Team Total Goals Betting Market Explained

Written By: Conor Rafter
Last Updated: October 25, 2022

A team’s total number of goals determines the match’s outcome. If one team significantly outscores the opposition, they win. Should the opposition score more goals, the result goes in their favour. At its heart, football is a simple numbers game.

Team Total Goals’ takes this simple idea and provides bettors with a way to win money.

Team Total Goals Meaning

The team total goals betting market allows you to select the number of goals that will be scored by either team (you can bet on one or both sides) using the ‘Over/Under’ betting style. If the team matches your pre-game prediction, the bookie pays out winnings. 

For example, let’s say you wanted to bet on Chelsea vs Southampton.

  • The Blues are a robust and structured outfit with hundreds of millions of pounds of talent throughout the squad.
  • On the other hand, the Saints have few flair players within the team.
  • However, you wouldn’t be surprised to see them bag a goal during the affair. Such is the quality of some individuals.
  • Moreover, Chelsea’s defence hasn’t convinced.

As such, placing a bet on an Asian Handicap could be risky.

There’s no guarantee that Chelsea will keep a clean sheet, putting any bet on a handicap at risk.

However, you strongly believe they’ll win the game. A scoreline of 3-1 fits nicely. The ‘Team Total Goals’ market offers Chelsea ‘To Score Over 2.5 Goals’ at 2.00 (1/1). The perfect bet. 

Here are the reasons why this bet works better than a punt on a handicap selection:

  • As long as Chelsea score more than two goals, you win.
  • A bet on an Asian Handicap of -2.0 for Chelsea would provide some value, but the bet would not win if the match were to end 3-1 (1-1 handicap result).
  • Similarly, a +2.0 Handicap wager on Southampton wouldn’t payout maximum returns if the match were to finish 3-1 (3-3 Handicap result). 
  • The ‘Team Total Goals’ selection offers good value for money in a more open market.

Team Total Goals Meaning

Still not sure how the market works? Here’s an official description of this bet type, provided by SkyBet.


You’re betting on: how many goals exactly will the nominated team score in the match, e.g. No Goals, Team A Exactly 1 Goal, Team B Exactly 3 Goals, etc.

Team Total Goals Betting Market Explained - skybet definition

It should be noted that different bookmakers have their own twist on how to present this market. SkyBet operates in whole numbers (Exactly 2 Goals), whereas Bet365 offers its selections in decimal form (Over 2.5 Goals). To streamline our strategy guide, we’ll discuss this market in decimal format from this point on. Just remember that other options are open to you at various sportsbooks.

Team Total Goals Terminology

The word ‘Team’ in this instance refers to the side you’re betting on. A bet on the hosts would see you place a wager on the ‘Home Team’, whereas selecting the visitors would be a bet on the ‘Away Team’. If the team meets your bets’ expectations, you win money.

Total’ tells us that the market we’re betting on requires a certain number of in-game occurrences to take place in order for our bet to come good. If the bet is ‘Over 1.5’ but the statistic we’re betting on happens just once, the wager loses. An easy way to understand it is to think of the word ‘Total’ as a threshold. If the threshold is met or exceeded, you’ll make a profit. If the ‘Team Total’ falls below this threshold, it does not win (in ‘Over’ markets). Where you bet on ‘Under’ selections, the threshold must not be exceeded for the bet to win.

We’ve covered the meaning behind ‘Team’ and ‘Total’. Put the two together and we get ‘Team Total’. The final piece to add to the end of this sentence is ‘Goals’, which gives us the statistic we’re betting on. If it were ‘Shots’, we’d be betting on the total number of shots taken by a team. If the word ‘Bookings’ was included here, our wagers would focus on the total number of team yellow and red cards.

Like markets centred around booking and shots, bets on ‘Goals’ markets are won via numbers. ‘Team Total Goals’ hands us, the bettors, the task of correctly guessing whether or not one team will score Under or Over a set number of goals. Here are your options for this market:

  • Team Total Goals ‘Over’ – You win when a team scores more than the selected number of goals (ie, Over 1.5, Over 2.5, etc).
  • Team Total Goals ‘Under’ – You win when a team scores fewer than the selected number of goals (ie, Under 1.5, Under 2.5, etc).

Strategy & Tips Team Total Goals

A team could score five goals one week and lose by three goals the following week. It’s just the way football works. Some sides are more consistent, others can’t be counted on. Your job is to find a strategy that can make you money from different types of results.

Developing a strategy is the easy part. All you need is some data and a sense of telling right from wrong. By this, we mean having the discipline to avoid silly bets on selections with sky-high odds (this is usually a bad sign) just because the numbers are attractive. The losing bettor goes for potential winnings. The winning bettor takes actual, realistic winnings.

