College Football Betting Guide

Learn how to bet on college football. SportsBetting3.com has the ultimate college football betting guide. Review common straight and exotic bets. Next, learn college football betting strategies. See which sportsbooks we recommend. Then, see the latest National Championship, Conference and Heisman Trophy futures odds. Finally, have a look at season win totals for major college football conferences.

Chapters

  1. Current Matchup Odds
  2. College Football Futures Odds
  3. Straight Bets
  4. Exotic Bets
  5. College Football Betting Strategies
  6. College Football Win Totals
  7. Best Betting Sites
  8. Best College Football Teams: 2000-Present
  9. Money Management Advice
  10. College Football Trick Plays
  11. Can AP Preseason Rankings Predict a National Champion?
  12. Live College Football Odds – Tap Here

Current Matchups

Next 20 College Football Matchups
+ Displays more odds

Game
BetRivers BetRivers
Bet
Nebraska
Northwestern
8/27/22 12:30pm EDT
Nevada
New Mexico State
8/27/22 1:00pm EDT
Wyoming
Illinois
8/27/22 4:00pm EDT
UConn
Utah State
8/27/22 4:00pm EDT
Charlotte
Florida Atlantic
8/27/22 7:00pm EDT
North Texas
UTEP
8/27/22 9:00pm EDT
Vanderbilt
Hawaii
8/27/22 10:30pm EDT
West Virginia
Pittsburgh
9/01/22 7:00pm EDT
Central Michigan
Oklahoma State
9/01/22 7:00pm EDT
Ball State
Tennessee
9/01/22 7:00pm EDT
Penn State
Purdue
9/01/22 8:00pm EDT
Louisiana Tech
Missouri
9/01/22 8:00pm EDT
New Mexico State
Minnesota
9/01/22 9:00pm EDT
Virginia Tech
Old Dominion
9/02/22 7:00pm EDT
Western Michigan
Michigan State
9/02/22 7:00pm EDT
Temple
Duke
9/02/22 7:30pm EDT
Illinois
Indiana
9/02/22 8:00pm EDT
TCU
Colorado
9/02/22 10:00pm EDT
North Carolina
Appalachian State
9/03/22 12:00pm EDT
Rutgers
Boston College
9/03/22 12:00pm EDT

Current College Football Futures Odds

2023 NCAA College Football Championship Odds

Team
BetRivers BetRivers
Alabama
Ohio State
Georgia
Clemson
Texas A&M
USC
Oklahoma
Notre Dame
Oregon
Michigan
Texas
Penn State
Utah
Wisconsin
Baylor
Oklahoma State
Florida
Miami (FL)
LSU
Ole Miss
Arkansas
Mississippi State
Tennessee
Iowa
Kentucky
Minnesota
Nebraska
North Carolina
Iowa State
Washington
BYU
UCLA
Cincinnati
Auburn
Texas Tech
Wake Forest
TCU
Boston College
South Carolina
NC State

How to Bet on College Football

This tutorial has two sections. The first contains common college football straight bets. These include the point spread, over-under total, and moneyline bets. Winning sports bettors should stick to these bets. They’re the most profitable in the long haul.

The second section discusses exotic college football bets. These include the parlay, if bet win-only, parlay card, and props. Careful, all of these bets come with a higher house edge. Smart handicappers only place these wagers when they think they have an advantage.

College Football Straight Bets

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How a College Football Point Spread Bet Works

A point spread bet is made on the expected score difference. The point spread line attempts to equalize two mismatched competitors. Favorite teams give points to the underdog. The underdog takes points from the favorite.

Sportsbooks commonly offer point spreads for the game, 1st half, and 2nd half. Major events like the National Championship may get point spreads for each quarter.

Placing a Point Spread Bet
Select “Point Spread” from your sportsbook’s betting menu. Next, select a game segment: game, 1st half, 2nd half, or quarter. Finally, select either the favorite or the underdog.

Pick the Favorite or the Underdog

Taking the Underdog
Underdogs have a plus sign next to their point spread line. An underdog bet wins if the final score difference is less than the spread. A +6.5 point underdog must win outright or not lose by more than 6 points.

