With the legalization of sports betting expanding to new states every year, more and more college football fans are beginning to wager on the sport they love. The problem? Not everybody knows what they’re doing. It’s fun to gamble on the favorite or pick the local program in a big game, but it’s even better to actually win.
With this inaugural college football guide, newcomers — and possibly veterans who need a refresher — will have an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of betting on the sport, including best practices when picking spreads and totals, whether trends are a good indicator of future success and simply how to have as much fun as possible without depleting your bank account.
After all, if you win money along the way, that would be pretty good, too.
College football betting basics
What can you bet in college football? While sportsbooks will offer prop bets on players and game-time situations during the season, those are more difficult to master. Particularly if one does not understand the basics. The bread and butter of college football betting still consists of three areas: the point spread (or “spread”), the total and the money line.
The spread: The most popular bet, the spread is the number of points given to a team to handicap a game with two equally likely outcomes. For example, Nebraska (-12) faces Northwestern (+12). The 12 points is the spread with Nebraska listed as a 12-point favorite and Northwestern a 12-point underdog. In this scenario, Northwestern is spotted 12 points, beginning the game with an imaginary 12-0 lead.
If you bet Nebraska -12, it needs to win the game by at least 13 points for you to win your bet. If you bet Northwestern +12, the Wildcats need to either win the game outright or lose by 11 points or fewer to win your bet. If Nebraska wins the game by 12 points, it’s called a push, and your bet on either side of the spread is refunded.
The total: This represents the total points scored in the game. The total for Nebraska vs. Northwestern is 50.5 points. So, do you think more than 50.5 points will be scored or less? If you think more, you bet Over 50.5. If you think less, bet Under 50.5.
The moneyline: This is the simplest bet as you can pick who will win the game outright. However, each bet comes with odds attached given oddsmakers believe it is more likely Nebraska beats Northwestern than the other way around. If you want to bet Nebraska, you will do so at -475 odds. If you believe Northwestern will win, you can bet it at +360 odds. Those odds are based on a $100 bet. …….