The main reason we’ve made this odds page is so that gamblers can look at the lines and shop around. Most casual bettors will simply have one account and bet whatever lines are in that sportsbook. However, most pros will have accounts at multiple sportsbooks (since there’s no added cost in doing so) and bet the best line every time.
If you’re betting on Alabama to cover a point spread and they are -2.5 at one sportsbook and -3.5 at another, that extra point could be the difference between you winning and losing your bet. Since it doesn’t cost you anything, you should consider having multiple accounts, so that you’re always getting the best line and improving your chances of winning.
The point spread in college football is what is known as either a handicap or a margin of victory. If that sounds complicated, let’s just use an example to clarify:
LSU Tigers +6.5
Alabama Crimson Tide –6.5
The first thing you’ll want to note here is the plus or minus sign. The minus sign indicate that a team is favored and that they have to win by that margin. In other words, Alabama would have to win by more than 6.5 points for you to win your bet on them. If they win by seven, eight, nine, 10 or more, you win your bet. If they win by six or less, you’d lose.
On the other side, the plus sign indicates just how many points you’re getting. In LSU’s case, it’s 6.5. If they lose by six or less or win outright, you win your bet.
An easy way to do the math is to take the final score and subtract or add the points. If you bet Alabama -6.5 and they win 40-10, you would subtract 6.5 (40 – 6.5 = 33.5) and the final score would be 33.5-10. They still won the game. If you had LSU, you would add the 6.5 points because it’s +6.5. If LSU loses 13-10, you would add 6.5 points to their score, which makes the final 16.5-13 for LSU, which means they win on the spread.
While the spread can sometimes be a bit confusing for beginners, the moneyline is very easy to understand: this is just the outright winner of the game. If the team you bet on wins the game, you win your bet. What changes here is the odds. Here’s an example:
Let’s continue from our example from above where Alabama was a 6.5-point favorite. Remember, on the spread, they have to win by seven or more for you to win your bet. On the moneyline, you have a bigger window of opportunity because they can win by just one and you’d still win your bet; on the spread, you’d lose. As a result of you gaining that benefit, you have to pay with the odds. In this case, -300 means that for every $300 you bet, you’d win $100. You don’t have to bet exactly that amount but that’s the payout ratio.
On the other hand, with LSU, if you bet the win outright instead of the spread, you’re losing the benefit of the points. Remember, on the spread, they can lose by six or less and you’d win your bet. On the moneyline, they have to win the game for you to win your bet. Since that’s viewed as less likely to happen, the oddsmakers will pay you more for taking on the risk. In this case, a $100 bet on LSU will pay $250.
If you’re not sure about who’ll win the game or cover the point spread, another way to bet on a college football contest is the total. This is just a number that’s set by the oddsmakers for the combined score of the game. You have to determine if the two teams will score more or less than that number.
LSU vs Alabama
In this case, the over-under is set at 55.5. If you think it’s going to be a shootout with a final score like 45-35 or 31-30, you’d bet the over. If you think the game will be a defensive struggle with a final score of 17-10 or 27-17, you’d bet the under.
The first few types of bets we’ve talked about on this page all focus on the day of the game. All of those bets are graded once the game is over. However, there’s a type of long-term bet that’s known as futures, which is a wager where you bet on something that’s going to be decided down the line. Here are a few examples:
- Betting on how many wins a team will finish with before the seasons starts
- Betting on a team to win the National Championship after Week 4
- Betting on which team will win the Pac-12 North Division after Week 1
When you bet these lines, you’ll usually see something like this:
Odds To Win National Championship
Florida State +5000
What you’re looking at is the teams that are on the board and the odds associated with them. The better the team or the more likely they’re expected to win the championship, the shorter the odds (the smaller the payout). The less a team is expected to win, the greater the longshot and the more they’ll payout if they win. For example, a $100 bet on Alabama would pay $350 but a $100 bet on Florida State would pay $5000 if they won.
The downside with futures is they usually take a while to decide and your money is locked up. The upside is that if you’re right, you usually get a big payday.
Props are a type of side bet or alternate bet where you focus on the performance of the players or teams instead of the final score. Some examples of props could bet:
-Betting on how many catches a player will have in a game
-Betting on which quarter will be the highest-scoring (combined score)
-Betting on how many field goals a team will have in the game
If you’re not sure who’ll win the game outright, you can look at the props to where you find value.
Live betting on college football is one of the most popular ways of wagering on the game these days. Even with all the game stats offered at betting sites, sometimes it’s tough to figure out who to bet on before the game starts as there are a lot of factors to consider. However, live betting gives you the opportunity to bet on the action as it is transpiring. The betting odds change in-game based on what is happening and you can decide to jump in and bet on the odds at any point. That includes live lines on the moneyline, total and point spread all the way throughout the game.
Another great aspect of live betting is the opportunity to get rid of a bet. Let’s say you bet on Alabama before the game started but they’re looking terrible and you know you’ll lose. You can bet against them in-game on the live line and at least get some money back. Although live betting is a lot of fun and is quite the rush, using it to hedge is one of the smart uses of it.
Learn more about betting on college football and other sports:
How to Bet on Sports