The 2020 college football season is right around the corner. If you’re new to betting on the sport, we’ve created a page to introduce you to everything related to betting on college football from A to Z.
Before you jump into the action and start betting on the 130 teams, make sure you get a good feel for what the betting lines are all about. Below we’ll explain all of the different types of college football bets you’ll see, how to read the betting lines, and what the numbers mean.
Once you have a good understanding of that, we’ll introduce you to some of the best places to bet on college football – both online and in-person – and then answer a number of frequently asked questions.
Read on below to put yourself on the path to success for NCAA football betting.
Best college football betting sites in New Jersey
There are 18 online sportsbooks in New Jersey to choose from and all of them take bets on college football in some form. Make sure you stick with the legal ones as they’re more reliable (and secure) than the offshore options.
Where can you bet on NCAA football in NJ?
Although it’s much easier to bet online than in person, sometimes it’s fun to step into the retail locations. They’ll have a lively atmosphere where you can watch the game. It’s a fun place to be on an NFL Sunday or college football Saturday.
To complement the 18 apps, NJ is also home to 10 retail sportsbooks:
|Location||Address||Sports Betting Partner||Minimum Bet|
|Monmouth Park||175 Oceanport Ave, Oceanport, NJ 07757||William Hill||$2|
|Meadowlands||1 Racetrack Drive, East Rutherford, NJ 07073||FanDuel Sportsbook||$2|
|Borgata||1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, NJ 08401||IGT||$5|
|Bally's||1900 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401||Scientific Games||$5|
|Golden Nugget||600 Huron Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401||SBTech||$5|
|Hard Rock||1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401||GiG||$5|
|Harrah's||777 Harrah's Blvd, Atlantic City, NJ 08401||Scientific Games||$2|
|Ocean Casino||500 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401||William Hill||$2|
|Resorts||1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401||DraftKings Sportsbook||$2|
|Tropicana||2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401||William Hill||$2|
Betting on college football with NJ betting apps
While there are 10 retail books, the majority of action in the Garden State occurs at the 18 online sports betting sites.
|Online Sportsbook||Land-based Affiliate||iOS/Android app?||Bonus Offer||Promo Code|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||Resorts AC||Yes/Yes||$50 free bet||None - Use Links|
|FOX Bet||Resorts AC||Yes/Yes||$500 risk-free bet||None - Use Links|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||Meadowlands||Yes/Yes||$1,000 match bet||None - Use Links|
|William Hill NJ||Monmouth Park/Ocean Resort/Tropicana AC||Yes/Yes||$500 risk free bet||LEGALRF|
|PointsBet NJ||Meadowlands||Yes/Yes||up to $2,000 risk free bets||BETBONUS|
|SugarHouse NJ||Monmouth Park||Yes/Yes||100% up to $250||PLAY250|
|Caesars Sportsbook NJ||Caesars AC||Yes/Yes||$10 free||BETFREE10|
|Resorts Sportsbook||Resorts AC||Yes/Yes||Up to $250 match bet||MAXBONUS|
|888 Sport||Caesars AC||Yes/Yes||$500 risk free bet||None - Use Links|
|BetMGM Sport||Borgata AC||Yes/Yes||$600 risk free bet||PLAYBONUS|
|Golden Nugget Sportsbook||Golden Nugget||Yes/Yes||Up to $250 risk-free bet||PLAYBONUS|
|Hard Rock Sports||Hard Rock AC||Yes/Yes||$100 free bet||None - Use Links|
|BetAmerica||Golden Nugget||Yes/Yes||100% up to $500||None available|
|Borgata Sports||Borgata AC||Yes/Yes||Up to $100 risk-free bet||PLAYNJ|
|Unibet Sportsbook||Hard Rock AC||Yes/Yes||Up to $600 risk free bet||BETBONUS|
|Bet365||Hard Rock AC||Yes/Yes||Up to $500 in bet credits||None - Use Links|
New Jersey is one of the states that does allow mobile sports betting, which is great for customers. That means that once you sign up for a sportsbook account (and you can sign up for as many as you like for free), you can download the app or play online at any of the books right from your smartphone.
If you’re at the sports bar or even at a game, you’re able to place all of your bets with just a few taps on your screen.
Is college football betting legal?