Taking the Favorite
Favorites have a minus sign next to their point spread line. A bet on the favorite wins if the final score difference is greater than the spread. A -12 point favorite must win by 13 or more for your bet to win.

College Football Point Spread Example

Point Spread
Game
Line & Odds
Central Michigan
Oklahoma State
9/01/22 7:00pm EDT
+21.5 -115
-21.5 -106
  1. Oklahoma State is the -21.5 point favorite.
  2. Favorite bettors risk $106 to win $100 on Oklahoma State.
  3. Central Michigan is the +21.5 point underdog.
  4. Underdog bettors risk $115 to win $100 on the Central Michigan.

Example Result: Oklahoma State wins 45-21.
The final score difference is 24 points. 24 points is greater than the 21.5 point spread. That means all favorite bettors win.

If Central Michigan lost by 21 points or fewer, or won outright, all underdog bettors would win.

Note: Tie bets are possible when the point spread is a whole number like 3, 6, 7, or 14. Your bet will be returned if the final score difference equals the spread. This is also called a push. All bets will be refunded.

SportsBetting3.com Live College Football Bets Explained

Live Example College Football Bets Explained

Game
BetRivers BetRivers
Bet
Nebraska
Northwestern
8/27/22 12:30pm EDT

Underdog Northwestern - Northwestern bettors risk $100 to win $92.59 at -108 odds.

A +13 Northwestern underdog bet wins if they lose by 12 or fewer, tie, or win outright. The bet pushes if they lose by 13. Your bet loses if they lose by 14 or more.

Favorite Nebraska - Nebraska bettors risk $100 to win $88.5 at -113 odds.

A -13 Nebraska favorite bet wins if they win by 14 or more. The bet pushes if they win by 13. Your bet loses if they win by 12 or fewer, tie, or lose outright.

More Point Spread Info

Watch our spread betting video and read our complete spread tutorial here. You’ll also find betting strategies, spread to moneyline conversions, and other insights.

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How a College Football Total Bet Works

A total bet line combines the estimated final scores of each team including overtime. Sportsbooks may also offer total lines for a half or a quarter. You bet on whether the actual result will be Over or Under the sportsbook’s line.

Placing an Over-Under Total Bet
Select “Over-Under Total” from your sportsbook’s betting menu. Next, select a game segment: game, 1st half, or 2nd half. Finally, select either the over or the under.

Pick the Over or the Under

Taking the Over
Over will be abbreviated as “o”. A bet on the Over wins if the final total is greater than the sportsbook’s line. For example, consider a 35 point total line. If the actual game total is 38, over bettors win.

Taking the Under
Under will be abbreviated as “u”. A bet on the Under wins if the final total is les than the sportsbook’s line. Consider again a 35 point total line. If the actual game total is 31, under bettors win.

College Football Total Example

Total
Game
Line & Odds
Central Michigan
Oklahoma State
9/01/22 7:00pm EDT
58.5 o -104
58.5 u -118
  1. The Over-Under Total line is 58.5.
  2. Over bettors believe the final total will be greater than 58.5. They risk $104 to win $100.
  3. Under bettors believe the final total will be less than 58.5. They risk $118 to win $100.

Example Result: Final point total is 66.
The 66 point final point total is over the sportsbook’s 58.5 line. That means all over bettors win.

If the final point total was 58 or fewer, all under bettors would win.

Note: Tie bets are possible when the total is a whole number like 28, 31, 35, or 38. Your bet will be returned if the final point total equals the line. This is also called a push. All bets will be refunded.

More Over-Under Total Info

Our total betting video makes the over under bet easy to understand. The reference section explains how to calculate the value for the opposite side of the line when sportsbooks charge more than -110 juice. Note, most sportsbooks provide juice for both sides of a line at their websites. Calculating the opposite side is only necessary when viewing condensed third party odds tables.

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How a College Football Moneyline Bet Works

A moneyline bet is placed on a team or side to win the game outright. No point spread is involved. Some sportsbooks also offer moneylines for the 1st half, 2nd half, or quarter.

Favorite
The favorite will have a minus number. A minus number indicates how much you risk to win $100.

Underdog
The underdog will have a plus number. A plus number indicates how much you win for risking $100.

