match. "Total points" bet in basketball primarily refers to the effective actions of a certain team or a certain player in a quarter / half-time / the entire match.

The total bets in basketball are designated by the BOs as “TU” and “TO”, respectively meaning the "total under" and "total over". Winning a bet here depends on the number of actions in accordance with the chosen value. Most basketball bets are being wagered on total points, but there are a number of other betting options: the number of shots, rebounds, block shots, etc. Also, the bettors can bet not only on the overall total, but also on a specific player/team in any quarter.

Types of total in basketball bets

The bookies offer quite a variety of types of total under or total over bets in basketball, but not all of them are popular among the bettors. We've composed below the list of the main types of basketball total bets, attaching examples to some of them.

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Classic Total

Classic total is a bet on the total number of points scored by both teams in the entire match. This term implies betting on fractional number of points, meaning that this kind of bet can never have a draw no bet option. Lots of bettors no longer calculate their totals in basketball manually, using specialized software.

An example of a classic total: let's take a look at the WNBA playoff match between the New York Liberty and the Chicago Sky as the example of calculation of total bets in basketball. In this match, the average total is 164.5 points (it is at the level of women's basketball average effectiveness). By wagering a $100 stake on "TO 164.5", we get 2 outcome options:

  1. In case of the total score of the match ending with 164 points or less (for example, at 84:80), then the bet did not "hit".
  2. In case the match ends with a total score of 165 or more (at 84:81, etc.), we get a profit of ($100 x 1.86) = $186 (net profit will be $86).

Individual total

In basketball, an individual total betting means wagering bets on a single team. The BOs often list the teams as follows:

1 – home team;

2 - visiting team.

The individual total works on the same principle as the classic total, but only for one of the two teams.

Individual total


The period totals

Lots of skilled bettors use middles in total betting in basketball. The period at total betting in basketball works on the same principle as the classic or individual, except that the betting goes in a specific period of time. The bookmakers offer betting options not only for all 4 quarters of the match, but also for both halves. In live mode, you can even catch bets for 2-5-minute periods.

Periods total


An example of total in periods: let's analyze the NBA regular season game between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers as an example. It has a good "Individual total 1 over 26.5" bet at 1.67 odd. For convenience, let's wager a bet in the amount of $100, then we'll have one of two scenarios:

  1. In case Boston scores 26 points or less in the first quarter, the bet is lost.
  2. In case the Celtics score 27 points or more, we'll have a bet win and a profit of ($100 x 1.67) = $167 (net profit will be $67).

Even/Odd total

The even/odd total bet is very popular in basketball because of its simplicity: the bet wins in case of an even or odd number of points. You can bet not only on the total score of the match, but also on individual teams, or by periods.

Odd-even total


The player performance statistics total betting in basketball

In the NBA and some European leagues, the bookies offer an extended line including some bets on the performance statistics of certain basketball players. They have lots of bets on player totals:

  • free throws;
  • 2/3-point shots;
  • total number of points scored;
  • successful rebounds;
  • passes;
  • blockshots;
  • penalties;
  • etc.

How to bet correctly

No one will ever tell you how to risk-free bet totals in basketball because there is no perfect recipe. However, there are a number of rules for you to follow in order to increase the chances of success:

  • carefully analyze the players' physical condition: it is very difficult to play day-after-day, especially after a long flight.
  • study the current line-ups: very often, the important players can get kicked off the roster due to minor injuries, suspensions or personal problems.
  • study the total statistics for the face off duels, and for each team.
  • analyze the last 5-10 matches of each team.
  • consider the factor of home site when wagering a bet.
  • do not forget about the motivation of the teams: not always both clubs need to give all their best.


We've figured out how to calculate the total in basketball, now it's time to look at the operating strategies for it. Experienced bettors have come up with lots of betting systems for betting totals, and we've selected only the proven basketball betting strategies for you here.

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"Overall Total" strategy

This strategy is based on calculations of the overall expected total in the match. This system has a special formula for calculating the total bets in basketball:

  1. Calculate the expected total of the home team: add up their points for the last 5 matches, adding 1 point for each win and subtracting 1.5 points for each loss. At the end, add 3 points, since this team plays on a home site.
  2. Calculate the estimated number of points for the visiting team by the same scheme, only not adding 3 points for a home site at the end.
  3. Add the received numbers and divide by 5 (the number of recent matches).

As a result, we get the expected total in the upcoming match, compare it with the total offered by the bookmakers and wager the closest bet to the one we calculated.

"Quarter Total in Live mode" strategy

This betting system means searching for changed odds for over/under in live. This is one of the most used strategies for betting on basketball in general, not just in quarter totals.

Here you must note down the "TU/TO" odds for the quarter before it starts, and then compare them with the ones set during the match. For example, if before the start of the quarter the average total was 38.5 (the TU coefficient being 1.84, and the TO one being 1.87), and 3 minutes into the game, the average total rises up to 46.5 due to the energetic start of the teams, then it makes sense to bet on the total under (and vice versa).

"Favorite losing Quarter Total" strategy

This betting system is built on the Martingale method when the bettor is constantly doubling the losing bets until the win. In basketball, this strategy is very popular, because in 85% of cases the favorite loses in at least one quarter. The bettor needs to bet on the underdog in each quarter until the win. More so, in basketball, the bettor is not doubling the losing bet, but increasing it by 3-4 times, depending on the coefficients set against the favorite.

Useful tips

The strategy for total over betting in basketball can get a good profit, but you must seriously analyze the events and not rush into the heat. Of course, not all bettors are able to competently analyze events in a long run, since experience and psychological stability are a must.

However, in modern betting, there are a number of third-party apps offering help in analyzing sports events. For example, by using the BetBurger surebet service, you will be able to find value bets on the totals in basketball in a matter of seconds, significantly increasing your chances of success. So why waste your time and nerves if BetBurger can find all the right bets for you?

Artur Polianskyi
For today Artur has 12 years of betting experience, and he kindly shares his knowledge with the readers of our blog. In his articles, you will find many useful tips for different strategies and learn more about all types of bets.
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