How Are NCAAF Odds Generated?
A number of different factors go into college football betting odds. Handicappers and oddsmakers usually make the opening lines on Sundays, a full six days before the game. The opening line is usually set based on their personal systems in assessing how much better one team is than the other for a given matchup.
Oddsmakers will consider variables such as matchups, weather, home-field advantage, head coaches, injuries, motivation, etc. This is a challenge with so much annual roster turnover and so many teams to follow, so there is often value to be found in the betting odds early in the week. Sure, a betting line on the Rose Bowl will be pretty razor sharp early on. But a midweek MAC game in November? You might be able to exploit some loose point spreads there.
RELATED: Check out our experts’ college football picks all football season, from Week 1 through the national title game.
How Often Do NCAA Football Lines Change?
College football odds change frequently throughout the week. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of the line with our odds page. One of the biggest reasons lines move more in college football than NFL bettingis the injury factor. College football teams aren’t required to release injury reports in the day’s leading up to a game. Coaches often don’t announce injuries ahead of time, so if a star quarterback is day-to-day the betting line might move based on media reports from practice.
Things like weather forecasts can also have a big impact on the total – it’s a lot harder to put up points in rainy conditions, which could bring the total down as the forecast changes throughout the week.
You don’t want to get caught by surprise with a betting line on Saturday morning. And you won’t really understand why a college football betting line moved the way it did unless you’re paying attention throughout the week.
When Are NCAA Football Lines Released?
NCAA point spreads are usually released on Sunday mornings, though on some matchups odds might not come out until early in the week. The oddsmakers at online sportsbooks have watched all the teams in action the previous day and will set their lines for next week’s games accordingly. This leaves a lengthy betting window and plenty of opportunity to find value.
Bowl games are different. The Fiesta Bowl or Rose Bowl betting line will be released shortly after the matchup is set, which could be more than a month ahead of the game. College Football Playoff odds are released as soon as the final four teams are announced, and the national championship odds are posted as soon as the playoff semifinals are finished.
NCAA Football Championship Odds
The championship is what every team aims for, but in college football just four teams get an opportunity to play for it as part of the football playoff. That narrow point of entry typically leads to the sport’s most elite programs facing off again and again, and the lone four playoff spots going to power-conference teams with a high strength of schedule, conference championship credentials and near-spotless overall records.
Two losses are usually enough to knock a team out of the running, and very few programs can meet that bar. That pecking order is reflected in college football futures odds — bets that can be made on the champion during the college football season and well in advance of the playoff, usually presented in a moneyline format.
Michigan +800, for example, means a bettor collects $800 for every $100 wagered should the Wolverines take the title. Perennial contenders like Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma will typically have the lowest NCAA football odds, especially as the season goes on. There’s a better potential payoff in wagering on a longshot, but the College Football Playoff doesn’t usually leave room for those.
NCAA football betting odds will change over time as teams fall in and out of championship contention. It all culminates in odds posted after the semifinal or title game matchups are set. Typically, the earlier you wager on a team, the better odds you’ll get. So watch those NCAA football latest lines and pounce before offers begin to lose their value. Finding the most favorable NCAA football futures lines requires perusing the best college football betting sites, such as those found at Bookies.com.
NCAA Football Playoff Odds
But before the NCAA football champion is decided, there’s the College Football Playoff itself, beginning with a pair of semifinal games rotated annually among the Rose, Orange, Sugar, Peach, Fiesta and Cotton bowls. Many sportsbooks will offer futures odds on whether teams can make it that far. While the potential payoff won’t be as high as taking a squad to win it all, being one of the last four teams standing is more far realistic for many programs than finishing No. 1.
As always, knowledge and research are key. In the case of the College Football Playoff, helpful hints are left along the way.
Although there are no automatic bids as in the NCAA basketball tournament, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee still weighs conference championships very heavily in determining the four participating teams. So knowing league hierarchies can be as important as an awareness of the national landscape at large.
Beginning each October, the selection committee releases a ranking of the top 25 teams in playoff contention. So the public knows where each squads stand. Given that the elite programs rarely lose regular-season games, futures bettors may find the top of that weekly update to be a very helpful guide. And always monitor NCAA football betting lines on a week-to-week basis to pick up on trends.
Once the four-team championship field is decided, bettors can wager not just on one team to win the title, but also which of the eight possible combinations — based on the four programs playing in the semifinals — will comprise the championship game matchup. Those options are typically weighted in moneyline format, with the most likely title matchup receiving the lowest odds.
NCAA Football Heisman Trophy Odds
Odds aren’t placed only on games. Bettors can also find them on the race for the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious individual award. Like the national championship, Heisman betting odds are often available in the preseason and updated throughout the campaign. Unlike the football playoff, it’s not at all unusual for someone to come out of nowhere to win.
Consider that the 2018 winner, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, started out with +2000 odds, well behind the preseason favorite, running back Bryce Love of Stanford. In the preceding decade, seven of 10 Heisman winners opened with odds of +1600 or higher. Favorites so rarely win the Heisman, it’s difficult to pinpoint the last time one did.
But there are trends. Heisman winners are usually on teams contending for playoff spots, and Murray became the 16th quarterback to win in the previous two decades. Defensive winners are exceedingly rare. In an award first bestowed in 1935, Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson in 1997 was the first winner ever to play exclusively on that side of the ball.
Heisman odds, especially in the preseason, can prove an excellent value option given the fluid nature of the race.
Types of Sports Bets Made from College Football Odds
College football betting is extremely popular, which means sportsbooks offer a lot of different ways to bet on NCAA games. Here are some of the different options for college football bettors:
- Point Spread
- In-game betting
- Player props
- Game props
- Alternate spread