Football is king in the United States, and while the NFL clearly sits front and center in the minds of sports fans, college football isn’t too far behind. College football is more regional than other sports, and it is the most popular sport in parts of the Southeast and Midwest. People from those areas tend to bet on college football more often than anything else in the fall, and this guide will help anyone looking to get in on the action.
How to Win Betting on College Football
Currently, there are over 130 teams playing college football at the highest level (the FBS). There are more college football teams than there are teams in the other four major American sports combined, so there is a huge slate of games every Saturday. That stretches the limits of the oddsmakers to stay knowledgeable and up to date on all but the most important teams.
There is a clear delineation between the Power Five and the Group of Five. While most Power Five games are on major networks, most Group of Five games are on smaller networks or simply broadcast online. That tends to lead to a massive information disparity with a ton of info and media available for the big boys and little available for the smaller teams. This is something that shrewd bettors can use to gain an edge.
The lack of national knowledge creates an advantage that can be exploited. For smaller programs, message boards can be a valuable source of information, as you will find it’s not uncommon to use this as a way to disseminate news. Also, local reporters and beat writers are invaluable sources of information, as they usually have the best connections to the program. If you follow these media members on social media (especially Twitter), you can often get a bit of an edge over the oddsmakers who are slower to adjust.
Along these lines, one of the most important things you can do is to stay up to date on rosters. That can seem like an enormous task considering each team has 85 scholarship players, but if you use certain tracking sites and pair that with new information, it becomes easier. To make things even more difficult, the transfer portal has made college football like the Wild West in a way with players moving in and out of programs like subway stations.
Recruiting is easier than ever though. More attention is being paid to recruiting with each year, as we have seen time and time again that only teams with elite recruits can win the national championship. Top recruits are identified as early as middle school, and it’s easier to identify which freshmen can make an instant impact at the collegiate level.
There are some great resources available for college football bettors too. Bill Connelly’s SP+ is one of the most forward-facing predictive systems available for free. Connelly’s system is designed with point spreads in mind, so it’s pretty easy to incorporate it in your betting strategies.
Phil Steele’s annual magazine and website are great sources of information too. While a lot of Steele’s information is superfluous and unnecessary, the depth charts alone are worth the cost of the publication. It’s a handy reminder of a team’s roster situation headed into the start of the season.
Because there are so many college football teams and dozens of games each week, it’s hard for sportsbooks to keep up with every team. If you take time to learn about certain teams, particularly smaller ones in conferences like the MAC, Sun Belt, and Conference USA, you can pick up an information advantage. It’s very difficult to have a quantitative edge on the oddsmakers, but you can have a qualitative edge. That’s probably the best advice a nascent bettor can receive.
There are great promotions throughout the year that can give bettors free money too. You will find reduced juice days or games for college football, and there are typically a handful of college football specific deposit bonuses during the season. Additionally, angles like triple option teams to cover three-touchdown spreads are out there to discover, making it somewhat easier to turn a profit.