Few sporting events are more popular to bet on the college football National Championship. In fact, only the Super Bowl draws more single-game wagering than the NCAA's title tilt. This shouldn't come as a surprise, after all, the NCAAF is a successful league.
Football is the most popular sport in North America, and the dearth of games each year, as each school plays fewer than a dozen-and-a-half, makes each contest must-watch content. But like all sports gambling, you shouldn't approach the NCAA football National Championship odds without knowing all the ins and outs—both the how it unfolds and the best ways to wager on it. That is where we come in.
College Football National Championship Betting Sites
Looking for a place to mine the best college football National Championship odds? We've got you covered. Here's our definitive list of the best online sportsbooks for NCAA football betting. Each one does a great job of updating their odds on games lines and futures, in addition to receiving a top-notch rating from us:
2021 College Football National Championship Betting Odds
Before getting into the nuts and bolts of college football National Championship betting strategies, it's a good idea to take a gander at the current NCAA football odds landscape. This year is all sorts of jumbled. The coronavirus pandemic has threatened the 2021 college football schedule, including the 2021 college football National Championship.
Certain conferences, such as the Pac-12 and Big 10 have already postponed their seasons until at least the spring. Others might follow suit. And there remains a chance we don't get a college football playoff this year, let alone a National Championship. Most sportsbooks have pulled their futures odds for the National Championship while they await clarity on the season.
Luckily, we still have the opening lines for the expected top schools, courtesy of BetOnline. The odds were last updated on January 18, 2021:
NCAAF Outright Winners Odds
|Alabama Crimson Tide||+500||+500||+500|
|Ohio State Buckeyes||+900||+900||+900|
|Texas A&M Aggies||+2200||+2200||+2200|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish||+2700||+2700||+2700|
Make sure to recheck these odds once the NCAA announces finalized plans for the 2021 season. Will it kick-off as planned? Be delayed in the spring? It matters. Click here if you are looking for other NCAAF's odds.
Similarly, be sure to keep track of which schools delay their seasons or pull out entirely. They could wind up removing themselves from National Championship contention before ever setting foot on the field. If any of the most favored schools do displace themselves from consideration, you'll be looking at a thinner betting field, which will, by extension, turn into less lucrative National Championship odds.
The Road to the College Football National Championship
College football is different from other major sports, in that the field of contenders is so wide, but they thin out the ranks very quickly.
The institution of the college football playoff has given the road to the national championship more of a bracket feel, but not by much. Only four teams cut, leaving many other schools to settle for competing in meaningful, albeit less significant, bowl games.
Currently, participants for the college football playoff are chosen by a committee that meets throughout the course of the season to rank their top 25 five teams. At the end of the year, the first four are put into a mini bracket. The first-place team plays the fourth-place team, and the second-place squad faces off against the third place. These games are held in two of the six major bowl games; the college football playoff moves through them on a rolling basis:
The two winners from the college football playoff then move on to the National Championship. It is here where the NCAA crowns their titleholder.
How to Bet On the College Football National Championship
Betting on the college football National Championship is simple enough. Lines are published well in advance, one the playoffs are over, and the final two teams have a little bit of a break to prepare.
Jumping on the early releases is always ideal. Oddsmakers will adjust their lines as college football National Championship betting trends take shape. The public invariably ends up favoring one moneyline or spread over the other, and those initial lines will be adjusted accordingly, typically culminating in duller payouts. The sooner you can place your bet, the better off you'll be.
If you're really looking to drive up your potential return, though, there's always National Championship futures, like the ones we've listed above. These lines are released in the preseason, well before the opening kickoff. And because you're choosing from a field of teams that is much bigger than two, the projected return on a winning bet is substantially higher.
It doesn't even matter if you want to invest in a heavy favorite. Maybe the LSU Tigers are considered foregone conclusions to win it all entering a given season. If you bet on their National Championship odds before their schedule begins, you still have the chance to capitalize on a one-to-one payout or larger. Sure, the risk is greater. Again: You have to choose the champion before ever seeing a game correctly.
The field is always safer in those instances. But you have to roll the dice if you're looking to boost your possible winnings, and the better-friendly odds make it so you don't have to wager as much to feel a potential victory.
If you'd rather stick with the single-game lines, that's perfectly fine. You'll have plenty of options. In addition to the moneyline, spread, and the over/under, college football National Championship props betting is the stuff of legend.
Sportsbooks pull out all the stops to give you a bunch of choices. These props can focus on individual teams, with lines that cover how many touchdowns a team will throw in the first half or which squad will wind up scoring first. They can also zero in on specific players, such as how many yards a particular running back will rush for or how many touchdowns a receiver will catch. There will even be odds on the number of timeouts, the total amount of penalty yards, the coin toss, and so much more. Surf around. You'll find a ton of options.
Finally, for those who are looking to get their in-game fix, the college football National Championship is notorious for its live betting. Most sportsbooks offer everything from spreads and moneylines by quarter to live props updated in real-time. The boldest bettors will be able to hunt around for market inefficiencies. These occur when a favorite falls behind, and all of a sudden, their live moneyline pays out better than one-to-one.
National Championship vs. Bowl Games
New college football bettors can have a tough time distinguishing between bowl games and the National Championship itself. That's not a problem. It happens. But it's both easy and important to differentiate because one allows you to bet futures and the other does not.
Bowl games are not determined in advance. The matchups are set based on the final rankings, which heavily weight a school's strength of schedule, so you won't be able to invest in any preseason odds, as you can with the National Championship.
Furthermore, not all bowl games are tied to the National Championship. Only two make up the college football playoff every year. As we mentioned before, these two bowl games change, but they only circulate through six bowl games. Here's a complete list of the major bowl games, with asterisks atop the six that can impact the National Championship participants in a given season:
- Peach Bowl*
- Rose Bowl*
- Sugar Bowl*
- Orange Bowl*
- Fiesta Bowl*
- Cotton Bowl*
- Celebration Bowl
- Las Vegas Bowl
- Holiday Bowl
- Citrus Bowl
- Alamo Bowl
- Music City Bowl
- Belk Bowl
- Outback Bowl
- Army-Navy Game
This model doesn't make the other bowl games meaningless. Schools still kill to win them. They amount to only bragging rights in essence, but the college football championship field is so wide-ranging that even winning a secondary title is a feat they can use to prop up their reputation to recruits and their general prestige.
What's more, bowl games offer the same benefits as the National Championship. On top of all the usual game lines, you'll have access to a monstrous selection of props and a large dose of live betting.
Many sports gamblers even like to parlay the moneylines of all the different bowl games, including the major six. These lines are easier to predict than the spread, and there are usually a handful of heavy favorites peppered throughout the field. You need to heat on all your predictions for a successful wager, but when you do, even tinier investments can be turned into lucrative returns.