The fall is a great time for sports fans as it marks the beginning of the football season. College football provides a ton of great betting options all season long. Of course, if you are reading this strategy guide then you already know how great college football betting can be.

In this guide, we’re going to look at the most profitable college football betting strategies, tips, and tricks. Our team of betting experts has compiled their knowledge into one cohesive guide for your reading pleasure. This sort of insider information is normally not given for free or given away at all.

College Football Strategy Banner - NCAAF Logo - Hand Holding Money
Experts like to keep this stuff close to the vest because educating the betting public is never a smart move. But, we’ve convinced them to open up and share this information with you completely free of charge.

These are not their bottom-of-the-barrel betting strategy tips either. These are the secrets and strategies they use every week to continually locate value and beat college football sportsbooks.

Will reading these tips instantly make you a master college football bettor? 100%, without a doubt, nope. Not what you were expecting us to say, was it? Well, here’s the truth. The secret to beating college football betting is three steps.

  • The first step is getting the information and strategies you need to know in order to beat the game. That’s usually the most guarded step and is what we’re taking care of for you here today.

  • The second step is utilizing those strategies to do the proper research and find the value spots.

  • The third and final step is having the discipline to follow your strategy and make the bets you know you should.

It’s the combination of these three steps that will make you a winner betting college football.

Here’s what we can guarantee you. After reading this guide, you will have a clear direction on what you need to research. You will also know how to find value when betting on college football. It’s up to you after that to put in the work and fire off the winning bets. You’ll leave here with all of the necessary tools, though, to be a big winner.

Understand the Differences from the NFL

A lot of college football bettors didn’t start betting on college. A large percentage of them started in the NFL and then made the successful transition into betting on Saturdays. But, for every one of these NFL bettors that successfully made the transition, there was a whole slew who failed miserably.

Why? Well, for most of them it was the inability to adapt to the changes and differences between the two leagues.

Bet on NCAA or NFL Online

If you’re looking to transition from betting on the NFL to betting on college football, make sure you pay attention. The NFL is NOT the same as college football. Yes, they are playing the same sport, and the points are scored the same way. However, the things you have to pay attention to when betting are vastly different.

Let’s start by looking at a few of the ways that the NFL and NCAAF (college football) are different.

Bigger Spreads

Prepare yourself for some game spreads that you’re going to have to double-check aren’t typos. In the NFL, seeing a spread over 10 points is massive. Seeing a spread over 40 or 50 points in college football is really no big deal.

There are so many teams in NCAAF that you are bound to end up with a ton of horrible mismatches. You could have an NFL-caliber team playing against a team that might struggle to beat some high schools.

Why is this important? Well, for one, we didn’t want you to be shell-shocked the first time you looked at college football lines. Second, we want to point out that you shouldn’t be scared of looking at these games for value.

Often, bettors will stay away from these games. However, they really are no different than a game with a spread of just a few points. In fact, bigger spreads leave more room for errors and bad lines, which means more opportunities for you.

Smaller Betting Pool

The amount of money being bet on college football is significantly less than what is bet on NFL games. Even if the same total money was the same, the amount on each individual game would be much less. This is because there are more games to bet on in college football.

What does this mean for you? Well, it means that the lines are going to be much more volatile than they are in the NFL. If a line moves a full point in the NFL, that’s a big movement and a big deal. In college football, it’s not uncommon for lines to move 3 or 4 or more points on a regular basis.

Early NCAAF Spread Bets - Texas vs Georgia

This is because due to the lower betting volume it doesn’t take as much money to shift the line. A bet size that might do nothing to the line in the NFL might have a drastic change on a college football betting line at a particular sportsbook.

The decreased betting volume on college football games creates more fluid and volatile betting lines.

Intangibles Become More Important

The NFL is filled with professionals. College football is filled with kids fresh out of their parent’s houses. This means that the intangibles of a game are going to play a much larger role in college football than they will with the NFL.

For example, a high-profile game in the NFL might have a small impact on the players and a team. However, most players have experienced the big stage before. A regular Sunday game is not that much different than a Monday Night Football game late in the season.

Yes, it is different and should be accounted for when betting. But the difference between the two stages is not as great as in our next example.


You have kids that are used to playing in front of 200 people on a Friday night. Now they are about to play in front of 90,000+ people, tv cameras, and NFL scouts. If you don’t think that is going to have an effect on how some people play, you’re wrong.

This is just one small example of the intangibles that we’re talking about. You need to weigh everything that occurs surrounding the game and the effect that it can have on the players. Emotions are going to run a lot higher. These are not professionals with a ton of experience, and they might not be as well equipped to handle this.

Statistics Can be Misleading

Stats Odds And Numbers With Sports Notes

This college football betting tip highlights once again the differences between the NCAAF and the NFL. When you are looking at NFL statistics, you typically have a long history to go off of.

Even if you’re looking at the statistics of a rookie, you can fall back on their college stats.
Sure, that is not ideal, but you at least have those numbers at your disposal if you need them.

