College football is one of the most popular sports in America, making it a primary focus for online sportsbooks. Betting on college football can be confusing for many, with multiple options to choose from and differing rules between states. Below, we’ll look at all the information you need to know before betting on college football. 

College football betting at online sportsbooks

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How to bet on college football online

In most states where online sports betting is legal, there are multiple options to choose from. It’s important to compare the different college football betting sites and choose the one that’s right for you. Once you’ve chosen a sportsbook you like, the registration process is typically straightforward and simple.

Signing up will only take a few minutes at most online sportsbooks, and it will require you to enter some basic personal information:

  1. Name
  2. Date of birth
  3. Address
  4. Email
  5. Phone number
  6. Social Security number

Eligibility requirements vary between states. One thing all states have in common is a minimum age. In most states, only people 21 or older are eligible to sign up for an online sportsbook account. In a few states, the betting age is just 18 or older.

Where is betting on college football games legal?

Most states that allow sports betting of any kind also allow betting on college football odds. The big differences between states are that some forbid betting on in-state college teams, and some restrict prop bets on college sports. For a closer look at what college football bets each state allows, see the table below.

StateCan I Bet on CFB?Restrictions?Betting Age
Arizona sports bettingYesNo betting on college props21
Arkansas sports bettingYesNone21
Colorado sports bettingYesNo betting on college props21
Connecticut sports bettingYesNo betting on in-state teams unless in a tournament21
Delaware sports bettingYesNo betting on in-state teams or players21
Florida sports bettingYesNo betting on college props21
Illinois sports bettingYesCan only place pregame, in-person bets on in-state teams; no betting on players21
Indiana sports bettingYesMust place prop bets before game21
Iowa sports bettingYesNo betting on college player props21
Kansas sports bettingYesNone21
Kentucky sports bettingYesNoneVaries
Louisiana sports bettingYesNo betting on college player props21
Maine sports bettingYes (online only)No betting on in-state teams or players21
Maryland sports bettingYesNo betting on college player props21
Massachusetts sports bettingYesNo betting on in-state teams unless in a tournament21
Michigan sports bettingYesNone21
Mississippi sports bettingYes (retail and limited online options)No betting on college player props21
Montana sports bettingYes (retail and limited online options)None18
Nebraska sports bettingYes (retail only)None21
Nevada sports bettingYesNone21
New Hampshire sports bettingYesNo betting on in-state teams or players18
New Jersey sports bettingYesNo betting on in-state teams or players21
New Mexico sports bettingYes (retail only)None21
New York sports bettingYesNo betting on in-state teams or players21
North Carolina sports bettingYesNone21
North Dakota sports bettingYes (retail only)None21
Ohio sports bettingYesNo betting on college player props21
Oregon sports bettingYesMust place college bets in person21
Pennsylvania sports bettingYesNo betting on college player props21
Rhode Island sports bettingYesNo betting on in-state teams or players18
South Dakota sports bettingYes (retail only)No betting on in-state teams or players21
Tennessee sports bettingYes (online only)No betting on college player props21
Vermont sports bettingYes (online only)No betting on in-state teams unless in a tournament21
Virginia sports bettingYesNo betting on in-state teams or players21
Washington, DC, sports bettingYesNo betting on games taking place in the district, or on teams that call the district home.18
Washington sports bettingYes (retail and limited online options)No betting on in-state teams or players18
West Virginia sports bettingYesNone21
Wisconsin sports bettingYesNone21
Wyoming sports bettingYes (online only)None18

College football prop betting rules

Prop betting rules for college sports have changed recently in multiple states, with more still considering similar alterations. Some states do not allow prop bets of any kind on college football or only allow them before the game kicks off. Others do not allow prop bets on individual players. More states have tightened their restrictions on prop bets in 2024, and those rules are typically more stringent for college sports than they are for professional sports. Use the table above to see what the current prop bet rules are in your state.

In-state college betting rules

Some states have additional rules limiting betting options among in-state college teams. These rules can vary not only from one state to another, but from one type of competition to another. Below is a quick list of states that limit betting on in-state college sports.

Betting on college football games

Spread

The spread (or point spread) refers to the margin of victory or defeat. Placing a point spread bet on a team means that the team needs to do better than the spread number that the sportsbook lists — referred to as “covering the spread” — for that bet to pay out. 

For instance, if a team is -6 on the spread, this means it would need to win by seven or more points for a spread bet on that team to win. If the team wins by five or fewer points, the bet loses. If the margin of victory is exactly six points, the bet is a push and you’ll receive your original stake back.

If a team is +6, however, that means the bet will win if the team either wins outright or loses by fewer than six points. Again, if the margin is exactly six, the bet is a push. This is why sportsbooks will often include half-point margins (for example, +6.5) to avoid a tie, since it’s impossible to score half a point in football.

Example of a spread bet:

For this example, a bet on Alabama would win only if the Crimson Tide win by four or more points. If Tennessee wins by any margin or loses by three or fewer points, a point spread bet on the Volunteers would hit.

Moneyline

This is a straightforward bet on which team will win the game. For moneyline bets, the margin of victory does not matter. All you need to do is correctly pick the winner. The odds can vary widely in moneyline bets, and that’s what determines the payout. As with the point spread, a minus sign in front of the odds number indicates a favorite, while a plus sign indicates an underdog.

Example of a moneyline bet:

For this example, a $100 bet on UCLA would pay out $225 in profit if the Bruins win the game. For USC, a bet of $300 would make $100 in profit if the Trojans win. As with any winning bet, you also receive the return of your original stake.

