College Football Bowl Odds & Betting Lines

Do you know what’s better than betting on college football in the regular season? Betting on college football in the bowl season! Now that sports betting has been deemed legal in the great state of Virginia, residents can partake in fully legalized wagering on the biggest bowl games made available at retail and online sportsbooks.

Whether in person at brick and mortar locations within a casino or on the go via the online sportsbook or mobile apps, you can now be a part of every big matchup of the college bowl season. Feel like throwing a few bucks down on the Rose Bowl? No problem! How about the semifinals and finals of the College Football Playoff? You got it! That is unless a Virginia-based team just so happens to partake in one of those bowl games, unfortunately. Hopefully that changes down the road. But for now, every team located in the other 49 states will be made available to bet on, be it the point spread, moneyline, total, futures, or props.

With so many different Virginia-based sportsbooks competing for your business, it won’t be hard to find a great deal that allows for you to enjoy every second of betting on the college bowl season.

From DraftKings to FanDuel to BetRivers and numerous others, you’re destined to find the right home to book your bets. Once you do, you’ll be well on your way towards being a part of all the fast-paced action. With any luck, you’ll add to your bottom line by picking more winners than losers.

Whether a professional, or a novice bettor just entering the sportsbetting landscape, this piece will offer up everything you need to know before embarking on the challenge of conquering the college football bowl season.

Top VA sportsbook apps for betting on bowl games

It’s a bit murky as to which sports betting operators will be granted a license and, with it, the permission to book action from residents of Virginia right now. The picture should get a bit more clear in the first quarter of 2021, but we do know as many as 18 online sportsbooks could be up and running in the very near future. Until then, here’s a short list of the favorite sports betting apps likely to open their doors at the outset.

DraftKings Sportsbook

You’ve seen the TV ads. You’ve heard the promos on the radio. They come at you from all directions with reckless abandon. That’s because DraftKings is in fact the king; be it in the DFS landscape and now sports betting. This company dominated the daily fantasy sports sector much like Amazon has dominated online shopping.

In other words, they know what they’re doing. DraftKings Sportsbook goes well out of its way to create the best user experience a sports bettor could ever ask for. Their promos, boosts and killer app are a must for soon-to-be Virginia sports bettors!

FanDuel Sportsbook

Always the bridesmaid and never the bride in the DFS landscape, FanDuel has really turned the pressure up on DraftKings in the sports betting landscape. Backed by deep pockets and a number of deals already struck to be the primary sports betting provider of numerous professional sports teams, FanDuel Sportsbook and its state-of-the-art online and app experience are a must for Virginia bettors looking to take in a first rate experience when betting on college football bowl games.

PointsBet Sportsbook

If odds boosts and reduced juice get your juices flowing, then you’ll most definitely want PointsBet Sportsbook in your repertoire. The Australian-based company has really turned heads since setting up shops across the country, and it mainly has to do with the points betting option it brought to the table. If you absolutely love a side or total, you owe it to yourself to check it out immediately!

BetRivers Sportsbook

Word on the street is that BetRivers will likely be the first retail sportsbook to open its doors in a brick and mortar location. That’s been the case in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, and New Jersey, so Virginia shouldn’t be much different, especially with a supposed deal already in place for it to occupy the future casino in Portsmouth. Backed by one of the only loyalty programs in the industry, BetRivers Sportsbook is sure to make a fantastic first impression.

Types of bets to place on Bowl games

With an abundance of wager types made available for sports bettors to utilize, it could become a bit overwhelming for beginners to fully grasp exactly what they’re getting themselves into. Whether investing in the stock market or a retirement fund, it always makes sense to know the industry verbiage whenever it comes to putting your hard-earned money on the line.

With that, the following are the most popular wager types that will be dealt with once an account is opened and deposited into at a sportsbook in the state of Virginia. Once you get a grasp of what each and every one of these bets are, you’ll know them like the back of your hand.

