With players required to stay in school three years before jumping to the NFL, college football is built on continuity, allowing powers to stay on top year-after-year. From Oklahoma in the 1980s to Florida in the 1990s to Alabama and Clemson in the 2010s, the sport has been ruled by dynasties that rarely lose in the regular season.
When it comes to betting, real parity is found a level below the elite, in programs vying for bowl spots outside the College Football Playoff. That’s where the point spreads get narrower, games get tighter, outcomes are more in doubt.
That’s where NCAA football betting lines involving passing teams can be altered by too much snow or wind, where the injury or suspension of one key player can make a difference, where the sport’s unpredictability is often most vivid.
Among NCAA football bets, point-spread betting is king. LSU -3 Kentucky means the Tigers are three-point favorites, and a winning wager requires them to prevail by more than that margin. Kentucky as an underdog needs to win, or not lose by three or more points.
In betting underdogs, though, a preferred option might be moneyline betting, which offers a more lucrative potential return. Kentucky +300 means that for every $100 wagered, the bettor collects $300 should the Wildcats prevail outright. Favorites would sport a negative number, such as LSU -180, meaning the amount you’d have to bet to win $100 should the Tigers prevail.
Several wagers can be grouped together in a parlay, which offers the potential of a large payoff if the bettor gets them all right.
Bettors can also wager on totals, also known as over/under betting on the combined score finishing over or under a certain number. An advance wager is a futures bet, typically placed on major events like the College Football Playoff championship or Heisman Trophy winner, and offered in a moneyline format.
Also be aware of NCAA football public betting: lines typically involving marquee teams that are influenced by amateur bettors attracted by little more than name recognition. Following the crowd isn’t always the best move.
When betting online, it helps to shop around for the best odds, given that a half-point on a spread wager can often make a big difference. Also look for sites that offer the full array of college football betting options — point spreads and moneylines on all major-conference games, as well as totals and futures — to make your NCAA football best bets.