Finding Value in NCAAF Betting

Finding value in NCAAF betting will produce more wins.

Key Points

– Finding betting value in college football starts with understanding the different bets.

– CFB bettors that specialize usually have more success finding value.

Finding Value in NCAAF Betting

Each year, college football is one of the most-watched spectator sports in the U.S. Millions of fans watch games on TV along with the millions that attend games in person. 

With the rise in popularity – and legality – of sports betting, NCAAF games are even more exciting. In a given year, roughly $1 billion is wagered on college football games. Winning more CFB bets is the goal of every bettor. 

Finding value is one of the keys to winning more college football bets. Understanding the different bets is where it all starts.

Understanding the Key CFB Bets

The most common college football bets are the moneyline, point spread, and totals bets. This is true in most sports. Betting on the moneyline is the simplest of all bets. Here, bettors are wagering on one team or the other to win the game.

Take Georgia-Vanderbilt as an example. Georgia is a -4000 favorite while Vanderbilt is a +1400 underdog. A $4000 bet on Georgia would produce a win of $100. That’s not great value. A $100 bet on Vanderbilt would earn a payout of $1400. That may seem like great value, but Vandy beating the Bulldogs is very unlikely.

Where bettors can find value on NCAAF moneyline bets is on home underdogs. In the 2020 season, Coastal Carolina hosted a ranked BYU team. The Cougars were a 10.5-point favorite. 

Coastal Carolina  was a +360 home underdog with an unbeaten record. They had won nine in a row and won as an underdog three previous times. A $100 bet on Coastal Carolina that day produced a win of $360. That’s value.


Point Spread Value

College football is a little different than the NFL. Because of the number of teams – 131 in FBS – there is a massive amount of difference in talent levels from the best teams in the country to the worst. As a result, there are some pretty large point spreads in college football.

It’s no surprise when a top-10 teams takes on a Group of 5 team or even an FCS opponent and opens as a 50-point favorite. Finding value in point spreads is a little harder in college football, but there are some things one can look for.

The best teams in the country are not necessarily the best teams against the spread. Since 2003, the FBS program with the best record is Ohio State (208-37). Among FBS teams that have been playing for more than five seasons, Utah (134-96-5) has the best record against the spread. Temple (128-96-1) is next. For the record, Ohio State is fourth at 137-104-2.

Value in Totals NCAAF Betting

One of the more exciting bets in the college game is the totals bet. It’s simply a wager on whether or not the final combined score will go Over or Under the posted game total. 

Scoring is a bit higher in college games. The average total is set closer to 60 as compared to the NFL where totals hover around 45. Keep in mind, betting on NFL games is somewhat different than betting on college games.

CFB bettors can help find value in totals bets knowing some common point totals. The most common final score in college football games adds up to 55. There is a lot of volatility in scoring as some teams will average over 40 points while others may have difficulty scoring 20 per game. 

One thing that will really affect a college game is wind. Historically, NCAAF games with a wind speed of more than eight miles per hour go Under the posted total. That’s why it pays to check the weather forecast for a game throughout the week.

Narrow Your Focus

One of the best tips for a college football bettor is to simply narrow the focus. There are 131 FBS teams. Each week, there are just too many games to bet them all. You can’t do it.

What you can do though is focus on a specific group of teams or even one team in general. You can always add more as the season wears on. 

Focusing on a group of teams is easy as CFB teams are organized into conferences. There are five Power 5 conferences and five Group of 5 conferences. 

Keep in mind that sportsbooks spend more time with the big ticket conferences – the SEC, Big Ten, etc. Where college football bettors can find more value is on the conferences that sportsbooks don’t spend as much time on.

The obscure Mountain West game – maybe it’s Colorado State against Wyoming – may offer some inefficiencies as sportsbooks are more worried about an SEC matchup like Florida-Georgia.

College football bettors that become more familiar with teams in one conference – typically a Group of 5 conference – are usually able to find more value bets in a given week. 

Don’t Forget the Futures Market

College football bettors would be wise to not forget about the futures market. The betting market for the NCAAF national champion usually opens just after the previous champ has been crowned. 

Bettors will find good plus-money odds on teams that could win a national title. They will continue to find favorable odds just prior to the season and as the season gets underway.

Odds will change, of course, based on teams’ performances during the season, but the market is always open. A loss early in the season by a College Football Playoff favorite may tip the odds in a bettor’s favor. 

The bottom line is pay attention to the CFB futures market and be ready to pounce on a value bet when it makes itself available.