States across the country have been working hard to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court ruled against PASPA in 2018. As a result, the practice of how to bet on college football has never been more popular. And we’re all for it. There aren’t many better feelings than having all your errands done, snacks prepped and parking yourself on your couch for a Saturday full of college football.
Whether you’re a diehard who likes to scope out the college football landscape on “College Gameday” on ESPN early in the morning or wait until the primetime slate at night, the beauty of college football Saturdays is there’s never-ending action.
And what better way to enjoy all that action than having a little stake in the game?
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty for any first-time bettors that may be looking to jump into the college football betting scene. And even if you aren’t a newbie, we’ll review some of the best sportsbooks, which states you are permitted to bet in, and general tips when betting on college football that you should consider. This college football betting guide will cover it all.
- Betting on college football
- Legal NCAAF betting states
- Differences between NFL and NCAAF betting
- NCAAF betting tips
- College football bet types
- NCAAF betting odds
- NCAAF betting FAQ
Why is betting on college football so popular?
Yeah, so of course, football is huge in the states. But why bet on college football? What’s the appeal versus other sports?
College pride is HUGE
Let’s start with why college football is so popular. For starters, there’s a ton of pride involved. You can understand if you attended a big state school, a small private college, or anything in between. And even if you didn’t attend a particular school but are a fan because of your family or geography, you can understand the sense of community college football presents.
Following your home team on a Saturday can be a way to bond with your family, friends and fellow fans of your favorite team.
There are so many CFB games to bet on
But if you want to look beyond your fandom, as we’ve said, the options to bet on college football are bottomless. For context, there are 131 FBS college teams and another 125 FCS teams in the Division 1 subdivision that you can wager on (depending on your state). So, on any given Saturday in the middle of college football season, there are over a hundred football games you can potentially bet on week to week. This may seem overwhelming to some, but to many, there’s a beauty to the beast of college football.
CFB games aren’t just reserved for Saturday anymore
And beyond college football Saturdays, there are games throughout the week during the season. Whether you want to bet on a MACtion game on a Tuesday or Wednesday or an AAC game during the week, you can find a college football game to bet on most nights of the week.
College football betting produces wild results
And maybe the best reason we like to throw some skin on college football is “the sweat.” Not too many sports better exemplify this than college football. Parity is apparent, but chaos always has a way of seeping in. More so than in the NFL, you’re more prone to seeing routine mistakes, crazy finishes and wild gimmicks that would never be tested in the pro game. If you had to sum it up: it’s unpredictable.
States that allow betting on college football
Even though several states have legalized sports betting, a few of these states have restrictions when it comes to wagering on college sports. Below we will review which states have those very restrictions and which states you are allowed to bet college football from:
|Legal States||Restrictions on College Football Betting|
|Delaware||Cannot bet on in-state teams, retail-only, and through parlay cards|
|Illinois||Mobile ban on betting in-state teams, permitted at retail locations|
|Massachusetts||Cannot bet on in-state teams|
|Nebraska||Cannot bet on in-state teams, retail-only|
|New Jersey||Cannot bet on in-state teams|
|New York||Cannot bet on in-state teams|
|Ohio||Online sports betting launching January 2023|
|Oregon||Cannot wager on college sports|
|Virginia||Cannot bet on in-state teams|
The differences between betting college football and the NFL
We alluded to it above, but even though college football and the NFL are playing the same sport, sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.
Some of the most significant differences between the two are the caliber of players, the playoff format and the fans. But what about betting? How is betting on NCAA football different than the pros?
Availability of information
The beauty of betting on football is the amount of time you have to prepare and research. However, information is much more accessible when trying to gain insight into NFL games. Specifically regarding injuries and personnel moves, among other things. As one could imagine, NFL teams are covered under much more of a microscope. That’s not to say the big college football teams aren’t either, but there are definitely more question marks in the NCAA.
Volume of games
In addition, there is a ton of volume in college football. As a bettor, you have dozens of college football games to choose from and focus on. A high-volume sport like college football can present lots of betting opportunities where spreads and odds are not nearly as sharp as an NFL Sunday slate.
