Betting College Football the Smart Way for Those Getting Started

Quarterback Ian Book #12 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

So, you are new to betting on college football but you’ve been watching the wagering frenzy that is overtaking the United States and you’ve decided that you want in on the action.

As a novice bettor or even with limited experience in this sport, if you wager just for the sake of it, you might as well flush a few hundred dollars down the toilet. Anybody can win a bet here and there.

However, that’s not the goal, even if you’re just doing this for fun or casual entertainment. Because, let’s face it, nobody likes losing money, not even the super-rich.

In our last college football article, we covered how to prepare for the upcoming season. There was a section about if you have limited knowledge about college football betting and the best to attack the sportsbooks as you see here at OddsTrader.

These are the sportsbooks you can choose from on the OddsTrader bet card.

Become an Expert in Something

One of the hardest tasks when you partake in college football betting is how to approach a weekly schedule of 45 to 60 games? As any experienced bettor would tell you (like this writer for example), this is no simple task.

Going through this many contests, as well as the college football odds, can be mind-numbing unless you have built the skill and understanding of what to look for.

A much easier way to attack this daunting task is to narrow your field. If you live in the South, the SEC or ACC are natural choices to follow. In the Midwest, it makes sense to go with the Big Ten and possibly the Big 12…while it stays relevant. And if you are on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, honing in on the Pac-12 could be the way to go.

That’s not to say you should just follow a conference or two where you live. You can choose whatever you prefer. The important thing is to dig deep in. Learn everything you can about all the teams, knowing their strengths and weaknesses.

Your research should include a complete knowledge of the quarterbacks, the type of offense and defense these teams run and how good they are in the trenches. Do this and within two or three years, you’ll know more than 75 percent of bettors that wager on a weekly basis.

One final thought in case you like a particular major conference. Don’t shy away from the AAC, Sun Belt, Mountain West, Conference USA or the MAC. These conferences don’t receive the same amount of attention from the linemakers and there will be soft lines that you can beat with due diligence.

Be Open-Minded in Your Betting Approach

In talking to friends, you will typically find this. Most football bettors follow the Top 20 teams and play 90 percent of the favorites. This is what every online sportsbook knows and understands. That’s when you’ll run into a contrarian and he’ll strongly suggest that “you have to bet all underdogs, it’s the only way you can win!” 

Neither approach is completely right or wrong. It makes sense to play underdogs because you get two chances to win, either winning outright or covering the numbers you see at OddsTrader. With favorites, they have to cover the point spread.

Notice how in four out of the five games the spread is double-digits. That can be an important cushion when considering your picks.

In college football, here are two simple questions to answer after doing your research. If I’m betting a favorite, can they cover the point spread by more than a touchdown? On underdogs, can they win the game outright?

If you can definitively answer both questions with a “Yes”, you have made good choices before the game starts. The results may differ, nevertheless, you proved to yourself that the numbers and situation showed those answers to be true.

If in this process you are wrong, week after week, then your methods have to change but the theory is still correct.

Stay Away from These Traps

We strongly suggest not to bet totals (unless you want that to be your area of expertise), moneylines, parlays or any other exotic bets. These are areas that can drain your bankroll faster than a slot machine.

Pick a lane, learn a skill and all those other wagers can be in your future after you have learned the process of winning.

You can use the ATS (Against the Spread) tool to find better value for your picks.

Understand What You are Doing and Enjoy the Process

Betting college football should be fun, first and foremost. It can be a challenge or a social activity with friends. Either way, you are not making a living by doing this, so it should be enjoyable and winning certainly makes it fun.

Always keep in mind, the odds are ever-changing and they are not designed for you to win. For every $20 or $50 you bet, the sportsbook wants a matching number on the team you didn’t choose. When that happens, they automatically win because, for every $11 wagered, they only have to pay out $10 to the winner.

That does not mean they cannot be beaten. It turns out that those that do, especially consistently, are those who have completed the research and found an edge. That is how, game by game, you can enjoy yourself and beat the books over time, not just any given Saturday. 

Remember to check back for more betting strategy at the OddsTrader blog. is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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