Betting on College Football
For those looking to break into betting on college football, stick around for some top tips. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to get started betting on College Football with pro tips to put you on the right path.
With hundreds of games each year to keep track of, betting on college football is no easy task. But, with a little help, you will be profiting on NCAAF in no time.
How To Be on College Football
College football is the most heavily bet-on sport in the entire NCAA and one of the most popular leagues in the USA. Recent studies suggest that more than $20 billion will be wagered in football in 2022 between the NFL and college.
The marquee events of the year for bettors worldwide are the NCAA Bowl Games and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). Bowl Season is up there with March Madness for betting excitement as far as collegiate sports go.
College sports are a different beast than the pros and it takes a lot of prep work to ensure success throughout the season. With so many teams, conferences, and big games to keep track of, this guide is designed to get new bettors up to speed.
It covers how to read college football odds, the most popular types of bets, and some basic strategies to keep you in the black.
Reading College Football Odds
The first step in learning how to bet on any sport is getting used to reading odds. Without the proper guidance, the odds board above may look like Greek to you. This guide will make reading odds second nature to you in no time.
For the start of this section, we will focus on the American (aka Moneyline) format for odds. This is the default for BetUS and what you will see the most in the United States.
Let’s create a hypothetical college football game between the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes to get us started. The Moneyline odds for any college football game listed above will share the same format.
Michigan Wolverines -150
Ohio State Buckeyes +120
These two lines provide us with all we need to know to start betting on this game. The first thing to note is that the home team is always listed second. In this case, Ohio State is the home team with Michigan on the road.
The next thing to take note of is the plus (+) and minus (-) sign in front of each team. These symbols tell us which team is favored and which is the underdog.
A plus sign in front of a team means they are underdogs while a minus symbol represents the betting favorite. When a game is expected to be close, it is possible for both teams to be listed as favorites or underdogs.
Sometimes, the odds for both teams are the same. For example, if both teams are listed as +100, this is called a Pick ‘em. When you see odds like this, it means both teams are evenly matched.
So, what about the numbers that follow those symbols? For favorites, the number represents the amount of money you would have to wager to win $100. In the above example, Michigan is (-150) to win the game. That means, to win $100, you would have to risk $150.
On the other hand, when betting on underdogs, the number represents the potential payout on a $100 wager. So, a $100 bet on the Buckeyes would pay $120. In both instances, winning bets get back their initial stake along with the amount won.
That covers the American style of odds, but there are two additional formats you will also encounter. So, let’s get to know Fractional odds (aka “British” odds), and decimal odds (aka “European” odds).
Here is an example of the same game listed with fractional odds:
Michigan Wolverines 4/6
Ohio State Buckeyes 6/5
Don’t let the fractions scare you off, understanding these odds is a breeze once you get the hang of it. A good example to get started with is a game where a team has 2/1 (2-1) odds to win. This means that any bet made will pay $2 for every $1 you risk. So, a bet at 2/1 odds will double your money.
Getting back to our example game, a bet on Michigan at 4/6 would pay out $4 for every $6 wagered. On the other hand, a bet on the underdog Buckeyes would pay out $6 for every $5 bet.
Now let’s take a look at the same game listed with decimal odds:
Michigan Wolverines 1.67
Ohio State Buckeyes 2.20
There is a major difference between the odds in this format and American and British odds. While fractional and Moneyline odds represent the profit from a winning bet, decimal odds represent the total return. This means that decimal odds take into account your stake, while the others do not.
For example, a $1 wager on the Wolverines would return $1.67 total. That breaks down to $0.67 for winning the bet and your $1 stake returned. Similarly, a $1 bet on Ohio State will return $2.20 total or $1.20 for winning the bet, and the $1 you risked.
Decimal odds are preferred by many over fractional odds because they are easier to decipher and the line moves occur in smaller increments.
College Football Moneyline Betting
Moneyline (ML) wagering is the easiest style to understand. Also called outright or straight-up (SU) betting, the only thing you need to do here is to pick the winner of the game. For a new bettor just starting out, this is the best bet type to focus on early on. The Moneyline odds for a college football game will look like this:
Alabama Crimson Tide +125
Auburn Tigers -150
In this example, the Auburn Tigers (-150) are favorites against the visiting Crimson Tide (+125). We know the Tigers are favored because they have a minus (-) sign in front of their name.
We also know that Auburn is the home team because they are listed second. As favorites, you would need to risk $150 on the Tigers at -150 to win $100. But, at $100 bet on the underdog Crimson Tide would return $120.