Placing a Moneyline Bet
Select “Moneyline” from your sportsbook’s betting menu. It may also be abbreviated as “ML”. Next, select a game segment: game, 1st half, 2nd half, or quarter. Finally, select either the favorite or the underdog.

Sportsbooks include the juice in each moneyline. They usually add 10 cents commission to each side. A -220 true odds favorite would get a -230 line, while a +150 true odds underdog would get a +140 line.

College Football Moneyline Example

Moneyline
Game
Line & Odds
Central Michigan
Oklahoma State
9/01/22 7:00pm EDT
+950
-2000
  1. Central Michigan is the underdog. Risk $100 to win $950.
  2. Oklahoma State is the favorite. Risk $2000 to win $100.

Example Result: Oklahoma State wins.
All favorite Oklahoma State bettors win. All underdog Central Michigan bettors lose.

Note: If the game ties, all moneyline bets push. All bets will be refunded.

More Moneyline Info

Our moneyline video explains this bet completely. The entire moneyline tutorial also includes useful tips and strategies. Use the reference section to convert Moneyline odds to equivalent Fractional or Decimal values. Note required break even percentages for moneyline odds.

Exotic College Football Bets

State
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College Football Parlay Betting

A parlay bet combines 2 or more selections into one bet. Point spreads, over-under totals, moneylines, and some prop bets are commonly combined to make a parlay bet.

How to Place a College Football Parlay Bet

  1. Select 2-15 point spreads, totals, moneylines, or a combination of all three.
  2. Matchups from other sports like basketball, hockey, soccer, or baseball can be included.
  3. All selections must be correct to win.
  4. Each tie reduces a parlay payout by 1 selection. For example, a 3 selection parlay with 1 tie becomes a 2 selection parlay.

More Parlay Bet Info

Our parlay betting tutorial explains this bet in detail with examples and suggested betting options. Learn what happens when one or more parlay selections tie.

The reference section discusses the difference between standard parlay odds and true odds.

Winning bettors should always choose the parlay over separate straight bets. Your +EV (expected value) is much higher for a winning parlay.

College Football If Bet Win-Only

An if bet win-only is a sequence of 2-7 straight bet selections. The next selection only sees action if the previous selection wins.

Think of an if bet win-only as a simple chain of “if – then” statements. If my first selection wins, then my second selection sees action. If my second selection wins, then my third selection sees action, etc.

Why place an if bet win-only bet?
Make multiple bets when you only have money for one. That makes if bets ideal for players with small bankrolls.

The if bet win-only is a single action wager.

How to Place a College Football If Bet Win-Only

  1. Select 2-7 point spreads, moneylines, totals, or combinations of all three from one or more different sports leagues.
  2. Your next selection sees action if the previous one wins.
  3. The sportsbook will grade a tie selection as a loss.

College Football If Bet Win-Only Example

Let’s place a 2 selection if bet win-only. We’ll risk $110 on the first selection. Note how the odds affect the potential payout.

Alabama -13.5 -110 Point Spread
Michigan vs. Vanderbilt 44.5 o -110 Total

The following tables show different outcomes depending on each selection’s result. Remember, the sequence ends after the first losing selection.

This table shows the Win/Loss result when both selections win.

Both Selections Win
Selection Result Risk/Win Total Win/Loss
Alabama -13.5 -110
Point Spread
Win $110 Risk
$100 Win
$100
Michigan vs. Vanderbilt o 44.5 -110
Total
Win $110 Risk
$100 Win
$200
($100 + $100)

The second selection, Michigan vs. Vanderbilt o 44.5, sees action after the first selection won.

You win $200 for risking $110 because both selections were correct.

More If Bet Win-Only Info

Our helpful if bet win-only tutorial offers an in-depth explanation of this bet.

The reference section compares the performance of 2 losing straight bets versus a losing 2-selection if bet win-only.

Hint: A losing if bet win-only is less costly than separate losing straight bets. The if-then sequence ends after the first loss while separate straight bets cannot be canceled.

College Football Parlay Card Betting

A sportsbook will create a list of point spreads, totals, or player props from one or more leagues. The list will be printed on paper for in-person betting or found on a sportsbook’s website for online betting.

