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College Football Betting Advice & Strategies

Football’s premier competition is undoubtedly the NFL. Games in the National Football League attract huge audiences, and not just in America. Interest in the NFL goes well beyond the borders of the United States. There are fans all over the world, and the popularity of the league is showing no signs of dwindling.

Naturally, then, most people choose the NFL when betting on football. It’s the obvious choice to make. Virtually all bookmakers and gambling sites offer a wide range of betting markets on the NFL, and there’s a wealth of accessible information on the league. It’s easy to find what you need when you’re doing research and analysis for your upcoming wagers. And, of course, the media coverage is extensive too.

Bettors who solely focus on the NFL are missing out on some great opportunities though. It’s just as easy to bet on college football (CFB) these days, and there are several valid reasons for doing so: one of the simplest being that it gives you more options to consider. You’re not necessarily going to find good opportunities in the NFL betting markets each and every week, which is why having college football to fall back on is very beneficial.

You don’t want to rush straight in to betting on college football though, especially not if you’re something of a beginner to betting on football in general. The NFL is probably the more straightforward option for beginners.

With that being said, we certainly don’t want to talk you out of betting on college football. It has some advantages that shouldn’t be ignored, even as a beginner. It’s just important to learn more about what’s involved before jumping in, and that’s precisely what this section is for. We’ve compiled a collection of useful strategy articles for betting on CFB, and provided some basic tips too. We’ve also explored the differences between college football and the NFL. Please keep reading to see everything we have to offer.

Strategy Articles for College Football Betting

Preparing for the New College Football Season
Don’t make the mistake of forgetting all about football until the season starts. The close season is the time to be proactive, and make sure you’re ready for when the action starts. Proper preparation can greatly improve your chances of betting success. This article explains why preparation is so important, and includes some useful tips and advice.
Betting on College Football Rivalry Games
The biggest rivalry games in college football can legitimately be called blood games. They generate a lot of excitement among the players and the fans, but also genuine hatred. As a result, they often play out a lot differently from the average game. This is something that must be considered when betting on them, as we explain in this article.
Betting On College Football Championship & Bowl Games
Championship and bowl games are a big deal in college football. There’s a lot at stake, and this can affect both the players and the coaches. That’s something that needs to be considered from a betting perspective. There are also a few other additional factors that come into play too. This article explains them all in detail.
Betting College Football Totals
Betting on college football totals requires a different approach to betting on NFL totals. Although the basics are the same, a few things need to be looked at another way. This is partly down to the simple fact that more points are scored in NCAA games on average. There’s more to it than just that though. This article details what you need to know.
Dealing with Big Spreads in College Football
College football frequently sees very mismatched teams meet on the field. This can result in much bigger spreads than you see in the NFL. Spreads of 30 plus points are not at all uncommon, and they present something of a unique challenge for bettors. This article explains why they’re tough to call, and provides some useful advice for working with them too.
The Importance of Returning Starters in College Football
This article explains why you need to look at the number of returning starters when assessing the overall quality of NCAA football teams. A factor that regularly gets overlooked by bettors, this is actually valuable information. It can certainly help when it comes to predicting how a team is likely to perform.
Assessing First Year Starters in College Football
One of the many especially challenging tasks you’ll face when betting on college football is trying to assess first year starters. This is something you need to do to get a clear idea of how strong a team is likely to be, but it’s not at all easy. The advice in this article should go some way to help though.
High Profile Games vs Obscure Games in College Football
All NFL games are high profile to some extent, but that’s not that the case in college football. Some games are pretty obscure and attract very little attention. There’s still plenty of high profile games too though, so which are the best to bet on? This article addresses the relative pros and cons of betting on high profile and obscure games.

College Football & The NFL Compared

There are many similarities between CFB and the NFL. It’s the same sport after all, and played in fundamentally the same way. There are a few key differences though, which it pays to be aware of. We’ve listed these below. Each one of these has some effect on the way you need to approach your betting.

  • Number of teams
  • Range of quality
  • Frequency of mistakes
  • Media coverage
  • Volume of betting activity

Let’s explore each one of these differences in detail, and see just how much of an impact they have.

Number of teams

Do you know how many NFL teams there are? There’s a good chance you do, as this is pretty common knowledge. But do you know how many college football teams there are? This is not so widely known, so don’t worry if you don’t.

There are 32 NFL teams and 128 NCAAF Division I teams

As you can see, there’s a quite a difference between these two numbers. This is significant for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it means that CFB offers far more betting opportunities. With so many more teams, there are obviously more games to bet on. This is theoretically a good thing, as it increases the chances of finding good spots to bet. However, it’s not practical to think that you can study every single upcoming CFB game throughout an entire season. There are actually TOO many of them in some respects.

