The NFL is entertaining in its own right but there’s something special about a college football Saturday.
The early tailgating, the endless wave of games, the marching bands, bowl season and the emotions of college students trying to reach for excellence.
College football is a completely different animal than the NFL.
There are 130 teams in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, which means there are more betting opportunities.
While almost every piece of news and every angle of NFL games are covered multiple times, college football has a much wider landscape. That means if you do your research, you can find edges on certain games that are not in the spotlight.
From where to bet on the games to how to understand the odds and strategies for success, if you’re new to betting on college football, this page will walk you through everything you need to know.
Legal sports betting in Indiana has arrived with both retail and online sportsbooks open for business and accepting bets.
Here is a complete list of the best Indiana sports betting apps where players can bet on college football:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish – The Fighting Irish are one of college football’s most iconic teams. They enter the 2019 season on a high after making it to the College Football Playoff in 2018.
Purdue Boilermakers – The Boilermakers are traditionally a better basketball school than football, but head coach Jeff Brohm has made this team more competitive in recent seasons. There is optimism in West Lafayette as Brohm tries to build this team into an annual bowl game participant.
Indiana Hoosiers – The Hoosiers from Indiana University have a history dating back to 1887. They are members of the Big Ten Conference and play at Memorial Stadium, which they have done since 1960.
Unlike in the National Football League where there are 32 teams in total, the college football landscape is much greater with 130 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the remaining 121 teams in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Each team plays a full schedule of regular-season games. At the end of each year, the best teams compete in both conference championship games as well as the annual bowl games.
The college football regular season begins at the end of August and ends in early December.
While the year is officially made up of 15 weeks before the conference championship and bowl games, the number of games each team plays can vary across the board.
In most cases, teams will play each team from their conference or their division one time during the regular season. However, there is a small group of football programs that don’t belong to a conference and therefore set their schedule without the same structure that often applies to teams that do belong to a conference.
Once the 15 weeks of regular-season action are finished, the top teams from each conference will compete in their conference championship games – if their conference schedules one.
After that, the top teams in the country are invited to compete in the annual bowl games that take place in December and January.
A committee of experts selects which teams will go to the College Football Playoff and the other bowl games. Typically, teams need to win at least six games to qualify for bowl season.
The National Championship game is college football’s version of the Super Bowl. Each year, four finalists are selected to play in the College Football Playoff. The teams that win their playoff semifinal games compete for the national title.
Since there are so many teams and conferences, there’s no one stead-fast way to determine who the top four teams are.
That’s why a College Football Playoff committee rates the teams throughout the year and makes the determination based on who they feel the top four teams are. Sometimes it’s obvious but sometimes there’s controversy over who gets left out.
While it might not be the same spectacle as the Super Bowl in terms of the commercials and advertisements that mark the big game, the National Championship game does feature a celebrity anthem singer and a halftime performance on an annual basis.
There is also an extensive list of prop bets that are available to wager on, with hundreds of different types of in-game betting options.
The college football week usually features games from Thursday through the weekend with a full slate of games making up the Saturday slate.
With so many different teams from so many different concepts, there are plenty of channels to catch these games on ranging from national television to channels affiliated with specific conferences.
Make sure that you check the schedule ahead of time to see which channel the game that you want to follow is on. Games are mostly shown on:
The first time you make your way to a sportsbook, you will see a lot of different numbers up on the board that may be confusing.
Don’t worry, most people new to sports betting are probably not familiar with these but it’s quick to pick up. Let’s take a look at the three most common types of bets and explain what they are:
If you plan to bet on a college football point spread, then you will find a betting line that looks like this:
In this scenario, the teams featured in this specific matchup are listed with a specific margin of victory.
The first thing we look for is the symbol listed in front of the team numbers, whether it’s a plus sign or a minus sign. The minus sign denotes the favorite.
In the example above, Alabama is the favorite to win by 6.5 points. Therefore, in order for them to cover the spread, the Crimson Tide must win by seven points or more.
Meanwhile, the plus sign will be listed beside the underdog. In this example, Auburn is a 6.5-point underdog. This means that if the Tigers win straight up or lose by six points or fewer, they will cover the spread.
The moneyline is similar to the point spread in that the minus sign indicates the favorite while the plus sign indicates the underdog.
However, with the money line, there is no margin of victory listed next to those symbols. That’s because you are betting on is which team will win the game outright.
Alabama is listed as the favorite at -275 odds. This means to win $100 betting on the Crimson Tide to win outright, you need to risk $275. Meanwhile, if you want to take Auburn on the money line then you could risk $100 to win $250.
The total is often referred to as an over-under.
This alludes to the combined final score between the two teams playing. The betting line for the total on the matchup we featured in the previous sections might look something like this:
Auburn Tigers at Alabama Crimson Tide – Total: 56.5
This scenario has the total for this matchup set at 56.5 points scored.
If Auburn and Alabama combine to score 56 points or less, then the total would be considered ‘under’ the number. If the teams combine to score 57 points or more, then the total would be considered ‘over’.
