We’ve covered how to bet on the NFL and how to bet on College Football in our Football Betting Tutorials the last few weeks. In this Football Betting Tips article, we break down the differences between betting on the two sports.

The biggest (and most obvious) difference between the two leagues is the disparity between the best and worst teams. In the NFL, it is rare to see a team favored by more than two touchdowns. Every once in a while, there will be a lopsided NFL matchup that will have the favorite installed as a 19 or 20 point favorite by the online sportsbooks, but that doesn’t happen every year.

Not so in College Football, as there are routinely games featuring 30+ point favorites when the big boys from the power conferences meet up with inferior mid-major or even FCS opponents. Of course, with a ranking system in College Football used to determine who gets to play for the National Championship (now an invitation to the four-team playoff), margin of victory is a big factor so teams are encouraged to run up the score.

The Betting Overtime System

Another big difference in terms of betting is the overtime system. In the NFL, if the team that receives the overtime kickoff scores a touchdown, then the game is over. If that team scores a field goal on their first possession, then the other team has a chance to score as well. There is only one overtime period, so it is entirely possible for an NFL game to end in a tie.

The college game is much different, with each team having a possession at the 25-yard line going in, and if the teams remained tied after both possessions, then they continue to play another overtime period until there is a winner. This results in many overtime games racking up huge points in the extra period, which can alter the pointspread and over/under winner.

Betting on college football has to be handicapped differently than the NFL. NFL teams don’t need much motivation to get up for their games whether it be at home or on the road, and a heavy statistical approach will usually pay off pretty well.

Betting on College Football requires a more motivational handicapping approach, with rivalries, letdowns, lookaheads, revenge, and bowl eligibility all playing big factors in not only the outright outcomes, but margins of victory as well. Ohio State beat Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship Game last year as an underdog – not because of a massive matchup advantage on paper, but because they were playing for a shot at the College Football playoff.
We’ll dive into these motivational handicapping methods in future weeks.