Are you ready to give it “the old college try” by studying college football futures odds then picking an NCAA football conference winner or the national champion this season?
When placing bets on National Collegiate Athletic Association football (NCAAF) games, you have many options like college football futures. If you’re a beginner bettor, then the process can seem as tough as final exam week. Having the correct information, however, can help you place the best bets.
Read on to learn key information about NCAAF futures bets. We’ll explain how futures bets work, how to read college football futures odds, the steps for placing futures bets, and strategies for making NCAAF futures bets.
Football Futures: The Basics
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What Is a Futures Bet?
Some of the most frequent types of bets in college football include point spread, over/under, and moneyline.
Meanwhile, a futures bet in leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and college football is a bet made on events that will transpire later on. In general, bettors make these bets before the college football season starts.
However, you can make futures bets up to the start of the NCAAF title game. Most NCAA futures bets are on:
- College Football Playoffs (CFP) Bowl Games
- National Championship
- Heisman Trophy
How Are NCAAF Futures Listed?
Bookmakers list NCAA futures odds in a few different ways. Most online sportsbooks list a team as a +200 favorite, for example. These odds mean a $100 bet on the team to capture the national title has a $200 payout in a win.
Another way of listing the odds is as 2/1, but it’s the same math using fractions.
For example, an 11/2 favorite to win the national championship pays out 5.5 x the bet. In the above-mentioned Americans odds format, the multiplier is listed as +550.
The futures odds can change during the season. They can also vary during the preseason due to factors like transfers, injuries, or issues related to the coaching staff or athletic department.
How to Read CFP Playoff Futures Odds
In August, 100+ NCAA college football teams start competing to earn a trip to the College Football Playoff. Alabama Crimson Tide is the defending champion for the 2021-22 season.
The top contenders for the 2021 season and sample futures odds include:
- Alabama Crimson Tide +250
- Clemson Tigers +450
- Georgia Bulldogs +500
- Ohio State Buckeyes +600
- Oklahoma Sooners +800
Futures Bets for NCAAF Seasons
When placing futures bets during the college football season, here are some of the main options you have:
NCAAF Championship - This sporting event selects the winner of the CFP.
Heisman Trophy - The Heisman Memorial Trophy is an award given every year to the most outstanding player in college football.
Conference Championship - These futures are for NCAA Division I conferences. Examples include Oregon beating Washington and USC winning the Pac-12.
You can use online odds calculators and parlay calculators to determine possible payouts.
Key Features That Make College Football Futures Popular
In recent years, trends in the football futures market included the Heisman Trophy and national championship odds.
One reason for the popularity is that odds may be less sharp (close to the actual probability of a match) than pro leagues, for example.
In addition, the odds are often available during the offseason, so you can bet on a team to win the Big Ten Conference, for example, during the summer months.
Another futures bet option is season win totals. For example, you can pick the over for the West Virginia Mountaineers to win more conference games than the oddsmakers project for college football win totals.
Finally, another feature of NCAAF futures is flexibility. Soon after the title game, you can pick a matchup between head coach Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide or Coach Dabo Swinney's Clemson Tigers with QB Trevor Lawrence, for example.
If you’re looking for a flexible online sportsbook like MaximBet.com, we offer betting information for many sports, including football, basketball, hockey, and baseball.
College Football Futures: How to Bet
NCAAF Futures Markets
College football is one of the reasons American football is a popular sport to bet on among bettors in the United States.
The betting market for football futures has peaks and valleys during the calendar year. It's important to analyze futures odds before placing bets.
Oddsmakers send out opening futures odds after the football season ends in January. The primary market is the NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which includes 120+ teams divided into ten conferences, plus independent schools.
Here are some universities from famous football conferences:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
Southeastern Conference (SEC)
- South Carolina
- Kansas State
- Iowa State
- Oklahoma State
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
- Virginia Tech
- North Carolina
- NC State
- Wake Forest
NCAAF Championship Game
Most sportsbooks limit college football futures to teams with a competitive chance to win the title. The summer sees a spike in bets as college students return to school for the fall semester.
