College Football: Basic Betting Strategies to be Profitable

Georgia Bulldogs mascot college football
The Georgia Bulldogs mascot celebrates during the 2022 CFP National Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Emilee Chinn/Getty Images/AFP

If you’re a college football fan and you like to have some skin in the game, then OddsTrader has a few betting tips to make you a smarter bettor.

Let’s discuss some of the strategies that the seasoned pros use so that you can build your bankroll this season.  

What’s in a Number? 

If you are hoping your college football picks can turn into an exciting side hustle to make you a few extra bucks then listen up because there are some things you ought to know.

The first of which is the importance of critical numbers in college (and pro) football. It might surprise you to note that over eight percent of the games are decided by a three-point margin and nearly seven percent of the contests result in a seven-point victory.  

Therefore, over 15 percent of college football games are won by either three or seven points which is an enormous percentage considering all of the other options. But we would be remiss in not acknowledging that point spreads of 4, 6, 10, 13, 14, 17, 20, and 21 can also be significant. That’s what you call a key number.

Don’t Chase the Steam 

Naturally, the spread in the game you are betting is the most relevant to your success so if the college football odds are revealing the favorite at -3 then that’s the only number that concerns you.  

But what you want to avoid is laying 3 ½ on the chalk or taking +2 ½ on the underdog. If you see a line is moving but it’s going in the wrong direction, don’t take a bad number just to get down on what you might consider the “sharp side” by chasing the steam.

Recreational bettors who do this are called “steam chasers” because when the line moves heavily in one direction or another it’s usually the work of betting syndicates or sharps that are pouncing on a line they believe to be weak.  

But what often happens is the masses tend to follow but lay bad numbers that can manifest in an outcome that sees the wise guys winning at the best number while the public fails to cover at a less favorable number.  

What’s a Good Line? 

Betting a college football game at the standard -110 built into the wager will require that you win 52.38 percent of your bets to overcome the bookie’s commission, also known as the vig.

That means winning 50 percent of the time will see you putting money in the books’ pocket while you wonder why you can never make money at the end of the year even though you’re not that bad at picking ATS (Against The Spread) winners.  

Well, the problem is that you’re not that good either and that’s just fine with the sportsbooks because they make a living off of paying one side and collecting a little bit more on the other. In order to overcome this house advantage, you must do your due diligence.  

That’s right, do your homework, analyze historical matchups, scour injury and weather reports. Put it all in a blender and then do the last thing on your checklist – set your own point spreads. You can access this from the palm of your hand with the OddsTrader Bet Station.

Now, don’t look at the lines before, because it will prejudice your ability to set a truthful line.

The more you practice this exercise, the better you will become at mirroring the spreads the oddsmakers are posting. 

Once you have set your lines for all the games of interest to you, then compare your lines to those listed at OddsTrader where you will see all the odds at all of the best online sportsbooks


If you see a difference of a point or more then investigate that game and try to figure out why there is a discrepancy between the line you set and the line hung by the oddsmakers. If you can’t see why your number is off, maybe it’s because their number is off! That’s a good opportunity to make a bet but make sure you’re getting the best line. 

Advocate for Yourself 

Speaking of getting the best lines, you are only in-it-to-win-it if you have, at the bare minimum, two online sportsbooks at your disposal to compare and shop for the best lines. The pros who bet sports for a living have four, five, or more books so that they are always getting the sharpest number.  

How would you feel if you bet Ohio State -7 at Caesars but found out FanDuel had them at -6 ½ after the Buckeyes won by a touchdown? Not too good because instead of covering the spread you would have pushed and that’s a shame because it’s a preventable mistake. Remember, the more books the merrier.  

Lastly, as long as you are shopping for the best lines then you might as well take advantage of the college football betting tools available free of charge, right here, at OddsTrader. Here you can see what our college football computer picks are predicting in each game or check out the OddsTrader Power Rankings available for your perusal. 

So, get sharp and bet like the pros. Don’t bet late lines and don’t chase your losses. If you are disciplined and do your research, you will find your winning percentage increasing along with your bankroll! is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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