NCAAF Betting: How to Bet on College Football

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American football at the collegiate level may be considered “amateur” when compared to the National Football League, but in terms of passion, spectacle and marketing it is on par with the professional iteration and for some surpasses it.

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NCAAF College Football Basics

College football may not have the money or superstars of the NFL but it’s still competed by some of the strongest sporting teams anywhere in the world. Many NCAA football stars go on to shine in the professional NFL.

College football teams compete in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) leagues, of which there are four levels:

There are 130 teams in the FBS, divided into conferences. The Big 10, for example, covers schools in the upper Midwest, while the Pac-12 consists of colleges on the Pacific coast and the Atlantic Coast Conference covering the east coast states. College football teams there compete as far south as Miami.

NCAAF teams compete throughout the fall and winter months for the chance to win the Bowl Championship Series. At the end of the season, conference winners compete in Bowl games for a shot at playing in the BCS Championship.

How to Bet on the NCAAF

You can now bet legally on single NCAAF bowl games in a number of US states. Bet on your mobile phone or gamble online at top sportsbooks. There’s no need to travel to Las Vegas anymore; simply flip open the laptop and find a football spread that works for you.

You’ll have a core number of bets to choose from in a single college football game. Bet on the outcome (Moneyline), the total points (over or under a set number), or the point spread (the size of the winning or losing margin).

You can also bet on futures and back the winner of the conference many months in advance. You may also find odds on individual player performances or the winner of the Heisman Trophy for best player.

How NCAAF Betting Odds Work

You’ll find college football odds at all legal US betting sites. For an individual game, you may find half a dozen different markets. Some bookmakers may also offer player “props” – unique markets on specific football stars.

NCAA football odds are displayed in the American format. A negative value denotes the underdog, while a positive value indicates the favorite.

NCAAF Moneyline Betting

Moneyline odds are the most common sight at a top US sportsbook. Essentially, a moneyline bet is a market on the outright game winner.

Imagine South Florida is playing East Carolina. South Florida is the rank outsider and is priced at +295 to win the game. East Carolina is heavily favored and carries odds of -390.

That means if you bet $100 on South Florida and they win, you’d get $295 back including your original stake. If you backed East Carolina to win, you’d need to wager $390 in order to win $100, given their status as hot favorites.

NCAAF Point Spread Betting

Points preads are also hugely popular at sportsbooks in the US. Spreads are like handicaps where the underdog is assigned a points advantage before the game starts. On the flip side, the favorite is assigned a points handicap. The odds of winning the game are then adjusted.

Let’s take our example again. In the moneyline odds, South Florida is +295 to win and East Carolina -390. However, the point spread is listed as follows:

South Florida +9.5 (-110)

East Carolina -9.5 (-110)

With a 9.5-point advantage, the odds for South Florida have dropped to -110, meaning you’d have to gamble $110 to win $100. However, the odds on East Carolina are more favorable given their -9.5 point handicap. They would, however, have to win the match by 10 points or more for your bet to come in.

NCAAF Totals Betting

Total Points is a betting market on the number of points scored in a single collegial football game. "Totals bets" usually follow an Over/Under (O/U) format: you must bet on whether the total points scored will be over or under the bookmaker’s line.

For example, let’s imagine the Total Points O/U market for South Florida vs. East Carolina as follows:

Over 56.0 (-110)

Under 56.0 (-110)

You bet over 56.0 and the game ends 54-14 to East Carolina with a total points value of 68. You win your bet.

You can also find NCAA football lines on team Total Points. This is a good alternative if you think one side or the other will achieve a certain points tally.

If you’re more unsure of a points total, you may want to bet on just East Carolina’s individual points tally. You just need to correctly predict the Pirates’ score, regardless of what South Florida rack up.

NCAAF Futures Betting

Every good online sportsbook also offers markets on NCAAF futures. These are odds that may stretch months into the future and could cover the conference winners or Heisman Trophy pick.

Popular college football futures:

To find a list of college football betting futures, open the sportsbook lobby and find the NCAAF tab. Next, click on the ‘futures’ tab to bring up all available markets. Sometimes, they are listed under ‘Outrights’.

You’ll see a list of college football odds, with the date the book closes alongside them. Odds are listed with the favorite at the top, running all the way down to the rank outsider.

CFB odds will change preseason as players come and go and stars get injured. However, once you take a price you are locked in.

NCAAF Prop Betting

College football prop betting is also allowed in some US states. Props are special bets on specific outcomes during the game. Oftentimes, a prop will have little impact on the end score.

Prop bets can relate to a team’s score during the first quarter, the first team to score, or even the highest-scoring player. Some props can also include the winner of the coin toss. You can usually combine props to increase your odds.

Popular College Football Props

NCAAF Live Betting

You can also find college football odds on games as they happen. Some states allow in-play game betting on college football point spreads and other markets while the odds change in real time. You can follow the action live on TV and bet on your mobile or laptop while keeping your account open.

Imagine South Florida is playing East Carolina in our live NCAAF game. Hot favorites East Carolina race into a 10-point lead, and their odds change from a pre-game -295 to -310. Florida’s odds go out to +350.

While watching the game, however, you notice the East Carolina quarterback has picked up an injury. You decide to make an in-play bet on Florida and try to secure a little value.

Florida races back into the game and soon the scores are leveled. The live NCAA football odds on the game now change again, with East Carolina now outsiders. You could now place another bet on them to win in order to secure a profit, whatever happens.