The second reason why these numbers are significant is because of the additional research and analysis required when betting on college football. It’s not a huge challenge to have some idea of how good each of the 32 NFL teams are. But assessing the quality of 128 different teams is a major task.

Of course, you don’t HAVE to get familiar with each team. You probably won’t be betting on each and every one of them. But you’ll certainly want to study quite a lot of them if you want to find the best betting opportunities.

Range of quality

This is an important point from a betting perspective, and especially in terms of picking which games to bet on. Please note that we’re not talking about the differences in quality between CFB and the NFL in general. Obviously the professionals play to a higher standard. What we’re talking about is the range of quality within CFB compared to the range of quality within the NFL.

Total mismatches are extremely rare in the NFL. They’re not uncommon in college football.

The gap in quality between the best and the worst NFL teams can be significant. But, even so, it’s not all that often that a team has absolutely no chance of beating their opponents. The so-called poorer teams can, and do, cause upsets from time to time. And they regularly keep games close, even when facing superior opposition. You won’t typically see teams completely run away with games in the NFL.

It’s very different in college football though. The powerhouse teams are often FAR superior to some of the opposition they face. So much so that a blowout can be all but guaranteed. Winning margins of 30 points or more are commonplace throughout the season. The talent gap is simply that much bigger than in the NFL.

Frequency of mistakes

Football is NEVER predictable. The unexpected happens all the time, in both CFB and the NFL. But it happens more often in college football, for one simple reason. Understandably, the college players are far more prone to making mistakes than their professional counterparts. These mistakes can prove costly for college teams, and also for those who are betting on them.

You don’t need to think too much about the likelihood of major mistakes when betting on NFL games. There will be occasions when you figure a team is more likely to make a mistake than their opponents, but even then this is not going to dramatically affect your betting decisions.

When betting on college games, though, the potential effects of mistakes are that much greater. As such, they’re something that you need to give more thought to.

Media coverage

The NFL as a whole receives extensive media coverage. Each individual team also receives plenty of coverage, and so does each game. College football is heavily covered too, but not to the same extent. This is relevant for a couple reasons. First, it means that it’s generally easier to do the necessary research when betting on NFL. There’s simply more information that’s readily available.

Second, it means that some CFB games can go completely under the radar. There are often games that virtually nobody in the media is talking about, as they’re not deemed particularly exciting or relevant. This simply doesn’t happen in the NFL.

There’s no such thing as an obscure game in the NFL. There IS in college football.

So does this mean much from a betting perspective? Does it really matter whether a game is high profile or not? Surprisingly the correct answer here is yet. There are pros and cons to either side. Perhaps the most notable is the fact that the bookmakers often don’t pay much attention to obscure games. This can result in fairly soft lines with value that’s easy to spot. This doesn’t really happen in NFL games, where the lines are virtually always very tight.

Volume of betting activity

This is linked to the last point we just made. The NFL attracts a lot more betting interest than college football. As such, the bookmakers and betting sites typically focus most of their attention on the NFL. They have their best people setting the odds and lines, making them hard to beat. They obviously don’t neglect college football completely, but their CFB lines are perhaps a little easier to beat in general.

The flip side to this is that the NFL lines are more likely to move based on the weight of public money. These moves regularly create opportunities where there’s value to be had by opposing the public. Such opportunities are not common in CFB.

Before we move on, we should mention that we’ve only really scratched the surface when it comes to the differences between CFB and the NFL and how those differences affect things from a betting point of view. This is quite deliberate, because it’s something we cover in far more detail in the following article.

Essential Tips for College Football Betting

There’s a lot you need to learn if you want a real shot of making some money from betting on college football. The articles we linked to earlier will help you enormously; if nothing else, they’ll give you something to think about. Keep in mind, though, that there’s no need to try to learn everything before getting started. At some point you just need to put some money down and start gaining some experience. Because you’ll ultimately learn a lot more from your own experiences than we can ever teach you via the internet. We give you the tools, but it’s up to you to use them effectively.

The best approach when you do get started is to first concentrate on some small things that can make a big difference. We’ve put together a few tips that will help you a lot, and that are also very simple. If you follow these then you’ll start out on the right track.

Follow the smaller conferences

College football is played across several conferences. The standard of these conferences can vary significantly, and so can the attention they get. As you’d expect, it’s the bigger conferences with the better teams that tend to get talked about the most.

The Power Five conferences generally have the best football teams. They don’t necessarily represent the best betting opportunities.

Bettors often gravitate towards the higher profile conferences such as the ones shown above. This is completely understandable. These are what most of the public follow, and they generally get more media coverage. But do you remember what we said earlier about high profile games and obscure games? The same principle applies here. The lines are regularly a little softer in the smaller conferences, so there’s a strong argument for focusing on these.

If you can become a genuine expert in one or two of the less popular conferences, you should have no problem regularly finding good betting opportunities. You might have to dig a little deeper when doing your research, but it’ll be worth the effort in the long run.

