College Football Betting 101

College Football Betting 101

The start of a new college football season is one of the most anticipated sporting events in America among its huge legion of fans, but it is also a golden opportunity for anyone who loves to wager on sports to build their bankroll.

There are many similarities between college football and the NFL when it comes to handicapping the matchups, but understanding the facets of the game that are unique to the collegiate level can make all the difference in the world between winning and losing money on your picks.

The pros have set rosters that remain fairly intact from season to season, but at the collegiate level, constant turnover of players is a way of life. A winning team from the previous season that is returning the majority of its skill players on offense and the bulk of its defense will have a huge advantage over a team that has a large number of fresh faces on both sides of the ball. This spread grows even wider if the experienced team has its starting quarterback as well.


Rivalry games are what makes college football so exciting, but they can also be the great equalizer when it comes to betting on the favorite. The majority of the players on the field in any college football game are playing for the sheer love of the sport. Emotions often run high and many times this lead to an underdog playing much better than advertised. You should also be well aware of the past betting trends in a rivalry matchup. In an obvious mismatch, the favorite might still come away with the straight-up win, but that does not mean it will cover against the spread. You want to especially focus on last season's outcome between two bitter rivals as revenge is a huge factor at this level.

Home field advantage at the collegiate level will often times carry much more weight than the three points that might be reflected in the game's pointspread. Some teams play much better at home, while some teams traditionally struggle on the road. This is another area where you need to really stay on top of the recent betting trends for a team's results at home and on the road. Players and even coaches come and go, but for some teams these kind of trends can linger for years.

Betting on winning coaches is a strategy that also carries some merit. Successful college programs with a long-time head coach at the helm are a proven commodity that can often time lead to better predictability. Sometimes these coaches get a reputation for piling it on by running up the score against some of its lesser opponents. Some very successful head coaches are only worried about getting the win and are more than happy to rest their starters if the game starts to get out of hand. It is not enough to just bet on a team because it has a good coach, you have to take the time to study the betting trends surrounding their tendencies over the years.

Many times injuries are not as big of a factor at the college level since the difference between the starter and the player behind them on the depth chart is not that wide. That being said, that rule does not always apply at the quarterback position or with some of the other key skill positions on offense. A quality quarterback that can run a coach's offense while scoring points and avoiding turnovers is worth their weight in gold at this level. Do not assume that the player waiting in the wings to get their turn will automatically have the same ability to run the show. Teams that love to run the ball will often have several backs that can get the job done. Teams that turn to the ground game because they have an exceptional running back carrying the ball are very susceptible to injury should that particular player go down.

It is well worth the time to get to know a team's depth chart on both sides of the ball so you can start riding the ones that have enough talent to simply plug-in next player on the list should the starter go down. The desired end result should be little or even no drop-off in that position's level of play.