Your parlay card wins if all your selections win. A tie selection counts as a win if you bet a “ties win” parlay card.

Your parlay card loses if any of your selections lose. It also loses if you bet a “ties lose” parlay card and one of your selections tied.

Sportsbooks offer 3 types of parlay cards. Rules and payouts vary for each:

  • ½ Point Parlay Card (most common)
  • Ties Win Parlay Card
  • Ties Lose Parlay Card

A common parlay card minimum bet is $2. Parlay card maximum bets will be subject to sportsbook approval. Most players bet less than $100 per card. Maximum payout amounts range $100,000 – $200,000.

How to Bet a College Football Parlay Card

  1. Parlay Cards are readily available at Las Vegas sports books. Bet “off the board” parlays at online sportsbooks.
  2. Review all matchups and player props. Make 3-12 selections. Fill out your card carefully.
  3. Ties are subject to the parlay card’s rules. Ties aren’t possible with ½ point parlay cards.
  4. Return to the sportsbook with your winning receipt or stub to collect winnings. You may also collect your winnings by mail.

More Parlay Card Info

Our parlay card tutorial offers a comprehensive explanation of this popular exotic bet. It also includes an image of a real parlay card. Review each parlay card’s potential payouts. The more selections you make, the more you can win.

Each payout is fixed in advance. Be sure to read the rules. Carefully review minimums for prop bet cards, contingencies for tie bets, and how to claim your winnings.

Important: Parlay cards are like lottery tickets. They must be filled out completely. Bubble-in your selections with a good pencil or pen. Retain the card until all matchups have finished.

Note the redemption mailing address. Winning cards can be mailed in for a return check.

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College Football Prop Betting

A prop or proposition bet is side bet placed on an event that isn’t dependent on the game’s final outcome.

Common prop bets are for whether a particular event will occur or not. One side of the bet will be “Yes”, the other side “No”. The sportsbook will offer odds for each outcome.

College Football Season Win Totals
Season win totals are a combination prop and future bet. These bets are available before the season begins.

How to Place a College Football Prop Bet

  1. Select the game or event from your sportsbook’s list of upcoming matchups.
  2. Each prop bet outcome will have moneyline odds.
  3. Make a selection and bet your desired amount.
  4. Your bet wins if you picked the correct outcome.

Note: Some props cannot be added to parlays.

More Prop Bet Info

Read our expansive prop betting article. These bets are popular with knowledgeable sports handicappers if the numbers are right.

State
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College Football Betting Strategies

Fade the Public 80% or Higher in Big Games

“Big Games” are matchups between major conference rivalries. Ignore matchups between mid-level teams that don’t garner much attention.

Suppose LSU at Alabama opens Alabama -5½. Favorite Alabama must win by 6 or more points. Underdog LSU cannot lose by more than 6. Read about spread betting here.

First, review this matchup’s market. Suppose 80% of the public is taking favorite Alabama. Both are popular SEC football teams. It’s likely many people have bet on this game. See current public betting chart here.

Second, research each teams’ record against the spread (ATS). See this website. Check how often Alabama covers as a favorite. Review LSU’s performance as an underdog. Suppose LSU has a winning ATS record.

Third, check the line. Suppose it just moved to Alabama -7. This change suggests heavy action on the favorite. Alabama must now win by 8 or more points. A 7 point win ties the spread. Latest NCAAFB odds here.

Combine the results of your handicapping research:

  1. 80% Alabama public money.
  2. LSU’s winning record ATS.
  3. Line moves against Alabama.

Taking underdog LSU represents much better value than following the public. It’s likely many bettors picked Alabama without taking a hard look at the numbers.

Track Public Betting Trends

SportsInsights.com compiled the following data from the 2015-16 college football season. The overall win rate is higher when betting against the public in big games.

2015-16 College Football Betting Against Public
*Big Games
Public Betting Big Games ATS Win Rate
<50% 172-154 52.8%
<40% 105-93 53.0%
<35% 77-68 53.1%
<30% 45-42 51.7%

Tip
Note the lousy win rates for betting against the public in small games. Avoid second tier teams and inconsequential matchups.

