2021 College Football Betting Guide

If you’re a big fan of college football and watch games thinking, “I should place money on this,” then you should consider choosing college football betting sites to play for real money.

Not sure where to get started? We got you covered. This page is loaded with information on how to bet on college football for money, along with what to look for in a sports betting site, what types of bets you should use, and how to read and understand football betting odds and lines. If you’re looking where to bet real money on college football online right now, check out the list of our top recommended football sportsbooks available:

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Why Bet Real Money on College Football Online?

Mobile Phone and Laptop - College Football PlayersIf you are on the fence about wagering real money on college football games, you may be looking for some legitimate reasons as to why you should. And the truth is that there are many reasons why you should enjoy the fun experience of betting real money on college football.

But since we know you are not here to read a novel, we will highlight just a few of the main reasons you should gamble on college football, including:

Convenience of Play

If nothing else, the convenience of online NCAAF betting is unmatched. Having the ability to place or modify a wager from anywhere using just your fingertips makes this type of online gambling ideal for most bettors, both new and experienced.

So, if you’re looking for a sports betting experience that is cohesive with your busy life schedule, you should consider betting on college football games.

Huge Selection of Bets

We’ll go into further detail on the different bet types that are available for college football below, but we simply cannot understate just how many betting options you actually have.

For starters:

You have all of your standard betting options, such as point spread bets, moneyline bets, and so on. And then you have your more creative bet types, such as prop bets, that allow you to make wagers on hundreds of different aspects of a college football game.

If you decide to bet on college football for real money, we guarantee that you will be more than satisfied with the number of different betting options available to you.

Lucrative Rewards

Real Money Casino Gambling

When it comes to college football betting, your willingness to take big risks can pay off in a massive way, especially if you are willing to take a risk on the underdog.

With so many different variations of bet types available, you can find one that pays out the way that you desire.

Hundreds of Games to Choose From

When it comes to betting on college football online, there is certainly no shortage of games that you can choose to wager on. In fact, you will most likely run into betting options for two teams that you did not even know existed.

What we are trying to say is that there will never be a shortage of games for you to choose from (except for during the offseason, of course).

Not only does this expand your betting options even more, but it gives you the opportunity to pick and choose which teams you want to follow and wager on.

This is one of the most simplistic strategies that sports bettors use in order to gain a good understanding of how efficient a team is. You learn their tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses, which helps you know how and when to place your bets.

Watching Football

Let’s be real: It is hard to beat the feeling of watching a good competitive game of college football. And when you are placing real money bets on these games, you can assure that you will be invested enough to get your football watching fill.

College football games typically run on Saturdays too, making it even more convenient for watching and keeping an eye on your bets. What better way to spend your weekend than placing bets, watching football, and making money?

Understanding NCAAF Betting Odds and Lines

If you are new to NCAAF betting, then you may find yourself a bit confused when trying to read betting odds and lines. Although these numbers may look intimidating at first glance, you can take a deep breath in knowing that they are actually quite simple to understand.

Along with being simple to understand, they are vital to understand. After all, knowing how to read NCAAF betting odds and lines is how you know which bets are valuable and have the chance to provide you with the biggest payout.

Here is a quick breakdown of NCAAF betting odds and lines.

NCAAF Betting Odds

NCAA Football LogoThe betting odds for any wager you are thinking about placing represent what your pay out would be if you won your bet. They come in numbers that are typically higher than 100 or less than -100.

A negative number next to a specific team indicates that they are the favorite to win, therefore, making their payout less. A positive number represents the underdog in the game, and typically has a different absolute value than the chalk team.

These numbers are in relation to a $100 bet. For example, if you were to bet $100 on the underdog team who had betting odds of +410, you could potentially win $410 in return. All they need to do is win the game.

Alternatively, that same bet on a team with betting odds of -410 would only pay out $24.39, making it a low-value bet. As with most types of sports betting, the higher your risk, the higher your potential reward will be.

