Brief NCAA Football History
On November 6, 1869, about a hundred spectators watched as two teams of student-athletes met in what is regarded as the first college football game between Princeton and Rutgers. The sport has grown to entertain millions of fans every season from those humble beginnings and has left a major mark on American sports culture.
Seven years later, representatives from four Ivy League schools, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Columbia, met to make the rules for what we now recognize as American football. Walter Camp, known as the father of American football, created the rules that fans are familiar with today, such as the system of downs, the center snap to the quarterback, and the line of scrimmage. He also proposed that there be eleven players on each side.
The game’s popularity was growing by 1903 when Harvard built the first big concrete stadium specifically for college football. However, by 1905, many called for the game to be banned because of its brutality.
As a result, several colleges put an end to their football programs, and others threatened to do the same. This activity led to the creation of the NCAA, which took over the power of changing the rules and setting up the procedures under which each school would run its football programs.
Since the emergence of the popularity of the NFL, NCAA football has remained prevalent, with vast numbers of fans following the programs of major universities. The teams regularly play in huge stadiums, some of which exceed capacities of 100,000 fans.
Introduction to NCAAF Betting
The most common type of bet for football games, especially NCAA football games, are point spread bets. Every game has a point spread in NCAA football, from the big conferences down to FCS games. Points are taken away from the favorite, indicated by a “-”, and are given to the underdog, indicated by a “+”.
For example, if Alabama is home against Vanderbilt, they will (hypothetically) be listed at -34½ and Vanderbilt will (hypothetically) be +34½ . The line will likely be at -110 odds, meaning you need to wager $110 on Alabama to win by 35 and to win your $100 (collect $210). In this scenario, if Alabama wins, 52-3, and covers the -34½ point number, you win.
The underdog doesn’t have to win the game for you to win your bet. They just have to cover the spread. In the above example, if you took Vanderbilt +34½ and it lost to Alabama, 34-0, you still won your bet as Vandy covered the spread.
NCAA Football Betting Odds
When betting on NCAA football, the point spread is one of the most popular bets. The spread designates the favorite with a minus (-) sign. The underdog is always represented by the plus (+) sign in front of the odds. Here’s an example of how that would look:
Georgia +5.5 (-110)
Alabama -5.5 (-110)
In the example, Alabama is the favorite, and Georgia is the underdog. A bet on the favorite means they must win the game by six points or more for the bet to be a winner. A bet on Georgia means they would either have to win the game or lose by five points or less.
When betting on the moneyline in NCAA football, the bettor wagers on the team they think will win the game. The sportsbook determines the favorite and underdog by giving odds. For example:
In this example, Alabama is favored over Georgia. Therefore, a $100 wager on Georgia would pay $180 since they are the underdog. For a bet on Alabama, the bettor would have to place a $150 wager to win $100.
Bettors can make a wager on the total number of points scored by both teams in the game. Here’s an example of how the line would look:
Alabama (-150) O/U 42
Placing a bet on the over means the bettor believes the total points scored by both teams combined will be more than 42 points while betting on the under is a wager that the total points scored will be less than 42.
How to Bet on NCAA Football
There are many reasons why fans like the NCAAF betting. The convenience of betting online is more prevalent than ever, making it ideal for both new and experienced bettors.
There is also a huge selection of bets besides the standard point spread, moneyline, and total bets. There are hundreds of different elements of an NCAA football game to wager.
Tips, Tricks and Advice For NCAAF Betting
Home-field advantage is usually worth 2½-to-three points in college football, so it’s important to make sure the game isn’t at a neutral site. Also, see how far the visiting team is traveling, and if they will have a good contingent of fans. The same goes for whether thr home team has a loud and intimidating fan base.
Also, beware the rivalry games. Records and rankings don’t mean much when Auburn hosts Alabama, Texas plays Oklahoma or Oregon State hosts Oregon. When records are lopsided, there can be big spreads in these games. However, often these games are the “Super Bowl” for an underdog who can ruin a rival’s season with an unexpected win.
As with any game or sport played outdoors, check the weather. Early in the college season, extreme heat can have an impact on athletes getting tired early and not scoring as much. Rain often has an impact, especially during hurricane season in the southeast. Conversely, when it/s the end of the season, it’s not uncommon to see games played in the snow.
Really bad weather can hamper teams, with less scoring and lower totals. It may also heavily help the home team, especially if the visiting team isn’t used to playing in snow, cold or heat.
Injuries are another factor. Get a good look at the injury report, which can usually be found online or through reporters covering the team on social media. Injuries at key positions on offense (quarterback, running back, wide receiver) can impact the point spread of a game.
Trying to consistently win at NCAA football point spread betting requires doing your homework. The players change from year-to-year, so the only consistent thing about college football is the coaches (until they leave). Each season with homework and research, fans can find those teams ready to break through and surprise.
Do not be afraid of the larger spreads here, either. That is the nature of the beast in college football. This isn’t the NFL, where most games are between -2½ and -7½ . There will be a lot of three- or four-touchdown favorites, some even higher, and a lot of times, those big favorites cover and become a moneymaker. There still can be value in the big favorites, however you just have to do your research and find the right ones who are primed to cover.
Do not rely solely on statistics to make your bets and pick your teams, as they can be wildly misleading. You have to know a team’s previous schedule, who it has played and what system the opponent(s) used before knowing what those stats mean.
A passing team is going to have crazy quarterback and wide-receiver numbers while scoring a lot of points. Conversely, a running team has the same sort of rushing stats. A team playing a soft schedule will have great defensive numbers, while a team that’s played a challenging schedule will have lesser stats.
Final Thoughts On NCAAF Betting
Point-spread betting is the best way to bet on NCAA football in the fall and, with so many teams and games, there are more options than betting on the NFL. This brings both risks and rewards, so shop around for the best value as college football lines bounce around more than NFL lines.
However, the bottom line, as always, is to be very knowledgeable. The tips, tricks and advice here for betting NCAA football will help, but knowing the teams and conferences inside out is always the best way to prepare.
NCAA Football Betting FAQ
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