How to bet on college football

There are three different answers you might want when trying to figure out how to bet on college football:

  • “I see Clemson -180 and Syracuse +160. What does that mean?
  • “I know how to bet and what all those numbers mean, but I don’t know where to bet.”
  • “I know how to bet, but I want to hone my handicapping skills and become a more profitable college football bettor.”

Let’s start with the basics.

How do Moneyline odds work?

A popular bet in college football is the moneyline, which requires you to pick the winner of the game. But it’s not a 50-50 proposition in most cases – you won’t get paid the same for taking Alabama to beat Vanderbilt at home as you did for taking Alabama to beat Georgia on the road, considering the capacity of each team.

Thus, each team is assigned moneyline odds by the bookmaker according to their abilities, and bettors must pay a corresponding price. Here’s how they work:

  • Michigan-300
  • Michigan State +250

US odds like these are centered around $100. So if you bet $300 on Michigan at -300, you will win $100 if they win. If you bet $100 on Michigan State at +250 and they win, you will win $250.

You don’t have to bet $100, of course. If you bet $3 on Michigan, you will win $1. Bet $1 on Michigan State, win $2.50.

Are there point spreads in college football?

In football and basketball (both professional and college) the most popular betting option is the point spread – it is a bet on the margin of victory in that game .

Let’s use the same example above.

  • Ohio State -18.5 (-110)
  • Rutgers +18.5 (-110)

Because Ohio State is so much better than Rutgers, the sportsbook says there’s about a 50% chance they’ll win by 19 points or more.

What about pluses/minuses?

Another popular betting option in college football is the total (i.e. over/under) bet.

You bet on the total number of runs scored by both teams over or under the number set by sports betting.

With the rise in college football scoring over the past two decades, most totals in 2022 are set at over 55 points, with each team expected to average at least 27.5 points each game.

The Alabama-Georgia National Championship total on January 10, 2022 was 52.5. Georgia won 33-18. This means whoever took the penny cashed in their bet as only 51 points were scored.

But depending on the teams and the situation, you may need to risk a different amount on the top or bottom.

Alabama vs. Georgia

  • Overall: 52.5
  • Surcharge: -115
  • Underside: -105

As in the moneyline example above, you have to pay more to bet more than less. Sports betting and punters have determined that play above 52.5 is more likely than going down.

For every $1.15 wagered, you will win $1. For every $1.05 wagered on the slot, you will win $1.

Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State

  • Total: 55
  • Surcharge: -105
  • Underside: -115

Sports betting thinks it is more likely to go under play, so you have to pay a little more to take the under play.

Totals are not limited to the full game. You can bet on first quarter over/under, alternate totals, and more.

For further explanation, you can explore the articles below.