College Football Over/Under Betting

Written by: Alonzo Solano, Sports Analyst and Content Writer
Last updated:
6 minute read
College Football Under and Over Betting

Over/under bets (or totals bets) in NCAA college football are wagers on whether the combined score of a matchup will be over or under the number set by the oddsmaker.

Totals bets have always been a favorite of sharp sports gamblers because they can be highly profitable.

They are also a great option for beginners because over/under bets are far easier to understand than other types of wagers, such as moneylines or point spreads.

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How Do Over/Under Bets Work?

Over/under betting is incredibly simple. Bettors have two options: wagering on the over or the under.

Bettors simply need to choose whether the total amount of points scored in a game will be higher or lower than the oddsmaker’s proposed total.

In totals betting, it does not matter which team wins or loses. What matters is predicting the number of points scored.

This makes over/under bets a good option for new bettors, because they are far easier than NCAAF point spreads or moneylines, for example.

Example Of Over/Under Betting In NCAA Football

How over under bets work

To better understand how totals bets work, imagine we are betting on a match between Clemson and Notre Dame.

The oddsmakers believe that the total score of that game will be 43 points.

If you think that the total score will be 44 or more, you would bet the over.

However, if you believe the score will be 42 or less, you would take the under.

Once the game ends, the scores of both teams will be added together to determine the total. In NCAA football, the total includes any overtime or extra periods.

  • If you bet 100 dollars on the over at -110 odds and the total score is 44 points, you would win 100 dollars profit.
  • If you bet 100 dollars on the under at -110 odds and the total score is 44 points, you would lose the wager. You would have needed a total score of 42 or fewer points to win.

What Happens If There’s A Push?

If the total score hits the oddsmaker’s number exactly, the bet would be graded a push.

That means neither the over nor the under has won, so wagers from both sides would be refunded.

In the example above, the bet would be graded a push if the total number of points lands precisely on 43 points.

The push wouldn’t happen if the result was 43.5 or 42.5, because in totals betting the half-point counts.

When the odds are set at a whole number and not a decimal there is always the chance of a push.

Totals Are Higher In NCAAF

Remember that, in NCAAF matchups, the total score is generally much higher than in professional games.

The average total score in the NFL is just over 48 points and there are the occasional games that get above 55.

This is a mark that dozens of games reach every Saturday in NCAA football. There are games with points in the 70s every week and occasionally some as high as the low to mid-80s.

Over/Under Bets: The Most Attractive Market For Savvy Bettors

Many amateur bettors write off totals altogether, instead opting to bet points spreads, mostly for entertainment reasons. This is a big betting mistake.

Betting sites are much weaker when it comes to over/under bets, particularly for college sports. Just about every professional team is written about and covered extensively.

This is because there are simply more fans surrounding professional teams and they predominantly exist in larger markets.

The increase in popularity among fans turns into more dollars wagered on professional sports compared to college games, at least for the most part.

Since larger amounts of money are wagered on professional sports (aside from March Madness), these markets will be more heavily focused on by the oddsmakers.

To learn more about college football betting, read our How To Bet On College Football page.

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Key Numbers To Consider In College Football Totals

The average listed total by the betting sites for NCAAF is just above 48 points. And with a shift towards offense, these numbers continue to rise year after year. 

Check out this table with the most frequent point totals in college matchups:

Points TotalPercentage of Games
Show More ↓ Show Less ↑

College Football Over/Under Betting Strategy

Over/under gambling might be profitable and easy to understand, but still it is important to be aware of some totals betting strategies to achieve better results.

Betting Tip #1Lean Towards Unders

College football totals betting strategy

As we discuss in several articles here at SafestBettingSites, the betting public tends to favor wagering on favorites and overs. This is true for just about every market.

The sports media glamorizes offense, and that is where the money usually goes when it comes from the sports betting masses.

It’s true that totals have increased in the past few years, but that doesn’t mean that betting the under has become a worse wager.

The increase in points has clearly been appropriately adjusted by college betting sites.

Bettors can do themselves a favor if they take a look at the board and look for spots to bet under rather than over, provided they find an excellent price via line shopping, of course.

There’s generally going to be more value with unders. However, this doesn’t mean you should take a bad line simply because you want to avoid betting the over.

Betting Tip #2Take Into Account Injury Factors & Matchups

Over and under betting factors to consider

One of the ways bettors can get an edge evaluating over/under bets is by considering injury factors.

Especially late in the season, each team is dealing with a fair number of injuries, some more notable than others.

Star players or key positions will get most of the ink in sports media circles.

However, the lesser-known guys who will be forced into action are the ones that may ultimately make the difference in how many points are scored.

How teams respond to injuries affects not only their status as a favorite or an underdog, but also their ability to score points or stop their opponent — which directly relates to the total score of the game.

Predicting How The Game Will Play Out

Predicting how changes to offense or defense might affect game flow will give you a much better barometer of how a game might play out.

With closely matched teams, a play or two here or there may end up being the difference via the point spread.

However, if you can figure old how a game will be from a tempo perspective you may be able to comfortably predict the outcome regardless of a victory.

There’s no substitute for knowledge when it comes to evaluating games.

Some teams can run the offense with close to the same precision even with their starting quarterback sidelined.

Others may be based on several key players and, without them, the offense will struggle.

Dive into college football or focus on a specific conference and you may be more knowledgeable than the sportsbooks in some spots.

This is especially true if you develop a profitable betting model like power rankings in the NFL.

Betting Tip #3Consider Coaching Motivations

When betting on totals consider coaching motivations

It’s ultimately up to the coaches in regards to how hard a team presses once it gets a lead.

This is especially true for teams that may be massive favorites over their opponents.

If you have a college football coach that is eager to run up the score, even once the backups enter the game, that’s a factor to consider when betting the total.

On the flip side, if the game gets out of hand, other coaches may opt to run out the clock by simply running the ball.

To learn more about how to bet on the NCAAF, read our College Football Betting Strategies page.

More on College Football Betting

Learn More About NCAAF Betting At Our College Football Betting Guide

About the Author

Alonzo Solano

Alonzo Solano

Sports Analyst and Content Writer

Alonzo is a Sports Betting Analyst and casino games enthusiast who has covered Football extensively at SBS, but don’t be surprised if you read him on other sports. He's the host of the NFL Latino TV podcast.

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