While the NFL is still the king of American football, NCAA football is absolutely massive. Millions of people tune in every week to see the next big stars before they move to the professional level. This means people love to bet on NCAA football and you may not know how to do it, but once you get the basics down, you’ll be wagering on the week’s biggest games (and the smaller ones as well) in no time.
Moneyline betting is where you should start as it focuses on the outcome of the game: who wins and who loses. For two teams, there will be a favorite and an underdog. The favorite will have a negative sign next to their odds and the underdog will have a positive sign. Take the example of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the LSU Tigers. You might see College Football odds listing Alabama as -150 favorites to win the game, which means you would have to bet $150 on them to win $100. On the other hand, LSU could have odds of +130 to win and that means you would win $130 if you risked $100. When there’s a minus sign, that’s how much you bet to win $100 and when there’s a plus sign in front of the odds, that’s the amount you’d win if you bet $100. Of course, you can bet whatever amount you like and not necessarily increments of $100.
Again, all that matters is who wins the game, which is different from the other type of betting you will see next.
Spread betting throws a wrinkle in the world of NCAA football betting in that it’s a margin of victory. Let’s take a game between the Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators, for example. Florida State could be favored by 7.5 points to win the game and that would be shown as -7.5. This means Florida would be 7.5-point underdogs, which would be shown as +7.5. This means Florida State has to win by more than 7.5 points (eight points or more) to cover and win your bet for you. Then you have Florida, who can cover for you if they lose by less than 7.5 points (seven or less) or win the game outright. This evens the playing field a little for the teams. You will also see that extra half-point much of the time as that would avoid a push, which is when the margin of victory lands right on the sportsbook spread. For example, if Florida State is a seven-point favorite and they win exactly by seven. In that case, you get your money back, but neither side wins the bet.
Totals betting is when you wager on the amount of points that will be scored in a game. The sportsbook sets the number and then you decide on whether the actual total will be over or under the posted total. You might also hear it referred to as an over/under bet for that reason. If there are two high-powered teams, you might lean towards the over. On the other hand, two defensive teams might battle to a low-scoring game, and that would make you think hard about the under.
Futures are more of a long-term bet on events in the future. These are bets that take longer to decide. For example: who will win the national championship or conference championships or Heisman Trophy. Fractional or moneyline betting is what powers futures, so you’ll see either form of odds. For example: Alabama could be favored at 3/1 or +300 to win the national championship.