College Football Odds & Betting Guide

With the rapid growth and rise of the sports betting industry across the country, plenty of wagers are coming in on college football as more states continue to legalize. While the NFL remains king when it comes to betting on sports in the United States, plenty of fans will wager on college football Saturdays to get a little more action.

In this post, you will learn the basics of betting on NCAA football in terms of how it works, and the different bet types you can choose from. Of course, we will also provide some helpful betting tips for those who have yet to place their first wager on college football and for those who have some experience in the matter. In addition to betting information, you will learn the basics of a college football season and more about the sport.

While Virginia does not have an NFL team, plenty of Virginians love to watch and potentially bet on college football. Whether you are reading this prior to getting into sports betting or just want to learn more, you should end up with more knowledge about betting on college football than you had previously.

Let’s dive in to betting on college football games in Virginia.

Where can I bet on college football in Virginia?

At this point, there are no physical locations for sportsbooks in Virginia. Even though sports betting was legalized in April 2020 in the state, it is not yet live in Virginia. Whether it launches in late 2020 or early 2021, sports betting in Virginia will begin through online sportsbooks and sports betting apps.

Once sports betting is live, sports bettors will have the ability to wager on college football. Bettors will not need to live inside Virginia’s borders to place a bet, but they will need to be physically located inside the state to place a bet legally.

VA sportsbook rules for betting college football

Each state is able to provide its own legislation on what is and is not allowed when betting on sports in the individual states. Virginia has a few rules specifically made for college football betting.

For example, sports bettors will not be allowed to wager on in-state college football teams. This prohibition will not apply to tournament games between non-Virginia teams even if a Virginia college team is in the tournament.

Another state rule specifically for college athletics prohibits live betting on games. This is an increasingly popular way for sports bettors to make bets, especially with how much the technology has grown and its ease of use. Live betting, also referred to as in game betting, is when gamblers make bets on a particular game after it started and while it is in progress. That will not be allowed in the state of Virginia when betting on NCAA football.

The last rule of note is that prop betting is not allowed when betting on college football in Virginia. Prop bets could be bets such as which side of the coin will land on the coin toss, and they could be wagers on individual players such as how many receiving yards a team’s wide receiver will have at the end of the game. Regardless, prop bets will be prohibited.

How to bet on college football online in Virginia

With sports betting coming to Virginia very soon, there are plenty of things potential bettors will need to know before they place their first wager in the state. The terminology can be tricky at first, but like with anything, the more you are exposed to it, the more you will become familiar and quickly learn the lingo and understand the basics of college football betting.

Here are some of the common bet types when wagering on football games.

College football bet types:

  • Moneyline: Betting the moneyline is the simplest way to place a bet. When making a moneyline bet, you are simply choosing which team will win a particular game.
  • Point spread: The oddsmakers essentially even the playing field by giving the lesser team a certain number of points as a head start. Bettors can choose whether they think a specific team will win or lose by the given number of points.
  • Totals: Point totals do not care about which team wins or by how many points. All that matters is how many combined points the two teams score. You can choose whether the points will go over or under the projected total.
  • Parlay: Parlays are an all-or-nothing style of betting. Bettors may choose two or wagers to make, and if they are all correct, you win the parlay. If any of the wagers are incorrect, the entire parlay is a loss. The payouts are typically big because parlays are often difficult to win.
  • Teaser: A teaser is a type of parlay bet that involves moving the lines in your favor. In NCAAF college football, bettors typically have the option to move the line 6, 6.5 or 7 points in their direction for multiple games for a better chance to win. Winning a teaser will have a lower payout than a true parlay bet.
  • Round robin: Round robin bets are multiple wagers grouped to create as many two-team parlay combinations as the number of bets allows.

College football betting odds

While all of the above are to some degree common bet types, there are three major bet types for college football when considering a single game: the moneyline, point spread and point total. Let’s take a closer look at these three in greater detail because they are the most popular forms of betting on the sport.

Moneyline betting

A moneyline bet is simply a bet on a team to win a particular game. Your payout is going to be higher if you correctly pick an underdog to win the game than it would be if you bet on a massive favorite to win the game.

Those in the state of Virginia are not allowed to bet on this game since it involves the University of Virginia, an in-state school, but here’s what a bet involving the Cavaliers on the moneyline could look like.

  • North Carolina Tar Heels    -250
  • Virginia Cavaliers                   +210

In this scenario, North Carolina is expected to win, which is signified by the negative odds number and the positive odds for Virginia. To calculate an example payout, it’s easiest to figure things in relation to $100. Since North Carolina is at -250, it would take a $250 bet to win a profit of $100. On the other side, since Virginia is listed at +210 odds, a $100 bet would win $210 if the bet is successful.

Point spread betting

Point spreads are the oddsmakers’ way to even the playing field. With a point spread bet, what matters is the margin of victory, and whether your choice beat the projected margin or kept it within that number.

In this example, let’s take a look at a potential matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Tech Red Raiders.

