Age-old rivalries, rabid fan bases and a huge slate of games every Saturday around America. No wonder college football is stellar value for bettors and sportsbooks.
When there isn’t a pandemic, millions of fans pack stadiums week after week in Fall to follow their favorite school or alma mater. Tens of millions more watch on TV.
The college football season normally starts in September and ends in January with the National Championship game. This is now the culmination of a four-team college football play-off series. Two semi-finals followed by the final game at a neutral site. Until 2014 it was just a one-off BCS National Championship game.
The biggest conferences in college football include the SEC (with perennial powerhouses LSU and Alabama), the Big 10 (with Ohio State and Michigan) and the Big 12 (including bitter rivals Oklahoma and Texas).
During the regular season college football operates a ranking system with the top 25 teams in the country called out each weekend following the latest slate of games.
After the regular season ends, schools are invited to play in bowl games around the country. The major bowls feature schools which have won major conferences and national ranking positions can also play a part.
The best player of the college football season is awarded the Heisman Trophy – a big deal and something you can bet on in some states.
Is betting on college football legal?
Absolutely, NCAA football betting is legal AS LONG AS sports betting is legal where you are.
A 2018 Supreme Court ruling struck down legislation stopping sports betting outside of Nevada. Since then states can decide themselves what they want to do about sports betting.
A number of states have already legalized sports betting – some with just land-based sportsbooks, some with online and mobile betting too. A ton of others are looking to push through laws to open up sports betting.
There is one important to thing to note about betting options on college football – you cannot bet on every single game in every single state. Many states – for example New Jersey – don’t allow people to bet on games involving local schools. This also includes other college sports.
Check out our state-by-state betting guides to see which college football games you can bet on – and importantly where. The situation is changing fast so stay on top of it!
College football betting lines
College football betting lines are set several days before games happen. Before 2018 Vegas lines were the major guide as only Nevada permitted sports betting then.
The major lines on college football matchups are:
- Money line
- Point spread
College football money line
Money line bets are super simpe. All you are betting on is your team to win. Nothing more, nothing less.
Sportsbooks post odds for both teams. Generally the favorite has a minus number and the underdog has positive odds.
Example: Alabama is playing LSU. Alabama is -120, LSU is +110
- You bet Alabama and it wins, you make $100 for every $120 you bet
- You bet LSU and it wins, you make $110 for every $100 you bet
The money-line can change in the days up to kick-off. Injuries to star players and even the weather can move the line.
If you want to bet on a game, shop around the sportsbooks to find the best odds before putting your money down.
College football point spread
The point spread is the expected difference between the two teams – set by sportsbooks. Favorite starts with a handicap, underdog gets a start.
Example: Oklahoma is playing Texas. Sooners are -6.5 while the Longhorns is +6.5
- You bet Oklahoma, they need to win by 7 points or more to cover
- You bet Texas, they need to lose by less than 6.5 points to cover
Normally sportsbooks offer both teams at -110 on point spreads. Your team covers, you make $100 profit for every $110 you bet.
College football over/under
Over/under bets on college football are all about the final score. You don’t care who wins – just how many points total are scored.
If you bet the over, you want a pointsfest. If you go under, you want a low-scoring game.
Example: Ohio State is playing Michigan and the over/under is set at 49.5 points
- You bet the over, you need at least 50 points total to cover
- You bet the under, you need 49 points or less to cover
Like point spreads, the odds for over/under are normally -110. Make $100 for every $110 you bet – if you cover.
College football prop bets
Prop (proposition) bets are a fun way to enjoy watching college football games. Props are side wagers about a stack of different things. Pretty much everything apart from the game result.
Most sportsbooks have a welter of props options. Example:
- Betting on a player to score a touchdown in a game
- Betting on a player to score the first touchdown in a game
- Which team will score most points in the 1st quarter
- Betting on a team to score three unanswered times
- Betting on the longest touchdown in the game (over/under)
College football public betting
Once the national rankings are updated and the betting lines are released, a good plan is to find out where the smar money is going. Public betting helps you do just that.
You can check out public betting for college football visualised in two different ways:
Bet percentage: Just how many bets have been placed. Example 57 percent of bets are on Oklahoma, 43 percent are on Texas.
Money percentage: A really cool way to see how the sharps and high rollers are betting. Shows you how money has been bet on each team. Example: 60percent of money is on Texas, 40 percent of money is on Oklahoma.
College football futures
Futures is betting on something that might not happen today or tomorrow, but several months from now.
You can bet on next year’s national champion pretty much as soon as the final second has run off the clock at this year’s title game.
Conference Championships are another thing you can bet on way out. Because you’re betting way out and often before the season even starts, the odds are often pretty nice.
A fun way to bet on a team and follow it through the season.
College football parlays
With a stellar slate of games every Saturday, college parlays are a super fun way to bet on the action and follow it all afternoon and evening.
A parlay is where you can put multiple games into a single bet. For example, you pick the results of 6 games – all in the one bet.
Because odds multiply through the events, you can hit a massive payoff. But it’s also much tougher to hit on every event and win.
College football picks
There is a ton of advice out there to help you make your bets on college football. It’s up to you to work out who to trust!
Some of the nation’s top outlets making picks include CBS, Yahoo, Bleacher Report and ESPN. Some sites even offer computer picks.
If you’re putting down serious dollars and want to take somebody else’s advice, best do your homework on their record so far.
Most experts will be honest and open, showing their record for the season straight up (money line) or against the spread. Goes without saying, the ones with the winning records are the ones you should be going with.
Does overtime count in college football bets?
Overtime does count for major bets on college football including money line, point spread and over/under.
You should always check your chosen sportsbook’s rules as they can be different.
Best college football betting: Which sportsbooks should I bet with?
All major sportsbooks bet on college football. You should shop around to find out who you want to put your money with.
Our online bookmaker guides and reviews tell you who the best sportsbooks are. We also carry the very latest details of the fantastic sign-up offers they carry. These can be huge bonuses.
And remember, you can open accounts with multiple sportsbooks. They want your custom so use it to your advantage Snag the best offers and shop for the best odds!