Therefore, if you think it will be a lower scoring game, then you could take the under. If you think it could end up being a shootout, then you could bet on the over and hope they combine to score 57 points or more.
Now that you understand how to read odds and understand which college football bet types are the most popular, it’s time to take a look at some key betting tips that can help you make a profit once the season officially kicks off.
Whenever you are betting on any sport – including college football – it’s important to establish a budget from the outset. The key is to put aside a specific amount of money that you are willing to risk losing in order to make sure that you don’t bet more than you can afford to concede.
Think of it as a form of entertainment. Go in with an amount you’re comfortable to wave goodbye to. If you win, that’s a bonus.
You don’t want to find yourself in a bad position where you end up having to change your lifestyle because of some poor gambling decisions.
College football is an all-day affair. The last thing you want to be doing is throwing around money based on emotion.
You have a full week to prepare for the games, so have a plan going in. There’s nothing wrong with adjusting your plays on Saturday, making a few more or fewer bets on the day of and getting into some live betting.
However, don’t chase your bets, doubling up to win back on losses, and don’t bet on every game just because it’s on TV. Stick to logical decisions based on your research and you’ll do just fine.
Speaking of research, college football gives bettors a great opportunity to win because there is such a big landscape. However, it’s important that you study the lines, know the teams and crunch the data before making your picks.
Sure, everyone probably knows about Alabama but if you can learn the ins and outs of conferences like the Mountain West or Sun Belt, you’ll find the advantages that others overlook. That’s how you can win.
Changes in technology have led to new innovations that have opened the doors for college football fans to bet on live games. With live betting, you have the ability to place wagers at a number of different times throughout a given contest.
Live in-game betting can be a very effective tool since it allows you to adjust to what you are seeing in real time.
Did a favorite suffer a couple of bad breaks early on in a game but they still look like they can rally for the comeback win? What about if an underdog is hanging around in a specific matchup with a legitimate chance to win?
With college football live betting, you can make your decisions on the fly as you get more and more relevant information to any potential outcomes.
Live betting also allows you to get out of a bad bet by hedging it if you feel it is necessary.
Live betting is an entertaining concept. It’s also a very important tool when it comes to making serious money betting on college football over time.
With so many different betting options, it can be hard at times to identify which type of wager is the best choice in any given situation.
Here is a look at the main types of college football betting options.
As we broke down in a previous section, the point spread refers to betting on any matchup with a specific margin of victory in which you select a favorite or an underdog to cover.
This type of handicap is often used when it is very obvious which team will win but a lot less obvious whether or not that winning team can cover the number listed on the point spread.
While the favorite might win the game outright, that doesn’t mean they will cover the point spread. After all, even if the underdog loses they could keep the game close and cover the number. The point spread remains one of the most popular ways to bet on college football.
Unlike the point spread, the money line deals with the outright winner of the game. This means that you don’t have to worry about either team covering. All you need to do is pick the team you think will win and hope for the best.
The over-under refers to the combined score of the teams playing in a specific matchup. You can take the teams to combine for more points than the total set by the sportsbooks.
The other option is to bet on the teams to combine for fewer points than the total set by the sports betting sites. It depends on how you think the game flow will go (low-scoring, high-scoring, etc).
Futures bets refer to the type of bet that is placed on any result that won’t be known until further down the road.
Popular futures bets could include anything from how many wins a team will register in a given regular season to which team will win their conference championship, as well as which team will go on to win the national championship.
Any type of bet that focused on player performances is considered player props. The best way to think about it is to compare it to fantasy performances.
You can bet on a player to score a touchdown or how many yards a quarterback will throw for. All player performance type wagers are considered player props.
Similar to player props, the team props focus on overall performances in a game. However, rather than betting on the actual player numbers, you can bet on the team’s performance.
These types of wagers include everything from whether they will score a touchdown in the first quarter to whether or not they will hit a certain number of points in a given game.
When you are betting on college football, it’s important to make sure that you are using a legal sportsbook that is fully regulated. This is because the offshore sites that aren’t regulated aren’t forced to abide by any laws. If they decide to change the rules or hold onto your money, there’s no recourse for you.
Rather than dealing with the headache of using an offshore sportsbook, make sure you find a legal, regulated sportsbook that you can trust for all of your college football betting needs.
The college football regular season usually begins in the last week of August and ends in early January after the National Championship Game.
The playoffs start after the 17 weeks of regular-season action is over. That’s usually either at the end of December or early January.
The National Championship Game is usually played in the first week in January.
There are a total of 130 teams in the top division in college football.
The underdog is the team that’s not expected to win the game.
The favorite is the team that is expected to win the game.
The Heisman Trophy is annually awarded to the top player in college football.
In the 2018-19 season, there were a total of 40 bowl games.
Each online sportsbook has several options to deposit money into your account for sports betting. Additionally, they have a process for withdrawing your winnings. Of course, they vary by sportsbook. There is a comprehensive look at how to deposit and cashout at Indiana sportsbooks at PlayIndiana.com.