Betting on college football is completely legal in New Jersey. That includes pregame betting, in-game or live betting, and everything else in between.
The lone caveat is that you cannot bet on college games or events in New Jersey, or on any NJ college team. In other words, the Rutgers games will not be available for you to bet on or against.
How does college betting work?
If you’re looking to bet on college football, the basics are very similar to betting on NFL games.
Online sportsbooks will give you a plethora of lines that will allow you to bet on all sorts of outcomes. The most popular way of betting on college football is predicting a team to win via the point spread (a margin of victory) or on the moneyline (to win the game outright).
You can also bet on the totals (combined score of the game) as well as futures bets such as who will win the National Championship, how many wins a team will finish with, and who will walk away with the Heisman Trophy.
Betting on college football vs. the NFL
However, there are a number of significant differences when it comes to betting on college football versus the NFL. Let’s take a closer look at the main distinctions:
- The number of teams: There are only 32 NFL teams whereas there are 130 college football teams in Division 1.
- Media coverage: In the NFL, most of the games are broadcast on TV as three of them are primetime and the rest are either in the morning or afternoon on Sunday (eastern time). However, with college football, there are far more games to follow each week and many games don’t get broadcast on national television.
- More mismatches in college: There’s a huge disparity between the haves and the have nots in college football. That’s not the case in the NFL as the salary cap and revenue sharing tends to keep a good balance in the league.
- More mistakes in college: Remember that in college, these players are still young. They’re not professionals. They’re more susceptible to emotions and the gravity of the moment. They’re also not fully-grown specimens as they are in the pros. That means that you’ll see more mistakes and turnovers in college football.
- More people bet the NFL: Given that it’s easier to follow the NFL (less teams, more national coverage), more people know about it and more people bet on it. However, there’s great value betting on college football if you study the teams and do your homework.
- Returning starters the key to college football: One of the best signs of how well a team will do in the coming season is the number of returning starters. Remember, college students don’t have to commit to schools for the long term, so they can leave after a couple of seasons. In the NFL, teams can control players for five years or longer, so they can have consistency with their rosters. That’s why with college, when you see a lot of players coming back for another season to play for a team that did well the previous year, that’s a really good sign.
Betting lines & odds for college football
There are many types of college football betting lines, but the main ones are the point spread, the moneyline, and the total. This allows you to bet on the margin of victory in the game, the outright winner, and the combined score of the teams.
When you’re checking out the lines on any given week, you’ll notice that the betting lines move around kind of like a stock market. They can go up, down, and back up.
The reason for the changes varies as sometimes the line can move because of injuries, weather, or it could move because people are betting mostly one side of the game.
The oddsmakers try to get even money on both sides of the betting line. That way they can just collect their commission for accepting the bets and don’t have to worry about the outcome of the game.
How to shop for lines
Shopping around for college football lines is very important. Getting the best number makes a big difference in the long run, especially for your wallet.
Let’s take the following point spread as an example:
What we see here is two separate numbers on the same game. If you want to bet on Alabama, it makes more sense to bet on them at PointsBet because if they win by exactly seven points, you’ll win your bet. If you bet on them at DraftKings, you’d actually tie if they won by exactly seven points.
It’s just like shopping at Amazon and Walmart: If you’re buying the exact same product, you’ll buy it at the place that’s cheaper (all things being equal). This is one example as to how shopping around can lead to winning or losing.
The other key point to keep in mind is that it doesn’t cost you anything to have multiple sportsbooks accounts. It’s completely free, so it’s a smart strategy to employ to ensure that you’re winning as much as possible in the long run.
NCAA football betting tips
A lot of people get overwhelmed betting on college football at first because there are so many teams and so many games. If you’re new to the popular pastime, we have three college football betting tips to get you off on the right track:
1. Study the recruiting classes, roster changes
In the NFL, there’s free agency. In college football, there’s recruiting.
It’s important to keep an eye on how the teams are doing in recruiting and what players they have returning from the previous season. Some incoming recruits can have a big impact on the season.
2. Know the conferences
Not all conferences are created equally.
Teams from the power conferences such as the SEC and Big 12 tend to recruit the best players and coaches. They have a sizable edge in talent over the non-power conferences.