To simplify betting odds:
Just remember that the negative number is the amount of money you would need to bet in order to win $100 from that wager. Using the example above, that would be $410.

The positive number represents the amount of money you would win off a $100 bet. So, if a team was +410, you could win $410 off of a $100 wager, making your total payout from the college football game $510.

NCAAF Betting Lines

The NCAAF betting line, also referred to as the spread, is a number that is positive or negative depending on which team is favored to win the game. This is similar to the betting odds, except that it represents the number of points that each team is expected to win or lose by.

For example, you may see a college football matchup where the two competing teams have betting lines of +8.5 and -8.5. This means that the favored team is projected to win by 9 or more points, while the underdog is projected to lose by 9 or more points. A half-point is added to the betting line to ensure a tie does not occur.

Popular NCAAF Bet Types

If you thought that college football betting online was as simple as wagering on which team you think will win, then guess again (although, you can still make a bet that simple if you would like to)!

In today’s world of online sports betting, there are numerous betting types and opportunities to stack up your winnings and fuel your future NCAA football wagers. And the best part is that you have the opportunity to experiment with the different bet types and choose which one best suits you and your risk/reward level.

Better yet, take your time and evaluate which bets provide the most value for your wager.

Although there are multiple wagers to choose from, we would recommend narrowing down a few that you really enjoy, and sticking with those until you gain enough experience to start placing multiple wagers at once.

Some of the most popular NCAAF bet types include:

  • Spread Bets
  • Moneyline Bets
  • Over/under Bets
  • Accumulator Bets
  • Prop Bets
  • Live Betting

Spread Bets

Spread bets, commonly referred to as “betting the spread,” are one of the most common and simple bet types available for real money NCAA football betting. The idea behind spread bets is simple: the spread is a representation of the expected variance between the two teams.

In other words, the spread represents the number of points that the favored team is expected to win by, as well as the number of points that the other team is expected to lose by. If no spread existed, then college football bettors would always bet on the favorite and would run the house out of business in less than a season.

Here is an example of an NCAA football spread:

Team 1
-7.5 (+120)
Team 2
+7.5 (-120)

In this example, we have the Alabama Crimson Tide taking on the Clemson Tigers. Alabama is being offered at -7.5 points, with a payout of -120, while Clemson offers +8.5 points and a payout of -120.

Now, this is where some new bettors may get confused. When you look at the numbers and see that Alabama has a negative point spread, you may assume that they are predicted to lose. However, it is just the opposite.

What those numbers represent is the sportsbook’s estimation of Alabama winning by at least 7.5 points (half-points are used to prevent ties). The team with a negative point spread is always the favorite to win the game.

Winning an NCAA Football Spread Bet

If you were to bet on Alabama winning the game, and they only won by 3 points, then you actually would not win the bet because they did not “cover the spread.” However, if Alabama were to win by 8 or more points, you will have won.

If you were to place your wager for this game at $50 with bettings odds at -120, you would have won an additional $41.66, meaning you would walk away from the bet with $91.66.

Alternatively, if you were to wager on Clemson winning the game, and they lose by more than 8, then you lose the bet. However, if they win the game or lose by 7 or less, then you win the bet. It is possible to win a bet by wagering on the losing team.

Important Note:
NCAA football spread bets are not permanent. Real money online sportsbooks will shift the betting lines in order to have equal bets on each side.

Moneyline Bets

If you are new to college football betting, then you will probably be interested in moneyline bets. For these types of bets, all you need to do is place a wager on which team you believe will win the game.

This may sound simple, but they differ significantly from the spread bets. Instead of 50/50 bets, each team is given their own payout odds that you can choose from.

For example, if we use the example above and say that Alabama is playing against Clemson, the moneyline may look like this:

Team 1
Team 2

As you can see, Alabama is favored at odds of -205, while Clemson is considered the underdog at +250. This means you would win more money off of a winning bet on Clemson.

