College football is a festival of traditions, rivalries and tailgating scenes to rival any other sport. It’s also a bonanza for bettors, with so many games clustered around each weekend in the fall. Wagering begins with college football betting odds, as fundamental to betting as blocking and tackling are to the game itself. Long before teams are separated by final scores, they’re separated by odds, and understanding that betting basic is key to your off-field success. That’s why we’re here.
NCAA Football Odds
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NCAA Football Champion Odds
The championship is what every team aims for, but in college football just four teams get an opportunity to play for it. 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 marks, often 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 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 long shot, 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, culminating 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 college football latest lines and pounce before lines begin to lose their value. Finding the most favorable NCAA football 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; and 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.
Also, 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 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 dating to 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.