But even among the power conferences, ones like the SEC have plenty of talent and depth while the ACC is fairly weak outside of Clemson.
Having a better understanding of the conferences will help you handicap the games on a weekly basis.
3. Get an understanding of the styles of play
Before you bet the games, you have to learn about the different styles of play of the teams.
For example, Oklahoma is a team that relies on offense and plays in a lot of high-scoring contests. Meanwhile, a team like Wisconsin likes to run the ball, play defense, and engage in lower-scoring contests.
By reading the weekly team previously, taking note of the stats throughout the season, and monitoring the game totals each week, you’ll start to learn how the teams like to play. Then you can start to gauge how they’ll fare in their current matchup for the week.
Pre-season, regular season and playoffs in college football
The college football season operates significantly different from the NFL schedule. To start, there is no preseason. The teams will have training camps and practice, but they don’t have four exhibition weeks like the NFL.
The college football season is also shorter than the NFL season as the college calendar is about 12 games. After that, some conferences will have a conference championship game, and then teams will move on to bowl season afterward.
In the NFL, they move straight to the playoffs.
The only playoff system in college is for the top four teams. The teams selected to go to the College Football Playoff compete in two national semifinals. Then the winners will move on to play in the championship game.
New Jersey NCAAF teams
There is only one Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision school in the state of New Jersey. That’s the Rutgers Scarlett Knights. There are a couple of other teams in Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision and those are the Monmouth Hawks and the Princeton Tigers.
As far as neighboring Pennsylvania goes, there are three teams in the top division. They are Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, and Temple Owls. In New York, there are the Army Black Knights, the Buffalo Bulls, and the Syracuse Orange.
However, as mentioned before, New Jersey prohibits betting on any college game that occurs in state and on any NJ college team in general. This is why you will only see the NY and PA game lines at NJ sportsbooks.
How to bet on college football games
If you’re new to betting on college football, let’s run you through the most common betting lines, so that you’re familiar with what you’ll see at New Jersey sportsbooks.
The point spread is a margin of victory. This means that the team you bet on will have to cover that margin if they’re to win the bet for you. Let’s take a look at the following example:
LSU Tigers +2.5
Alabama Crimson Tide -2.5
What you want to notice here is whether the team has a plus or minus sign in front of their odds. The minus sign suggests that that team has to win by that margin. In this case, Alabama has to win by three points or more for you to win your bet.
On the other hand, the Tigers can lose by two points, one point, tie or win the game, and you’d win your bet.
The moneyline refers to the outright winner of the game.
In other words, if you don’t want to mess around with the point spread, you can simply bet on who’ll win the game. Let’s take a look at the following example:
In this case, LSU again has a plus sign in front of their odds. What that means is if you bet on LSU and they win the game, a $100 bet would pay $200. On the other hand, if you bet on Alabama (the favorite), you’d have to bet $250 to win $100.
The team that’s favored has the smaller number and the further the number goes into negatives, the bigger the favorite they are. The same is true in the other direction as the bigger the number, the bigger the underdog.
The over/under – also known as the total – is what allows you to bet on the combined score of the two teams. If you’re not sure who’ll win the game, this gives you the opportunity to bet the game in another way. Let’s use the following example:
LSU at Alabama
In this case, you have to decide whether these two teams will combine to score 53 or more points, or whether they’ll score 52 or less. So if the final score is 40-30, 51-27, or 27-26, the game will have gone over.
If it’s 20-19, 17-10 or 51-0, the game will have stayed under.
While the first three bet types focus on upcoming games, futures are a type of bet that allows you to bet on things that will be decided down the road.
That might include things such as betting on who’ll win a specific conference, how many wins a team will finish with. or who’ll win the Heisman Trophy.
The downside with these bets is that your money is locked up for a while. The upside is that they typically offer big payouts if they do cash.
If you’re not sure what to bet on before the game, one of the best options you have is live betting.
In-game betting allows you to make your bets as the game is unfolding. After each play, the sportsbook oddsmakers will re-post the lines based on what’s happening. In other words, if one team scores, then the odds will change. Or if one team goes three-and-out, the odds will change. Or if the game is almost over, the odds will change.
The benefit with live betting is that you can see a part of the game before making a decision. You can watch the teams, see how things are playing out, and then make your bet.
