For more than a few sports bettors, college football season is the best time of the year. NCAA football attracts tons of betting throughout the regular season, but by the time bowl season and the BCS playoffs roll around, action is off the charts.
The thrill of betting on college football is about to arrive right here in Virginia, but with one small issue. For now, betting on college football teams based in VA is prohibited, but all other college football games across the nation are fair game.
In this guide to college football betting, we’ll cover what you need to know to get in on it in Virginia, from what’s different about NCAA Football betting versus other sports, to what to watch for with college football odds and game lines. There are also a few actionable college football betting tips.
Betting on college football is similar to betting on other major, team-based sports, but there are some distinct nuances to be aware of. You can bet on all college football games in all of the main ways you’re familiar with, such as moneylines, point spreads and totals. There’s also a futures odds market that stays active almost all year round.
At every VA online sportsbook, you’ll find odds and lines for most games on the NCAA football schedule. With 130 programs playing across 10 conferences in the FBS, the weekly schedule is always packed, although as noted, you won’t see any lines for Virginia-based teams.
Most of the action takes place on Saturday but there are some weeknight games, too. After the season, a packed bowl betting season begins, including the College Football Playoff, which features the top four programs in the nation. All along the way, you’ll have numerous betting opportunities.
Sportsbooks in Virginia will post lines for most NCAAF games running across all conferences, with the exception of games involving Virginia-based schools. Game odds typically come out as the current week’s slate is wrapping up, so there’s plenty of time for research.
An individual game line will look something like this.
Next to the two teams are three sets of numbers, which are the lines and odds for the point spread, moneyline and total combined score. In this case, Clemson is favored by 3.5 points, while the numbers in parentheses indicate the odds for that bet.
Clemson is also favored on the moneyline, as indicated by the negative odds. The odds on the underdog Notre Dame side are positive. The last set of numbers is the total, which oddsmakers have set at 54.5 points with the odds for the bet right beside the choices.
After the initial set of game lines is released, the numbers won’t stay still. As bettors begin to weigh in, there can be movement. An opening spread of -2.5 could move to a field goal or more, while a -110 on a point spread could move to something like -105 or -115.
So exactly why does that happen? If a lot of money comes in on one side over the other, they’re lopsided on the game. In an attempt to even out the wagering action, the books will make the side they need action on more attractive while lessening the appeal for the other.
The direction of the move can indicate where public money has been flowing. Also, remember that college football betting odds and lines can vary by operator. To find the differences, you’ll need to engage in what’s known as line shopping, which simply means that you are hunting for the best prices by checking multiple books.
For each game on the docket, there are three main wagers you can place. Let’s walk through how each of them works, along with some examples.
When betting on the moneyline, you simply have to pick the winner of the game. Favorites have negative odds, while the number is positive on the underdog side. The range between the numbers tells you how close the matchup might be. For example:
Oddsmakers post a point spread on each game. You can take the favorite that’s giving up points, or take the underdog that’s getting points. It’s basically an estimated margin of victory, and the side you choose needs to cover. For example:
For totals bets, it’s all about the total combined points scored by each in the game. Sportsbooks set an estimated number, and bettors then make the call on whether they think the total points will be over or under that amount. For example:
When handicapping the contests, you’ll want to examine the matchup from top to bottom while looking for strengths and weaknesses on both sides. Among the other factors to watch out for are recent play and any injury concerns that may impact the proceedings.
Futures are bets that you can make on an outcome that won’t be known until later in the year. For college football, there are a number of active futures odds markets that attract lots of betting action. Here are some of the biggest.
Odds for these bets are released in the offseason and typically move up or down over the season. You can make your bets early and hold the ticket for the long term, or remain engaged all season long and hunt for new opportunities. There are many handicappers who take a best-of-both-worlds approach.
There are several parallels that you can draw between betting on NCAA football and betting on the NFL. The main bet types are all the same, and you can draw on similar handicapping principles while breaking down the games.
However, there are also some distinct differences between them that you need to be aware of. Here are five of the biggest that you’ll need to keep in mind.
