Few sporting events are more popular to bet on than college football bowl games. They aren't quite the NFL playoffs or Super Bowl, but they come pretty close. Whether they're standalone title matchups or functioning in service of the college football playoff and National Championship, they draw in a huge crowd and a pile of betting action along with them.
Among the most popular is the Orange Bowl, which along with five other such games makes up what's known as the New Year's Six. But Orange Bowl odds hold a special place for some because the game has been around since 1935, making it the second-oldest bowl game in NCAA football.
That historical significance matters. It used to be that the Orange Bowl was occasionally the National Championship itself. Now it's just a cog in the college football playoff machine during certain years. And yet, even when it's not one of the two bowl games that determine the National Championship participants, it still holds a ton of curb appeal. Teams want to win it.
It serves as its own crown. And it commands the betting action to boot. College football bettors shouldn't want to miss out on it. We're here to make sure you don't.
Best Orange Bowl Betting Sites
Do not make the mistake of thinking any sportsbook will do when it comes to Orange Bowl spreads. You want to choose the right one—a site that offers great sign-up bonuses, returning-user perks, quick deposits, and quick payouts, timely game lines, and strong customer service.
Finding the right sportsbook can be a chore given all these criteria. That's why we've done the leg work for you. Below you'll find every sportsbook fit for not only your Orange Bowl betting but all your college football betting:
Because of the way the college football postseason is set up, you won't find Orange Bowl futures at any of these sites. They don't technically exist. Lines will be provided when the field has narrowed, but a concrete field doesn't actually exist until the final rankings of the season are doled out. (More on this in a minute.)
2021 College Football Orange Bowl Betting Odds
Without specific bowl-game futures to gamble on, you're left to look at college football playoff futures and college football National Championship futures. Both can be quite rewarding, with even the heaviest favorites offering close to even money or better, but the National Championship bets are going to yield a higher return.
Those wagers are just harder to hit, hence the increased payout. You have to correctly guess which school, among all the eligible programs in the country, will be the last team standing. That isn't easy—even when provided with a field of odds for the top-25 candidates.
This year is particularly tough because the 2021 college football season is officially in jeopardy. The coronavirus pandemic has already forced some conferences to postpone their schedule until at least the spring—most notably the Big 10 and Pac-12—and many others are expected to follow their lead.
Orange Bowl lines have been pulled from major sportsbooks in response to all of the uncertainty. Fortunately for us, we were able to cull the opening lines for the projected top 25 schools from BetOnline. The odds were last updated on January 11, 2021:
Orange bowl Lines
|Ohio State Buckeyes||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Penn State Nittany Lions||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Texas A&M Aggies||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Notre Dame Irish||TBD||TBD||TBD|
Click here if you are looking for other NCAAF odds.
Take these lines with a metric ton of salt for the time being. They provide a nice look at the 2021 college football betting trends, but they're not gospel. They're going to change once we find out more about what's coming next.
Predicting those shifts and swings is difficult. It depends on what winds up happening. If the season isn't postponed, you'll see schools that have delayed their schedule already be pulled from the National Championship hierarchy.
On the other hand, if the season is delayed until the spring for everyone, you'll see other schools fall down or off the National Championship ladder entirely because they've had upperclassmen opt-out to prepare for the NFL draft. Some schools have already had players decide to sit out so they can focus on making the jump to the pros in the spring or summer.
Then, of course, there's the disaster scenario: a canceled season. If NCAA football's National Championship falls by the wayside, anyone who has already invested in future lines will want to make sure their sportsbook credits them the money they put out.
Who Plays in the Orange Bowl?
Orange Bowl participants change every year, as do the stakes, but the general theme is the same: It is a game for the elite-most teams.
Overall, though, the Orange Bowl is broken up into two different versions. First and foremost, there's the college football playoff version, which is when the winner goes on to play in that year's National Championship.
In those seasons, the Orange Bowl will include two of the top four teams in the country. These squads are determined subjectively, by a panel of voters that meets throughout the season. While many are annoyed the evaluation process still doesn't include a concrete set of principles, the committee is known to factor in the strength of schedule and, to date, has only chosen undefeated schools to join the top four.
When these top four programs are selected, they're separated into two bowl-game matchups known as the college football semifinals. First place plays fourth place, and second place squares off against third place. It will be predetermined which bowl games are designated for which seeds. Aside from the Orange Bowl, these five are part of the rotating cycle:
From there, the winner of each bowl game moves on to the National Championship. However, even if you're on the losing side of the National Title tilt, you still claim the bowl-game victory—in this case, the Orange Bowl—as a significant notch on your school's resume. It is viewed as its own miniature championship.
That's why the Orange Bowl remains a popular draw even when it's not hosting one of the four top seeds. In those seasons, one of the participating teams is usually the ACC champion—unless, of course, the ACC Champion is in one of the semifinal games. They will be challenged by another conference champion, which makes for a good representation of what the game means: Whether it's part of the college football playoff or not, winning the Orange Bowl is a step above winning your conference.
Orange Bowl Betting Strategies
In the interest of full disclosure, there is no one set of Orange Bowl betting tips that applies to every sports gambler. The best strategy for you will vary depending on how much you tend to wager and what types of bets you're placing.
Still, there is a general three-tiered blueprint we recommend following.
Our first piece of advice: Bet Orange Bowl lines as soon as they're released. This is flexible if you're waiting on a major injury update, but if you're not, it's better to get your wagers in before sportsbooks have the opportunity to adjust their lines. The opening odds tend to be most friendly to gamblers, as they typically include at least market inefficiency the public is able to spot and heavily invest in. It could be the moneyline, the spread or the over/under. Once oddsmakers adjust, you're not out of luck, but you will have a tougher decision on your plate.
Next up: Indulge the prop-betting section. Sportsbooks really open them up for championship tilts. And while the Orange Bowl isn't the National Championship, it's generally known that the six major bowl games will be looped under the same umbrella.
Never mind the regular ol' spreads and moneyline bets by quarter and half. Orange Bowl props are more specific. How many turnovers will the Clemson defense force? Will Ohio State's running back commit a fumble? Which of the wide receivers from South Carolina and Tennessee will have the first reception? What's the over/under on the number of penalty yards Virginia Tech will rack up? Will Louisville's defense score a touchdown? Force a safety?
Whatever potential prop you can think of, it's probably offered during the Orange Bowl.
Finally: Embrace parlays with other bowl games. We're not just talking about one of the other five hallmark bowl games either. There are other mid-major bowl games to bet on. They include:
- Celebration Bowl
- Las Vegas Bowl
- Holiday Bowl
- Citrus Bowl
- Alamo Bowl
- Music City Bowl
- Belk Bowl
- Outback Bowl
- Army-Navy Game
These lower-stakes, more specialized bowl games present unique opportunities for bettors who are willing to stuff their parlay slip. Their spreads are usually more dramatic—the favorite will be -21 instead of -3.5—because there's a larger gap in talent between the participating teams. If you stumble across heavy favorites, try pairing your Orange Bowl bets with a few moneylines for favorites in these mid-major bowl games. You'll be surprised at how often those bets pan out if you hit on the Orange Bowl itself—and how much money you wind up winning as a result.