Totals, otherwise known as over/under bets, are among the most possible wagers to place, especially on football.
Since football games usually have a predictable number of final points, wagering on totals is a great way to place bets on both college and NFL games. College football over/unders can be more unpredictable, since weather, inconsistency plus extremely high totals numbers can make the final scores swing wildly.
If you’re interested in wagering on totals in college football but aren’t quite certain how to begin, don’t worry. Here’s a look at placing over/under wagers on college football.
What Are NCAAF Over/Under Odds & How Do They Work?
Sportsbooks will list a number under the “totals" section for each college-football game, and bettors can choose whether there will be more, or over, or fewer than, or under, that number.
Typically the odds for over/under numbers is -110, or a $110 wager is required to win $100 in profit. However, sportsbooks will also offer alternate totals with corresponding odds depending on the likelihood of the over or under hitting.
For instance, if Pitt is playing West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl, and the pregame total listed is 54.5 points, bettors who wager on the over will need for there to be at least 55 points in the game. If there are 54 points or fewer, the under bet is successful.
If in that Pitt-West Virginia game a bettor wasn’t sure about 54.5 points, he or she could wager on the alternate total of 51.5 points, with odds of say -150 for the over and +130 for the under. In that instance, the over would be successful if there were 52-plus points and the under would be right if there were 51-or-fewer.
How to Read College Football Over/Under Odds
College football odds are presented in a variety of ways. Here’s a look at each.
How American Odds Work
American odds are in relation to a $100 wager. As referenced above, most totals will be listed as -110 odds, or the sportsbook version of a coin flip, which means bettors will have to put out $110 to win $100 in profit.
If, for some reason, a total’s odds are listed at plus-money, probably about +100, that would be the amount of profit gleaned from a $100 bet. Some alternate totals may have plus-money, again depending on the likelihood of that bet to hit.
How Decimal Odds Work
Decimal odds are usually reserved for Europe but are easy to comprehend no matter where you are. Decimal odds are in relation to a $1 bet, and a -110 wager would be listed as 0.91 in decimal form, since bettors would win $0.91 per dollar wagered. Most standard over/unders are 0.91, but again on the off chance that there is a plus-money total it would be listed as a number of 1 or more.
For instance, if you’re betting an alternate over in a game at 58.5 at +150, those odds would be referenced in decimal form as 1.5, since a bettor would win $1.50 profit per dollar bet. If the corresponding under odds for the 58.5 total are -170, then the odds would be 0.59 in decimal form, since gamblers would earn $0.59 per $1 bet.
How Fractional Odds Work
Fractional odds are usually reserved for horse racing or futures bets on TV but are a way of explaining the likelihood of an outcome in an easy-to-comprehend manner. A +200 wager would be 2/1. A +600 bet would be 6/1.
However, due to the complicated nature of totals bets, fractional odds are a not-great option for displaying. For example, a -110 bet in fractional odds would be 91/100, or sometimes listed as 9/10. Since -110 is technically more profitable than 9/10, even though the margin is just $0.01 per dollar bet, bettors would be more inclined to wager on the -110 bet.
What to Look for When Placing an NCAAF Over/Under Bet
Like all bets, look for value. Find a number that seems either way too high or insultingly low and mash it. Sometimes totals odds will be boosted to +100 or +105, or alternate totals might be boosted even higher, which makes putting down your money on those bets more profitable.
For instance, if Oklahoma is playing Kansas and the over/under listed is 55.5, and you know the Jayhawks offense has been firing, make sure to take the over. If a sportsbook has the over/under listed at 56.5 but boosted the odds to +130, those odds are more lucrative, and you’d only need one extra point, which would make that total a better bet.
Trust your instincts but also do your homework. The last thing you’ll want is your under bet to be cooked before halftime. Or you won’t want an over bet to die swiftly due to a monsoon or gale-force winds.
Best Sportsbooks to Place College Football Over/Under Bets
Caesars is one of the best sportsbooks in America, with elite odds and totals and a plethora of markets for college-football bettors. The Caesars Online Sportsbook offers wagers on almost every college game in the country, both FBS and FCS, and bettors who use the sportsbook will receive Caesars Rewards with every wager. The company’s VIP rewards program empowers bettors to cash their points for hotel and dining credits, free bets, cool experiences and much more.
FanDuel Sportsbook is the most popular option in the United States due to its remarkable amount of innovative practices. FanDuel was the first sportsbook to offer same-game parlays, a practice where bettors can customize their own multi-leg single wager, which has become standard across the sports-betting space.
Plus, FanDuel is constantly innovating to make betting more fun, convenient and profitable for bettors. It is the only sportsbook that enables users to deposit via Venmo and upped the ante by rolling out Same Game Parlay+, where bettors can combine multiple same-game parlays for longer odds and wilder payouts.
BetMGM is almost always among the first sportsbooks to begin operation when new states legalize online sports betting, which makes it one of the most widely available options in the U.S. With BetMGM, bettors can get competitive odds and a plethora of boosts that go a long way to ensuring they have a good experience and lengthy stay before needing to re-deposit.
Plus, BetMGM also has a great rewards program for loyal users, who can take their points and trade them in for hotel stays at MGM properties and other cool perks.
DraftKings is the most widely available online sportsbook, with a presence in more than a dozen states plus Washington, D.C. and Ontario in Canada. The DraftKings Sportsbook is a superb option for sports bettors since it gives them a vast array of boosts and promos to lengthen their ability to play.
DraftKings makes betting totals a breeze with an extremely user-friendly interface and offers an extraordinary market of alternate totals for same-game parlay betting.
BetRivers Sportsbook is one of the top options for inexperienced bettors since it provides a helpful glossary of terms that might seem intimidating to a novice gambler. With BetRivers, users can also get the inside scoop with helpful trends and tips so they can make the most informed decisions possible.
