College Football Betting Guide
American college football is among the most popular sports to bet on in the USA. Wagering on NCAA football games is by no means restricted to the US – punters the world over take advantage of the huge number of games and the large number of sites offering lines on college football games.
The NCAA football season runs from late August though the beginning of January, postseason games included. Most teams play 12 regular season games, though some will play an additional conference championship game, and the best of the best will place in bowl games at the end of the season. With a season nearly half a year long, college football betting attracts gamblers that like to wager on the long-haul as well as bettors who may only drop a little change on end-of-the-year championship games.
Handicapping NCAAF Games
One of the difficulties inherent in handicapping college football competition is the limited time that team’s athletes remain on the roster. After all, the student-athletes involved in the game are at their college to get a degree, and the NCAA places restrictions on how many seasons an athlete can play.
That means, unlike professional sports, NCAAF bettors have to keep up with a constantly rotating group of players – athletes transfer colleges, leave early for a professional career, and are susceptible to suspensions handed down by their university or the NCAA itself. Compare handicapping a game like baseball, where players often have long careers, to contests between college football teams and you’ll see why picking winners at the college football level is more difficult.
Because of the short time most players are on their college teams, and the great amount of parity between the nation’s top 25 college football squads, handicapping these games requires a lot more discipline and research. You may actually be better off investing your time in line shopping, hunting down the lines you think give you the best chance of turning a profit. Having said that, college player and team stats are just as easy to look up as any sport, so making an informed pick is not impossible. It just isn’t as easy as with professional sports, where players rack up a larger number of stats to allow for smart handicapping.
How to Read College Football Odds
Learning to bet on college football means learning how to read a sportsbooks’ odds. In NCAA football betting, there are four important pieces of information: the rotation number, the game’s point spread, the money line, and the over/under number. All of these figures can be described under the umbrella of the term “odds.”
It’s common for powerhouse college football teams to schedule much-weaker teams – the large number of mismatched games in NCAA football requires that books level the playing field a little bit when offering odds. Remember that book is trying to draw an equal number of bets on both sides, in order to turn a profit. Understanding college football odds will help you find games with value.
When you look at a sportsbooks’ college football board, you’ll see two numbers next to two team names. Each team in a head-to-head game is assigned what’s called a rotation number. The rotation number lets you specify which game you’re betting on, and it helps the sportsbook list the games in a meaningful way. With hundreds of college games on any given weekend, the rotation number helps gamblers and books have a standard language with which to refer to specific bets.
Point Spreads in NCAA Football
The first number listed is usually the point spread, followed by the money line, then a number called the over/under or total. The point spread list one team with a negative symbol and the other with a positive sign. The team listed with a minus sign is the favorite, and the spread number is the number of points that team must win by in order for a wager to pay off. The underdog is indicated with a plus sign, and if you bet on that team, you win if that team wins outright or if they lose by less than the point spread.
College Football & the Money Line
As for the money line, this is a bet that allows you to get around the whole point spread thing and bet on a team to win outright. Without a spread, it doesn’t matter how much a team wins by, a wager on that team is a winning bet. In this setup, the favorite is listed with a minus sign and a number which tells you how much money you have to wager in order to win $100. As for the underdog, in a money line situation the ‘dog is indicated with a plus sign and a number telling you how much you’d win on a $100 wager.
Totals Betting & College Football
Totals, or over/under bets, are based on projections by a sportsbook on the total number of points scored. This bet is commonly listed as a fraction, and your stake is posted in a way that’s similar to point spread betting.
This wager asks you to bet what the game’s total score will be. Let’s say a game’s over/under is listed at 41 – that means bets on the “over” are gambles that the two teams will score 42 points or more, and bets on the “under” require a total of 40 or fewer for the gambler to win.
How to Make NCAA Football Picks
You can subscribe to all sorts of college football pick services, where you pay for opinions on the week’s games, highlights on games that offer lots of value, and get all your NCAAF picks made for you. These services tend to exaggerate their ability to pick winners, and doing the work yourself is not all that hard.
If you want to make smart college football picks on your own, all you need to do is spend a little time shopping for the best lines you can find, look for totals, point spreads, or money lines that offer you the best return on your investment, and spend a little time handicapping the teams you bet on.
No need to pay for an over-hyped pick service; selecting NCAAF winners requires just a couple hours a week. Now that you know how to read the lines and a little about the league itself, you’re ready to make smart wagers on American college football games.