Here in VA, the main option for betting will be an online sportsbook or their betting app. Retail sportsbooks continue to pop up in other states, and they are certainly worth taking the time to visit if you happen to be in the area.
That said, it’s pretty tough to beat the convenience of betting college football online. You have a real, live sportsbook at your fingertips whenever you need it. There’s no waiting in line or rushing to get there in time to get your action in.
All you need to do is log in, find the game you want to bet on, and bet away. On a busy day of college football action, that’s an amazing luxury to have.
You’ll have little trouble finding a game to tune into. Whether it’s the random weeknight game, the jam-packed Saturday slate, bowl games or the playoffs, it’ll be on the air and within your reach.
NCAAF games appear on a number of major cable outlets, including ESPN, FS1 and CBS Sports Network. Several of the big conferences also have their own networks, such as the ACC, Big Ten and SEC. Additionally, many games air on broadcast networks such as ABC, CBS and Fox.
You can find all of the above channels on a number of cable, satellite and streaming packages. Be sure to review the channel selection for the providers in your area before signing up to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want.
Also, you can watch games on the broadcast networks on the affiliate in your area, so consult local listings. For streaming online or via app, many of the outlets provide that as an option, but you’ll usually need valid login credentials from your provider to gain access.
Before we get to the local teams, just a quick reminder, you can’t bet on college football games involving in-state programs. The rest of the NCAAF landscape is in play for you, but betting on VA-based teams is not allowed.
Here’s what you need to know about the four FBS teams in Virginia.
None of the 40+ college bowl games are held in Virginia, but a handful are held in neighboring states. Here’s a quick look at what you need to know about those contests.
College football has a long history here in Virginia, and there have been plenty of notable games along the way. Naturally, some just stick out more than others. Here’s a look at two of the biggest upsets in VA, one of the positive variety, and one that fans would like to forget.
The two biggest programs in the state are Virginia and Virginia Tech, and they are both members of the ACC. The two schools are natural rivals, but there are also several other games for which fans of the two programs get particularly amped up about.
Liberty has been in the ranks of the FBS independents since the 2018 campaign. Prior to that, the program was a member of the Big South conference, so we’ll consider rivalries at the top level to be a work in progress.
Old Dominion plays in Conference USA and resides in the East Division with the following clubs: Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, FIU, Marshall, Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky.
A number of VA-born players have gone on to find success at the NFL level, and several even played college ball here at home. Here’s a quick look at five of the top NFL players born in Virginia.
The VA Legislature gave its stamp of approval and officially legalized sports betting in April 2020. However, it wasn’t an immediate flip of the switch. The rollout will take a bit, with the timeline calling for the debut in the latter part of 2020 or in the beginning of 2021.
Once that happens, you’ll be able to bet on all kinds of sports, including college football. Unfortunately, that won’t include in-state teams. The Virginia sports betting law specifically prohibits wagering on programs located here at home.
That means no betting on games involving Virginia, Virginia Tech and so on. While that’s not ideal, the good news is that there are plenty of other games to wager on. You can still root on VA-based teams just like normal, but you won’t be able to bet on their games.
The College Football Playoff Selection Committee makes the call. The group begins releasing its rankings about midway through the season, and makes its final announcement of the field once the regular season is in the books.
Princeton and Yale top the list of most claimed national championships with 28 and 27, respectively, but their dominance came in the early years of the sport. Alabama is third on the all-time list with 17, the last of which came in 2017.
The regular season typically kicks off at the end of August and runs through to December. Bowl season takes over in the latter part of the month, with the playoff held around New Year’s. The season wraps up with the national championship game in early January.
The number has continually grown in recent times, and we’re up to 40+ and counting. The New Year’s Six bowls — Rose, Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Peach and Fiesta — are the biggest highlights for this busy time of the year.
It certainly does, but there’s an ongoing debate on exactly how much it’s worth. Some handicappers consider home field to be a field goal advantage, while others use a lesser number such as 2.5. Oddsmakers factor it into their thinking as well, but the exact value they place on it will vary based on the teams.