Outside of the major 4 core sports leagues in the United States (NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL), college football sports betting has the most action in terms of bets made. In fact, many studies show that bettors wagering on college football are not too far behind the NFL, which has the largest amount of online sportsbook wagers in the country. With more and more states legalizing online sports betting, wagering on college football should only continue to rise. Before getting into the ins and outs of college football sports betting, let’s do a quick refresher on college football 101.
College Football 101
The college football season usually starts in the last week of August and goes until the beginning/middle of January. The typical team plays 12 games with a bye week (a week where the team doesn’t play a game) somewhere in the middle of the season. There are 130 college football teams in Division I. Teams are split up across ten conferences with a handful of independent teams. There are Power Five conferences and Group of Five conferences. Bigger (and typically better) teams appear in the Power Five conferences and smaller teams are divided into the Group Five conferences. Most regular season games are played mostly on Saturdays, but there are also Thursday and Friday games.
If a team does well enough, they may be eligible for a bowl game. A bowl game is considered the playoffs of college football. As of 2022, there are 44 bowl games that are played in college football with their own criteria of what teams are eligible to participate. Recently, college football has expanded into a playoff format with the four best teams in the nation going head to head in a single-elimination bracket-style tournament. The number 1 seeded team plays the number 4 while the number 2 and 3 seeded teams play each other. The winners of those matchups go on to face each other in the College Football National Championship Game where the winner will be crowned the top team of that season.
Reading College Football Betting Odds
The three main bets that a bettor can make when wagering online on college football are the Point Spread, Moneyline, and the Over/Under. Here’s what a typical college football odds table looks like:
|Alabama||-7.5 (-110)||-153||o69.5 (-113)|
|Georgia||+7.5 (-110)||+153||u69.5 (-113)|
The point spread is used in college football betting to make the game more even between the two teams that are playing. To do this, the oddsmakers set what they believe is the number of points a certain team is supposed to win or lose by. The team with the negative sign in front of their spread is the team that is favored; thus, they lose points with the spread. In contrast, the team with the plus in front of their spread is the underdog, which means that they gain points with the spread. If you pick the Alabama spread in the example above, Alabama must win the game by 8 or more points to cover the spread. If you picked Georgia, you would win if Georgia won the game or if they lost by 7 or fewer points.
The MoneyLine bet is the most simple bet in all of the online college football bets. For the MoneyLine wager, you simply select the team you believe will win the game. The teams that are expected to win the matchup, which are called the favorite, have the negative in front of their odds, while the team expected to lose, the underdog, have the positive in front of their odds. The important thing to remember here is that betting on the favorite has a lower return but is a much safer bet, while betting on the underdog is a risker bet that can have a much higher return.
Also called “Totals”, the Over/Under bet is wagering whether or not you think the game’s total score (adding the two team’s scores together) will be higher or lower than the number provided in the college football odds tables. In the example above, someone making a wager on the game thinking that 70 points or more would be scored would select the “Over,” while anyone thinking the total score would be under 70 would select the “Under.”
Other Ways To Bet On College Football
Prop Bets: Prop bets can be a great way to stay engaged in the college football game you’re wagering on beyond the main three betting types. Prop bets allow you to bet on a ton of different things instead of just how the game will end. You can wager on things like “Will Kenny Pickett throw more than 2.5 touchdowns?” or “Will Garrett Wilson have more than 77.5 yards receiving?”. Typical prop bets are presented in the Over/Under bet style or a Yes/No selection. The only caveat about prop betting is that certain states do not allow or have certain restrictions on college football prop betting, which more info can be found in our guide here.
Parlays: The expression “No risk, no reward” is not lost on online bettors who like to do parlays. Betting online on college football parlays allows players to combine multiple bets into one large bet. You can have a minimum of two bets, while the maximum varies by each online sportsbook. The downside to a parlay is that all the bets that you select for your wager have to be correct in order for the bet to payout. The upside is that your payout, where all of the wagers hit, is much larger than if you wagered on the bets individually.
Futures: Futures bets are typically made before the season starts and are based on what will happen at the end of the season as opposed to betting on a game-by-game basis. The typical future bets are centered around who will win the Heisman, who will win a specific conference, and who will win the National Championship. While you can make future bets during the season, there’s a lot of value to be found when making future college football wagers before the season starts. For example, Georgia had +1200 odds to win the National Championship before the season started. If you made a $100 wager on Georgia to win before the season started, you would have winnings of $1,200.
Ready To Start Betting On College Football?
Now that you know the basics of online college football betting, you’re ready to make your first wagers. Maybe you want to make a bet on a tune-up game, where a high-ranked college football team plays the first game of the season against a lowly ranked team as a way to ease the high-ranked team into the season. Or maybe you want to make a wager on the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, the annual premier game to start off each college football season. Whatever team or players you wager on, make sure you never forget about our guide to online basics of college football betting or any other of our college football betting guides.