For example, let’s say that you wagered $50 on Alabama and they won. Your winnings would be $24.39. If you placed that same wager on Clemson and they ended up winning the game, your winnings would be $125.

It pays off to choose the underdog at the right time. This is why many expert college football bettors love these types of bets, because it is simply a matter of choosing the right team for the right game.

Over/Under Bets

Over and under bets are super simple to understand and are great bets for games where you do not particularly care for either team or have any preference as to who wins.

The way these CFB bets work is simple. The sportsbooks give the game a given projected total. If we are looking at the Alabama and Clemson game, let’s say that the given total is 42.5.

Team 1
42.5 (-120)
Team 2
42.5 (-120)
  • If you believe that it will be a defensive game, resulting in low scores, you would likely bet on the under. This means you are hoping that the total score of the game stays underneath 42.5.
  • If you feel that a total of 42.5 is low for these two teams, then you would bet on the over. Both the over and under bets will come with their own payout odds similar to the other bets.

Once your bet is placed, it is as simple as watching the game. If you bet on the under, and the total score is 37, then you win your bet. If the total score is 50, then you lose the bet because the total score went over the given projected total.

On the flip side, if you bet on the over and the total score was 50, then you win that bet. If the score is anything less than 42.5, you will lose.

Again, half points are added to these bets to ensure a tie cannot occur. Over/under college football bets are extremely popular for die-hard football fans who are good at analyzing different teams’ offensive and defensive strengths and weaknesses.

NCAAF Parlay Bets

Parlay bets are some of the most lucrative and exciting bets that real money college football betting sites can offer. They are also much more difficult to win than other college football bet types.

A parlay bet allows you to roll multiple bets into one. If you were making parlay bet for real money on NCAA football games, you would pick multiple teams that you think will win their matchups that week. In order to win your bet, every team you picked to win has to win their game.

For example, your college football accumulator bet may look something similar to this:

Bet Odds Stake Payout
Boise State Broncos over UCF Knights +200
Michigan Wolverines over Ohio State Buckeyes +375
Penn State Nittany Lions over Wisconsin Badgers -450
Oregon Ducks over Indiana Hoosiers -100
Missouri Tigers over Florida Gators +225
Total +11220 $100 $ 11,320

There are many variations of parlay bets, including:

  • Double (2 picks)
  • Treble (3 picks)
  • Four-fold accumulator (4 picks)
  • Five-fold accumulator (5 picks)
  • Six-fold accumulator (6 picks)
  • Seven-fold accumulator (7 picks)
  • Eight-fold accumulator (8 picks)

The more picks you roll into one parlay, the more potential you have to tally up an attractive payout.

Prop Bets

College football prop bets, also known as proposition betting, are one of the most exciting types of bets available for avid sports bettors. These college football bets allow you to wager on multiple different aspects of each NCAA football game.

Instead of simply betting on the end result, college football prop bets allow you to bet on fun and specific aspects of the game, such as:

  • Who will win the coin flip
  • Which team will get a penalty first
  • Total passing yards by a team’s quarterback
  • First team to score
  • And much more

These prop bets add an exciting twist to regular NCAA football bets; however, they do require a bit more luck compared to other bet types, as some of the prop bets you can make are not able to be accurately predicted. Luckily, they also tend to be more profitable whenever you win one of your wagers.

And the best part about our list of top NCAAF betting sites above is that they offer prop bets that simply can not be found in land-based sportsbooks. What are you waiting for? Choose a site and start enjoying the money-making potential of college football prop bets.

Live Betting

Live betting is exactly as it sounds. This means that you are making wagers as the game is being aired live.

Because the betting lines for college football games are constantly shifting, there are plenty of opportunities to place bets during the game.

Live bets can include all of the bet types listed above, as well as several that we did not mention here.

