The college football game is very different animal from the professional NFL. There are many more games and these offer many more opportunities for sports betting.
Types of bets which work well with college football are: spread bets, moneyline, totals, parlays/teasers and halftimes.
As in the NFL, college football’s most popular wager is the spread bet.
Spread bets work on the basis of the score in a game, but the bet is on the margin of victory. Spread bets are the most popular form of sports betting in the US.
It can be though of as a form of handicapping so that each team has an equal chance of winning.
If you bet on team A to beat team B, and Team A is a much more successful team, then we add a points spread to equalize the odds. If the spread is set at 10 points, then Team A must beat Team B by 10 points in order to be considered the winner. Spread bets are sometimes known as equalizer bets.
In presenting the odds, the favorite team is always presented as having negative odds and the underdog as having positive odds.
- Michigan +3 -115 30
- Ohio State -3 -105 31
Michigan lost 30 to 31, but that meant there was only a one point spread in the result. The quoted spread was 3 points, so Michigan covered the spread.
A $115 bet on Michigan would have paid off $100.
Moneyline bets are as simple as it gets. When you place a moneyline bet, you are simply betting on which team will win.
- Michigan State +260 7
- Alabama -375 49
If you bet on Michigan winning you would have to wager $100 to win $260. Michigan are the clear underdogs and lost the match 7 to 49.
If on the other hand you had bet on Alabama, a $375 bet would have been needed to generate a $100 profit.
1st Quarter/Half Lines
First quarter lines enable you to bet on the outcome of just the first quarter of a college football game before it starts while a first half line enables you to do the same for the first half.
Halftime wagers are only available during halftime of the contest.
- Duke 10 +10 28
- North Carolina 21 -10 35
Halftime lines use the events in the 1st half to help determine how the rest of the game will play out. Here the half time score is 28 to Duke and 35 to North Carolina. Not surprisingly the betting lines expect North Carolina to win.
Another popular side bet for NCAA Football is the Total or Over/Under (O/U). A total wager a bet placed on the combined score of each team. It doesn’t matter who wins the game, the only thing that matters is how many points are scored by both teams added together.
The bookmaker sets number and you bet on whether the combined score will be over or under that number.
The bet is often asymmetric, with the over perhaps quoted at -105 and the under at -115. This does not necessarily mean that one bet is more likely to win out over another, and often presents a good value opportunity. Totals bets are the second most popular bet in baseball.
- Illinois 61.5o -105 64.5o -110 38
- Baylor 61.5u -115 64.5u -110 14
Like many major games, the majority of the money was wagered on the over, in fact 77% of the total wagers were on the over.
This pushed the total line up three full points, while the final total landed under at 52. A wager of $115 on the opening under would earn a profit of $100 due to the increased juice originally placed on the under.
Like any major American sport, you can parlay, essentially combine, your bets to increase the payout.
If you bet on five matches taking place in one day as a parlay bet, then you have to pick the winners for all five in order to win. If even one of your team picks loses, you lose the entire bet.
The odds of picking five winners in a row are a lot higher than betting on each match individually.
A teaser bet is fundamentally the same as a parlay wager except the bookmaker gives you points to increase your odds of winning, but decrease your overall payout.
A teaser involves the same stipulations as a parlay, only you select a number of points to put down to decrease the risk (and reward) of a parlay. For example, if a proposed line is -7 (a popular number for football lines) and you have a 3-point teaser bet, your new line is -4. This 3-point advantage applies to each part of the teaser play.