College Football Championship Futures

Example Odds to win the Championship

  • Alabama +190
  • Clemson +500
  • Georgia +850
  • Ohio State +850

This future is a bet on a team’s probability of winning the National Championship. Bettors may choose 2 or more teams to manage risk.

Positive numbers indicate a less likely result. Risk $100 to with the ML value. Negative numbers indicate a more likely result. Risk the ML value to win $100.

See Also:

Tip
Research your team as much as possible before betting. Bet immediately before the prop closes. Taking this bet too early is risking. Never bet with incomplete information.

College Football Win Totals

The season win total is part prop, part future hybrid. The plus and minus values assign odds to either side of the team’s win total line. This bet functions like a total bet. Choose either over or under the sportsbook’s line.

Example Washington State Regular Season Wins

  • 6.5 u -150
  • 6.5 o +120

This win total line includes ½ games. That means no tie bets are possible.

Options:
Risk $100 to win $120 that Washington State wins more than 6.5 games. A result of 7 or more wins.
Risk $150 to win $100 that Washington State wins less than 6.5 games. A result of 6 or fewer wins.

Handicap each team’s schedule. A historically strong team with an easy schedule suggests a winning final record. If you think they’ll win more games than the sportsbook’s line, bet over.

Season Win Totals for Major College Football Conferences

2022 College Football SEC Season Win Totals
+ Displays more odds
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Bet
Alabama
2022 Season Win Total
Arkansas
2022 Season Win Total
Auburn
2022 Season Win Total
Florida
2022 Season Win Total
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Georgia
2022 Season Win Total
Kentucky
2022 Season Win Total
LSU
2022 Season Win Total
Mississippi State
2022 Season Win Total
BetRivers BetRivers
Missouri
2022 Season Win Total
Ole Miss
2022 Season Win Total
South Carolina
2022 Season Win Total
Tennessee
2022 Season Win Total
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Texas A&M
2022 Season Win Total
Vanderbilt
2022 Season Win Total
2022 College Football Big Ten Season Win Totals
+ Displays more odds
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Bet
Illinois
2022 Season Win Total
Indiana
2022 Season Win Total
Iowa
2022 Season Win Total
Maryland
2022 Season Win Total
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Michigan
2022 Season Win Total
Michigan State
2022 Season Win Total
Minnesota
2022 Season Win Total
Nebraska
2022 Season Win Total
BetRivers BetRivers
Northwestern
2022 Season Win Total
Ohio State
2022 Season Win Total
Penn State
2022 Season Win Total
Purdue
2022 Season Win Total
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Rutgers
2022 Season Win Total
Wisconsin
2022 Season Win Total
2022 College Football PAC-12 Season Win Totals
+ Displays more odds
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Bet
Arizona
2022 Season Win Total
Arizona State
2022 Season Win Total
California
2022 Season Win Total
Colorado
2022 Season Win Total
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Oregon
2022 Season Win Total
Oregon State
2022 Season Win Total
Stanford
2022 Season Win Total
UCLA
2022 Season Win Total
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USC
2022 Season Win Total
Utah
2022 Season Win Total
Washington
2022 Season Win Total
Washington State
2022 Season Win Total
2022 College Football Mountain West Season Win Totals
+ Displays more odds
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Air Force
2022 Season Win Total
Boise State
2022 Season Win Total
Colorado State
2022 Season Win Total
Fresno State
2022 Season Win Total
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Hawaii
2022 Season Win Total
Nevada
2022 Season Win Total
San Diego State
2022 Season Win Total
San Jose State
2022 Season Win Total
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UNLV
2022 Season Win Total
Utah State
2022 Season Win Total
Wyoming
2022 Season Win Total

Tip
Place small bets. Your money will be tied up until the wager can be graded. This commonly happens at the end of the season. Or, when the team can no longer win enough games to exceed the win line. Then the under wins.

College Football Betting Sites

College Football Betting Sites
State
Bonus Bet
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Best College Football Teams 2000 to Present

1. 2001 Miami Hurricanes

  • Record: 12-0
  • Total Points: 512
  • Ave. PPG: 42.7
  • Ave. Margin of Victory: 32.9

Miami cruised to the 2001 National Championship with a perfect 12-0 record. The Hurricanes crushed their opponents winning by an average of 32.9 points.

