It can be a long wait for the college football season to come around, but when it does the action comes thick and fast. With a large number of games being played every weekend, there are plenty of betting opportunities to get your teeth into and with a little bit of patience, study and good judgement you can certainly finish the season on a high.
Here you’ll find a look at all of the bet types you’ll be able to enjoy when gambling on the college game, some strategy you might employ to increase that profitability and a guide to the sportsbooks who offer your best options throughout the season.
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Betting on College Football
The three most popular bets in football are the point spread, the money line and the totals.
The Point Spread – In all but a handful of college football games you’ll have a favorite and an underdog and the sportsbooks will attempt to even up the two teams by using the point spread. They will subtract points from the favored team or add points to the underdog, to try and ensure that the game is a true 50/50 chance. For example, they might consider that Ohio State are 5.5 point favorites over Alabama, so to beat the spread the Buckeyes would have to win by six or more, while the Crimson Tide would beat the spread by either winning or losing by less than the stated 5.5. For each side of the spread you’ll usually receive the industry standard odds of -110.
The Money Line – This is simply a wager on which team will win a given game. The odds you’ll receive will vary as the more favored a team is, the lower the odds you’ll see published by the sportsbooks (conversely the underdog will be offered at better odds) – the money line is closely linked to the point spread as any changes in the odds and lines will affect both of these markets.
The Totals – This is a bet based around the total amount of points that will be scored in a game by both teams. The sportsbooks will publish a line after evaluating how many points they think will be scored and you’ll wager over or under that number. For example, the total might be set at 49.5, and you’ll win when betting over if the 50 point mark is reached. Like the point spread, you’ll usually see odds of -110 about each side.
Alternative Bets on College Football
Although many sportsbooks will simply offer the three bets listed above, if you shop around you can find a number of alternative bets on the games. Some sites will also alternative point spreads or totals, wagers on individual quarters and halves, the first team to score a stated number of points or whether the total points in the game will be odd or even.
One bet that will be offered by all sportsbooks is the Parlay. With so many games going on every Saturday, people like to spread their action across more than one game and a Parlay offers this opportunity. When placing this wager, you’ll need all of the selections to win, so even if you were to land 5 out of 6 selections, you’d be home empty handed. The advantage of the Parlay is the fact that you’ll receive much larger odds than normal – for example a 3 team Parlay on the point spread would usually pay out at around odds of 6/1.
One particular type of Parlay that is popular is the teaser. Here instead of the standard point spread or totals, you can move the line in your favor by a number of points, making each selection easier to win. This does come at a cost however, as the payout odds will be much lower.
Parlays, although popular, do offer a good deal for the sportsbooks themselves, as the more selections you make, the higher the edge for the sportsbook. As such, for a profitable long term strategy, single bets are more advisable.
The final bets you’ll find offered on college football are the futures. The most popular of these is based upon the eventual winner of the ‘College Football Playoffs’. This will be offered all year around, up to and including when the final four are named. Some sportsbooks will also offer odds on the winner of the Heisman Trophy.
Betting on College Football with an Edge
There are a number of ways you can find an edge on any given weekend. Perhaps the most important advice of all is to be selective. With all of those games going on, you have no need to be involved in them all and you shouldn’t let the fact that a game is televised sway you. Look for those games where you think that the sportsbook is out of line and pounce! If you don’t see any value on a game, why bet on it? Some sportsbooks will publish their lines earlier than others, so take a look at these and don’t hang about if you think a mistake has been made – this will soon be rectified.
Another good piece of advice is to not always follow the crowd. You might find that a particular game has all the money coming in for one side, but the fact is, people like betting favorites. If you see this situation, strongly consider going against the popular view as you might be receiving longer odds than you should on the underdog.
Don’t always go for the games featuring the big names. These game have the most money riding on them, it’s in the interests of the sportsbooks to ensure the lines are spot on. You might find that mistakes are more likely on a less popular game, so spend more time studying these.
Use stats wisely, especially in the early part of the season. Just because a team is ranked highly on offense or poorly on defense it doesn’t always mean this is the case, look at who they have actually played before coming to a conclusion. Early season stats can be misleading, but many gamblers will use these as a basis for their betting – giving you an opportunity to be one step ahead.
Best Sportsbooks for College Football Betting
It’s hard to top 5Dimes when it comes to wagering on college football. They offer reduced juice odds and a great selection of games and props every game day, as well as some generous bonus schemes to help enhance the bankroll. Non-US site Bet 365 offers perhaps the widest range of bets on any particular game, with upwards of 80 different markets on a number of games each weekend, with a similar range of games covered to 5Dimes.