College football produces massive spreads
Furthermore, unlike the NFL, in general, you will find monumental spreads compared to the NFL on a week-to-week basis. The best and worst NFL teams rarely garner anything more than a two-possession spread. Double-digit point spreads are rare in the NFL as even the worst teams have a lot of talent, and the worst coaching staffs are, well….still one of the top 32 in the most prominent sports league in the world. The same cannot be said for college football. It is not uncommon to find spreads in the 20s, 30s and even 40s, depending on the matchup disparity. And you know what? Sometimes these massive underdogs can surprise!
Home field advantage
Simply put, home field advantage looms larger in college football than it does in the pros. The stats actually bare this out with the win percentage among home teams in CFB coming in measurably larger than in the NFL.
There are a variety of reasons as to why this is the case, but two of the largest are the ruckus home crowds, and general familiarity among players with their surroundings.
College football stadiums are among the largest in the world – with many seating over 100,000 people. Michigan Stadium, Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, Kyle Field, Bryant-Denny, and more… they’re monuments to collegiate athletics and are absolutely packed for every game with a loud and boisterous fanbase. To this point, these environments have yet to be equaled on the NFL level and provide a competitive advantage for the home team. With the right home crowd support, on the right night, it seems like anything is possible in college football.
Additionally, college football players are amateur athletes. So it’s logical that they would not be as businesslike when it comes time to go on the road. The familiar surroundings and routine of a home game can provide a leg up on the competition. By contrast, NFL players are professionals. This is their job, and many have been doing it for years. They’re used to team flights, hotel stays, being away from home, and the like. NFL players are just better equipped with the tools needed to succeed on the road.
General college football betting tips
College football is a different beast. It can seem overwhelming, but if you have a plan of attack, you can undoubtedly find some edges to give you a better shot at being profitable. Here are some tips any college football bettor needs to consider this fall:
Bet what you know
When there is a Saturday slate with over 100 Division I games, it can be a lot to process. There are two different schools of thought: the product can either feel watered down and saturated or present unique opportunities to key in on a few games.
With the sheer volume on any given Saturday, there will undoubtedly be a handful of games that are not quite as sharp as the games headlining the day. Having said that, if you are new to betting on college football, a great starting point may be one team or one conference to key in on.
Say you went to a smaller school and you are really familiar with each team in that respective conference, that could present an edge for you over the public (as long as you can leave your favoritism at the door!). Even if you’re a diehard, focusing on a few teams or conferences may be the way to go.
Shop, shop, and shop some more!
Depending on what state you are in, you will have the ability to find college football lines on multiple sportsbooks. Use that to your advantage! Even if the differences are slight, you will find better payouts if you shop for better prices across several sportsbooks. Let’s go over an example:
Say you want to bet on the Alabama Crimson Tide point spread over the Texas Longhorns. On one sportsbook, you may be laying 26 points with -110 odds; on another, you may be laying 25 points with the same odds. Although the difference may not matter in the end, it’s always better to scoop up that value. Over a season full of bets, finding the best price across sportsbooks will result in a more profitable bankroll.
The smaller, the better?
We alluded to this earlier, but there are so many games across a college football Saturday slate that it’s nearly impossible for bookmakers to be sharp across the board. We know that college football bookmakers are going to be adjusting the lines quickly for the massive, national title deciders like a prime time matchup between Alabama and LSU. But what about the lesser known tilt in the Sun Belt or the Patriot League taking place at the same time? Betting on the big game may be fun, but it may not be the most profitable.
Look at the entire CFB betting slate
Don’t be afraid to peruse the entire CFB betting slate. If you follow college football closely, chances are there will be a few lines that stand out. Look for value at every turn!
College football championship betting odds
Some of your favorite wagers can come in the form of a future. Although it can be frustrating to see money tied up for an extended period, keeping a close eye on a team throughout the season can be exciting. And the payouts are usually great too.
Here are the current favorites to hoist the college football national title in 2022-2023, with odds from FanDuel Sportsbook.
|Team||Odds according to FanDuel|
College football bet types
The volume of college football bets, and games to bet on, is impressive. Let’s go over some of the most popular bet types that are commonly made on college football games:
- Moneyline college football betting
- Point Spreads betting on college football
- Point Totals CFB
- College Football Futures betting
- Parlay Betting on College Football
- Live/In-game CFB
- CF Game Props
- College Football Player Props
Moneyline betting for college football
The moneyline bet is the easiest bet a college football bettor can make.
