The phenomenon known as overtime is a very common occurrence in many, if not most, sports. Usually the result of a tie, overtime can be the most exciting part of any game as the fate of your favorite team or player is decided in those few minutes after the match should have ended. Soccer (or football, as it is known in most of the rest of the world) doesn’t include overtime rules because it is one sport that is perfectly fine with ending in a tie – and it often does – but most other sports use overtime to break a tie that may have resulted from the allotted time given to a match. Hockey and American football, in particular, make ample use of overtime to settle a tie.
When it comes to sports betting, though, a big question does arise around whether overtime should count in a bet and, if so, how to work with it. It is, after all, not part of the game by definition and so can be argued to be out of the bounds of any bets made on that game. On the other hand, just because it exists outside of the set time for a game doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be counted towards it – especially as it is a fairly frequent occurrence in most sports.
The General Rule
As a general rule, most sportsbooks approach overtime the same way: they include it as part of the game, by default. Sportsbooks and sports betting sites are always very careful to spell out the rules of all their bets, and they would specify whether overtime is included or not, but it’s very rare that it’s either excluded from a bet and it almost never needs to be specified in any particular bet.
In a very simple example, if you bet for one team to beat another 43 to 36 in a particular match, it usually doesn’t make any difference whether that score is achieved during the usual game time or only during overtime. The score is all that matters.
There are numerous sorts of bets, though, and the three main types that almost always include overtime by default are:
- Moneylines: Betting on who will win any particular match, with odds calculated according to past performance.
- Spreads. These bets are on the amount that the winner will win by overall. In other words, the “spread” is the difference in points between the two teams/ players.
- Totals. A bet on how many goals will be scored in total, regardless of who wins and who scores what.
All three of these bets usually include overtime as they are about points scored, not whether points are scored in a certain amount of time. That’s not true for all bets, though.
One sort of bet that may well not include overtime by default is what is known as player props bets. These bets are based on the performance of individual players in the team and don’t have anything to do with how the team overall does during the game. As a general rule, player props normally do include overtime as they are usually bets on performance across the entire game, which obviously includes overtime.
On the other hand, if the bet is on performance in a specific quarter or half of a game then things become much more complicated. Indeed, this is true of all of these sorts of bets.
Betting on Halves and Quarters
Betting on a quarter or half a match is significantly less common than just betting on the whole game. Still, such bets do occur and this is where overtime gets a bit complicated. Not too complicated, mind you, but a little.
If the bet is on the first quarter, first two quarters/ first half or first three quarters then overtime doesn’t even come into it. As long as bets are made on only those first three quarters of a game, they can be in any configuration (say, 1st and 3rd quarters or just the 2nd quarter) and overtime makes no impact on them.
If, however, a bet is made on the last quarter or second half of the game, then it becomes a real question whether or not overtime should be counted as a part of that half or quarter. There is no fixed rule here and if you’re going to make this sort of bet, be sure to read the rules laid out on the site/ sportsbook well to know whether overtime is covered or not in your bet.
There are, when it comes down to it, two things to keep in mind when betting on a sport that includes overtime. First, it’s never a bad idea to check out the rules on that specific sports book or sports betting site. They may have their own particular rules that are worth noting. Second, though there might be some discrepancy with different sites/ books on their specific rules of sports betting, as a rule overtime is normally considered part of the bet with the only likely exceptions being when bets of any sort of almost any sport is based on a specific portion of the game. If the latter are the sort of bets that appeal to you, pay special attention to what the sportsbook or betting site has to say on the matter.