In college football, though, you’ll often find yourself with an extremely small sample size to pull statistics from. If a player is a freshman, all you have to go off of are their high school stats. Unfortunately, the difference in skill level makes most high school stats worthless for college betting.

Everyone knows to watch touchdowns, sacks, and total points. For an added advantage, keep an eye out for these stats as well:

  • Against the Spread (ATS) Percentage

  • Over/Under Percentage

  • Explosive Play Rate

  • Early-Down Pass Success Rate

  • Pressure Rate

Here’s the problem that a lot of people miss. Stat sites will sometimes not point out the fact that the stats are coming from a small sample size.

Let’s say you have a betting system that hinges on the yards per rush of a running back. How good are the stats going to be if you’re pulling data from one single game?

We can tell you from a stats point of view, they will be worthless. Everyone has seen players have good and bad games, especially their first few games playing on a bigger stage.

The point you need to take away from this is two-fold. First, you need to make sure that the stats you are using to decide your bets are coming from an adequate sample size. Just a couple of games is not really the definition of adequate in this context.

Second, make sure that these stats are from comparable opponents.

Remember how we said there is a huge variance in the skill level of teams in college football? Well, if a player has incredible stats, but they were all against lower-tier schools, those numbers may be misleading. This would be the same as using stats from a player’s high school career to bet on college games.

Using stats is an incredible way to make effective college football betting picks. But, you need to use the right stats from an adequate sample size.

Capitalize on Favorable Betting Lines Quickly

The volume of the betting market is going to be significantly smaller in college football, especially in lower-tier games. This means that lines are going to change much more frequently than they do with the NFL. As a result, you have to be a lot more strategic in how you time your bets.

If you see a very favorable line, chances are some other sharp bettors out there are seeing it too. If the sportsbook you’re betting at is filled with sharps, that line is not going to last long. You need to be prepared to jump on those favorable lines as quickly as possible.


This might require you to monitor lines a little more aggressively than you would with other sports. If you want to win, then the extra effort is definitely worth it.

There are also perks of smaller volume markets. The higher number of line fluctuations means that you’re going to have more opportunities to find value each week. Determine what line you like for a particular game and then compare sportsbooks to find the best line possible.

Don’t Bet the Full Spectrum of Games

Whoa boy, do we know how tempting this can be… There are a ton of different games and bets to choose from every single week in college football. It can be tempting to want to wager on the entire schedule.

You can’t win what you don’t put in play, right? Well, that’s probably one of the worst gambling cliché pieces of advice ever.

If you’re just looking for an entertaining weekend and you don’t care about turning a profit, then bombs away. We can guarantee you’re probably going to have some fun. However, you are most likely going to lose money.

What you should be doing is only betting on the games where you find value. Only bet the games where you have a strong feeling that the line is wrong. That way you get paid much better than you should with a correct pick.

By doing this, you’re going to set yourself up for success. If this means only a few games over the weekend, that’s fine. If this means a lot of games one week and very few or even none the next week, that’s fine too.

The point is that you should only be betting on value opportunities that are smart. Don’t be that guy or gal that fires off the entire slate of games hoping to get lucky. Be smart, approach your college football professionally, and go wild when you go to spend your winnings away from the sportsbook.

Specialize in a Particular Conference

Best College Football Dark Horse Conference Picks

So, if you can’t bet every single game under the sun, what does that leave for you? Well, what we recommend you do is choose a conference to specialize in. Pick a conference that you enjoy watching or already have a strong knowledge base about.

If you just bet on the high-profile games, you’re going to struggle to find value. Lines for these games are typically hit a lot harder by the sharps.

But, if you pick a conference with games all over the board, you’ll find a lot of great value opportunities. By specializing, you allow yourself to become an expert which should translate over into higher profit.


The money you win off of a random Big-10 game is the same kind of money you win by betting the high-profile Saturday night game. It all spends the same.

Become an expert on a particular conference. If you’re lucky enough to master a conference, then you can look at expanding out elsewhere. But, until you can beat one particular conference consistently, there is no reason to try and spread yourself even thinner.

Don’t Neglect the Low-Tier Games

We touched on this slightly in the previous section, but now we want to address it head-on. The lower-tier games in college football are some great areas to look for value.

Why? Well, we are glad you asked. Let’s look at a few reasons that our teams of pros recommend checking out these games.

But first, let’s make sure we all understand what a low-tier college football game is. Basically, these are the games that are getting less media attention and are typically between two smaller schools. These are not the games you see on ESPN or ABC on Saturday night during prime time.

Instead, these are the games that you have to purchase a special college football cable package to watch. We assume you all know what we’re talking about, but we just wanted to be thorough and sure.

The Books Aren’t As Concerned With Them

The sportsbooks have limited resources when it comes to setting their lines. They have a certain number of employees and technological resources that they must allocate accordingly to all their betting markets.

