Many sports handicappers have college football at the top of their list for favorite sport to bet on. As sports betting continues to be legalized across the US, even more fans have flocked in—and especially to the high-intensity, action-packed bowl games that cap off the season.
Regular-season NCAAF games bring in a ton of betting volume but it’s the Bowl games, which serve as the reward for a job well done for the top programs of the year, where that betting handle really spikes.
With so many college bowl betting options to explore, we’ll cover as much as we can right here from live odds on Bowl games to how the postseason works to what to watch for on the odds board to the top bet types and more.
Once the Bowl game matchups are set, sportsbooks quickly come out with odds and lines for the games. Since there’s a good deal of time in advance of kickoff, there will be some movement in the numbers. You can stay on top of the market via our live odds feed, which has real-time numbers from the top online sportsbooks. Click on any odds to go directly to the sportsbook, claim your bonus and get your bets in. Before the Bowl games begin you can bet futures on the potential NCAAF champion, conference winners and more. Note: Until NY online sportsbooks go live these odds are provided by NJ online sportsbooks.
To bet on college bowl games online, either at home when launched here or in neighboring states New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which have already legalized online sports betting, here’s what NY residents need to do.
From start to finish, the above will take just a few minutes, and you can do all of it in NY without issue. However, you’ll need to be in one of the legal states to place bets. Geolocation tracking helps sportsbooks verify user location. If you’re not in a legal state when trying to place bets, they won’t go through. After you’ve placed bets, go home and enjoy the action.
One final important note to keep in mind about NCAAF betting: several states have restrictions in place involving local programs. Here in NY, you can’t bet on in-state teams or games taking place in the state. The same applies in NJ, but no such restrictions are in place in PA. That may take a few games out of the equation, but you’ll still have plenty of options to consider.
From the first game of the regular season straight through to the Bowls, there are tons of different games to bet on for college football. Often referred to as NCAAF at online and mobile sportsbooks, oddsmakers will post odds for all contests on the docket well in advance of kickoff. When you click on the links for available games, here’s an example of the college bowl betting lines you’ll see.
Each matchup is listed individually with the road team on top and the home side on the bottom, but keep in mind that Bowl games are held at neutral locations. Next to the teams are three sets of numbers. These are the odds for three main bet types: point spread, moneyline, and totals. When reading moneyline odds and odds for spread bets, negative numbers are for favorites.
In our example, Alabama is favored by 6.5-points on the spread and the moneyline favorite. For the total, you’ll see a projected number and the odds for either the Over or Under. The odds also reveal potential returns on winning wagers. If the number is negative, that’s what you have to lay to get back $100, such as $110 at odds of -110.
For positive numbers, the value of the odds equals what comes back on a $100 winner, such as $220 at odds of +220. It’s important to note that the odds will move after the initial release, and also that there may be differences between sportsbooks. As such, engaging in line shopping to find the most appealing options is highly recommended.
Beyond the wide assortment of Bowl games to consider, there are also many different betting options for each of them. Naturally, each bet type has its parameters, but you can get a handle of things quickly with a little practice. The basic NCAAF and NFL bets are the same, and here’s how the top choices work.
There’s no need to try and tackle everything right out of the gate. It makes sense to start with one or two bet types as you develop your skills. Once you have them down, you can start exploring the other options. Before too long, you’ll have a good handle on all of them while also gaining a sense of which ones work best for your approach.
While you can bet on plenty of NCAAF games individually, you can also take a look ahead at how the season as a whole might play out. The futures betting market for college football is very active. Odds come out in the offseason for several different markets. Top offerings include:
The general idea for futures is to find the selections you want at the best possible prices. To do so, line shopping can help immensely as there can be differences in the lines to be found. Futures require a long-term perspective as tickets stay open until they can be settled, but you can make a nice score when you make the right call at great odds.
It wasn’t too long ago that there was no question on where you could find the best sports betting odds. That was out in Las Vegas, which rightfully earned its distinction as the sports betting capital of the world. The market revolved around what the folks out in the desert had to say with a discussion of odds and lines centering on the numbers from Sin City.
Nowadays, the story has changed. Sports betting is now legal in several states, and the same thing will happen in other markets in the coming months and years. In the local markets, sportsbook operators are putting outlines that are on point with the numbers from Vegas. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll always be the same.
That’s impossible due to betting action. As volume comes in, sportsbooks will adjust the numbers in response to which way the money is flowing. However, if you’re looking to place bets in your local market, you can rest assured that the college bowl betting odds and lines are comparable to what you would find out in Vegas.
