College football betting has become more popular as college football itself grows. This article is here to give new college football bettors some basic betting terminology. It will also provide an in-depth explanation of different wager types. For the inexperienced bettor, this can be a lot to take in at once. So instead, use this as a reference that you can check in on whenever you want to know how to bet on college football.
Point Spreads (Sides)
Point spreads are by far the most popular type of bet in college football betting. A line is set for each game with a favorite and an underdog. The favorite is the team with the negative number and the underdog is the team with the positive number. Here is an example:
In the example above, Alabama is favored to win over Auburn by 10 points. This means if you were to wager on Alabama you would need them to win by more than 10 points in order for your wager to win. If you were to bet on Auburn you would need them to either win the game outright or lose the game by less than 10 points.
In most cases you will need to add a 10% “vig” or “juice” to the amount you want to win on your college football bet. This means if you want to win $100, you will need to wager $110. This is usually represented by a number after the spread, e.g. -110. That -110 means you need to bet $110 for every $100 you wish to win on the college football bet.
If you shop around enough, you can find lower-priced juice on a lot of college football betting sites. My favorite book for this is 5Dimes, which offers reduced juice on just about every game. Get more information with our full 5Dimes review.
If you would rather just bet on who you think will win the football game outright, you want to look at the moneyline.
This comes with a caveat, of course. To bet on the favorite you will need to risk more, while a wager on the underdog will payout at a higher rate. Let’s look at an a real college football betting example:
Notre Dame +270
Remember, you are just picking who you think will win the game. In the example above, if you were to wager $100 on Notre Dame, you would win $270 if they won the game. With Michigan, because they are the favorite, you will need to risk $330 just to win $100. The more likely outcome is for Michigan to win the game and that is why the risk is adjusted. However, there are times when taking the underdog can result in a great payout.
Over/Under bets are also popular, and are super easy to understand. Odds makers set a number for the total points that will be scored in the game. You simply bet if you think the actual score will be higher (over) or lower (under) than that number. This is what a total might look like:
LSU vs. Tennessee
In this example, the total is 48 points. If you think these teams will combine to score less than 48, take the under, more than 48, take the over. It’s that simple. You will typically pay the -110 juice here, unless you use a reduced juice online book like 5Dimes.
When you bundle more than one bet together, it’s called a parlay. The good thing about parlays is that they can pay out huge if every game wins. The bad news is that if just one of your games loses, the entire parlay loses. Remember: when betting parlays, the house has calculated the odds to maintain the advantage. This doesn’t mean you can’t win parlays, it just means that you are increasing your risk when you bet them. Here’s a quick look at a typical college football betting parlay payout table:
# of Teams
*$10 Wager Payout
3 Teams 6/1$60.00
4 Teams 10/1$100.00
5 Teams 25/1$250.00
6 Teams 40/1$400.00
7 Teams 75/1$750.00
8 Teams 150/1$1,500.00
9 Teams 300/1$3,000.00
10 Teams 700/1$7,000.00
12 Teams 1,800/1$18,000.00
*Parlay Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
Teasers are parlays in which you get extra points on the point spread or total at a reduced price. For example, if Iowa is listed at -10 and Florida at -14, you could bet a two-team 7-point teaser. That would be Iowa -3 and Florida -7 at -120 juice (bet $120 to win $100). As with parlays, all bets must win for your teaser to win. We take a hard look at NCAA football teaser strategy and how you can make it profitable.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL BETTING TEASERS
POINTS6 pts6½ pts7 pts
* TIE + LOSS = LOSS * TIE + WIN = PUSH
*Teaser Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Props (short for propositions) are bets on player performance or a certain game sitution. If you’ve ever heard of betting on the coin flip in the BCS Championship, that’s a prop bet. Another example, “Will Marcus Lattimore rush for more yards than Kenjon Barner tonight?” A prop can basically be anything that the oddsmakers can think of.
In college football betting, a future bet is betting on who will win the conference or championship. For example, you might see Notre Dame listed at 15/1 to win the BCS Title Game. This means you bet on Notre Dame to win it all and the payout will be 15 times your wager (e.g. $100 to win $1,500). Of course, if Notre Dame doesn’t win the national title, you lose your entire wager.
Season Win Totals
With season win totals, the college football betting odds makers set a number of wins each team will win. You can bet on whether that team will win more or less than that number that season. For example, you see Arkansas Over/Under 8.5 wins. You would bet on the under if you thought Arkansas would win 8 games or less. Otherwise, bet the over if you thought they would win 9 games or more.
Halftimes & Quarters
Now you know you can bet on the spread and total for the full game. But more than that, odds are often offered for each quarter of half of the game as well. These work exactly the same as full game bets, just for a smaller time period in the game.