Although in the US, the top sport to bet on is the NFL, College Football is close behind and growing. Overall, bettors’ wagers on football are $4.7 billion in 2018, out of which $12 million alone are wagers placed on college football, as per the American Gaming Association. Whether you are experienced in betting on sports or just learning the ropes, college football is the place to be.
The reason college football is quickly growing is that it offers weeklong betting opportunities, with most of them on Saturday. There are far more opportunities to bet and win than with the NFL. Though they are both the same sport, there are significant differences between the NFL and CFB.
Our guide, tips, and tricks will help you get as close as possible to a 50% cash rate, which is considered a great success in the world of sports betting. Below we will discuss the basics of betting on college football and the best strategies for getting results.
Is Betting on College Football Legal?
Before you jump into any form of betting, especially in sports, it’s essential to understand the law. In 2018, the Supreme Court reversed the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act. This means that states are now allowed to legalize sports gambling individually.
The first to take this step was New Jersey, and from there it was a waterfall of changes for the better. Below is a list of the current US states that allow betting at live sportsbooks:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- New Mexico
- New York
If your US state is not listed, don't worry, the rest are sure to follow. Currently Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Montana, and Tennessee are in the process of making the change. Most likely, before the 2019/2020 college football season, bettors in these states will be able to participate.
The rest of the states have already introduced a bill in the direction of sports gambling. Those that have not are in the process of taking action. Check the laws in your state to get further information.
Differences between NFL Betting and CFB Betting
Before we continue, it's essential to understand that regardless that the same sport is played; there are still significant differences between the NFL and CFB. These differences are even more noticeable when it comes to betting.
- There are many CFB games. With so many games played, oddsmakers have a hard time keeping track and doing in-depth research for each game. Usually, they focus on the “Power 5” conferences and tend to overlook the mid-major games. This could be very beneficial if you are a well-informed bettor that catches where they are off the mark.
- There are significant differences in the format of each game. Unlike the NFL, CFB teams can have as many as 70 players. Sometimes all 70 of them will be used, so if you become an expert on a college team, you have an advantage as usually in-depth details are overlooked.
- There is less betting on CFB teams than on the NFL. This means that there is less coverage of the games and less knowledge of essential news such as a player injury. CFB teams are not required by the NCAA to release injury reports. This crucial information could give you a notable advantage. All you have to do is follow local news and social media where fans share the latest.
- There are 32 NFL teams and 128 NCAAF Division Teams. This is a considerable difference in betting opportunities. You can’t study each game and know the football teams inside and out, especially considering the number of players, but choose several. It's easy to keep track of 32 teams, but 128 isn't a task for a single person. Just set your mind to researching part of the opportunities.
- The quality of the teams and players differ significantly. The football teams are much closer in experience, and mismatches rarely happen in the NFL. While with the CFB, there is a notable gap between the best and the worst teams, and usually mismatched teams face each other. This makes for lucrative betting opportunities.
- Mistakes happen, but they occur more frequently in college football. They are less experienced players than those in the NFL. It is vital you consider this when betting.
- Media covers NFL games carefully, while many CFB games don't even make it to the screens, let alone additional information and breakdown elsewhere. This lack of interest in some games by bookmakers may result in soft lines with successful betting opportunities if you do your research.
Ways to Bet on College Football
You can bet on nearly any sporting event, and there are many ways to do it. With college football, there are plenty of opportunities. It’s only a matter of what type of betting you are interested in. Here are the ways you can bet on CFB and tips for successful betting.
Money Line Betting
Money Line is a simple type of betting. All you do is bet on the winning team. The margin of victory is of no importance. What is imperative is understanding the payouts. They confuse most people. The underdogs get plus (+) odds, while the favorites get negative (-) odds.
If a team is a favorite, they will be listed with a minus (-), say -2500. If you bet $230 on the favorite successfully, the payout will only be $10. All you do is choose a team to win. Remember, if you bet on the underdog and they win, you get a higher payout, while a successful bet on the favorites will pay less than the original wager.
Point Spread Betting
This type of betting is on the expected margin of victory. Point Spread is one of the most popular ways to bet. With college football, the spreads are more significant than with the NFL. Whomever you bet on, you can benefit.
Just like with money line betting, the minus (-) is for the favorite team, and the underdog is listed with a plus (+). The bettor will win if the underdog wins outright or loses by any amount smaller than the point spread.
Point Total Betting
This type of betting can also be known as Over/Under Bet and is very popular and uncomplicated. Just choose if the total points scored by both of the teams will be Over or Under the total. It doesn't matter who the winner is, only the number of points.
The other common name is “propbet”, and is popular overseas, but growing in the US. With this type of betting, you bet on a player or event. Ordinarily, people bet on the performance of an individual player, the margin of victory, and the score to open a game.
Usually, a combination of propositions is selected on a single game. You get a payout if all bets are successful, and the more stakes added, the more you will receive at payout.
This is a form of Parlay where you combine two to ten wagers. You can adjust the total or point spread to your specifications. These, however, have lower payouts even if they have a higher success rate. Simply select two or more events to take place. Each event that is chosen for a teaser bet must be successful to get the payout.
Future Betting and NCAA Markets
The types of betting listed above are focused more on individual games. Futures is another great opportunity for betting. You bet based on conference championships, the National Championship, or overall wins the team has during a regular season. You can also bet futures in postseason games and awards.
The odds of futures are ever-changing based on injuries, issues with the team, and other factors. In the CFB Playoff format, only four teams have the opportunity at the National Title. The teams that drop off the playoff will get very long odds.
You can also bet on the conference champion. The FBS conferences are SEC, Pac 12, MWC, MAC, C-USA, Big 10, Big 12, ACC, and AAC. You will usually find relatively even contenders, but sometimes you will discover top-heavy conferences.
There are different strategies, but timing is critical. The earlier in the season you bet, you will get better odds. If you wait towards the end of the season, even if you win, you won't get a lot of profit.
Tips for Betting on CFB
Because CFB has more teams and games than the NFL, it's difficult to decide how to bet. There are some things to bear in mind that will help you get the upper hand.
- Home Field Advantage – Look into the history of the team and whether they play better on their home field. Another thing to help you sway towards a side playing home is if they have a strong fan base.
- Rivalries – Some games count for more. Leading teams in a conference may organize a major H2H rivalry game. This generally happens around the end of the season, but don't expect only top teams to appear. They are often teams that have an intense rivalry, and this could lead to a closer finish. This makes it difficult to decide whom to bet on.
- Weather – This is common sense. It's challenging to play in harsh weather so that fewer points will be made. Some teams can handle severe weather better than others can. Those from the west coast and the south may struggle in a colder climate. The same goes for the northerners heading south.
- Pace of Game – This is especially important when it comes to determining if the game will be Over or Under. The more plays a team runs per game, the higher the chance of going over, and vice versa.
- PPP – This stands for points per game. This is the average of explosive games a team has. A team that has a higher PPP average than their opponents will likely win more than 80% of their matchups. In the case that both sides have many explosive plays, and both teams have struggling defenses, chances are Over is the way to go.
- Offensive Efficiency – This is also a way to determine Over or Under. This is the ability of the team to finish drives. Offensive efficiency will help indicate if the football team is capable of covering the spread. Another indicator is pass yards per attempt, as it will reveal which team is successful on offense, controlling the ball, and thus making points.