Betting Basics

College Football Betting Guide

May 16, 2023

Get ready football fans—tailgate season is nearly upon us. College gameday kicks off in just a few months. After August 26th, every Saturday until January will be jam-packed with enthralling collegiate matchups. Which means countless betting opportunities.

Think the mighty Georgia Bulldogs will become the first college team to three-peat as national champs since the 1930s?

Does Caleb Williams, quarterback of the USC Trojans, become the second-ever player to win back-to-back Heisman Trophies?

Will the TCU Horned Frogs beat the Colorado Buffaloes in their opening game, and if so, by how much?

You can bet on all that—and then some. If you hit, you could win big. And this college football betting guide will show you how to gamble like a sharp.

The Structure Of NCAA Football

Although the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) oversees college football in the US for Division I, Division II, and Division III, we’ll focus on D1 and the FBS. It’s the most competitive and popular division, which makes it the primary subject for betting.

The Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) gets its name from the various bowl games that teams play at the end of the season, like the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and so on. It consists of 10 conferences, grouped into three categories:

Power 5 Conferences

  • Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
  • Big Ten Conference (Big Ten)
  • Big 12 Conference (Big 12)
  • Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12)
  • Southeastern Conference (SEC)

Group of 5 Conferences

  • American Athletic Conference (AAC)
  • Conference USA (C-USA)
  • Mid-American Conference (MAC)
  • Mountain West Conference (MWC)
  • Sun Belt Conference (Sun Belt)


  • Notre Dame
  • Brigham Young University
  • Army
  • Navy

That said, in the big picture, only five conferences are true contenders on the national stage — the SEC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12, and the ACC are considered top dogs. No school from outside these conferences has ever played in the National Championship in the Bowl Championship Series era.

How Does Scheduling Work?

Each conference has its own schedule. Scheduling generally starts with 8 conference games. Four games are played at home, and four are played away against rivals within the same conference. Then, the remaining 4 teams are typically played against college programs that are out-of-conference; although, that’s not always the case.

For instance, the Alabama Crimson Tide play in the powerhouse SEC. In 2023, they have 9 divisional opponent games and 3 out-of-division games:


  • Semifinal #1 – The 1st place seed vs the 4th place seed
  • Semifinal #2 – The 2nd place seed vs the 3rd place seed

Typically, the two semifinal games will rotate among the 6 major bowl games: the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Sugar Bowl. And the winners of these semi-finals then meet up two weeks later to face one another in the FBS Championship Bowl.

That said, starting in 2024, the playoffs will expand to a 12-team format that will comprise the six major conference champions—ranked highest by the selection committee—plus the six highest-ranked alternative teams.

Ready to try your hand at college football betting? Let’s go!

How To Bet On College Football

Now that you know how the college football format functions, you’re ready to dive into the types of bets available on any given Saturday. Let’s look at a theoretical bet slip and discuss the potential betting options.


  • Bet $110 that Alabama wins by at least 22 points to win $100
  • Bet $110 that Middle Tennessee wins or loses by less 21 points or less to win $100
  • Player performance props
  • High-risk milestones
  • Team props
  • Game-specific props
  • Season-long props


Parlays are a high-risk/high-reward bet that combines several individual bets in a single slip. To win, you need to hit every leg of the bet. If any of those wagers lose, the whole parlay counts as lost.

The size of the parlay is up to you. For instance, you could have a two-leg parlay on the Alabama spread and the over. Or you could have a 15-leg parlay where you try and predict the money line outcomes for a string of games.

Naturally, the more legs in the parlay the harder it is to hit, and thus, the bigger the payout. Last year, one bettor turned a $7.16 bet on a 25-leg moneyline play that turned into $252,000.


Although futures are a form of prop bet, they deserve their own category. Also known as outright bets, futures allow you to bet on a specific outcome that will occur during or at the end of the season.

For instance, you could bet on the future national championship, or who will win the Heisman. Or, you could wager on a certain team winning their conference.

Like parlays, because the odds are long and the future is anything but certain, outright bets tend to result in a sizable payout for winning predictions.

Bet on CFB with Tipico

The 2023 CFB season is ramping up. College football Saturday will soon be here. Now’s the time to start prepping your strategy with our college football betting guide.

But where’s the best bookie for CFB bets?

You’ve already found it. Here at Tipico, we are a hub for NCAA action. Throughout the season, check out the college football odds—including live bets, spreads, moneylines, over/unders, player prop bets and more — and place your bets to win big with Tipico.

Tipico staff contributions