College Football Betting Strategy

One of the most exciting and profitable sports to bet in the US is college football. With so many games to choose from and so many different types of bets, the opportunities to find and exploit value are endless. Sometimes, though, navigating all of these different choices of who and what to bet can create their own challenges.

In this guide, we’re going to help you cut through all of the noise and help you decide who and what you should be betting for the best chance of turning a nice profit. We’re going to give you all of the tips and tricks that our team of college football betting experts uses every season to win big and turn a profit. While you won’t instantly be an expert when you finish reading these tips, you will have all the tools you need to make it to the top. Couple that with good research and some hard work, and you’ll be a pro betting college football in no time.

Be Wary of Statistic Sample Size

As we’re sure you already know, the key to beating any sport is effective research. By using statistics, you can help to shape an accurate prediction of how a game is going to go. But this is only true if the statistics you are using are effective. Specifically, we’re talking about sample size. In college football, a lot of players are brand new. Freshman and redshirt freshman are going to have stats from the current season and nothing else.

The problem is that unless you take note of how many games statistics are from, they aren’t necessarily going to make a big deal about it. If you’re using statistics that are from only a couple of games, the numbers are going to be near pointless. When you’re betting the NFL, you have stats on the players from their years in college as well as the games they have played in the NFL. With college football, though, the only other stats you are going to have would be from high school if you can get your hands on them and if you even think they’re worthwhile to look at. We can tell you that they’re most likely worthless to look at for betting college games.

This does not mean to go and ignore all of the stats and only bet with your gut. Just be aware that some of the stats you’re seeing might be worthless, or they might not be as strong as you’d like for them to be. Work with what you have and just be aware.

Be Prepared for Big Spreads

When you’re betting on the NFL, you rarely are going to see very many double-digit spreads. When you do, they’re almost always in the low teens. With college football, though, it’s not uncommon to see double-digit spreads that climb up into the 20s and 30s. If you’re making the transition to betting college football from pro football, you’re going to need to be aware of this.

Strategically speaking, this can make betting on these games with giant spreads challenging. Even though they are challenging, it does not mean that there isn’t a lot of value there. Approach these games the same way you would other games and look to see if there is any value in the spread.


The betting public loves to bet the favorites in these games. Even though the spreads are huge, they have a tendency to fire on the favorites. Due to the fact that the betting pools in college football are lower than those in the NFL, this can cause a pretty quick movement in the line.

What does this mean for you if you want to bet these big spread games? Well, if you’re planning on betting the favorite, you should probably lean heavily towards betting as early as possible. The public is most likely going to hammer the favorite, especially if they are a big name, high-profile team. Get your bet in quickly before the line shifts too far to be favorable to you.

If you’re planning on betting the underdog, you might be inclined to wait until right before game time to make your bet. The public will most likely be betting the favorite, and the public loves to bet late. People that are recreational bettors don’t think to get their bets in early in the week. They can usually be found making their bets last minute right before game time. If they’re following trends and betting the favorite, this means the line is going to move to spot a lot more points to the underdog right before the game starts.

Waiting for this opportunity can be a smart tactic. Just be careful that you don’t wait too long, and the other sharps doing the same thing don’t sneak in and take your value.

Lower-Profile Games Can Be Profitable

The volume of betting in college football is already going to be lower than what you’d see if you were betting on the NFL. This means a few things you need to be aware of. First, it means that the sportsbook is going to be dedicating fewer resources and personnel to setting the initial lines. Second, it means that the lines are going to be more volatile and will move much more frequently.

If you break up the games within college football, you can take both of these principles a step further. Lower-profile games are games with teams that are going to attract a lot less national attention. These are games that you’re most likely going to see in smaller conferences between smaller schools. These games are going to get even less attention from the sportsbooks when they are setting their initial lines. These lines are also going to be more volatile, as the betting pool is that much smaller than the rest of the higher-profile college football games.

This means that your chances of seeing a bad opening line are much higher with low-profile college football games. It also means that the betting public has an even easier opportunity to bet the line incorrectly, creating a value opportunity for you.

Does this mean you should go out and bet every small conference game you can get your hands on?

  • Of course not

Does this mean you should ignore high-profile college football games?

  • Again, no.

What this means is that you may want to consider becoming an expert in some of the smaller college football conferences. Keep in mind that the smaller conferences and smaller schools are going to have less information available to you, which will make things more challenging. But with the value opportunities that may be present from bad lines, this is probably something that you might be willing to work through.

Jump on Profitable Lines Quickly

As we’ve already stated multiple times, college football has a much smaller betting pool than the NFL. Fewer bettors making smaller bets create an environment where lines move much more frequently and much further than a traditional NFL bet. If you’ve ever bet regular-season MLB (baseball) games, you know what we’re talking about.

This means that value opportunities will have a tendency to disappear quickly if other sharp bettors are betting. It doesn’t take a lot of money to correct a bad line. What does this mean for you? Well, it means that if you see a value opportunity, you’re going to want to jump on it sooner than later, especially if the site you are betting with has a lot of sharp sports bettors betting larger amounts of money.

Recreational Sportsbooks Are Optimal

Speaking of whether or not where you’re betting has a lot of sharp bettors, let’s address where you’re choosing to bet your college football games. If at all possible, you should be trying to bet with a sportsbook that caters to recreational sports bettors. Lines move based on the bets that come in at each individual sportsbook.