Over/under

This is a bet on the total number of points in a game. Typically, the sportsbook sets the point total and gives bettors the option to bet the over or the under on that figure. The over bet wins if the combined score is greater than the number that the sportsbook set. The under bet, meanwhile, hits for any point total that is less than the sportsbook’s number. How much each team contributes to the total score does not matter. In over/under betting, the only thing that counts is the total combined score.

Example of an over/under bet:

In this example, the sportsbook has set the total line at 42.5 points. This means that a bet on the over would win if the total combined score is 43 or more points. Otherwise, bets on the under would win. Again, for this bet, it doesn’t matter how those points are divided between teams.

Teasers

This is a popular bet for football, functioning similarly to a parlay. The difference is that instead of combining two or more teams using the sportsbook’s point spread lines, you can adjust the spread to increase your chances of winning. The tradeoff is that with the adjusted point spread comes adjusted odds, meaning that your potential payout is lower.

How to bet on college football players

In addition to betting on college football teams, some states also allow betting on individual college football athletes via player props. Not all states allow these types of bets. Several states that allow college football betting in general have moved to ban player props. Many other states still allow these bets, however, and they take several popular forms.

Anytime touchdown scorer

This bet involves picking a player to score a touchdown at any point in the game. For the purposes of these bets, the touchdown scorer is the person with possession of the ball in the end zone. In other words, if a quarterback throws a touchdown pass to a receiver, the quarterback would not receive credit for the touchdown — only the receiver. For anytime touchdown scorer bets, it does not matter when in the game the touchdown happens.

Passing props

These are bets on the performance of a quarterback in the passing game. These are typically over/under bets in key categories such as passing yards, completions, attempts, or passing touchdowns.

Rushing props

These bets focus on the running game. Typically these have to do with the performance of an individual running back, offering over/under bets on categories such as rushing yards, rushing attempts, and rushing touchdowns.

Receiving props

These are bets on the performance of specific receivers, including tight ends and sometimes also running backs. These are also over/under bets for categories like receiving yards, total catches, and receiving touchdowns.

How to bet on college football futures

Several futures bets are also available in college football. Like all futures bets, these involve betting on big-picture outcomes that will only become clear at or toward the end of the college football season. Here are a couple of popular futures bets in college football:

National championship winner

This is a straightforward option where you bet on the College Football Playoff title winner. This year’s format will consist of four rounds, beginning with the first round in late December and culminating with the title game on Jan. 20, 2025. For the purposes of this bet, you only need to correctly pick the team that wins the national championship game after progressing through the playoffs. 

Heisman Trophy winner

In states that allow betting on individual players, you can also usually place futures bets on who will win the Heisman Trophy. This award, given to the most outstanding player in college football, is a popular choice with bettors. Odds can fluctuate greatly throughout the season, depending on both individual and team performances, as well as injuries.

Conference winners

In addition to betting on the national championship winner, you can also place futures bets on which teams will win their conferences. The first futures odds to appear are usually the major conferences, like the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, and Big 12. As the season draws nearer, futures odds on winners in other conferences will also become available.

Understanding college football lines

The most basic thing to understand about college football odds is the meaning of the plus and minus signs. The plus indicates an underdog. In point spread terms, a team that is +6 is a six-point underdog. A spread bet on that team would win if the team loses by five points or fewer or wins the game by any margin. A team that is -6 is a six-point favorite and would have to win by seven points or more for that bet to hit.

In moneyline odds, the plus and minus symbols determine the potential payout. Again, a plus sign indicates an underdog. The greater the number that appears after the plus sign, the greater the payout if that team wins. A $100 bet on a team that’s +350 would win you $350 in profit (plus the return of your $100 stake, for a total of $450). If the team is -350, however, a wager of $350 would stand to win $100 in profit if correct.

College football betting strategies

The total amount of money bet on college football is typically much smaller than it is for NFL lines. For this reason, it doesn’t take much to move a betting line in NCAA action. This is why many bettors believe in jumping on lines they like right away, early in the week, before those lines can potentially change following an influx of money.

Some bettors also like to stick to point spreads in college football, since the range there can be much wider than it is in professional football. The nature of college football play — and the wide gulf in talent even between teams in the same conference — sometimes produces huge point spreads. The bigger the point spread, however, the more room there may be for error.

Lastly, many bettors believe it is better to specialize in one or two conferences rather than spreading their money out across the entirety of NCAA play. Because it’s so important to gather as much information as you can about each team and its players, this is easier to do and simpler to keep track of if you stick to the teams in one conference.

Football betting FAQ

How often do home teams win in college football?

Several statistical analyses have found that home-field advantage tends to be more prevalent in college football than it is in most pro sports. The winning percentage for home teams in college football is above 60%. That puts the value of playing at home in college football above what it is in the NFL, MLB, and NHL.

Can I bet on FCS teams or other teams outside FBS Division I?

Yes. Many sportsbooks will offer weekly odds on top FCS teams (formerly known as Division I-AA). This is the second-highest level of college football, and many of the teams in the FCS have large, loyal fanbases. Sportsbooks might not offer odds on every FCS team, but most will have odds for every FCS playoff game once the regular season finishes.

Is -40 a normal point spread for a college football game?

Point spreads can be much bigger in college football than they are in the NFL. There are often big differences in talent and experience among college teams. Some teams are filled with starters who are almost on par with professionals, while others consist of players who are just barely good enough to play at the college level. Especially early in the season, there can be some major mismatches in college football, resulting in huge point spreads.