College Football Betting Terms to Know

Term Definition
Action To take part in betting or to have a wager on a game.
ATS (Against the Spread) A betting result. If a team is 7-2, then they have covered the spread 7 times and failed to cover 2 times.
Bad Beat Refers to losing a bet that you should have won. Can also be used when you change your bet late in a game to cover the spread, only to end up losing anyway.
Beard Also known as a “runner,” a beard is the nickname given to someone who places wagers for someone else. This is common among professional bettors who are no longer allowed to place bets with certain sportsbooks.
Book Also known as a sportsbook, this term refers to the person or organization that takes the bets from customers.
Bookie The person accepting the bets and facilitating the sports betting.
Chalk A nickname given to the team expected to win their game.
Cover For a point spread wager, the cover refers to the betting result.
Dime A slang term, meaning a $1,000 bet. Consequently, “five dimes” refers to a $5,000 bet.
Dog Shortened nickname for underdog, or the team expected to lose their game.
Fade When you bet against a team or situation.
Edge Also referred to as the house edge, this means the advantage that the online betting site has in winning the wager.
Even Money When the odds are 50-50. If you bet $5 and win, you will gain an additional $5. Whatever your wager is will pay out the exact same.
Favorite The team expected to win. Also known as “chalk.”
Fixed A dishonest game that is rigged or intentionally lost for an individual or group’s own personal gain.
Futures A type of long-term bet that allows you to wager on something months ahead of time. For example, placing a bet on who will play in the Super Bowl while the league is in its offseason.
Handicapping Trying to predict the winners of events or games.
High Roller A nickname given to someone who places large wagers.
Handle The total amount of money wagered or accepted by the sportsbook.
Hook Refers to a half-point. If a team is a 5.5-point favorite, they are known as “5 and a hook.”
Juice Commission earned by a college football betting site or other sportsbook. Also known as “vig.”
Line Also known as a betting line. This refers to odds.
Lock A lock is a term used to describe what a gambler believes to be a guaranteed win.
Mush A gambler who is believed to have bad luck.
Nickel A $500 wager.
Over A bet result that occurs when the total points, runs, or goals scored by competing teams goes over the posted total. If the posted total is 3.5, and the game ends 2-3, the 5 total runs make it an over.
Parlay A bet type where you bet on multiple games. The risk is higher for this bet, as is the payout.
Push When a tie occurs and bettors are refunded their original wager.
Sharp A smart and savvy bettor with a high win rate. A online betting site’s worst enemy.
Spread A shortened phrase for point spread.
Square The opposite of a sharp. These bettors are inexperienced and typically bet whichever way the hype tells them to.
Total The over/under value, or the total number of points, runs, or goals scored in a game. You bet over or under on this value.
Under A bet result that occurs when the total points, runs, or goals scored by competing teams is less than the posted total. If the posted total is 3.5, and the game ends 1-2, the 3 total runs make it an under.
Wager Another word for “bet.”
Welch When you do not pay off a losing bet.

College Football Betting Strategies

Similar to all other types of gambling, betting, and wagering, college football betting has many strategies that bettors use to maximize their gains.

Some strategies are easy to follow and can be a good way for new bettors to get their balance while learning about NCAAF wagering. Others, however, require a deeper understanding of sports betting as well as how college football is played.

Some of the most popular college football betting strategies include:

College Football Strategy Banner - NCAAF Logo - Hand Holding Money

Bet the Favorite

This may be the most simple and safest way to bet real money on college football games. By betting on the favored team to win every game, you are giving yourself the best chance possible to win your wager. The biggest downside to this NCAA football betting strategy is that your payouts will be much lower than most other bets, meaning it will take a while to start truly growing your bankroll.

Bet the Home Team

This college football betting strategy is similar to betting the favorite, except the home team is not always declared the favorite to win the game.

This betting strategy has its share of advantages and disadvantages.

For example, a big advantage to betting the home team is that when they are the underdog in the matchup, they at least have home field advantage. This helps give you a small edge toward winning the bet and receiving a higher payout than if they were just the favorite to win.

However, a big disadvantage to betting on the home team every game is that you can miss some valuable bets that could have been an easy win.