College football schedule
College football games are broadcast on cable networks on several days throughout the week. There is usually an early game (or wave of games) on Thursday night. On occasion, there are also Friday night contests.
After that, the majority of games are played on Saturday. The early games will start at 12 p.m. ET, the next wave of games will come it at around 3 or 4 p.m. ET, followed by an evening menu at about 7 p.m. ET and then finally the late West Coast games at around 10 p.m. ET.
Keep in mind that when Hawaii plays at home, they’re typically the last game on the board as they’ll start late-night around midnight.
Also, keep in mind that with 130 teams and 12 games each, there are a lot of games throughout the short season.
Top 5 college football games of 2020
From opening week to the head-to-head matchups leading into bowl season, there are certain games that are far more watch-worthy (or bet worthy) than others. Here’s a quick taste:
OCT. 17: LSU @ Florida
The defending national champions will have their first real test of the season against the Gators in The Swamp
Oct. 17: Georgia @ Alabama
This game is a possible preview of the SEC Championship Game, and the winner of this contest will emerge with a ton of national championship buzz.
Nov. 21: oklahoma state @ oklahoma
Bedlam should live up to its name this year, as both teams figure to be highly-ranked and in the hunt for a top bowl by this point in the season.
Nov. 21: Clemson @ Notre Dame
The top-ranked Tigers travel to South Bend to face one of the most legendary college football teams during an “up” year.
dec. 5: North Carolina @ Miami
This game could decide who gets to meet (presumably) Clemson in the ACC Championship and contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
How to watch college games
If you’re looking to watch the games, you can watch most of them on the ESPN family of networks, including ESPN, ESPN News, ESPN2, ESPN+ and ABC.
There are also games on FOX, CBS and the conference networks such as the Big 12 Network, the Pac-12 Network, the Big Ten Network and more.
All of these channels are available on a typical cable package. The other option is to find ways to watch it online. For example, you can purchase an ESPN+ subscription from ESPN.com directly.
Of course, in most cases, a trip to a retail book in New Jersey or a sports bar will solve the problem. Most will have at least one TV showcasing one of the games happening that day.
Biggest rivalries in college football
Rivalries are a big part of college athletics and certain schools have histories.
Typically, it’s related to location (in-state rivals), but rivalries can also be built up through playoff meetings, player transfers, and coaching changes.
Some of the most notable rivalries in college football are:
- Army-Navy: Navy leads the all-time series 60-51-7.
- Alabama-Auburn: Also known as the Iron Bowl, Alabama leads the series 45-36-1.
- Michigan-Ohio State: Michigan leads the Big Game series 58-50-6.
- Oklahoma-Texas: This is the Red River Rivalry. Texas leads the matchups 63-45-5.
- USC-Notre Dame: Also known as the Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh, Notre Dame leads 47-37-5.
- Georgia-Florida: The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party has Georgia leading the series 52-43-2.
- Miami-Florida State: This in-state rivalry is led by Miami, but by the thinnest of margins at 33-30.
- Harvard-Yale: Simply known as The Game, the series is lead by Yale, 67-60-8.
College football betting FAQ
The 2020 NCAA football season starts on Aug. 29.
College football games are 60 minutes of game time, but with the commercial breaks and halftime show, they are about 3:30 minutes of real-time.
There are 130 college football schools in Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. There are an additional 125 teams in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
The Associated Press preseason rankings are typically released at the end of July/beginning of August.
The College Football Playoff will start on Jan. 1, 2021, with the two semifinal games.
The College Football Playoff Championship Game will take place on Jan. 11, 2021.
Yale has the most national championships with 18. Alabama is No. 2 with 15 championships.
College football overtimes can keep going until a team finally wins. As long as the score is tied after each overtime, the game will continue.
During the 2020-21 season, there will be 43 bowl games in December and January.
There are currently 11 conferences in college football: American, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, FBS Independents, Mid-American, Mountain West, Pac-12, SEC, and Sun Belt.
The latest figures show that only about 2% of NCAA student-athletes become professional athletes.
If you’re in the state of New Jersey and are playing at a legal online sportsbook in that state, you won’t be able to bet on New Jersey teams like Rutgers. Those games will be off the board. Same goes for college games featuring NJ teams outside of the state.