PointsBet is a fledgling option in the online sports betting space due mostly to its custom PointsBetting-style of wagering that rewards bettors for being extra right and punishes them for being wrong. For example, if you are wagering on over 56.5 in a game between Notre Dame and North Carolina, and the game ends 34-31, you’d win an extra 9x your initial stake. If the game ended 27-21, you’d lose an extra 8x your initial stake.
If that sounds a little too intense for your betting style, PointsBet still has you covered with fixed-odds betting available for every FBS college football game in the country each week.
Betway Sportsbook is a strong option for college football totals betting, and all college-football betting. The sportsbook offers 60-plus wagers for each FBS game each week, including a huge assortment of alternate totals and corresponding odds.
Plus, Betway will give bettors boosted odds every day on wagers they were interested in placing, known as Betway Boosts.
How to Pick College Football Over/Under Betting Sites
There are some more specific criteria about how to pick your favorite site to bet over/unders. Here’s a look at some factors to further consider.
The number listed in the over/under should be the one that is most conducive to your preferred bet. If you want to wager on the over, but the site where you have funds has it listed at 48.5 when the other books have it at 46.5, it’s going to be detrimental to your bottom line — especially given how remarkably accurate sportsbooks generally are in listing numbers.
Betting promotions is something bettors should always be on the lookout for. If a total you wish to wager is either boosted higher or lower, or the odds are made more lucrative for a wager that is -110 at every other sportsbook, that is a huge factor to consider when determining where to place your bet.
The best welcome bonuses are the ones that lengthen our availability to play without needing to re-deposit. You’ll want to pick the bonus that is best suited for your betting style, whether you want to win big and cash out — take advantage of a risk-free bet — or if you want to get in the game but don’t have much money, which should prompt you to try a bet-and-get.
My preferred sportsbook varies based on where I have funds, and the funds I have in sportsbooks almost universally stem from welcome bonuses. Since every sportsbook offers a bonus, and there are dozens of legal sportsbooks across the U.S., you should really take advantage of them all.
Why Should I Bet College Football Over/Unders?
Because totals can be a great bet when you are confident in either offense or defense but aren’t sure which team will win. Betting an over/under can be a great hedge-type wager when you believe the game will be played a certain way but can’t determine which side will win or even cover the point spread.
Totals can also be a great way at getting odds in those sometimes-tricky rivalry games. For example, if Alabama is a 21-point favorite vs. Auburn in the Iron Bowl, that may seem way too much to ask the Crimson Tide to cover. Plus, Alabama would almost certainly be -700 or shorter moneyline. But if you feel the game might be tight and low-scoring, you can get -110 odds on the under at 50.5 and cash in if it’s a close, low-scoring game.
Sometimes totals are the best bets. Most pre-determined totals won’t be lower than 40 or higher than 70-or-so points, wagering on either an over or an under can be the smartest bet. Given that totals are set by both the likelihood of the event to happen and also betting behavior, betting on the over in a potential shootout, or the under in a game between dominant defenses, can be a cinch.
Why Shouldn’t I Bet College Football Over/Unders?
There is inherent risk in betting all types of markets, especially in a sport as unpredictable as college football. If there is a scoreless quarter in a game with a 76.5-point total, your over is essentially toast before you could even tune in. Plus, given teams’ offensive inconsistency — these are 18-22-year-olds after all — and defensive gaffes, placing any college football wager should be taken with a long pause.
Plus, sometimes wagers like moneylines and spreads are the right call. Determining which wager to place is a matter of betting preference, but there should be some level of balance achieved based on various considerations. If you’re only placing totals bets, you are probably only winning a small percentage of your bets since online sportsbooks have odds-setting for sports like college football down to a science.
Plus, the odds are standard at -110, barring a boost, which means the payout will not usually exceed $0.91 per dollar bet. Spread odds are the same, but totals aren’t the most profitable options in terms of return on investment.
College Football Over/Under Betting for Beginners
Target value. Again, find the number that seems either way too low or way too high and pounce.
Do your research. If you know a high-profile school has a hard time playing at a certain road institution — like how Wisconsin seems to always struggle when forced to play at Northwestern for some reason — you might want to target that under.
A big part of researching is trend-finding. For instance, if Tennessee is averaging 31.5 points per game, but is only scoring 18.5 in SEC play, that is a huge difference that is worth considering before mashing the over in the Volunteers’ game against Florida at the Swamp.
Also be sure to shop for the best odds and/or numbers that are conducive to the wager you want to bet. For instance, if one sportsbook has the UT-Florida game total listed as 46.5 but a different book has it as 47.5, with the same -110 odds, and you want to take the over, placing it at the book that has the 46.5 is the play. But if you’re hoping to take the under, go with the one that has 47.5 as the number since that is a better option and more likely wager to hit.
Be responsible. Do your homework. Trust your gut. You’ll have fun.
Additional Types of NCAAF Bets Available
There are other college-football bet types aside from totals. Here’s a glance at a few.
Moneyline wagers, or bets on which team will win, are the most popular wagers in college football due to their ease and straightforwardness. Sportsbooks assign odds to each team for each game based on the likelihood it is to win.
Props are all bets that are not tied to a game’s final outcome. Props can be things like which team will score first, the over/under number of points in a game and much more. Some online sportsbooks also offer player props, but they aren’t legal in college sports in every state.
Futures, or wagers that are settled far in advance, are bets typically reserved for wagering on which team will win the national championship, which player will win the Heisman Trophy, which team will win its conference and much more.
Parlays are when bettors combine multiple outcomes in a single wager. Generally, parlays are a way for bettors to combine moneyline or spread bets, but users may include totals — and alternate over/unders — as well.