Live odds are altered automatically on the site. You’ll find them in the lobby, and changed odds will flash green on the screen. The price may also change in real time on the bet slip.

You can also find college football lines on events taking place in the game. You may be able to bet on the team to score the next touchdown or the team to be ahead at the end of the next quarter. The beauty of live college football odds betting is that you can secure a profit before the game has even finished.

NCAAF Public Betting and Betting Percentages

Public betting is a new phenomenon at US online sportsbooks. Essentially, public betting shows where other gamblers are placing their wagers. With betting percentages, you can see how the public is gambling. They represent actual bets being placed at US sportsbooks. 

By studying the public money, you can decide to back the consensus or “fade” the public and go for the opposite view. Remember, many sportsbooks will automatically adjust their odds if a lot of money goes on one team or the other. If you take the contrarian view, you can find value in the odds.

For example, by reading betting percentages for our South Florida vs. East Carolina game, you see that 56% of bets are for East Carolina and 44% are on South Florida. That’s a lot closer than the sportsbook’s odds suggest the game will be. Could Florida represent some value at +295, then?

NCAAF Betting Strategies

By assessing college football betting odds and trends, you can come out the other side a bigger winner. Here are a few top tips for making more from NCAAF college football markets.

Follow the Money

Oddsmakers usually have their finger on the pulse when it comes to predicting futures winners. They may follow the weight of money or the movement of players among college teams.

As we have mentioned, keep track of public betting percentages with dedicated sites and see where the fans are putting their money.

Home Teams Aren’t Always the Best Bets

There’s a belief in college football that home teams have a huge advantage over their opponents. Actually, home advantage is exaggerated. Away teams are actually much closer in terms of parity.

In addition, online sportsbooks offer worse prices for home teams. So, in the long term, it can actually be less profitable to consistently back the home side.

Back Away Teams on Point Spreads

While the college football betting odds on away teams can offer value, there’s also value to be had in betting away underdogs’ points totals.

Underdogs will always have a low point spread, particularly if they’re playing on the road. If the sportsbook is offering a large point advantage for the underdog, you can find some value even if the price is odds-on.

The Public isn’t Always Right

Most casual gamblers are terrible handicappers. They go for their own town’s college team or any team playing at home, without much in the way of research or common sense.

The public will lose more than it wins, and this is where you can pick up decent value. On NCAAF college football games with a lot of public betting action, it can pay to be contrarian and fade the public.

Find Free Bets Online

Most legal online sportsbooks offer free bets to new account-holders. The welcome bonus promises free wagers to use on games of your choice. Alternatively, you may receive money back on your losing moneyline wagers.

Online sports betting is about making the most of your free bets. With so much competition out there, online sportsbooks are fighting over themselves to offer bonuses and free bet deals. Take advantage of opening accounts at multiple sportsbooks.

Understanding NCAA Betting Lines and Odds

Much like NFL betting, college football betting lines follow the three main betting lines: moneyline, spread, and over/under.

Moneyline betting is simple: who’s going to win. Odds are significantly shorter on the favorite and longer on the underdog than in any other form of betting. Deciphering American odds can be tricky for new bettors. Our online betting page given an explanation below the events you can bet on.

Point spread betting given a handicap to the underdog team. A favorite needs to win by X amount of points for bookmakers to consider to have “beaten the spread.” An underdog simply needs to lose by less points than the spread to be considered to have “covered the spread.”

Betting on the spread usually nets bettors odds around -110. Some bookmakers will keep the odds at exactly -110 and shift the spread accordingly, some will move the odds around slightly before shifting the spread. Keep an eye out for the odds being offered on a spread.

Over/Under betting depends on the total number of points scored by both teams. Knowing the tendencies of both teams is always key for over/under betting, as well as the tendencies of certain teams when they play against each other. Some games are destined to be high scoring.

Legal NCAAF Betting in the USA

When the Supreme Court overruled PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in 2018, it opened the way for individual states to pass sports betting legislation. Since then, several US states have legalized betting on college football. However, some restrictions still apply, and NCAA football betting rules change a little from state to state.

NCAAF betting is legal in all US states that have regulated online sports betting. In some cases, you can bet on any college team playing anywhere in the country, even in its own home state. Some states, however, have banned college football betting if the game involves the state’s home team.

Furthermore, some states prohibit certain bets, such as in-play markets or player props (bets centered around specific stars).

Also, check the legal age for college football wagering. In most states in 2021, the minimum legal age is 21. Gamblers in Rhode Island, Washington DC, and New Hampshire can gamble at 18.

Plus, you may have to download a mobile app in order to place college football bets. Other states allow for mobile betting anywhere within state lines, while some states insist you place bets in person at the casino or retail sportsbook. In New Jersey Sports Betting, for example, wagering on NCAAF odds is facilitated through both mobile apps and computers.

Where to Find NCAAF Betting Lines

You’ll find the best college football odds and markets at all of our top-rated US sportsbooks. Every sportsbook in our experts’ pick of the best is legal in multiple states and offers betting odds for all college football games in every conference.

Remember to check the legalities of what college football you can and can’t bet on in your state. Some US states allow all NCAAF betting while others will prohibit betting on teams playing in your state. Other states, meanwhile will ban betting on in-play markets and props.

You can also claim a fantastic online sports betting welcome bonus too when you open your account. Sign up with a sportsbook to claim free bets to use on a football game of your choice. You may also get odds boosts on the big end-of-season bowl games. Whether you’re rooting for the underdog or going for a sure thing, discover the best college football betting odds right here.


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