Speaking of Vegas, that was the only legal option for sports betting in the US for some time. The black market for wagering thrived and as a result, a category that includes offshore sites which claim to operate in a legal grey area. That may be the case, but the bottom line is that they function outside of US jurisdiction. As such, there are no protections in place for users.
Sports betting has now been legalized in several states. Many more will get on board in the future, but that doesn’t mean that the black market has completely dried up. Offshore sites are still out there and taking on customers. Those who take the plunge are putting their funds at risk and without any protections to boot.
Legal and regulated shops, such as all of our recommended sportsbooks, have strict rules that have to be followed for them to do business in a state. In a nutshell, there are protections in place for you that just aren’t available with offshore sites. That being the case, taking your business there makes a world of sense, while going offshore does not.
Sportsbooks have clearly defined rules of the road that need to be followed. The house rules let users know what to expect in terms of placement and settlement of wagers, as well as what the procedures are for circumstances that may come up. For college football, here are some of the main points that you need to be aware of.
As mentioned earlier, specific state rules on college football betting are also in places, such as no wagering on in-state programs or contests that take place in NY or NJ. For complete house rules, look for a dedicated section at online and mobile sportsbooks. If it’s not there, you should be able to locate them in the FAQ or help sections.
College football bowl game season is packed with 40+ contests. It’s all condensed into the late December to early January timeframe, making it the biggest sports highlight of the holiday season. As we saw in 2020, the schedule can change on the fly, but everything is typically laid out well in advance. For 2021, times and dates are still to be determined for many of the bowls.
|Dec. 18, 2021||Cricket Celebration Bowl||Atlanta, GA||ESPN|
|Dec. 30, 2021||Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl||Atlanta, GA||ESPN|
|Dec. 31, 2021||Goodyear Cotton Bowl||Arlington, TX||ESPN|
|Dec. 31, 2021||Capital One Orange Bowl||Miami Gardens, FL||ESPN|
|Jan. 1, 2022||Rose Bowl Game||Pasadena, CA||ESPN|
|Jan. 1, 2022||Allstate Sugar Bowl||New Orleans, LA||ESPN|
|Jan. 1, 2022||PlayStation Fiesta Bowl||Glendale, AZ||ESPN|
|Jan. 10, 2022||CFP National Championship||Indianapolis, IN||ESPN|
|TBD||AutoZone Liberty Bowl||Memphis, TN||ESPN|
|TBD||Bahamas Bowl||Nassau, BHS||ESPN|
|TBD||Camellia Bowl||Montgomery, AL||ESPN|
|TBD||Cheez-It Bowl||Orlando, FL||ESPN|
|TBD||Duke’s Mayo Bowl||Charlotte, NC||ESPN|
|TBD||FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl||Orlando, FL||CBSSN|
|TBD||Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Boise, ID||ESPN|
|TBD||Fenway Bowl||Boston, MA||ESPN|
|TBD||Guaranteed Rate Bowl||Phoenix, AZ||ESPN|
|TBD||Hawaii Bowl||Honolulu, HI||ESPN|
|TBD||LA Bowl||Inglewood, CA||ESPN|
|TBD||Las Vegas Bowl||Las Vegas, NV||ESPN|
|TBD||Lending Tree Bowl||Mobile, AL||ESPN|
|TBD||LM Armed Forces Bowl||Fort Worth, TX||ESPN|
|TBD||Mercari Texas Bowl||Houston, TX||ESPN|
|TBD||Military Bowl||Annapolis, MD||ESPN|
|TBD||Myrtle Beach Bowl||Conway, SC||ESPN|
|TBD||New Era Pinstripe Bowl||Bronx, NY||ESPN|
|TBD||New Mexico Bowl||Albuquerque, NM||ESPN|
|TBD||Offerpad Arizona Bowl||Tucson, AZ||CBSSN|
|TBD||Outback Bowl||Tampa, FL||ESPN|
|TBD||Quick Lane Bowl||Detroit, MI||ESPN|
|TBD||R+L New Orleans Bowl||New Orleans, LA||ESPN|
|TBD||RT Independence Bowl||Shreveport, LA||ESPN|
|TBD||Redbox Bowl||Santa Clara, CA||FOX|
|TBD||Roofclaim Boca Raton Bowl||Boca Raton, FL||ESPN|
|TBD||SDCCU Holiday Bowl||San Diego, CA||FOX|
|TBD||SP First Responder Bowl||Dallas, TX||ESPN|
|TBD||TaxSlayer Gator Bowl||Jacksonville, FL||ESPN|
|TBD||TS Birmingham Bowl||Birmingham, AL||ESPN|
|TBD||Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl||El Paso, TX||CBS|
|TBD||TP Music City Bowl||Nashville, TN||ESPN|
|TBD||TS Cafe Frisco Bowl||Frisco, TX||ESPN|
|TBD||UH Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl||Tampa, FL||ESPN|
|TBD||Valero Alamo Bowl||San Antonio, TX||ESPN|
|TBD||Vrbo Citrus Bowl||Orlando, FL||ESPN|
The majority of the bowls have specific conference affiliations in place. For example, the Rose Bowl is traditionally a Big Ten vs. Pac-12 affair, but that can be subject to change. At the end of the day, the teams that qualify for bowls are the best that college football has to offer for the season at hand.