Bet on the Better Coach

Even if a college football team has a collection of some of the most talented young football players in the country, it can be difficult to find success with an inexperienced or lackluster head coach.

This is why many college football bettors choose to simply place their bets on whichever team has the better head coach and/or coaching staff.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Team and Coach - NCAAF Logo

Bettors who are really into betting real money on college football games even take this betting strategy a step further and study the head coach’s winning history, gameplay strategies, and play-calling tendencies. Knowing and understanding all of these aspects can give you a huge advantage in personally predicting which team will win a college football game.

Always Take the Under

Football is a very physical sport. And although there are many teams with great offenses that are capable of putting up big numbers in a game, it is ultimately much easier not to score than it is to score.

Because of this logic, many college football bettors like to always take the under for the game’s projected total points. After all, this gives you a 50/50 chance of winning your bet every time, and factors like key injuries, poor weather, and bad ref calls tend to work in your favor.

Bet on the Same Team

This college football bet type is popular among gamblers who are die-hard fans of a particular team. All you have to do is bet on the same team to win each and every week.

Of course, this college football betting strategy is easy to win with if your favorite team is Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, or some other D-I school known for their football program.

If the team wins more than half of their games in a season, then you will win more than half of your bets that season.

Of course, similar to the “betting on the favorite” strategy, always betting on the same team that wins most of its games likely won’t pay out very much. So, don’t expect to get rich off of this college football betting strategy unless you are willing to make large wagers on your favorite team.

NCAA Football Betting Strategy Resources

Looking for more tips on how you can make money betting on NCAA football games? These NCAAF betting tips and strategy resources are great for everyone from newbies to old vets. Interested? Check out the following links:

Resources for College Football Betting

Free NCAA Football Betting Picks

You’ll find tons of great resources on The Sports Geek to help you get into online NCAA football betting. The first of those is our collection of expert college football picks.

Our experts provide both picks and in-depth analysis on tons of matchups that can help you make your decisions. Their analysis will include everything from stats to players to college football betting tips that will be game-changing for your strategy. You will get valuable peeks into what the pros are thinking, which can help you refine your own strategy. Over time, you will see patterns you can apply to your picks. Think of it as having your own personal mentor for each and every bet you place.

College Football Betting News

If you want to be successful in NCAAF betting, you need to stay on top of the news. Things happen too quickly to make informed decisions if you aren’t up to speed. We can help by providing up-to-date NCAAF news on everything happening within the college football world. While it’s great to know your numbers, football is more than just statistics.

We can help you understand what’s happening while also helping you identify proper NCAAF betting opportunities and risks. Check out our college football news page to see all the breaking stories, so you can always be prepared to make informed bets.

NCAA Football Betting Blog

On top of our comprehensive news coverage, we also address tons of other excellent topics in our NCAAF blog. Here, you will find a wealth of informative looks at different aspects of the sport beyond just current events. You’ll find NCAAF betting guides, tips, and analyses to help you further your knowledge about college football. Browsing through the archives is a great way to discover new perspectives and new insights that might not dominate headlines, but it might make the difference between winning and losing your next bet.

College Football Betting vs NFL Betting

Bet on NCAA or NFL Online
Even if you are new to college football real money wagering, it is likely that you have at least heard of real money NFL betting, which is where you bet on professional football games. Well, if you are familiar with NFL betting, then you are in luck. College football betting has many of the same rules and bet types.

However, there are some key differences between NFL betting and college football betting that we should point out:

Team Quality

Do not get us wrong, we give credit to all those who make it to the college football level. It takes a huge commitment and willingness to learn to play at that level and proves that the players are better than your average football player.

However, there is a massive jump in skill level between college football and NFL football. And because of this, it is more difficult to find extremely lucrative bets that do not require a huge wager on your end.

Another thing to note is that there are only 32 NFL teams. And as a result, the NFL gets a lot more attention in terms of what factors are influencing betting lines.

