The popularity of college football betting has never been higher. Almost no other sport comes close to matching the attention it receives. After NFL betting, there's NCAA football betting. That's the pecking order in North America. And the popularity is understandable. College football deals with a scarcity of games. Teams play only so many everywhere, so they're always going to be a hot-ticket item with meaningful consequences. And, of course, there are plenty of NCAAF betting odds.
Navigating the world of college football betting sites, though, can be a minefield. There are no specific college football sportsbooks. Odds are offered everywhere, by everyone. It can also be tough to get your foot in the door. If you don't understand the game or the online college football betting options available to you, it can take a while to optimize your approach. Let's change that, shall we?
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About NCAAF Betting Online
It's easy to get overwhelmed by the number of college football betting strategies and NCAA football betting trends at your disposal. Different experts have different approaches, and even how-to sites will relay disparate information.
That ends now. We want you to profit off your NCAA football betting. So, let's put all the cards on the tables. How do you find the best college football sportsbooks? Where are the best places to search for advice? Is it more profitable to wager on single-game outcomes or big-picture lines? When's the best time to bet? We're here to help.
NCAAF Online Betting Odds
With a ton of contests being played out every week, NCAAF betting lines take a little more time to handicap. Some sports are able to release lines immediately after one game ends. College football typically must wait for the entire slate each to conclude, and certain sportsbooks won't publish odds until after the AP adjusts its top 25 rankings.
That's not really a problem. You're not waiting on newspapers to break the lines anymore. Online sportsbooks can publish lines at the drop of the at, and most will have them up and running by Monday afternoon. Anyone of our approved odds-providers can be considered a reliable source, but if you're looking for an edge, consider checking out sites that aggregate lines from the most popular sportsbooks so that you can compare and contrast while also tracking any sudden movement.
NCAAF Betting Picks
Among the most valuable college football betting advice out there is the idea that should you make your picks as early as possible. There is an obvious risk in rushing your decision, and it's important to wait for clarification on major injuries or lineup decisions. If you're not waiting on any groundbreaking developments, though, it's best to jump on the lines as soon as possible, before oddsmakers have a chance to adjust them based on how NCAA football's public betting goes.
This is most important when viewing primetime games. Take the following hypothetical matchup: LSU (-110) vs. Clemson (+105). If the odds for this game are released Monday before a Saturday kickoff, you can bet they'll be different and less gambler-friendly by Thursday or Friday. The public could flock to Clemson, which would in turn damage their payout. The same could happen for LSU's side.
Similar logic applies to make college football futures picks. If you're betting win totals or trying to handicap the National Championship in advance, the preseason is the best time to do it. Once again, this allows less bandwidth for oddsmakers to adjusts based on inbound wagers. Your goal should always be to spot the most appealing lines yourself as early as possible.
NCAAF Betting Strategies
No singular set of NCAA football betting tips suits everyone. You're not looking for a one-size-fits-all solution. You just want to suss out a strategy that works for you. Let's run through some of the more popular ones in the hopes you stumble across one that works for you.
Many bettors live by projection models that predict the outcome of a game given the spread and participating teams. Most sites will make you charge for access to these, but there are public forecasts, such as those done by FiveThirtyEight, you can check out.
There are also projection models for futures like win totals, conference champions, and National Championship victors. These tend to be less reliable, though. The single-game forecasts are your best bet unless you're betting the same future across multiple teams.
Some gamblers swear by building step-ladder parlays. These are essentially a larger collection of lower-risk bets packaged together to increase prospective returns.
For example, instead of betting Boston University (-1100), Penn State University (-1500), Ohio State (-1000) or Oregon (-2100), you could combine all four of those lines into one parlay to drive up your payout without forking over a ransom as your initial investments.
Even in this scenario, you're not looking at a 3-to-1 payout or anything crazy like that. But you're getting closer, if not exceeding, even money when you package four or more heavy-favorite moneylines together. That should always be the goal.
Using The Current Season to Inform Predictions
Select bettors like to place wagers best on current-season evidence.
These inquiries include: What's Alabama's margin of victory at home? What's Texas A&M's record against above-.500 opponents? Is either team working off a loss?