The top highlights of bowl game season are what is known as the New Year’s Six Bowls. These are the contests with the most tradition attached to them, and they’re all featured in primo broadcasting spots. On a rotational basis, they also play host to the College Football Playoffs. Here are some of the key details on these six iconic games.
|Cotton Bowl||Arlington, TX||1937||Oklahoma over Florida, 55-20|
|Fiesta Bowl||Glendale, AZ||1971||Iowa State over Oregon, 34-17|
|Orange Bowl||Miami Gardens, FL||1935||Texas A&M over North Carolina, 41-27|
|Peach Bowl||Atlanta, GA||1968||Georgia over Cincinnati, 24-21|
|Rose Bowl||Pasadena, CA||1902||Alabama over Notre Dame, 31-14|
|Sugar Bowl||New Orleans, LA||1935||Ohio State over Clemson, 49-28|
The College Football Playoffs were instituted in 2014. Before its installation, the crowning of the national champion came down to polls and formulas as opposed to settling it on the field. There was controversy on several occasions as a result. The CFP aimed to change that. The top four teams in the nation are chosen by the CFP Selection Committee.
Naturally, the selection process hasn’t been completely devoid of controversy, but the committee has done a solid job in general. Towards the middle of the regular season, CFP polls are released every week. This shows who is in contention for the coveted spots with the official unveiling of the matchups coming once the regular season is in the books.
CFP semifinal games are held at two of the New Year’s Six Bowls with the locations rotating yearly. The remaining spots in the other four top bowls are filled out by the teams that just missed the cut for the CFP. The winners of the semifinals advance to the national championship game, which is typically held on a Monday night in early January.
The goal of the CFP is to crown a true national champion. Since being introduced in 2014, just 11 different programs have managed to qualify with four schools accounting for 20 of the 28 total spots since implementation. Here’s a look at the teams that have appeared in the CFP and their overall record along with some keynotes.
|Alabama||6||8-3||3-2 in national title games|
|Clemson||6||6-4||2-2 in national title games|
|Ohio State||4||3-3||1-1 in national title games|
|Oklahoma||4||0-4||Lost semifinals each time|
|Notre Dame||2||0-2||Lost two semifinal games|
|LSU||1||2-0||Won 2019 national title|
|Oregon||1||1-1||Lost 2014 national title game|
|Georgia||1||1-1||Lost 2017 national title game|
|Florida State||1||0-1||Lost 2014 semifinal game|
|Michigan State||1||0-1||Lost 2015 semifinal game|
|Washington||1||0-1||Lost 2016 semifinal game|
Some form of a national champion has been crowned in college football since back in the early days of the sport in 1869. For decades, there were several polls which aimed to name the champ, and that led to split results for many seasons with two or more programs laying claim to the title.
As time moved along, some polls simply became more prominent than others and served as the gold standard. College football itself has gone through several iterations of how to determine a champ, most recently landing on the CFP in 2014. On an all-time basis, 60 programs have claimed at least one national title in some form with eleven reaching double digits.
In the early days of the NCAAF, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard were powerhouses, but that’s just not the case in the modern era. Interestingly, three of the four teams that have made it to the CFP the most times -— Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma — are also among those with the most titles on the mantle.
Bowl games and the regular are two separate events, but you can still lean on the same basic NCAAF handicapping principles. For example, a close examination of the odds and matchup are priorities for each contest you plan to wager on. From a broader perspective, there are some key things to watch out for when the Bowls start.
Bowl season is a very busy time for online and mobile sportsbooks. These are some of the highest-volume contests of the year for betting purposes and big attractions on the tube. Those with NCAAF handicapping experience already circle it on the yearly calendar, while those new to the sport will quickly get the hang of what all of the fuss is about.