  • For example, NFL players are constantly being covered and providing updates on their status. If a key player is going to have to sit out a game due to injury, it will cause a massive shift in the way NFL bettors are placing their stakes. And this shift will happen almost immediately due to the media coverage that the NFL has.

    Compare this to NCAA football, where there are literally hundreds of teams across Division-I, Division-II, and Division-III. And every team has a big difference in skill level itself.

  • For example, the Florida Gators are a huge college football team that recruits some of the best high school football players in the country. And because of how many players make it to the NFL from there, they are one of the most covered and bet-on college football teams.

    Now, compare them to another D-I team, the Kent State Golden Flashes. Does that name sound familiar? Yeah, we did not think so. However, they are still considered a D-I team and get to play against other good teams.

This is why you see so many college games end with a final score differential of 40 points or more, which leads us to our next point about the difference in spread size between NFL betting and college football betting.

Spread Size

Like we mentioned above, college football has a lot more mismatches than the NFL does. This is a result of the league size and number of games played.

And unless you have the 2015 Denver Broncos playing against the 2008 Detroit Lions, it can be hard finding a huge spread for NFL games that can result in a high payout for a relatively small wager.

However, it is not uncommon for certain college football games to have a spread of more than 30 points. If you happened to place a small wager on the underdog in this matchup and they somehow managed to win the game, you would be making some serious profit.

Loose Lines

Again, with how much media coverage the NFL and its players get, it is much easier for online sportsbooks to adjust the betting lines to most accurately represent the projected outcome of the game.

Therefore, NFL games have very tight betting lines.

College football, on the other hand, has loose lines due to some unknown factors that slip through the fingers of NCAAF sportsbook sites. Not to mention that the difference in talent level can lean heavily in one team’s favor, creating more chances for a blowout to occur. Although this happens in the NFL, it is not nearly as common.

History of NCAA Football Betting

Although there is no specific record for when betting on college football for real money began, it can be assumed that NCAA football betting has been around since the dawn of sports betting.

In fact, the first college football game to ever be played was way back on November 6th, 1869 when Rutgers took on Princeton. By this point in history, real money gambling had already become popular across the globe and soon after began to make sports betting one of the biggest industries that exists.

And throughout the history of college football, many different football programs have emerged as the most elite, providing bettors with the most reliable route to making a profit. The three college football teams with the most wins in history are:

  • Michigan Wolverines [964 – 350 – 36]
  • Ohio State Buckeyes [931 – 327 – 53]
  • Alabama Crimson Tide [929 – 331 – 43]

If you were to start betting on the Michigan Wolverines back when their franchise first started playing, you would have won just under 73% of your wagers. Depending on the size of the bets you would have placed, that could have added up to a massive total.

Alternatively, there have been extreme underdog upsets in the history of NCAA football betting that has made massive profits for daring bettors.

For example, back in September of 2017, the Howard Bison defeated the UNLV Rebels with odds of +4,450. A $500 bet on that outcome would have resulted in a total payout of $22,750.

History has proven that college football betting can be highly unpredictable, potentially lucrative, and extremely fun. And any given game can be one that goes down in the history books forever.


Yes, you can wager real money online for college football games similar to all other sporting events. All you need to do is choose an real money online sportsbook, create an account, deposit funds, and place your bets!

The type of bet that you should place for a college football game will depend on a few factors. Your knowledge of betting, your knowledge of college football, your desired risk level, and your budget will all play the biggest role in your decision.

There are multiple different ways to win when betting on college football games online. This will depend on the type of bet that you place, along with any side or prop bets you added in along with it.

The most popular type of college football bet is a spread bet. Spread bets get an excellent mix of experienced and new NCAAF bettors and have many lucrative opportunities for all who choose to wager.

Although a lot of the bet types and processes are the same, there are some key differences between betting on college football and betting on NFL games.

Yes, you can bet on college football using your iPhone either through an online sportsbook or with a sportsbook app.

Yes, you can be on college football games using any Android device through an online sportsbook or by using a sports betting app.