One potential hangup here is the lack of repeat matchups between the same teams. College football traffics in an even smaller scarcity of games than the NFL, which means the same schools aren't facing each other more than once during the regular season. That forces you to base decisions off information that isn't related directly to the matchup, which can as always, be a little risky.
Betting with TV Analysts
There are even gamblers who just go with the national analyst consensus. They watch college football programs on television, listen to what on-screen personalities have to say, and build their bets from there.
This is...mostly fine. We don't recommend trusting analysts with all of your spread or over/under picks. However, paid experts do tend to be pretty good at forecasting outright winners and could, therefore, be used as a semi-dependable source when betting moneylines.
The Intuitive Bettor
And then, finally, there are college football enthusiasts who trust their own intuition. They watch the games. They study the stats. They look at track records. They consider the environment and the stakes and then go from there.
This strategy entails a lot of leg work and is entirely subjective. Picks suddenly come down to a matter of preference, and decisions will be made on the nuts and bolts of a team's play style. If you like run-heavy attacks over pass-heavy machines, then you'll be more inclined to roll with the former when two such offenses collide.
It's Your Decision
Really, when it comes to betting strategies, there's not a wrong answer. (The on-screen analyst approach is admittedly flimsy.) It's all about finding the approach that makes you most comfortable.
Chief among the circumstances that should factor into your decision would be your preferred wager types (futures, spreads, moneylines, etc.) and, most critically, the amount you're investing in each wager. High rollers will favor one strategy over another. Ditto for those who prefer futures to single-game gambles.
Betting NCAAF Bowl Games
Even the most accomplished college football bettors have to change their approach for bowl games. The competition is generally higher and equally important, they're dealing with an influx of public action. Bowl games bring out the one-off NCAA bettors—those who wager on games only once or twice a year.
Accounting for that extra attention is paramount. Lines are prone to wilder swings when they open because the action is so fast and furious. If you're going to bet on bowl games, you should do so either immediately upon opening or a few days after they're released, once the turbulent odds swings have settled down.
There are no exceptions to this rule. Not every bowl game is created equally, but they're all subjected to the same level of heightened attention. With that said, these are the most popular bowl games right now, which means they're the ones that will demand the most commitment to proper timing.
The Peach Bowl was established in 1962 and is held in Atlanta. It is considered one of the six major bowl games—also known as the New Year's Six—and is subsequently a member of the college football playoff on a rotating basis. It will once again be a playoff semifinal in 2022 and then again in 2025.
First played in 1934, the Sugar Bowl is college football's second-oldest bowl game. It is also a member of the New Year's Six, which means it makes up one of the two college football playoff games every three years. All Sugar Bowl games are currently held in New Orleans.
Much like the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl first kicked off in the 1930s, making it one of college football's three oldest season finales. As another member of the New Year's Six, it will count as one of the two college football playoff games every three years. Games are presently played in Miami Gardens, Florida, usually just before or after the turn of the calendar.
Founded in 1971, the Fiesta Bowl currently holds court in Glendale, Arizona. It is also a part of the college football playoff six, so it has a say in shaping the National Championship participants every three years. It's semifinals schedule is aligned with the Peach Bowl, so during those years, the winner of the Fiesta Bowl squares off against the winner of the former for all college football's marbles.
Yet another end-of-the-year game that began in the 1930s, the Cotton Bowl is the fifth of our five college football playoff-eligible tilts. It registers as a semifinals match-up every three years, and its games are played in Arlington, Texas.
Our final installment from the New Year's Six. The Rose Bowl is the eldest of the bowl games, having started in 1902. It continues to be played in Pasadena, California, and will, like its sister bowls, count towards the college football playoff every three years. In the seasons it does not, the Rose Bowl usually features a showdown between the conference champions from the Pac-12 and Big 10—unless either qualifies for the playoff themselves.
On to the second-tier bowl games!
The Celebration Bowl holds a special place in the heart of non-powerhouses. As of now, it's the only bowl game that chooses its participants, on a varying basis, from conferences that aren't part of the college football playoff pool.
Las Vegas Bowl
After debuting in 1992, the Las Vegas Bowl has since become a haven for non-conference champions from the Pac-12, SEC, and Big 10. In years past, it has also pulled squads from the MAC and Big West.