Make your bets early

Whenever you spot a line that you like, don’t wait to get your money down. Make your wager as soon as you’ve identified a good opportunity. This is especially important when betting on a favorite.

The reason we suggest this approach is because CFB betting lines are generally a little more volatile than NFL betting lines. This is due to the lower overall volume of betting activity. Odds and lines are more prone to sudden movements when there isn’t a lot of balanced action coming in. Just a few people betting large stakes on a game that’s not seeing much action can easily cause the spread to move by a point or two.

These movement can do one of two things: hurt you or help you. It depends on their direction. As a general rule, though, we think it’s best to take the value when you see it. You can always go in again if the line moves in your favor, and put more money down. But you can’t go back in time and revisit a missed opportunity.

Be wary of road favorites

Over the years there has been much debate over the importance of home field advantage in the NFL. There’s no doubt that it IS an advantage for a team to be playing at home, in most cases at least. But the extent of that advantage has long been argued about. Some think it’s very significant, while others think that it’s barely relevant. We have our own views that are somewhere in between these two extremes. When it comes to CFB though, there’s not really a debate to be had.

Home field advantage REALLY matters in college football.

It’s really important that you remember this when choosing your bets. In particular, be very wary of backing road favorites. In our experience they rarely offer the right level of value. There’s simply too much likelihood that the home team will put in a strong performance on their own field.

Now, we’re not saying avoid road favorites at all costs. Some people do advise exactly that, but it’s not that clear cut for us. Just be cautious is all we’re saying, and always bear in mind the value of home field advantage.

Be careful with statistics

We’ve written an incredibly detailed article on the use of statistics when betting on football. We firmly believe that stats can be a powerful tool for a football bettor. They’re invaluable if used correctly, and can tell us a lot about all kinds of different things.

You need to be careful when using college football stats though. They can easily be skewed by a few games against particularly strong, or particularly weak, opponents. This is technically true in the NFL too, but not to anywhere near the same extent. Remember what we said earlier about the range of quality? A few complete mismatches for a college team and their stats can paint an entirely inaccurate picture.

We still recommend the use of stats for betting on CFB. It’s just very important that you view them in context, and always take into account previous opposition.

Use Online Betting Sites

Our final tip here is the simplest of them all. It’s probably the easiest one to follow too. Don’t underestimate its importance though. There are several significant advantages to using online betting sites for placing your college football wagers, and no major disadvantages. It’s fast, safe and convenient. Plus you typically get better odds and lines, with the added benefit of bonuses and rewards.

The only difficulty you’re likely to encounter when following this tip is in deciding which sites to use. And, as always, we’ve got you covered there anyway. We’ve ranked the best football betting sites for you on the following page.


As recommended by GamblingSites.com

Additional Strategy & Advice

Everything we’ve covered so far relates specifically to betting on college football. That’s kind of the point of this section. The information and advice contained here is directly targeted at those who either bet on college football already or are looking to start. However, we also want to mention some other useful articles from around our website.

The following articles all feature additional advice that we think you’ll benefit from, especially if you’re relatively new to betting. There may not be much of interest here if you’re already an experienced bettor, but even then it might not hurt to take a look. Some of the advice applies to betting on any sport, while some of it applies to football in general (including the NFL).

Managing Your Money Correctly
It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll ever have any level of betting success without fundamentally understanding how to manage your money. This is particularly important when betting on college football, as it’s unpredictable nature makes it harder than usual to consistently pick winners. So please follow the tips in this article.
Record Keeping & Performance Analysis
Keeping at least some record of your sports betting is vital. Ideally, you should keep detailed records of every wager you place and the reasons why you placed it. This will enable you to study past results, analyze your betting performance and find ways to improve. In this article we offer advice for doing all that effectively.
Football Betting Strategy for Beginners
This is a must read if you’re just starting to learn about football betting strategy. It explains several basic aspects that you really ought to know, while also providing some simple tips on implementing strategy effectively. Everything is explained in a very easy to understand way, and complex topics are avoided.
What Affects the Outcome of Football Games
There are more factors that affect football games than most people think. It’s important to know this when you’re trying to predict the outcome of games for the purposes of betting. There’s a lot more to consider than just the relative quality of the two teams. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to consider when betting on football games.
Betting for Value on Football
Every topic we cover in our football betting guide is important to some degree. We’d struggle to name one that’s more important than the one covered in this article. So please read it. It’s absolutely imperative that you understand the concept of value betting if you want to stand a chance of being profitable.
Basic Football Handicapping Techniques
Many bettors mistakenly believe that handicapping is an extremely complex topic, or that you have to already be a betting expert to understand what handicapping involves. Neither of these things are true. Some aspects of handicapping are complicated, but not all of them. And not the basic techniques explained in this article.
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