College Football Point Spread Betting
Moneyline betting may be the easiest style of college football betting to understand, but it’s not the most popular. Betting against the spread (ATS) takes the top spot as the preferred bet to make on college football. This is because ATS betting is set up to handicap the favorite and give underdogs a chance to cash tickets.
This is important in college football because there are times when ML favorites can be -3000 or more. With odds in that range, there is no value in betting the favorite when a bet of $3,000 would return a measly $100. The spread makes it worth betting on even the biggest underdog.
Spread odds function by assigning a set number of points to each game known as the spread. You can look at the spread as a head start for the underdog of (X) number of points. Spread odds at BetUS will look something like this:
Clemson Tigers +3.5 (-105)
Wisconsin Badgers -3.5 (-115)
The spread, in this case, is 3.5 and is always the same for both teams. Now is the time we need to talk about half-points. Half points are used to avoid a tie or “push” from occurring and guaranteeing that one side wins.
In the above example game, the Badgers are 3.5-point underdogs with odds set at (-105). This means that to win a bet on Clemson on the spread, the Tigers can win or lose. But, if they lose, they must lose by three points or fewer in order to cover the spread. At -105, a $100 winning bet on the Tigers would pay out $95.
Similarly, to win a bet on the Badger, Wisconsin would need to win the game by four or more points If they win the game, but by three points or less, they would fail to cover and lose the bet/ At -115 odds, a bet on Wisconsin would win you $86.95 plus our original bet.
College Football Totals Betting
Betting on totals in college football differs from ML and ATS betting because it doesn’t matter who wins the game. The only thing totals bettors care about is how many points are scored in the game. This form of betting is also known as the Over/Under (O/U) and is a fun way to switch up your daily bets with something different.
Here is an example of what the O/U odds for a college football game look like.
LSU Tigers vs. Ole Miss Rebels O/U 47.5 (o-105)/-115u)
In this example, the total for this game has been set at 47.5. This means that in order to cash a bet on the Over, the score must eclipse 48 points. Anything less than 48 points would be a win for the Under. In this example, the Over has odds of -105 while the under is favored at -115.
BetUS also offers team totals for most major college football games. The difference here is you are betting on one team’s total points and not the combined game score.
College Football College Prop Betting
BetUS Sportsbook not only offers the standard betting options, but also numerous propositional (prop) bets for most major matchups. The bigger the event, the more props that will be available to bet on. Prop bets give you a chance to bet on all types of outcomes that don’t always have anything to do with the game itself.
For example, a popular prop bet for Bowl Games is what color Gatorade is poured on the winning coach. Props like this are often called exotics.
The most common type of prop bet for regular season games is player props.
These give you the chance to wager on the performance of one specific player. A popular player prop is the total number of yards a starting QB will throw for in a game.
There are also team props that allow you to wager on the combined stats of the entire team during the course of a game. An example of this would look something like this:
Rutgers Scarlet Knights O/U 99.5 Rushing Yards (o-110/u-110)
In this example, we are betting on the total number of rushing yards that Rutgers has in this particular game. If the team scampers for 100 or more yards, the Over cashes. But, if Rutgers fails to total 100 yards on the ground, the Under cashes.
In this case, the prop is set up as a betting total. In other cases, it will be what is referred to as a Yes/No prop. An example of this type of prop bet would look something like this:
Will Bryce Young Throw for (3) or more passing touchdowns? Yes -150 No +125
In this example of a Yes/No players prop, we are betting on whether Bryce Young will throw for three or more touchdowns. The Yes option is favored at -150 and the No, at +125, would be considered the “underdog”.
College Football Futures Betting
Futures are often considered a type of prop bet that spans an entire season and not just a single game. Unlike other bet types, futures allow you to wager on outcomes months in advance. While it’s difficult to predict things so far in the future, the payouts on futures are high.
A few examples of future betting on college football would be the winner of the Heisman Trophy, winner of the Rose Bowl, and Coach of the Year winner. Among all futures bets, the winner of the College Football National Championship is the most popular.
Betting on Bowl Season
While betting on the regular season is full of excitement, the action really picks up for college football bettors during Bowl Season. It’s the time of year when the best college football teams are awarded an extra game and pitted against each other.
It has been announced that there will be 42 bowl games scheduled for the 2022-23 season. The first will be the Hometown Lenders Bahamas Bowl on Dec. 16.
Other notable bowl games include the Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Peach Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl. With dozens of extra games including CFB action, these are some of the best weeks that college football has to offer.