When you wager on a moneyline, you are simply picking a winner. The point differential does not matter. Moneyline wagers are phrased with a number like +105 or -125, which will indicate the amount of money you would return in the event that the wager wins. If you bet the favorite, your potential winnings aren’t as large as they would be betting on the underdog.
For example, if you bet $100 on the Iowa Hawkeyes at -125 against Minnesota in a pivotal B1G game, you would earn $180 (the original $100 stake + $80 profit) back if the bet wins. In contrast, if you bet Minnesota on the other side at -105, a successful $100 wager would return $205 (original $100 stake + $105 profit).
College football point spreads
While betting on the moneyline is the most straightforward wager you can make, the college football point spread is the most popular bet type.
Before the game starts, bookmakers will designate a predicted point differential between the two teams playing – also known as the point spread. So, even if your team loses the game, you may still be in contention to win the point spread depending on the margin of victory. Let’s check out an example.
The University of Georgia is a 10.5-point (-10.5) favorite against the University of Florida. You want to bet on the reigning national champs against the Gators.
For you to win your wager, not only will the Bulldogs have to win, but it’ll need to be in a convincing fashion. Since the spread is at 10.5 points (which would be designated as UGA -10.5 on your sportsbook), the Bulldogs would need to win by at least 11 points. And on the flip side, if you were to bet on the Gators, they can either win outright or lose by ten or fewer points, and you’d have a winning wager.
CFB point totals
Maybe you don’t have a lean on either side for an upcoming game. Then a point total bet might be right for you.
Bookmakers will assign a combined point total. You have the ability to bet over or under this point total. When viewing the college football slates you’ll see all kinds of point totals… from Big Ten games in the high 40s to Mountain West shootouts in the 60s.
CFB futures betting
Futures are precisely what they sound like, you’re betting on outcomes in the future.
Instead of betting on a game during the week, you have the chance to bet on future wagers before and during the season. Future bets can entail picking anything from a national title winner, a conference champion, or the Heisman Trophy winner.
Futures can be frustrating because your money is tied up for an extended period of time. However, the payouts are usually very sweet, especially if you shop around multiple sportsbooks for the right price.
Parlays are the new craze of sports betting. We just talked about the potential payouts of a nice future – this is especially true when we talk about parlays. Parlays are when you combine multiple single bets under a single bet slip. Because of this, your odds exponentially grow. However, your odds of winning dramatically decrease compared to winning a single bet.
If each single bet in your parlay wins, you have a winning betslip. However, if any of your single entries lose, the entire parlay collapses. If you love college football, there are plenty of games to string together for a college football parlay on any given weekend.
While parlays are the new craze, live/in-game betting is also wildly popular.
Pretty much all sportsbooks have modernized their online offerings, so they are constantly updating odds during a game.
For example, maybe you’re catching the Oregon-Oregon State game, and the Beavers jump out to a 14-0 lead, but you feel the Ducks can climb their way back in it. Sportsbooks will give you live odds on an adjusted spread, moneyline and point total for you to wager on!
Although these are not as plentiful as NFL game props, you can place wagers on game props that are not necessarily tied to the game’s outcome.
Some examples of game props are wagering on the first team to score, an over/under for the first half, and will either team convert a 4th down.
With player props you’re betting on a single players performance. Some player props you can wager on will be a player’s over/under for receiving, rushing or passing yards. Of note, not all US betting states permit college football player props – so be sure to check the local restrictions in your state of choice.
College football betting FAQ
Is it legal to bet on college football?
Yes! It is legal to bet on college football, but it also depends on what state you reside in. For reference, if you look above in the section titled “States that allow betting on college football”, you can find out where you are permitted to place wagers on college football.
Can I bet on college football from a mobile app?
Absolutely. Sports betting mobile apps account for the majority of bets placed on college football games. They’re easy to download, deposit to, and the device can confirm your location in a legal state automatically. Mobile NCAA sports betting is easy.
What are the best mobile apps for betting on college football?
What states have legalized betting on college football?
The states that have legalized betting on college football are found under the ‘States that allow betting on college football’ header. However, some states have restrictions where you cannot wager on in-state colleges.
What is the minimum age you can bet college football?
Depending on the state, the minimum age to bet on college football is 21 years old.
Can I bet on college football using an online sportsbook?
Yes, you can bet on college football using an online sportsbook.