The Holiday Bowl is still played where it debuted in 1978: San Diego. However, the parameters of its participants have changed since then. As the powerhouse pool in the Pac-12 and Big 10 has increased, the Holiday Bowl has become another head-to-head for teams from the two conferences—though, again, neither will be their division's champion.
Often confused with the Orange Bowl, the Citrus Bowl started operations in 1947 and is currently played in Gainesville, Florida. Initially, it accepted participants from conferences all over. Now, however, it pulls one team apiece from the SEC and Big 10.
First played in 1993, the Alamo Bowl quickly became an annual meeting for teams from the Pac-12 and Big 12. It broke away from this format for a little while in the mid-1990s in favor of a Big 12 vs. Big 10 format, but it returned to its original structure in 2010.
Music City Bowl
One of the new bowl games, the Music City Bowl has been played in Nashville, Tennessee since 1998. Though it once culled schools from four different conferences—including the ACC, Big East, and Big 10—it now features an annual meetup between a team from just the Big 10 and SEC.
Unveiled in 2002, the Belk Bowl breaks the mold and pulls its participants from the ACC and SEC, in addition to the Big 10. It is played in North Carolina and also promises one of the higher school payouts among the second-tier bowl games ($4.8 million).
The Outback Bowl is a billboard for tradition. It was first played in 1986 and has yet to move locations or change the participation pool. It is still held in Tampa Bay, Florida, and its two challengers continue to come from the Big 10 and SEC.
This is self-explanatory. The Army-Navy Game isn't so much a bowl matchup as a storied affair. Every year, it features a square-off between the Army Black Knights and United States Military Academy. No prize pool is involved, but the winner does receive the Secretary's Trophy—in addition to an entire year's worth of bragging rights over its arch-rival.
NCAAF Single-Game Betting vs. Futures
Single-game wagers are the most popular type of college football betting. People live to invest in spreads, moneylines, and the over/under every week. Does that also mean those wagers are the most profitable?
Not necessarily. There are more games than futures to bet on per team, but they're seldom lucrative. Moneylines for favorites typically yield super low-end returns, and hitting on the spread or over/under bets usually only brings back between -105 and -115.
Investing in underdog moneylines can flip this narrative on its head, but that's hardly foolproof. Teams are underdogs for a reason. And some games really are foregone conclusions. You're not picking Appalachian State (+15000) to beat Alabama (-3500), because you know the former isn't winning.
If you're looking to elevate the stakes of your single-game bets without increasing your overhead, you'll want to try your hands at parlay wagers. Looping three, four, five, or even more lines together significantly beefs up your prospective payout. Of course, it also comes with heightened risk. Parlays mandate you hit on every level of your wager. If you go 4-1 on your picks in a five-line parlay, you still lose.
Betting on college football futures tends to be more lucrative. Granted, this isn't all that true on the win-totals front. They pay out a return that's similar to standard over/under wagers. But everything changes when you're handicapping bowl-game and National Championship winners. If you make those picks during the preseason, before getting to watch any games, even the heaviest favorites will provide a nice payout. Maybe the University of Georgia is the overwhelming consensus pick to win it all in the upcoming season. Their odds won't be as enticing as the average school's, but they could still yield something like +500 or better.
Here's the rub: Forecasting futures is extremely difficult. You're basically committing to a loss if your team doesn't win the national title. The field is safer for obvious reasons. But if you're looking to maximize your winnings without having to bet lump sums on individual games, futures are a way to do it.
College Football Betting Block
What's a NCAAF futures bet?
The most common college football futures bet is wagering on who will win the National Championship.
What's a NCAAF prop bet example?
One example of an NCAAF prop bet is betting on which team will score first.
When should I place a NCAAF over/under?
NCAAF over/unders are a good idea when the game will be a blowout and you are looking for a tighter bet.
Can I make a living off of NCAAF betting?
It is possible, but you should see sports betting as mainly a form of entertainment.
Where can I bet on college football?
Online college football betting is legal nearly everywhere in the US. You can check out the online sportsbooks we recommend on this page.