How to bet on NCAAF games
Whether you’re looking for college football point spreads, totals, moneylines, quarter and halftime lines, props, or conference championship and College Football Playoff futures, Hard Rock Digital is the place to be for online college football betting.
Even if you’re just learning how to bet on college football, you’re probably familiar with the point spread. This is the most common way to bet on football. Instead of betting on one of the two teams in a game to win straight-up, the favorite (the team considered most likely to win) is given a handicap of a certain number of points. This is known as the spread, and you bet on one of the two teams to cover the spread rather than win outright. As an example, let’s go back in time to the famous 2006 Rose Bowl between the No. 1 USC Trojans and the No. 2 Texas Longhorns, who were both undefeated heading into this National Championship Game. The Trojans, with Pete Carroll as head coach and Matt Leinart at quarterback, were favored by seven points; for USC to cover the spread, they would need to beat Texas by more than seven. As the underdogs, the Longhorns could lose by up to six points and still cover the spread. A 7-point Trojans victory would result in a push, with all monies returned to the bettors.
Here’s how the game in question would have looked on the college football betting board:
Texas +7 (–110)
USC –7 (–110).
The Trojans were the designated home team for the 2006 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, so they were listed at the bottom. The “–7” next to their name means that USC was a 7-point favorite, while the “+7” means that the Longhorns were 7-point underdogs. Next to those numbers, you’ll see “(–110)” to the right. These odds, also known as the juice, refer to what bettors pay when they place their wagers. In this case, as it usually is, the odds were –110 for either team, meaning you’d bet $110 to win $100, or $11 to win $10, or any multiple thereof. Once the dust had cleared on this exciting game, it was the Longhorns winning 41-38 on a fourth-down, last-minute touchdown run by QB Vince Young from eight yards out. But Texas already had this game covered from a betting standpoint. Even if the Trojans had stopped Young from scoring, barring a miraculous TD return of their own, USC would have won 38-33 – not quite enough to cover the 7-point spread.
Proposition bets, or prop bets for short, have been around since ancient times. When it comes to NCAA football betting, props ask you to wager on just about anything other than the actual outcome of a game. You can bet on game, team and player props, which cover relatively common things like how many touchdown passes a quarterback will throw. You can also bet on season props like who will win the Heisman Trophy, or special props like what color of “sports drink” will get dumped over the winning coach at the National Championship Game. Note that some props can be added to your parlay cards, as can the next bet type on our list.
The moneyline is the original way to bet on football, and it remains in use to this day. This is where you bet on one team or the other to win straight-up; in the very rare event of a tie, your wager is graded as a push.
Here’s what the moneyline for the 2006 Rose Bowl would have looked like:
Again, USC were the favored team, with the negative sign next to their odds. In order to win $100, you would have bet $360 on the Trojans. On the flip side, a $100 bet on the underdog Longhorns (with the positive sign next to their odds) would have paid back $280 in profit if they won outright – which they did.
With a parlay, you take a series of single bets (between two and 12), and you combine them into one wager. If all your picks come true, you get paid exponentially more than you would have betting them all individually. But if any one pick goes sour, you lose the parlay. Any pushes are discarded as the parlay gets reduced; for example, a 3-team parlay with a push in the results is turned into a 2-team parlay, and graded as such. When we use the word team in reference to a parlay, it doesn’t have to be a team that you’re betting on. It can be a total, as well, and you can sometimes even parlay some props and futures. You can even combine the spread and total from a single game, or the moneyline and the total – but not the spread and the moneyline. Pro tip: Try parlaying the favorite and the Over from the same game, or the underdog and the Under. Favorites tend to cover more often in higher-scoring games, and high totals are a pretty good indicator that there’s going to be plenty of offense on display.
Instead of betting on an event that’s just about to happen, you can bet on something that won’t be resolved until later – like who wins the National Championship. That’s what NCAAF futures betting is all about. Once the title has been awarded, or even slightly beforehand, the futures odds for the next season will be posted; not every FBS team will have title odds attached, but most of them will. You can place these bets year-round, and you’ll be paid when the season ends and the results are determined, so this is a long-term investment if you do it early in the year. Futures odds for conference titles and division titles are also available.