6 NCAA Football Totals Betting Strategies

NCAA Football Betting Strategy

Complete sports gamblers evaluate every available line and make wagers when they find value. These gamblers don’t get stuck on point spreads or moneylines.

Smart gamblers bet on the total if the total offers value. I’ve learned how to find value in college football totals through trial and error. Here are the six best strategies I’ve used to help me make a profit on totals in NCAA football.

You can use each of these strategies individually, but I’ve found that combining as many of them as possible to be the most profitable way to use the strategies listed in this post.

1. A Truly Dominant Unit

In the NFL, there are offensive and defensive units that are really good. But the talent difference between the two teams is limited in the NFL.

But in college football, there are some truly dominant offensive and defensive units.

A truly dominant NCAA defense is good enough to control the entire game. And a truly dominant NCAA offense is also good enough to control the entire game.

For example:
The 2021 Georgia defense was so much better than any other defense in the game; it controlled most games. The 2019 LSU offense was an example on the other side of the field.

What happens when a dominant offense faces a middle-of-the-road defense? The offense dominates the game because the talent gap is so big. For a defense in college to compete against a dominant offense, the defense needs to be close to dominant as well.

The same is true on the other side of the coin as well.

Identify the truly dominant units in NCAA football each year because it’s a way to find value late in the season. But don’t make the mistake of assigning a good team a dominant label. Doing that is going to be costly.

2. Which Is More Important, Offense or Defense?

Here’s a mistake that I see many college football gamblers make. They focus almost 100% on offense and fail to account for defense when they handicap games. While offense is more exciting, every game is an equal part offense and defense. And special teams also play an important part in many games in college.

The answer to the question is that neither offense nor defense is more important. However, both offense and defense are important, and you have to learn how to evaluate each well if you want to be an effective NCAA football handicapper.

The hard part is learning how to evaluate each individual offense against each individual defense. This is so challenging because a good offense against a bad defense looks like a great offense, but when they play against a good defense, they don’t look like a great offense.

I’ve found the best way to evaluate offense and defense is to compare as many common opponents as possible. Of course, you’re still going to have to use some judgment.

But the tendency is to overvalue offense and undervalue defense. So keep this in mind every time you evaluate NCAA football teams. And if you make a mistake, lean toward the defense over the offense.

3. Mobile Quarterbacks

You do see a few mobile quarterbacks that change games in the NFL, but you see a higher percentage in NCAA football. So you have to take running quarterbacks into account in every NCAA football game you evaluate.

A mobile quarterback puts added pressure on a defense.
If the defense doesn’t spy on a running quarterback, the quarterback extends drives and can crush a defense who thinks they have a stop.

And when a defense does use a spy on a mobile quarterback, it’s one less player rushing or one less player in coverage. And it usually has to be one of the fastest players on the defense serving as a spy, so a mobile quarterback changes every game and game plan.

Please Note:
Here’s what sets the top mobile quarterbacks apart from most college mobile quarterbacks. The best quarterbacks are good at throwing and look to throw first, and they only run when they have to. But most mobile quarterbacks look to run as quickly as they can.

A quarterback looking to throw first can be especially dangerous. I know he was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, but look at the damage Joe Burrow did his last season at LSU. He could run with any quarterback in the game, but he always looked to hurt you throwing first.

4. Coaching Tendencies

A lot of NCAA football teams get new coaches every season, but there are also a lot of college coaches that have been with their team for four or five years or longer. And coaches that have been with their teams for several seasons have tendencies you can use when you evaluate games.

It’s not hard to predict what a team led by Nick Saban is going to do. But it’s still challenging to see if the opposing team can stop what Saban’s team tries to do.

Some coaches are known for being offensive innovators, while others are known for strong defensive teams. But the best coaches know their weaknesses and hire the best coordinators and assistant coaches to cover their weak areas.

You also need to learn how to judge how well each coach does with their talent.

For example, Saban always has as much talent as anyone, and he knows how to get the most out of it. But how much does the coach with the 37th most talented team get his team to perform against a good team?

5. Special Team Play

If most college football bettors don’t pay attention to defense, the fact is that almost nobody even thinks about special teams.

But special teams play an important part in every college game.

If you never notice the special teams in a college game, it means that they are doing what they’re supposed to do. But there are still important things to evaluate.

  • What’s the average starting field position for each team?
  • Does one team have a field goal kicker who’s good?
  • Does the other team try to avoid kicking field goals?
  • How good or bad is each punter?
  • What about the returners for each team?
Special teams are one area you can learn a lot from the coaching.

Coaches that focus on having good special teams tend to have good special teams every season. And coaches that don’t focus on special teams tend to have teams that make mistakes year after year.

Please Note:
Average starting field position is an important statistic that you have to know for every team you evaluate.

A difference in starting field position of five yards can be the difference between winning and losing a game. And the best coaches know this and take advantage of it.

6. Never Forget about the Weather

Most college football gamblers don’t think about weather unless there’s snow or extreme cold. But extreme heat can be just as important as extreme cold. And the difference from normal for each team is important.

For example:
A team who normally plays when it’s 80 degrees playing where it’s 50 degrees is going to be more affected by the cold than a team going from 50 degrees to 30 degrees.

Start tracking the game-time temperature and conditions for every team during the season. And track how well each team performs based on the weather. While it’s true that both teams have to play in the same weather on game day, this doesn’t mean that both teams will deal with the weather in the same way.

Anything outside of a 10-degree difference is something to take a close look at. Of course, rain and snow can also play important parts in college football games, but most games aren’t changed too much unless there are heavy rain or snow conditions.

An inside trick I use in heavy weather conditions is finding out how big the hands are for each quarterback. In bad weather, a quarterback with bigger hands will have fewer problems holding onto the ball.


Most college football gamblers bet on the point spread and moneyline.

But, you’re missing a valuable profit center if you don’t bet on totals.

However, just like point spreads and moneyline wagers, you will have to learn how to find the value on the totals before you make any wagers.

Use the six strategies listed in this post to start making money on NCAA football totals.

The difference in talent can be much higher in college football than in the NFL, and this is a key part of evaluating totals. Coaching tendencies also have a lot to do with totals in college football, and some coaches have a long track record you can use when evaluating these games.


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Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.

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