In a perfect world, sportsbooks would have an unlimited number of people that could work on finding the perfect lines. But, in reality, they have to choose where to allocate their people and their resources where it serves them the best.

Sportsbook Betting Crowded

Let’s pose a question to make our point clear here. If you were the sportsbook owner, where would you allocate your smartest and sharpest people and your best resources? You have two choices:

  • Allocate most of your resources to the big-ticket games where you’re going to have a ton of money bet

  • Allocate most of your resources to the low-tier games where significantly less money will be bet

If you’re a smart sportsbook owner, you’re going to put most everything on the bigger games. Less experienced or less skilled employees can take care of the low-tier games.

Why? Well, if you make a mistake with a line, you don’t stand to lose as much money. If you put out a bad line with a high-profile game, money will pour in quickly on the other side. You might not ever get enough action on the other side of the game.

This is a risk that sportsbook owners are not willing to take. So, what they typically do is put their weaker oddsmakers or dedicate less time and resources to the low-tier games. This means that the chances of seeing bad lines on games are much higher.

This means your opportunity to find lines that are just plain wrong goes way up. You stand to make a lot of money if you can identify these.

Small games have small betting markets, so it is easier to cause more frequent and more severe line shifts. You’ll be able to find a lot of value if you can predict when and how the lines will move. Every little bit of value helps, and it is a lot easier to find opportunities in these smaller cap games.

There Will be a Lack of Easily-Accessible Information

This is the one negative that we need you to be aware of when betting on these smaller games. The amount of information you will have available to make your predictions and assess value will be severely limited.

Big schools like Alabama, Clemson, and Florida have tons of information available on their teams, players, history, and more. Additionally, the ability to find game footage is a complete breeze because most of their games are nationally televised.

But, when was the last time you saw a nationally televised Buffalo Bulls game? Or how about a Central Michigan game? Miami of Ohio? The mighty Idaho Vandals? The chances are you probably haven’t even heard of some of these teams. You can probably imagine how tough it will be to get information on these teams.

This is going to make your job a lot more challenging, but not impossible. Remember, if sports betting were easy, everyone would be doing it for a living. The best way to approach this is to select a small conference that has a lot of teams.

It is easy to find a cable package that will let you watch all of the games for a conference. Yes, this is going to be more work than just reading other people’s opinions on a game. But it will allow you to become intimate with each team and really make your own predictions.

  • You think the sharps setting the lines for these games are watching every single one of them? Nope

  • You think the sharps setting the lines for an Alabama game are watching every single game? Yup

You’ll be able to get a leg up on the book and be ahead of the game right away. As per the stats, most of these should be available somewhere on the web. Start with the school’s website and then look at odd centers across the web.

This data is out there, but it might take you a few extra minutes to get your hands on it. If you don’t have a few minutes to spare for research, you’re probably in the wrong business.

The lack of information can be seen as a negative or it can be seen as a positive. When it’s challenging to get, fewer people are going to seek it out. For every one of those people that still bet the game, you have a leg up on them.

Also, you’ll have a leg up on every sportsbook that uses inexperienced employees to set a line. You’ll be the expert, and the expert always comes out on top in the sports betting world.

Shop Till You Drop

Line shopping. The two most powerful and profitable words in all of sports betting. This doesn’t change just because we’re now betting on college sports instead of pro sports. You have to be willing to take a few moments with each bet and find where you’re going to get the best odds. With online sportsbooks being so easily accessible, this shouldn’t take you more than a few seconds for each bet.

You don’t need to go out and shop for a better line at 50 different books. In most cases, you are not going to find better odds than what you see at the first 2-3 books. Additionally, who really wants to manage 50 different sports betting accounts?

Sportsbook Betting Lines

Instead, pick 2-3 books that you love that you think are filled with the most recreational sports bettors. Take a few seconds with each bet individually and find the best price or the best point spread.

It doesn’t take long, and it’s not hard to do. However, it’s the single best thing you can do to improve your chances of being a successful college football bettor.

The Wrap Up

At this point, you have all of the tools you need to crush the books betting on college football. But, as we told you from the start, you are not going to instantly become a successful sports bettor. This was only part one of the equation, but it was the most important part.

Now that you have the tools, it’s up to you to put in the work to find the winners. Then it’s up to you to make the bets, follow your plan and our strategies, and crush the books. Then, it will also be up to you to figure out how to spend all the money you win.

Good luck!

About the Author
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Kyle Eve
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Kyle Eve is a seasoned pro of The Sports Geek. Since joining the team in 2012, Kyle, has covered some of the biggest sporting events in the world. From the Super Bowl and World Series to March Madness, the NBA Finals, Kentucky Derby, and many more, Kyle has provided reliable analysis for millions of readers. After dedicating himself to hockey and football in high school, Kyle placed his first sports bet on his 18th birthday. Since then, he has spent his entire adult life devoting himself to becoming the best sports bettor and casino gambler possible. Kyle is from Windsor, ON, Canada