17 players were first round NFL draft picks. That includes wide receiver Andre Johnson who was the BCS Championship co-MVP with quarterback Ken Dorsey.

Johnson later enjoyed a 14 year career in the NFL, mostly spent on the Houston Texans.
Dorsey returned as a senior to lead Miami to the 2002 BCS Championship where they eventually lost to Ohio State in double overtime. In 2003 he was drafted in the seventh round to the San Francisco 49ers.

2. 2005 Texas Longhorns

  • Record: 13-0
  • Total Points: 652
  • Ave. PPG: 50.2
  • Ave. Margin of Victory: 33.8

Texas eked out a 41-38 2005 BCS Championship win against defending National Champions Southern California. The Longhorns’ dramatic victory was the perfect topper to a 13-0 undefeated season.

Quarterback Vince Young powered the team’s offense all season. He was the first college quarterback to pass for 2,500 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season.

Young, cornerback Aaron Ross and safeties Michael Griffin and Michael Huff went on the NFL. Vince Young played with the Tennessee Titans from 2006-2010, then with the Philadelphia Eagles for 2011. He retired in 2014.

3. 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide

  • Record: 12-1
  • Total Points: 453
  • Ave. PPG: 34.8
  • Ave. Margin of Victory: 27.5

Alabama’s 21-0 National Championship victory against LSU is the only shutout in BCS history. It was sweet revenge for Coach Nick Saban after the Crimson Tide finished second to the Tigers in the SEC.

Alabama’s defensive prowess goes without mention. It allowed just 8.2 points per game. Only one other team scored more than 14 points against them all season. This helped the 2011 Crimson Tide win most games comfortably, including a 42-14 romp over Auburn.

Tailback Trent Richardson was a first round NFL draft pick. He was joined by 3 teammates from Alabama’s formidable defense: Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dont’a Hightower.

4. 2013 Florida State Seminoles

  • Record: 14-0
  • Total Points: 723
  • Ave. PPG: 51.6
  • Ave. Margin of Victory: 41.8

Believe it or not, Florida State wasn’t ranked in the top 10 when the 2013-14 season began. Minds changed after the Seminoles started crushing seemingly better competition.

Freshman quarterback phenom Jameis Winston led the charge. FSU scored more than 50 points in seven games. This feat bumped their average points per game to an all-time FBS record 51.6. Their 723 season point total is also a record.

Winston also won the 2013 Heisman Trophy. He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015 as the #1 overall draft pick. Any other choice would have been a gross oversight after his stellar performance with the Seminoles.

5. 2010 Auburn Tigers

  • Record: 14-0
  • Total Points: 577
  • Ave. PPG: 41.2
  • Ave. Margin of Victory: 15.5

Auburn didn’t exactly steamroll its opponents. In fact, the Tigers won 6 games by a touchdown or fewer. They made the 2011 National Championship facing the Oregon Ducks. The game was tied 19-19 with just over 2 minutes left. A favorable call secured a 37 yard gain for Auburn, setting up the eventual winning field goal.

Quarterback Cam Newton went on to win the Heisman Trophy. He was drafted #1 overall by the Carolina Panthers. He later took Carolina to the Super Bowl earning an MVP in the process.

Auburn faded somewhat after Newton’s departure. The Tigers remain a strong perennial SEC contender but have yet to make another National Championship. This is understandable given the long shadow Alabama casts from Tuscaloosa.

Money Management Advice

  1. Refresh your bankroll before College Football begins. Deposit early to avoid last minute credit card processing glitches.
  2. Monitor College Football betting props. Visit your sportsbook’s prop page regularly.
  3. Shop college football lines from multiple sportsbooks. SportsBetting3.com has odds here.
  4. Avoid large parlay bets of 4 or more selections. These wagers are risky. Stick to +EV spread bets, totals and moneylines.
  5. Consider taking a big underdog on the moneyline vs. against the spread. Winning underdog moneylines have higher expected value than underdog spread bets.

Greatest College Football Trick Plays

College Football Odds Comparisons

College Football Required Reading