In the ‘Team Total Goals’ market, you have one “goal”, so to speak: pick how many goals one team will score during a normal football match. If they’re low-scorers, the odds for high-scoring selections will be more rewarding than the alternative. If the team is filled with attacking talent, you’ll get better prices in the low-scoring department.

Here’s how you should start your strategy:

  • If the team tends to score 3+ goals, find value in lower-scoring outcomes.
  • If the team has a history of scoring fewer than three goals, look for matches where they have a chance at scoring 2 or more. 

Now that we’ve got the most important pointers out of the way, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty.

The Perfect Alternative To Handicaps

Not only is this market more accessible to novice bettors compared to handicap markets, but it also provides better value for money in some instances. The thing with Asian Handicaps, and Handicaps in general, is that there are more variables at play than you might think.

You may believe that betting on the favourite at -2 or -3 (meaning the favourites are given a virtual deficit of 0-2 or 0-3) is a good bet on paper, but how likely is it that the opposition will fail to score? If the opponents are even half-decent, there’s a solid chance they’ll create a couple of scoring opportunities. 

Take the first Manchester Derby of the 2022/23 Premier League season. City ran out 6-3 winners, with hat-tricks for Phil Foden and Erling Haaland earning three points for the home side.

However, anyone that placed a handicap bet on City of -3 or more would not have earned maximum returns. This is because the following results would have applied to such wagers:

  • Manchester City (-3) – 3-3 (match drawn)
  • Manchester City (-4) – 2-3 (United win)

Conversely, bets on ‘Team Total Goals’ for City to score up to ‘Over 5.5 Goals’ would have won. The returns on these wagers were incredibly rewarding and gave punters excellent value for money. 

The moral of the story is this:

When you don’t trust your team to keep a clean sheet or score many more goals than their opponents, try not to use Handicap markets. Instead, bet on ‘Team Total Goals’ selections for better value.

Opposition Is Everything

Nottingham Forest conceded 21 goals in their first eight Premier League games of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, leaving them with a goal difference of -15. During this run of poor results, Forest conceded three or more goals four times in a row. This meant that any bets on the opposition to score 2.5+ goals in the ‘Team Total Goals’ market would have paid out generously.

To provide context, we’ve listed each of those results below:

  • Manchester City 6-0 Nottingham Forest
  • Nottingham Forest 2-3 Bournemouth
  • Nottingham Forest 2-3 Fulham
  • Leicester City 4-0 Nottingham Forest

As you can see, Forest were being punished by some of the weakest sides in the division as well as the better ones.

Their second game in October 2022 came against Aston Villa – a side yet to score more than twice in a single league match up to this point.

Bet365 offered Villa ‘Team Total Goals – Over 1.5’ at 2.20 (6/5) and ‘Over 2.5’ at 5.00 (4/1). Considering Villa’s scoring form was poor in the early parts of the season this bet may look risky, but this is precisely the sort of scenario you need to take advantage of. Villa had not been beaten in three games coming into this fixture. 

Team Total Goals Betting Market Explained - bet365 aston villa

Examine the opposition. Find value in strong form and weak form. It does not matter whether the opposing side score once, twice, three times or more. It’s their defensive system that should be taken into account.

This goes for ‘Under X Team Total Goals’ selections too. If the defensive unit of the opposition is strong, you might want to consider a bet on ‘Under 1.5/Under 2.5 Goals’ in the ‘Team Total Goals’ betting market.

Best Bookies & Odds For Team Total Goals 

Bookmakers are obsessed with offering the widest selection, the best prices, the most rewarding bonuses and the best experience for customers. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in many operators publishing the same markets as their competitors. 

Team Total Goals’ is one of these markets.

Below is a list of recommended bookies that regularly upload odds on ‘Team Total Goals’. To give you an extra helping hand, we’ve collected screenshots of the market from each sports betting platform. This way, you’ll see how bookies differ in their titling of the same market.

1. Bet365 – Team Total Goals

Team Total Goals - bet365
Bet365 present the team total goals market clearly, with over and under options available.

2. SkyBet – To Score X+ Goals

Team Total Goals - Skybet To Score X+ Goals
Sky Bet refer to the market as “To Score X+ Goals”, where “X” is the total.

3. William Hill – Over/Under X Goals

William Hill - Over Under X Goals
William Hill offer the team total goals market, too.

4. Betfair – Home/Away Team Over/Under

Betfair - Home Away Team Over Under
The Betfair market for team total goals, with over and under options.

Conor Rafter
Conor Rafter

I’m a freelance writer who loves all things sports & betting related. Having worked in this field since 2018, I’ve experienced a wide range of intriguing bookmakers and online casinos. With this expertise, I strive to create helpful, honest articles. My primary goal is quite simple: to guide and inform readers using facts and analysis.

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