College Football Betting: Know The Basics

college football oklahoma sooners coach
Head coach Brent Venables of the Oklahoma Sooners leads the team in the alma mater. Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images/AFP

Football season is approaching, and if you aren’t familiar with the basics of betting on your favorite NCAAF teams online, fear not, as we’re here to guide you through the basics.

Popular College Football Betting Markets

The Moneyline and the Spread

The most straightforward wager of them all – even your 91-year-old grandmother could understand it -, is the moneyline. Bettors are tasked with picking a winner, as the betting favorite will be easy to spot as they’ll have a negative price while the underdog will have a positive sign. The higher the numbers, the more significant the favorite or underdog will be.

For example: Alabama Crimson Tide -250 or Michigan Wolverines +190.

In the example above, the Wolverines are the betting underdog (+190), and a $100 wager would return $190 profit and your original stake ($100). Those backing Alabama (the favorites) would be required to stake $250 to return $100 profit + your initial stake.

Spread Betting

Spread Betting – also known as the point spread – is a margin of victory estimation made by the sportsbooks. The odds will always be identical, whether you’re backing the favorite or the underdog.

When selecting a side, you can take the favorites minus the points or the underdog plus a number of points. The team you’re backing must cover the spread number for your bet to win.

– For example: Alabama Crimson Tide -7.5 or Michigan Wolverines +7.5.

Odds are usually set at -110 on either side, and for those wagering in favor of Alabama, you would need them to win by 8 points or more.

On the flip side, Michigan bettors would need the Wolverines to avoid losing by 8 points or more.


Total bets are also a simplistic method of approaching the college football betting market. Bettors will wager on the total combined points both teams score in the game. Additionally, you can also wager on the totals for singular teams.

Sportsbooks will set the number – known as the total. Bettors then decide if they believe the total points will go over or under.

For example: Over 57.5 or under 57.5.

In the example above, bettors supporting the over would need the game to produce 58 points or more to cash their ticket; under bettors would need 57 points or less.

Proposition Bets

Proposition wagers are when you predict specific outcomes within a game. Prop bet categories will usually supply a wide selection of choices, from player performance, team accomplishments, or the game itself.

You can wager on which players will score a touchdown, which team will have more rushing yards or even niche selections like if you believe they’ll be a pick-six in the game.

Due to the lower probability in most proposition outcomes, the available betting odds are often lucrative and more tempting than most other markets.

College Football Future Betting

Season-long results and outcomes are known as futures. These bets are some of the most active college football bets because the markets are live all year round.

Odds for the National Championship winner, Conference champions, team win-totals, NFL drafts, and many more become available for bettors in the offseason.

Futures won’t usually be settled until the end of the season, so be prepared to invest your money on a long-term basis.