How to Bet On College Football: All eyes turn to Texas vs. Alabama
College football fans can take joy in the fact that there are a number of options to bet on college football through legal, regulated sportsbooks in the United States. For years, college football fans were left to sketchy or illegal betting methods through offshore books or unregulated entities, but with the recent legalization trends, many states in the U.S. offer fans legal ways to bet through regulated sportsbooks. On this page, we’ll do a complete walk-through on how to bet on college football, covering everything through the sportsbooks available and the types of bets you might consider when betting on college football this season.
Georgia, Ohio State make statements in week 1
With the first official week of college football in the books, we know a lot of what we knew before… Georgia is darn good (they won the national championship last year, remember?), Alabama is Alabama, and Ohio State got the win they needed against Notre Dame to ensure they remain in the national championship picture for much of the season. But, wow, Georgia just put it on the no. 11 Oregon Ducks. It’s no surprise that many are calling on Georgia to potentially repeat as champions this year.
Texas hosts Alabama for week 2
The no. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide head to Austin, Tx., this week to take on the Longhorns. While this matchup pits two huge brands against each other, do we really think the Longhorns can compete against the Tide? I think Texas is pointed in the right direction, but they can’t match the talent level of Nick Saban’s squad just yet. There’s a reason most of the sportsbook have the Tide as 20-point favorites. Look for the Tide to put it on them.
Florida vs. Kentucky could be one to watch this week. The Gators come off an emotional late night win against a top ten ranked Utah, and now they have to get back to business as usual against the SEC East rival. Here’s the deal, Florida and Kentucky play each other really close quite often. Interestingly, as of writing this, different books have some different numbers for this game. FanDuel has Florida at -5-5 favorites while DraftKings doesn’t believe in the Gators as much and only has them at a -4.5 spread.
Live Odds for the week
At this point in time, many of the spreads are available for the first week of the 2022 college football season. You can see some of the latest odds below:
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Where can you bet on college football online?
If you live in a state that permits legal, online sports betting in the U.S., you can register and get betting at one of the following sportsbooks within minutes:
How to bet on college football: Preseason
During the preseason, there are a number of common bets that you might consider wagering on. They include:
- Heisman Trophy Futures: The Heisman Trophy is one of the most talked about awards in American sports in which the most outstanding player in all of college football is awarded entry into this exclusive club. Betting on who will win the Heisman each year is very common, especially in the preseason when you might find some wild odds around your favorite longshot. Check out the live Heisman odds.
- Win Totals: At the start of each year, sportsbooks will put out an estimated win total number for most major college football teams and bettors can bet both sides of this number (e.g. that the team will either win more games than the number, or fewer). An example win total number might be that the sportsbook lists the Alabama Crimson Tide to win 10.5 games this year. The bettor can take the over if they believe the Tide will win 11 or more games in the regular season, or the under if they believe the Tide will win 10 games of fewer.
- Championship Odds: Another very fun preseason bet is betting on a team to win a conference championship or even the national championship. Note that while these bets receive a lot of preseason interest, these bets are typically available throughout the regular season as well. The odds simply adjust based on what teams are doing week-to-week. You can check out the latest SEC championship odds, the Big Ten championship odds and the national championship odds.
Other popular college football bets
Betting on who makes the College Football Playoff
In my experience covering college football, the conversation around who will get in, who should get in, and who will end up on the outside looking in is a conversation that dominates much of college football fandom for a big chunk of the regular season. As such, the betting action is also very interesting and very popular.
College football fans can be on teams making the CFP before and during the college football season. Of course, the odds will shift based on wins and losses as the regular season progresses. But, if you have a knack for knowing how a certain team or program typically can progress throughout a season, you might be able to see something others don’t.
Moreover, because of the structure of college football, you have to factor in other external factors. For instance, not every conference is created equally. You know that the top SEC teams will have to likely face another very tough opponent in the SEC Championship Game at the end of the year. Does this lessen their chances to make the Playoff? This is quite different from other conferences such as the Pac-12 or ACC where a dominate team like Clemson might play a vastly inferior team in their respective conference championship game. Additionally, conference reputation definitely plays a role. The selection committee is made up of humans, and humans are affected by the way leagues are talked about and compared. Strength of schedule matters.
It’s because of all of these things that makes betting on which teams make the CFP very interesting.