Point spread

This is the handicap linemakers attach to one team over another. Let’s say the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are taking on a team from the Sun Belt Conference. For this example, we’ll go with the South Alabama Jaguars. Since Notre Dame recruits some of the best talent in the country and South Alabama doesn’t, it wouldn’t be fair to those booking the bets to allow their customers to only pick the game winner and pay out at nominal —110 vigorish — the percentage charged to accept the bet.

Instead, they attach a point spread to both teams. In this example, let’s say Notre Dame has been lined as a 37-point favorite which means a bet on the Fighting Irish minus the points would need to see them win the game by 38 points or more. A win by anything less would produce a losing ticket. That is unless they win by exactly 37 points which would create a push that refunds all monies wagered on the bet. Should you think the number to beat is a bit steep, you’ll want to lay your money down on the underdog at +37. If the Jaguars go on to either pull the shocker and win outright, or lose by 36 points or less, you’d come out a winner.


If solely interested in just picking the winner of a game, then moneyline bets are for you! There is no handicap when it comes to betting this wager type. However, you have to pony up a good chunk of change when betting on favorites. You can also get a whole lot more bang for your buck if you successfully predict a big underdog to win the game outright. For this example, let’s dissect a hypothetical Big Ten matchup between the Indiana Hoosiers and Michigan Wolverines.

Linemakers have installed the maize and blue decided 10-point home favorites to come out the victor. With that, Michigan would be installed around a -500 favorite just to win the game, whereas Indiana would clock in with College Bowl odds of around +400. A wager on Michigan to simply just win the game would cost $500 to bring back $100. A winning bet would procure a comeback of $600 back into the account.

However, a loss would cost you a pretty penny. If you have eyes for the underdog instead, and they went on to pull the upset, a $100 wager on the Hoosiers would bring back $400, meaning $500 would return to your account if Indiana proved to be the little engine that could. Should they fail to win the game, it would only end up costing you $100.


This type of wager allows for the lumping of individual bets into one big group. Each bet is otherwise referred to as a leg. If every leg of the parlay comes in, the bet will pay off handsomely. Most online sportsbooks accept parlay wagers of two to upwards of 15 teams. The payoffs increase the larger the parlay gets. Normally, a two-team parlay pays off at 2.65/1, meaning a $100 parlay bet would pay out $265 at nominal -110 juice for an overall comeback into the account of $365 including the original stake.

Utilizing this form of bet with money lines could drastically reduce the amount of juice you’re forced to lay with heavy favorites, while at the same time create memorable ticket cashes when grouping a number of heavy underdogs into the same parlay.

For example, let’s say the Clemson Tigers have been installed as a 3.5-point favorite to win a game. The hook scares you, so instead of laying the points you look to their -152 money line instead. To offset being forced to lay $152 to win $100, you can pair the Tigers up with another short favorite or go with an underdog instead to really sweeten the pot. Pairing the bet on Clemson with another bet at -110 juice would create a payback of $217 on a $100 wager for an overall return of $317 should both legs of the parlay cash in. By doing this, you save yourself $162 while at the same time increase the overall payout, as opposed to betting into each leg of the parlay separately.


This wager type is like a parlay in that every leg needs to come in for the bet to ultimately pay off. Sports bettors also benefit with greater odds the bigger the teaser is. There is, however, a major difference between the two wager types. With a parlay, you’re stuck with the current odds offered by a sportsbook. With a teaser, you can increase your chances of cashing in by manipulating the point spread a given number of points dependent upon the amount selected to move the line.

Let’s say you love Ohio State only laying 3-points. A 6-point teaser would allow you to turn the Buckeyes from a field goal favorite into a 3-point underdog. The lowest teaser allowed would be a two-teamer, while most sportsbooks allow for up to a seven-team teaser that would pay out at upwards of +800 should each and every leg come through.

There is some strategy that goes along with this wager type. Always look to move favorites down below three points and underdogs above seven points. This strategy is tried and true and will come in handy if you plan on making money when routinely betting teasers.

Guide to college football bowls schedule

The college bowl season normally begins a few weeks after Championship Weekend. Lesser-tiered bowls like the Boca Raton and Famous Idaho Potato Bowls usually kick off the festivities. These games pit lesser tiered teams from conferences all over the country.

