College Football Betting Lines

Written by Devin Flanigan
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Unlike the NFL, where big money helps ensure a certain degree of parity among the teams, college football routinely features games between teams of vastly varying skill levels. For sports enthusiasts, it is the betting line that levels the playing field, creating a situation in which half of the wagers will fall on either side of the line. College football lines add excitement and drama to games that might otherwise be a boring, one-sided affair.

On Monday mornings during the NCAA football season, Las Vegas odds makers release the initial lines for the upcoming weekend's matches. Factoring in a myriad of statistics both prominent and arcane, these professional handicappers are the voice of authority concerning what advantage one team has over another. These lines are not static, however, as once a nation of fans get in on the action, these lines may vary by as many as three points.

Covering the Spread

Wagering against the spread means taking into account the number of points by which the presumed better team is favored over the underdog. It is not enough for the favorite team to simply win, they must win by more than three, seven, or however many points the odds makers favor them for a wager to be won. Conversely, if the underdog loses by fewer points than make up the spread, it is the same as if it won the game, as far as betting against the spread is concerned.

In college football, instead of betting the spread, you also have the option of wagering the money line. This means that you simply have to pick the winner of the game, and the margin by which the game is won is inconsequential. Rather than the points being altered to reflect the odds, the ratio of money wagered to money won is what keeps the sides even. If you bet on a heavily favored team, you may have to risk $400 dollars to win $100 if your team prevails.

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