How to Bet College Football Futures

Quarterback C.J. Stroud Ohio State Buckeyes Nebraska Cornhuskers NCAAF.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes drops back to pass against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Steven Branscombe/Getty Images/AFP

The NBA season has ended and the NHL is about to wrap up for the year. That leaves just a handful of sports with live events to bet on.  

If MLB and golf just aren’t getting it done for you, you might want to turn your attention to football season. The games won’t start until the end of August, and players won’t even report back to campus until the latter half of July. But there’s still a lively betting market surrounding NCAA football.  

While preseason practice is still a full month away from starting, here’s how to navigate the college football futures market during the heat of the summer.  

Heisman Futures Betting 

If you’re really feeling desperate to bet on football, you can put money down on the opening weekend of the season already. But there are plenty of other options available to you for early college wagers.  

The NCAA football futures at the market include bets on which player will win the Heisman Trophy:

Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud is the current favorite with +260 odds.

Alabama’s Bryce Young at +650.

USC’s Caleb Williams +900.  

Overvalued Names in the Heisman Market 

Beware of big names that might be overvalued in the Heisman market. You’ve probably heard of Spencer Rattler, and, at +4000, he might seem worth a flier. You know the name because he struggled and lost his job in Oklahoma. He’s now playing for South Carolina, which is seldom a Heisman hotbed. 

Similarly, JT Daniels probably rings a bell. After transferring to USC and losing his job at Georgia, he’s now finishing up his college career with West Virginia, making his +6600 odds a bit expensive for his current surroundings.  

Tyler Van Dyke isn’t a well-known name, but Miami is, and even though the Hurricanes haven’t been national title contenders for a generation, their quarterback always generates betting interest. Pass him at +2000 odds.  

You’re looking for someone who has the potential to be the star of a national title contender. Young is looking to repeat at Alabama, but his running back, Jahmyr Gibbs, might be the better value at +1400. Jaxson Dart showed promise at USC and could help lead Ole Miss back to the top of the SEC. He’s +3300.  

National Title Futures 

You can also put money on which team will win next season’s College Football Playoff. As you might expect, the usual suspects are at the top of the chart:

Alabama is the favorite at +200.

Ohio State at +400.

Georgia at +475.  

Outside of the teams that are always there, some good bets are USC, which landed Oklahoma’s coach and quarterback and has +1400 odds. Texas A&M has started to challenge Alabama for the nation’s top recruiting classes and has +2000 odds. Again, beware of the big names that might be overpriced. Looking at Notre Dame at +5000, Penn State at +8000, and Florida State at +15,000.  

Also, make sure that offseason moves are weighted equally. If hiring Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma is enough to boost USC to the number four favorite to win it all, then shouldn’t the Sooners be worse than +4000. And if Brian Kelly can lift an LSU team that was woeful last year to +6600, then Notre Dame should probably be a long shot.  

Win Totals 

Over-under bets on the total number of wins for a team are also a ripe area for offseason wagering. Often, the extremes are the areas where money can be made. Are there teams that are overrated based on last season’s success? Or terrible teams that improved just enough to win some non-conference games?  

Cincinnati crashed the College Football Playoff party last year, but they had five players taken in the first 100 picks of the NFL Draft, including quarterback Desmond Ridder. It’s going to be a rebuilding year, making the nine-win mark a likely under.  

Duke made a coaching change last season, but the soft schedule, which includes NC A&T, Temple, and Kansas, as well as an ACC schedule, should make it possible to steal a win or two. Look for the Blue Devils to improve just enough to clear the 3.5 win hurdle.  

Vanderbilt has a tough SEC schedule but opens with non-conference games against Hawaii, Elon, and NIU. Over 2.5 wins don’t look impossible.