Sports Betting Guide — Understanding Prop, Futures and Over/Under

Posted on: June 21, 2022, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: June 20, 2022, 08:41h.

More people than ever are looking to cash in the sports betting window with the increased legalization of sports betting. But understanding several key terms will increase your odds of winning and understanding the betting world.

Oneida Casino's sportsbook
People stand in front of a wall of televised games during the opening of Oneida Casino’s sportsbook in Nov. 2021 in Ashwaubenon, Wis. More people than ever are betting on sports. The rate grew from 5% to 12% last. (Image: CBS Sports)

We previously introduced you to terms and words you need to know upon your first entrance to a sportsbook. Now that we have a better understanding of some of the terminology like “favorites,” “point spreads,” and “moneyline” it’s time to introduce a few more words to your sports betting vocabulary.

In this article, we will learn what the words “prop,” “futures,” and “over/under” mean. Knowing these words will substantially increase your look at the sports odds board.


An “over/under” bet, which is also known as a “total,” is a way to bet on the game, but is different than the “moneyline” or “point spread,” where you don’t have to pick a team to win the game. Instead, with an over/under bet, you are betting on how many points will be scored in the game.

You will notice, beside “moneyline” and “point spread” on the betting odds board, there is a number representing the “over/under.” The sportsbook will give you a total score and two options, with an “o” for “over” and an “u” for “under.”

It is then up to you to decide if you think the game will go “over” or “under” that total. If you think the two teams will score more than that number of points combined, you bet on the “o” for “over.” If you feel the score will be under that number, you bet on the “u” for “under.”

As we did in the previous article, let’s take the most recent Super Bowl as an example of an “over/under.” The “over/under” number was 48.5. So, you had to decide whether there would be “over” or “under” 48.5 points scored in the game. The “under” was the winner, as the final score was LA Rams 23-20 over the Cincinnati Bengals.


Another type of wager you can bet on is “futures.” Now, while most bets are placed on outcomes of games, whether on “point spreads,” “moneyline,” or “over/under,” a “futures” bet focuses mainly on the outcome of a division, conference, or championship.

For example, you can bet on a team to win the Super Bowl today, and the NFL season is more than two months away from kicking off. This is where “futures” gets its name, as the event typically takes place in the “future.” All sports take “futures” bets. You can bet today on who you think will win The Masters golf tournament or the next Formula 1 title.

It’s all available in the “futures” market.


“Prop” betting has become the newest sensation in sports wagering. Short for “proposition,” you are being given a total number on a player, and the wager is whether they will go “over” or “under” that number. Different than a “total,” which is an “over/under,” in a “prop” bet you are betting on an individual player to exceed or go below a total number.

Will a pitcher in baseball record a higher or lower number than the line posted? Will a basketball player score “over” or “under” a certain number of points, rebounds, or assists? For an example of a prop bet, let’s look at a game in the National Basketball Association between the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers.

One of the many “prop” bets offered on the game was will Stephen Curry score “over” or “under” 24.5 points. In the end, Curry scored 18 points, so had you taken the “under,” you would have won. So like an “over/under,” a “prop” bet allows you to bet on the game without betting on the outcome of who will win or lose the game.

Knowing what you are doing, understanding what you are looking at and reading, and understanding that there are more options than just betting on who will win and who will lose, will open a whole new world of gambling possibilities to the new player.