Here are the latest odds on teams to make the College Football Playoff:
Understanding the different types of bets
As you examine the live odds above, you’ll notice a few different types of bets or sets of odds available. First, you’ll notice that each game typically has a spread, a moneyline and an over/under (O/U). Let’s go over what each of these mean.
- College football spread bets: When betting on the spread in college football, you have to factor this number into the final score when making your bet and understanding the result. The spread essentially evens out the odds when factoring in that one team is likely better than the other. Let’s look at an example. If Alabama is a -3 favorite over Ohio State in a college football game, it would mean that Alabama is favored by three points. If you bet on Alabama -3, you will win the bet if Alabama wins by four points or more (If they win by 3, it is called a “push” which is similar to what you might consider a tie in sports. You’ll just get your money back.). If you bet on Alabama -3 and then Alabama wins by two points or fewer, or loses outright to Ohio State, you’ll lose the bet. If you bet Ohio State +3, then you will win the bet if Ohio State wins outright or loses by two or fewer points.
- College football moneyline bets: Moneyline bets are about as simple as it gets. You’re simply predicting the outright winner of the game without any spread or anything. Seems simple right? Well, you also need to factor in the odds. Since in most games, one team will be favored over the other, the sportsbooks factor this into moneyline bets by adding in odds. Let’s look at an example. If Alabama is again favored by 3 points, the odds on the moneyline bet might be something like -140. This means that you’d have to bet $140 for Alabama to win the game in order to win $100. Or if you’re betting on an underdog to win outright such as Ohio State which is considered an underdog by 3 points, the moneyline odds might be something like +180. Then, if you bet $100 for Ohio State to win outright, you’d win $180 if they win.
- College football over/under bets: Over/under bets are unique in that if you’re making this type of bet, you don’t care who wins or loses the game. All you are doing is making a prediction on how many total points are scored in the college football game. If an over/under line on the Alabama vs. Ohio State game is 59.5, then you can make a bet on either the over 59.5 number or under the 59.5. If you take the over, you don’t care if the score is 35-30 or 59-2, you just want a combination of at least 60 points so you win the bet.
- Live or In-Game Betting: As sportsbooks continue to offer more and more offerings and products to users, live betting is becoming more popular. This means that you don’t have to only bet a game before the game starts, but you can also bet the spread or moneyline during the game. Of course, the odds will continue to change throughout the game based on the score and what is happening on the field.
How to bet on college football responsibly
If you’re new to college football betting, it’s important to start slow. Maybe place a small bet on the spread of one of the big games that you plan to watch. You’ll likely find out quickly that the entertainment value (or the anxiety) increases dramatically when you have something on the line during the game! Here are a few tips to consider when starting to bet on college football:
- Start small: You can often times bet as little as $5 or $10 on a single game. Definitely start small and just enjoy the entertainment value of betting on college football.
- Keep it simple: While there are a myriad of betting options available to seasoned bettors, keep it pretty simple in the beginning. Stay away from wild parlays and in-game betting until you really understand and get the hang of it.
- Play the long game: If you plan to start betting, play the long game. Don’t expect to make a bunch of money quickly. Instead, focus on learning and getting used to how odds are released and evolve between the release date and gametime. Perhaps, most importantly, understand that it’s not easy! It takes getting crushed by a bad beat to fully understand and appreciate how hard predicting some of these outcomes can be. Focus on learning, keep your bets small and manageable, and enjoy the fun.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it legal to bet on college football online?
If you are in a U.S. state which permits online sports betting, in most cases you can then also bet on college football. Some states may have rules preventing betting on the college teams local to its specific state, but still generally allow betting on college football.
What kind of bets are allowed in college football betting?
Typically you can bet on the spread, moneyline and over/under lines for a college football game. Additionally, you can bet on futures where you wager on who will win the Heisman Trophy or a championship.
Which sportsbooks let you bet on college football?
You can bet on college football on all the major sportsbooks such as Fanduel, DraftKings, Caesars, Barstool, etc. Each sportsbook abides by local laws and regulations depending on the state where the user resides.
What is the best way to bet on college football?
The easiest way to start betting online is to be in a state which permits legal online sports betting, and then signing up for a sportsbook account. Then, you can begin making bets on college football and other sports.
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