college football

How to bet on college football

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

March 4th, 2021

From late August to mid-January, college football takes center stage, and with it comes countless opportunities to win big at the sportsbook!

At TwinSpires Sports, you can wager on nearly every regular-season matchup in major Division I football, in addition to all the exciting bowl games held at the end of the college football season.

The moneyline, point spread, and Over/Under are just a few of the myriad betting markets available for each college football matchup.

If you are new to betting and want to learn more — or need a refresher on NCAAF odds — here is comprehensive guide on how to bet college football.

How to read NCAAF odds

Let’s look at an example from a regular-season game, between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs, to explain how to interpret college football odds.

How to bet college football moneyline odds​

A moneyline bet is the most straightforward wager available at the sportsbook. To bet the moneyline, simply pick which team you think will win the game.

What do the + and - mean?

The minus sign in front of Georgia’s moneyline odds indicates the Bulldogs are the favorite to win. The larger the number next to the minus sign, the more likely the favorite is to win.

The plus sign in front of the Gators’ moneyline odds indicates Florida is the underdog. The larger the number next to the plus sign, the less likely the underdog is to win.

Betting the underdog: The number next to the plus sign designates how much money you would win based on a wager of $100. If the Gators — the +140 underdog — win outright, you will earn an extra $140 on a $100 bet, which would net you $240 in return.

Betting the favorite: The number next to the minus sign designates how much money you need to risk in order to win $100. You must bet $160 in order to earn $100 if the Bulldogs — the -160 favorite — win outright. You would then net $260 in return.

Note: You can wager an amount greater or less than $100 on a moneyline bet. The odds board simply uses the figure of 100 as a basis for establishing the odds.

How to bet the college football point spread

Spread betting is the most common way to bet college football.

A spread, or point spread, is a number set by oddsmakers to even the playing field in a matchup. Most often, oddsmakers will determine one team as the favorite and one team as the underdog, then assign a point value, based on how many points the favorite must win by, in order to cover the spread.

In the above example, the line has been set at three points. The minus sign indicates the Bulldogs are the favorite, while the plus sign indicates the Gators are the underdog.

Betting Florida to cover: If you bet Florida at +3, you win your bet if the Gators either win the game outright or lose by fewer than three points.

A 30-28 Georgia victory would win you your bet, because Florida lost the game by fewer than the three-point margin.

Betting Georgia to cover: If you bet Georgia to cover at -3, you win your bet if the Bulldogs win by four points or more.

What is a push?

If the Georgia-Florida game ended in a 30-27 win for Georgia, then neither team covered the three-point spread. Therefore, the spread wager is a push, or a tie between the bettor and the sportsbook, and your money is refunded.

To avoid a push, sportsbooks often add a half-point (i.e. -3.5 or +3.5) to the point spread.

How to bet NCAAF totals

For each NCAAF game, oddsmakers set a predicted total, or the combined final score of a game. Based on that predicted total, you can bet whether you believe the combined score will be more or less than the amount set by the sportsbook.

The total for the Georgia-Florida game is set at 54.5 points.

Over 54.5: If you believe Georgia and Florida will combine to score 55 points or more, you would bet the Over. Let’s say the final score is 30-27. The two scores added together equal 57, which is greater than 55, so you would win your bet.

Under 54.5: If you believe Georgia and Florida will combine to score 54 points or fewer, you would bet the Under. Let’s say the final score is 30-24. The two scores added together equal 54, which is less than 54.5, so you would win your bet.

You can also find first-half or second-half NCAAF totals, where you predict the total score for the first or second half.

Other types of NCAAF odds

Another popular type of college football bet is a futures bet, in which you wager on the outcome of an event in the future, such as which team will win the SEC Championship Game or the College Football Playoff.

You can lock in a futures bet well before the beginning of the season. Once the college football season is underway, futures odds will change, based on what has happened during the season.

You can also bet on the winner of an individual award, like the Heisman Trophy.

Player and team prop bets are also common in college football. A player prop (short for "proposition") is a bet based on the performance of an individual, such as how many passing yards or touchdowns a quarterback will record in a game.

Examples of team props include how many total rushing yards a team will accumulate in a game, or how many total points will be scored by a particular team.