The American obsession with college football is more like a religion in certain part of the country. It's no surprise that an estimated $60-70 billion is wagered each year on the sport and that its television ratings are off the charts. For years - maybe even decades - one of the biggest complaints about collegiate football was that it did not crown a true champion. This, of course, was true as the sport's entire history before 2014 relied exclusively on regular season performances, bowl outcomes and polls to determine its national champion.
Then the clamoring and TV dollars finally and fortunately won out as the current College Football Playoff system was established. Since the inception of the College Football Playoff, fans and bettors have clearly enjoyed the product. While not perfect, the system has created seismic change to further ensure that the nation's elite teams have a chance to play for a title. While still not perfect, The College Football playoff is one of the best betting and television products in the sports world.
Best College Football Playoffs Betting Lines
While college football has never really lacked for wagering support, the Playoffs have spawned popular future bets where fans can spend the preseason and early months of the regular season wagering on a given team's chances for one of the four playoff spots.
Traditional powers like Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson have made repeat trips to the College Football Playoff despite its limited history and have thus commanded a great deal of betting action in future wagers. To begin the 2017 season, for example, here were the three favorites:
- Alabama: +300
- Ohio State: +800
- Oklahoma: +800
Obviously, these odds are adjusted as the season progresses and teams either bolster their playoff worthiness or drop out of the wagering with key losses. Once the playoffs roll around, the three playoff games are given ample wagering attention with a full menus of props, halves, and other specialty bets available at most sportsbooks.
How To Win Your College Football Playoff Bets
When the very best teams in college football tee it up and take the field for 60 minutes of battle, the critical elements of handicapping become even more amplified. While it's impossible to speak in generalities about the matchup-driven process of picking winners against-the-spread, there are a few important factors to keep in mind...
1- Experience matters
Think about Clemson and Alabama. They've been there before and they know how to handle the spotlight. When Clemson demolished a young Ohio State squad in the semi-final last year, its veterans led the charge.
2- Coaching is critical
Saban, Swinney, Urban Meyer. The elite head coaches earn their fat salaries during this time of year. Go with the proven winners when in doubt.
3- Star power
Which team has the playmakers, separating good from great? Immediate images of Derrick Henry and DeShaun Watson come to mind. Big-time players make plays in the big-time games. Cliche, but true.
Just like the crucial elements of handicapping a game are essential, picking the right sportsbook for your wagering needs is equally important. Go with the professionals who have been in the game the longest and offer the best wagering value and opportunities.
Picking ATS winners
Much moreso than the regular season, the playoff odds are generally expressed as close matchups with rarely more than seven points separating the two teams. In this way, college football playoff odds more closely resemble the kind of odds NFL bettors are used to seeing. Said another way, the windows get tighter. This is great news for a bettor with a clear read on a game.
Using Clemson as an example, the Tigers were three-point underdogs in the 2016 semi-final game against Ohio State. Clemson won 31-0 in a completely dominating performance that wasn't all-together unseen by those who followed the late-season performance of both teams and considered Clemson's significant experience and quarterback edge.
Conventional wagers where the bettor picks a side or a total are great, but expanded menus are also a good thing. Just as Super Bowl betting options get creative and varied, so too do the bets offered at playoff time in college football. Bets on total yards, rushing yards, passing yards, and individual player performance improve the wagering flavor quite a bit.