Bet on Sports
How to bet on Sports
College football is one of the most popular sports in the U.S., behind the NFL. With the legalization of sports betting, many Americans wager on NCAAF throughout the season at trusted sportsbooks.
College football betting lines are available on most of the 130 Division I FBS football programs. Starting in late August, and ending in mid-January, the college football season provides countless opportunities to earn extra cash, with so many matchups each week.
Bowl season — when college football’s postseason exhibition games are played — is an especially popular time for betting on football. The Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Orange Bowl are some of the most high-profile bowl games played at the end of the season.
The college football champion is decided in the College Football Playoff, a four-team tournament featuring the highest-ranking teams in the country. It’s estimated more than 25.5 million people watched the CFP national championship game between LSU and Clemson in 2020.
Ready to get started on NCAAF betting? Read below to learn more about college football odds, how NCAAF odds work, and the best betting tips for winning throughout the year.
From moneyline odds to the point spread and over/under, you can wager on almost every aspect of a college football game, from kickoff to conclusion.
To understand college football odds, let’s dissect an example from a regular-season conference game in the Big Ten, one of the Power Five conferences in college football.
The first column features the two teams playing in a particular conference matchup. The Michigan Wolverines, listed first, are the away team, while the second team listed, the Ohio State Buckeyes, are the home team.
The second column is the point spread, the third column is the moneyline, and the fourth column is the total. We’ll examine each of these types of betting lines in detail below.
Spread betting is the most common way people bet on football.
A spread, or point spread, is a number set by oddsmakers to even the playing field in a matchup. Oddsmakers will choose one team as the favorite and one team as the underdog, then assign a point value based on how many points the favorite must win by, in order to cover the spread.
In the example above, Ohio State is favored to win by 3.5 points against Michigan. The minus sign indicates the Buckeyes are the favorite (-3.5), while the plus sign indicates the Wolverines are the underdog (+3.5).Betting Michigan to cover: If you bet on Michigan, you win your bet if the Wolverines either win the game outright or lose by fewer than 3.5 points.
A 30-27 Buckeyes victory would win you your bet, because Michigan lost the game by less than the 3.5-point margin.Betting Ohio State to cover: If you bet on Ohio State, you win your bet if the Buckeyes win by four points or more.
When you bet the moneyline, you simply pick which team you think will win the game.
For example, the Buckeyes are the favorite above, at -180 odds, to defeat Michigan.
The minus sign in front of the Buckeyes’ moneyline odds indicates Ohio State is the favorite to win. The larger the number next to the minus sign, the more likely the favorite is to win. The plus sign in front of the Wolverines’ moneyline odds (+150) indicates Michigan is the underdog. The larger the number next to the plus sign, the less likely the underdog is to win.
Betting the underdog: The number next to the plus sign specifies how much money you would win if you bet $100. Based on a wager of $100, if the Wolverines — the +150 underdog — win outright, you will earn an extra $150, which would net you $250 in return.
Betting the favorite: The number next to the minus sign specifies how much money you need to risk in order to win $100. You must bet $180 in order to earn $100 if the Buckeyes — the -180 favorite — win outright. You would then net $280 in return.
In a matchup, oddsmakers set a predicted total, or the combined final score of a game. Based on the projected total, you can bet whether you believe the combined score will be more or less than the amount set by the sportsbook.
The total for the Michigan-Ohio State game is set at 67.5 points.
Over 67.5: If you believe Michigan and Ohio State will combine to score 68 or more points, you would bet the Over. Let’s say the final score is 41-31. The two scores added together equal 72, which is higher than 67.5, so you would win your bet.Under 67.5: If you believe Michigan and Ohio State will combine to score less than 67.5 points (any total 67 or lower), you would bet the Under. Let’s say the final score is 34-30. The two scores added together equal 64, which is lower than 67.5, so you would win your bet.
You can also find first-half or second-half NCAAF betting lines, where you predict the total score by the end of the first or second half.
With a futures bet, you can wager on the outcome of an event in the future, such as which team will win the Big Ten Championship Game or the College Football Playoff.
A futures bet can be made well before the beginning of the season. Once the college football season is underway, you’ll find the odds on each team change week-to-week, based on performance and record.
Betting on a team with longer odds ahead of the NCAAF season can provide excellent value if they turn out to perform better than expected.
You can also bet on the winner of an individual award, like the Heisman Trophy, with college football futures.
You don’t have to watch all 130 FBS teams in order to win big on college football. With these tips and strategies, you can boost your bankroll, even if you prefer to follow just one team throughout the season.
Start by looking over the NCAAF odds this week, then search for information, like team records, past performances, recent stats (such as passing yards allowed, or rushing yards per game) to decide which team has the best chance of winning a matchup.
Check the spread
The point spread is set by oddsmakers to create a balance between bettors who want to wager on the favorite vs. the underdog. In college football, you may see some very large point spreads — sometimes around 40 points — when a team like Clemson is playing an easy out-of-conference opponent on the schedule.
As the week goes on, sportsbooks gain a better idea of how large or small a point spread should be. Keep an eye on the line movement, so you can capitalize on better value, often early in the week, before the majority of the public has influenced the spread.
Study the starting lineup
It’s more common in college football to see a team rotate through a few quarterbacks at the start of the season, before it decides on a full-time starter. Make sure you're aware of who is starting under center, whether a star player at another position might be sidelined because of injury, or if inclement weather is in the forecast for game day.
These are college athletes, not professionals, so unsuspecting changes, unfamiliar elements, and playing under the spotlight of a high-profile game on network television, can impact these players’ performances much more so than it does pro athletes in the NFL.
Compare team stats
There are a ton of stats available for college football. Some teams traditionally rely more on the run, while others pass the ball more often. When analyzing a matchup, find out what type of offense each team runs, then compare defensive stats for each team based on that scheme.
For example, last year, Navy ran the ball 86.4% of the time. In the American Athletic Conference, UCONN was the worst team statistically against the run, so they presented a huge mismatch against Navy on the schedule.
Not surprisingly, Navy won that contest 56-10 while putting up 408 yards on the ground.
Residents of many states can enjoy legal NCAAF betting at several sportsbooks with football odds today. Search all the latest NCAAF odds on our website.