If the sportsbook you are betting with is loaded up with sharks, the lines are quickly going to move away from offering any value. But if the sportsbook is loaded up with recreational bettors, the lines will move all over the place, creating a lot of great value opportunities.

Spotting these recreational sportsbooks isn’t as easy as checking their signs out front or the banners on the tops of their web pages, but there are some ways you can identify them. First, regularly check the lines. If you never see value and all the lines always seem to correct quickly to what they’re supposed to be, it’s probably a site filled with sharks. But if the lines are all over the place and you consistently find value, this is probably a great site to be betting with.

Second, look at the bet maximums and the other amenities offered by the site. If they are offering extremely high minimums and a lot of amenities that seem to cater to bigger bettors, they might be a site that welcomes professionals. Sites like this are going to be tougher to find value with, as the big hitters are going to make big bets quickly when they see value and snatch up your opportunities.

Lastly, take a look at the feel of the site. If it appears they are focusing on marketing to recreational bettors and weekend warriors, that’s a good sign. If their focus is on providing a lot of technical betting data and complex bets, they might not be catering to recreational bettors. This isn’t a sure-fire way of figuring out who is in the site’s betting pool, but it is right more than it is wrong. Your best option is to try your best to find a few sites that appear to cater to recreational sports bettors and follow the next college football betting tip we have for you.

Line Shopping Is a Must

Determining whether or not the site you’re betting with or location you’re betting at is filled with recreational bettors or sharks can be challenging. Luckily, there is another way that you can ensure you are getting the best line possible on your bets – line shopping. It doesn’t cost you any money to have an account at multiple sportsbooks. With the growth of online sports betting, you can have multiple sports betting accounts without having to drive between several different brick-and-mortar locations.

Line shopping your college football bets means checking each of these different sportsbooks to see who is offering the best lines for each of your bets. Instead of placing all of your bets at one site or one location, you can place your bets individually based on where you are getting the best line or the best payout. It’s frequent that you will see different lines and different payouts for the exact same bet on the exact same game.

If you’re not line shopping your college football bets, then you’re just being lazy, or you hate money. With internet sportsbooks, you can have multiple accounts so that you can check lines in a matter of seconds. It costs zero dollars to have an additional account, so there’s really no reason not to be taking advantage of the convenience. There’s no need to shop a ton of different college football betting sites; two or three different sites is plenty, especially if you are betting at sites loaded with recreational bettors.

Understand the Importance of Coaching Changes

College football teams are heavily reflective of their coaching staff. Not only are the head coaches important, but the skill position coaches are extremely important as well. We’ve seen so many times in the history of college football where a change at a coaching position like defensive coordinator or even quarterback coach has turned a team from a contender into champions.

We’ve also seen a lot of situations where a coaching change at any level has been detrimental to the success of a team. This is why you see such a high turnover rate of football coaches in the college ranks. You get a year or two at the most to perform, and if you don’t deliver, you’re gone. This pushes coaches to come in guns blazing and looking to make a lot of changes if they are taking over a struggling program.


As a sports bettor, you need to be on top of these coaching changes. You need to figure out how to predict how a change in coaches is going to affect a team’s output in the following year. If you’re betting futures prior to the season, this is going to be one of the biggest keys to having some success.

The college football coach is the glue that holds a team together or the wedge that drives them apart. Being able to accurately predict which of these a new college coach will be will pay huge dividends in your betting career, especially if you’re betting futures bets.

College football also sees a much wider array of offense and defense schemes than you’d see in the NFL. Most of these decisions are driven by the coaching staff, with some being dependent on the talent pool they have to work with. Make sure you look at a new coach’s past history and what sort of offensive and defensive schemes they like to run. If you think a big change is in store, decide how you think that is going to work out, and bet accordingly.

Even if you don’t think a team is going to win the championship, you could still make an over/under (totals) bet on how many wins they’re going to have for the year. If you think the coaching changes are going to have a big net positive impact, bet the over on the total games won. If you think they’re going to be a train wreck, hammer that under bet.

The point is that coaching changes (or decisions not to change) are going to have a big impact on a college football program, and there are a lot of different betting options you can utilize to take advantage of your predictions on the nature of that impact.

Never Bet Every Single Game

Because college football has so many games to choose from, it can be rather tempting to try and come up with a system to bet every single game. Unless you have a massive research team, there is no way you can ever do enough homework to properly bet every single game in college football. Even if you did have that research team, you still shouldn’t be betting every single game because not every game is going to have value.

Betting college football games without value is bankroll suicide. You should only be betting a game if you are confident in a prediction, and you think there is enough value in the potential payout to warrant the betting risk. Anything outside of this is just betting for pure entertainment value, which is no way to turn a consistent profit.

Only bet the games that have value. If this is a lot of games one week and almost no games the next week, that’s okay. Don’t force bets just to get action. If you need a rush that badly, find another hobby to keep you busy during your slow weeks.


You’re now the proud owner of all of the knowledge you need to win betting on college football. But just because you have all the tools does not mean you’re instantly a genius. You still have to put in the work to practice your craft, do your research, and put it all together to make winning and profitable picks.

With the tools in hand, though, you’ve already got a leg up on most of the college football betting public. Take the knowledge you’ve gained here, work hard, and you’ll be crushing the books in no time.