It doesn’t start to get really interesting until the tail end of December when the Holiday Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Liberty Bowl come around. Then the real fun begins in the New Year with bowl games slated to go early in the morning through the night with both semifinal matchups of the College Football Playoff taking place.

Even more college bowl action is slated for the following day with the Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Orange Bowl offering up some tantalizing matchups to sink your teeth into. Wrapping it all up will be the final matchup of the season when the victors of the CFP semis square off in the national championship game.

Eligibility for college football playoff

Bowl-eligibility is automatically granted once a team reaches six wins. However, the increase of bowl game options forced the NCAA to reduce the criteria needed to punch a ticket to the second season. At minimum, a .500 record must be attained in order to qualify.

That stipulation has, however, changed in recent times. In order to qualify for the College Football Playoff, the four teams accepted must go on to have exceptional seasons. In years past, many of the teams that qualified for the CFP were undefeated. There have, however, been numerous one-loss teams of late. It basically just all depends on when that game was lost and what the team did following that defeat.

NCAAF bowl top team rivalries and grudge matches

As dominant Clemson and Alabama have been over the last decade, their recent rivalry is the only one that matters in the current college football landscape. Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney have squared off a total of four times since the CFP became a thing. The series is split at two games apiece, but the Tigers have come out the point spread victor at a 3-1 clip. The first two meetings were very competitive, with Alabama winning 45-40 as 6.5-point favorites back in 2016, and Clemson getting its revenge the following season by logging the 35-31 outright win and cover once again as 6.5-point underdogs to claim its first national title since the turn of the century.

Alabama mopped the floor with Clemson the following season on its way to another national title, but then Clemson returned the favor the following season to win its second championship in the last three seasons. The two programs look to once again be headed on a collision course with each qualifying for the 2020 College Football Playoff.

What are the biggest college bowl games of all time?

  • Sugar Bowl: Established in 1935 with deep ties to the SEC, the Sugar Bowl was first played in Tulane Stadium on the site that Paul Forcher’s plantation once stood where granulated sugar was first formed from cane syrup — hence the name.
  • Fiesta Bowl: The now defunct WAC got sick and tired of having their teams bypassed by the major bowls, so they went out and created their own back in 1971. Runners-up of major conferences along with major independents normally partake in this bowl game.
  • Orange Bowl: Along with the Sugar, the Orange Bowl dates back all the way to 1935, making it the second oldest in the country. Currently played at Hard Rock Stadium, the game has ties with the ACC where it would send its conference champion so long as it didn’t qualify for the CFP. It’s based in the Sunshine State where oranges grow by the bushels!
  • Peach Bowl: Now played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is one of six locations the College Football Playoff committee deemed a possible location for the esteemed event. If it doesn’t host a CFP matchup, major conference champions or prestigious runners-up would square off.
  • Rose Bowl: “The Granddaddy of Them All” is the oldest bowl game currently running, having first lined two teams up against one another way back in 1902. It pits members of the Pac-12 and Big Ten against one another when not in rotation of hosting one of the CFP semifinal matchups every three seasons. The name stems from the Rose Parade held before kick-off.
  • Cotton Bowl: Held in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex since 1937, the Cotton Bowl Classic normally pits teams from the Big 12 and SEC up against one another when it’s not in rotation as a venue for the College Football Playoff. Its namesake comes from the fact that Texas is the leading producer of cotton in the US.

College Football Bowl FAQ

130 teams partake in division I college football. All are eligible to play in a college bowl game, provided they meet the parameters of qualification. With that, there are anywhere between 25 and 40 bowl games dependent, so many of those teams are forced to sit at home for the holidays.

In mid- to late-December.

The College Football Playoff matchups are arguably the best bowl games because they pit the best of the best against one another, but lesser tiered bowls like the Sun Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, and Independence Bowl carry a lot of weight as well. None of them hold a candle to the Rose Bowl however — it has its own parade for crying out loud!