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How to Bet on College Football

An Oklahoma Sooners fan celebrates during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers

In the world of college football betting, there is something for everybody. From high-scoring blowouts between two unevenly matched teams to defensive showdowns between championship contenders in the SEC, every Saturday in college football brings dozens of interesting storylines and betting angles.

Basic Odds and Betting Options

In college football betting, point spreads are used to bridge the gap between two teams, whether that be home-field advantage or just a discrepancy between the programs. Unlike in the NFL where even the most lopsided games routinely result in upsets, college football features some games that are never in doubt.

When the Illinois Fighting Illini visit the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Buckeyes are almost certain to win. What makes these games worth betting on is the point spread. In this instance, Ohio State would be a huge favorite, something like -40.5, while Illinois would be +40.5.

Bettors who want to bet on Ohio State would be betting on the Buckeyes to win by 41 points or more, while bettors on the Fighting Illini would be betting on Illinois to keep the game within 41 points. Spreads make every game on the board into betting options regardless of how lopsided they are on paper.

Of course, not every game is so lopsided. A game between Auburn and Alabama in the Iron Bowl figures to be a close one that could go either way. While these games also have spreads, bettors can choose to bet them on the moneyline instead, where Alabama might be a -220 favorite over Auburn at +180. This means that betting on Alabama would be a bet with a ratio of $220 to win $100, while a bet on Auburn would be $100 to win $180.

Point totals are also frequently bet on in college football. Sportsbooks set a number of total points to be scored in a game, and bettors can bet on whether the actual number of total points scored in the game will go OVER or UNDER that total.

College Football Betting Strategies

With over 120 schools in action in college football, bettors have a multitude of betting options every week. While it can seem overwhelming to handicap so many games, it can also be overwhelming to sportsbooks to have to make lines for all of these games. And bettors get to pick and choose which games they bet on; sportsbooks have to offer lines on them all.

One profitable betting strategy is to give attention to smaller conferences. Games between ranked teams are going to get bet on more frequently and be handicapped much more closely by linesmakers. But a game between Memphis and Tulsa is much more likely to have a weak line that the sharp eye will be able to find.

Also, look for obvious letdown spots. College football athletes are just kids, not professionals. Coming off a big game against a rival or a disappointing loss the week before could lead to another weak performance the following week.

Finding a Suitable Sportsbook

College football is popular across virtually all online sportsbooks, so betting options should be plentiful no matter which one you choose. Find a sportsbook that has an interface that you like and also keep your eyes open for price discrepancies on spreads and moneylines.