  • Oklahoma Sooners                -13.5 (-110)
  • Texas Tech Red Raiders     +13.5 (-110)

In this scenario, oddsmakers believe Oklahoma is roughly 13.5 points better than Texas Tech. Typically sportsbooks will attempt to set a number at a point where they aim to get 50% of bets to back each side.

If you believe Oklahoma will win this game by more than 13.5 points, you would pick the Sooners. However, if you believe Texas Tech will lose by fewer than 13.5 points or win the game outright, you would take the Red Raiders to cover the point spread.

To calculate a payout, the odds are usually always around -110 as the typical number, so a $110 bet on either side would become a profit of $100 with a winning bet.

Totals betting

While moneyline and point spread betting take into account how teams perform against each other, you are basically rooting for or against both sides in a point total bet, depending on what you’re betting. Betting on the point total, which can also be referred to as the over/under, means you place a wager on how many points the two teams combine to score. Oddsmakers will set a number, and bettors must choose whether the final result will over or under that number.

In this example, let’s go to the SEC for a game between the Missouri Tigers and Florida Gators.

  • Over        61.5 (-110)
  • Under     61.5 (-110)

If you believe more than 61.5 points will be scored, you would take the over. If you think fewer than 61.5 points will be scored, the under is going to be your best bet.

Like the point spread, odds are primarily going to be around -110 on each side.

Futures betting

Futures betting is another fun way to look at betting on college football. Sports fans are always looking forward to what’s next, and that’s why the day after a major game like the College Football Playoff national title game, the college football betting lines for next year’s champion are already out.

Futures betting refers to betting on an event that might be months in the future, whether it’s how many wins a particular team will finish with in a season or who wins the conference.

Another popular futures bet for college football is who wins the Heisman Trophy. Here’s what the board might look like for that futures bet:

  • Trevor Lawrence   -155
  • Mac Jones                +265
  • Justin Fields            +400
  • Kyle Trask                +1600
  • D’Eriq King               +2500

While Trevor Lawrence is a fairly decent favorite in this example, payouts can be quite large when making futures bets because so many things can happen in the time leading up to when the bet will be decided, and there are so many options to choose from. This is just a list of the top five, but there are many more players to bet on to win the award.

College football betting tips and strategy

So you know the basics of college football betting at this point, but where should you start? Or where should you look to improve? Successful gamblers find their systems and formulas that work well for them when evaluating players and teams. Here are some tips when betting on college football.

  • Identify your niche. This is a good way to go, especially if you’re just getting started. You could start out by researching and becoming an expert on a particular conference. The fewer teams you need to worry about, the more dialed in you’ll be when compared to another bettor who might be looking at 50 games on the slate.
  • Evaluate styles of play. This is especially important in college football because offenses are much more dynamic and have a lot more variances than offenses in the NFL. Identifying styles of play is also an important way to analyze how many points will be scored for an over/under wager.
  • Play safe. This is a broad tip for any sports betting, but sports bettors should not be wagering any amount of money they would feel uncomfortable losing. Sports betting is designed to be entertaining and fun, so it makes sense to keep bets small, especially when first starting out.

How many games are in a college football season?

The college football season is a bit less structured than most major sports in the United States. In a normal season, most teams will play 12 regular season games with two teams competing in the conference title game for all 10 FBS conferences (the highest level of college football).

Teams that win six games become bowl eligible and may compete in a bowl game to close out their season.

The College Football Playoff consists of four teams selected by a committee to play for a shot at the national title. The two semifinal games are held on the same day in a doubleheader, and the two winners advance to the national championship game, which is typically played on a Monday night in mid-January.

What college football teams are in Virginia?

While the state of Virginia does not have an NFL team, it does have some proud college football programs with four competing at the FBS level. Though, again, remember that you will not be allowed to bet on these teams in Virginia. The Virginia Tech Hokies compete in the ACC along with the Virginia Cavaliers as the two high-profile teams from the state. Additionally, the Old Dominion Monarchs compete in Conference USA, and the Liberty Flames operate as an independent program.

Notable NFL players from Virginia college football teams

  • Bruce Smith, Virginia Tech: Defensive end Bruce Smith is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame after putting together an incredible career in his 19 seasons in the NFL playing for the Buffalo Bills from 1985-1999 and the Washington Redskins from 2000-03. After leaving Virginia Tech, he was the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 1985 NFL draft. Smith was part of four AFC Championship teams. Smith still holds the league’s all-time sack lead with 200.
  • Michael Vick, Virginia Tech: Michael Vick was one of the most exciting players to play the quarterback position with his ability as a runner during his NFL career. He was drafted with the first overall pick of the 2001 NFL draft. Though he was exciting on the field, Vick ran into some trouble off it. Most notably he was involved in a dog-fighting ring, which sent him to prison, before he returned to the NFL to finish off his 13-year career that included stints with the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets.
  • Ronde Barber, Virginia: Ronde Barber played all of his 16 NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1997-2012. He played the cornerback position and was named first-team all-pro three times and made five Pro Bowls throughout his career. Barber led the league with 10 interceptions in the 2001 season and finished his career with 47 picks. He was a part of a very good Buccaneers defense that helped the franchise win its only Super Bowl in team history in 2002 over the Oakland Raiders.