College Football Point Spreads

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

College football point spread wagers are the most popular type of bet in NCAA football. In fact, they are the holy grail of all sports betting.

Although the NFL is always going to get the lion’s share of the point spread betting action, college football betting isn’t far behind.

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How To Bet On NCAA Football Point Spreads

How to bet on college football point spreads

Point spreads are numbers set by oddsmakers to measure the advantage between two different teams.

NCAA football point spreads typically open on Sunday morning for the next week of action after most of the games are played on Saturday.

When dealing with spreads, there will also be a favorite and an underdog. The only situation where this is not the case is when the game is what is called a “pk” or “pick’em,” and both teams are evenly matched in the eyes of college football betting sites.

The favorite in a football game will have “- “ by their number, such as Penn State -14.5. The underdog will have a “+” symbol by their number, such as Rutgers +14.5.

So, let’s look at an example of a point spread matchup.

How To Read A Point Spread

  • Rutgers +14.5 (-110)
  • Penn State -14.5 (-110)

In the example above, Penn State is the favorite. They must win the game by 14.5 points, which equates to 15 points since there are no half points in NCAA football.

If Penn State wins the game by 15 or more points, then a wager on Penn State is a winner. If they lose the game or win by less than 14.5 points, then the bet is a loser.

On the reverse, Rutgers is the underdog. If they lose the game by more than 14.5 points, then any bet on Rutgers would be graded as a loss. If they lose by exactly 14 points, the bet is graded as a win, as they cover by a half-point.

A bet on Rutgers is also graded as a winner if they manage to win the game outright.

One of the best ways to think about point spread wagers is to add or subtract the number from the game’s score, depending on whether you’re betting on a favorite or an underdog.

In the case of a favorite, using our above example, we can subtract -14.5 points from the score of the game. For instance, if the Nittany Lions are up 30-15, we can take 30-14.5 and get 15.5 and see that they are covering the spread.

Likewise, we can add the +14.5 to the Scarlet Knights or any other underdog. If we add 14.5+15, that adds up to 29.5, and they are not covering the spread.

Point Spread Bets FAQs

What Happens If I Win My Bet?

You will receive your original stake back, plus your profits. For a $110 to win $100 bet, you would receive the $110 initial stake, plus $100 in profits.

What Happens If Lose My Bet?

You will lose your stake, and the bet will be graded as a loss.

What If the College Football Point Spread Results In A Tie?

A tie on the point spread is what is known as a “push.” It’s important to note that using our above example, where there is a half-point in play, a push is not possible. But, if the spread were -14/+14 instead of -14.5/+14 .5, then a push would be in play. When a push occurs, all stakes are returned to bettors from both sides of the bet.

What Does -110 Mean Besides A Point Spread Wager?

The -110 is the attached odds to the point spread wager. -110 is the standard odds in sports betting, but this number will vary when it comes to betting NCAA football spread odds or sports bets, in general. The odds type that is most utilized by American sportsbooks is known as American odds or moneyline odds.

What Happens When the Point Spread Changes?

Nothing happens to your bet if you’ve already made it. The point spread is always going to change once it’s released as betting markets are continually evolving in today’s climate. The goal for bettors is to beat the closing line when it comes to trying to profit from spread wagers on college football.

Are There Point Spreads Available for the 1st Half, Quarters, and 2nd Half?

Yes, these days every sportsbook has spreads for NCAA football games for the first half and second half, and many have bets on specific quarters. These don’t operate any differently than full-game point spread wagers, other than the timeframe. For instance, a second-half point spread wager would only count scoring from the second half versus a standard point spread wager which encompasses the entire game.

Can You Profit From Point Spreads in NCAA Football?

NCAA Football Point Spread Profitability

As mentioned above, college football points spreads can be immensely profitable for those that understand the game and line shop effectively.

The opportunities and number of bets that can be made far outweigh the professional game.

The best way to gain an edge when it comes to betting NCAA football is line shopping. Quantifying your edge is not as easy if you’re betting on point spreads compared to other types of bets, such as teasers or parlays.

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NCAA Football Point Spread Bets Strategy

NCAA College Point Spread Bets Strategy

There are a few strategies worth implementing to gain an edge in college football point spread markets.

There are some significant differences between the NFL and betting NCAA football, so you must implement various strategies to be profitable at each.

To learn other college football betting strategies, visit our NCAA Football Betting Guide.

Betting Strat #1Betting Early Is Key

You will gain the most significant advantage when you line shop and beat the closing line.

In many cases, this means betting earlier in the week, especially if you believe the odds will move against you on a particular market. Still, there is often value all week, leading up until Saturday morning and beyond.

Betting Strat #2Focus On Smaller Conferences

Of course, you should have extensive knowledge of the SEC, BIG 12, ACC and the other large conferences, but learning the smaller conferences, you will gain a much larger edge.

It may be tough to focus on several of them, but if you can make the time, diving into the Mountain West, Mid-American Conference, and others will sharpen your knowledge of more teams and allow you to break down point spreads more accurately.

Betting Strat #3Be Careful With NCAA Statistics

Statistics are a lot more useful when betting on the NFL. The large gap in talent from the best teams in NCAA football to the worst teams is much larger than in professional football.

Remember, being the 10th ranked team on offense or 20th on defense in the country is wholly dependent on what the team’s schedule looks like and what sort of competition they have faced.

Statistics can be fool’s gold in college football because it might cause you to overrate or underrate a team based on numbers that don’t represent the team’s real talent level.

Betting Strat #4Always Line Shop

We’ve talked about it several times in this article, but we’re going to stress it, once again.

Line shopping is by far the most critical aspect of winning at sports betting, and college football point spreads.

The goal for bettors should be to have money at several different NCAA football betting sites, so they can always get the best possible price when they place a bet.

This alone will save them thousands of dollars or more and is the best strategy one can implement for increasing their bottom-line profits.

College Football Point Spread To Expected Win Percentage

The table below shows the expected win percentage at each point spread for the favorite and underdog.

Point SpreadFavorite Win ChanceUnderdog Win Chance
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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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