Factors that affect the betting market for college football features include:
- Coaching changes
- Depth charts
Placing a futures odds bet on the College Football Championship game is relatively easy. Bettors often refer to it as an “odds to win” bet or futures wager.
Like other bets, bettors win an event if they correctly pick a team to win a future event, such as the NCAAF championship.
The money placed on a futures bet is tied up until an outcome like CFP teams are selected or the Heisman Trophy is awarded. Bettors get fixed odds when making a bet. Big payout tickets and the best odds are often picked up before the football season starts.
When placing bets on the NCAAF Championship game, you can calculate your payout from American odds using this method. The minus sign (-) shows how much you must bet to win $100, and the plus sign (+) shows how much you can win if you bet $100.
Using American odds, an example of the Wolverines’ odds to win the national championship can look like this:
Michigan +300 to win the national championship
The Wolverines are listed as a +300 betting choice to win the National Championship. If you put $100 on Michigan to capture the championship, and they win it all, you’d win $300.
Your total payout would be $400, including your stake (original bet) and your $300 winnings.
NCAAF Futures Odds: What Factors Impact Them?
A big win or bad loss can greatly increase or decrease a football team’s chance of becoming conference champions.
For example, if Miami or Arizona State is upset in an early conference game, it can be tough to earn a CFP berth. The CRP selection committee considers such issues when picking CFP teams.
Early futures odds are may be based on:
- Performance in the previous season
- Seniors or Early NFL draftees
Other factors include:
- Player and personnel changes
College football programs use a top-heavy recruiting system, so it’s rare for a “Cinderella team” to win the national title. This situation is different from teams like the Oklahoma State Cowboys that are sometimes contenders to win it all.
However, Ohio State won the 2014 CFP title as the fourth-ranked team in the playoffs.
If you do ample research, you can find the best odds to bet against consensus favorites like Ohio State in 2014. Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State were ranked higher in the playoffs.
Keep in mind the underdog covered the spread or won in all five championships from 2014 to 2019 until the LSU (Louisiana State University) Tigers won big in 2020. In addition, five of the six championship games went over the projected combined total.
Many oddsmakers consider the NCAA team’s past performance to determine how well they’ll likely perform this football season.
It’s not an exact science since teams’ performance can change from year to year. Still, it’s generally likely for strong teams to stay competitive if they experience few or no roster changes.
Oddsmakers often consider possible game outcomes when setting futures odds. For example, they consider how many ranked teams Penn State will play during the football season.
Big games can also affect Heisman trophy odds. For example, QB Jalen Hurts broke the passing record of the Oklahoma Sooners in his first game. However, he finished second to LSU’s QB Joe Burrow for the 2019 Heisman.
Each August, the Coaches’ Poll and AP (Associated Press) Poll are released to show how the top 25 NCAA teams rank. Oddsmakers consider these figures when setting their futures odds.
Teams like Alabama and UCLA are often major title contenders. For example, Texas A&M may be ranked No.1 overall and Syracuse in last place.
Another factor is the mid-season CFP poll to determine which squads will compete in the four-team playoff for the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Oddsmakers then adjust their rankings based on the national poll.
Player and Personnel Changes
Great teams tend to stay that way unless they experience major personnel changes. Some examples include star players graduating from college or joining the NFL draft.
Coaching changes can also affect how well a team performs on the field. Examples include a coach that transfers from Stanford to UCLA or adjusts to playing styles like the spread offense or a pro-style offense.
Remember that injuries move college football odds less than NFL and NBA futures except in the case of quarterbacks.
College Football Futures: Betting Strategies and Mistakes
Odds are available during the offseason, preseason, and regular season. Making your futures bet at the right time is better than locking in early or waiting too long.
Find the best price for a player or team worth backing.
Don’t Limit Your Bets on One Team or Player
This rule is especially true during early betting.
Picking Auburn and last year’s national champions Alabama, for example, boosts the chance after the Iron Bowl that you’ll have one football team in the SEC title game.
The Iron Bowl is an annual Alabama-Auburn SEC rivalry game.
Focus on College Football Power Conference Teams
These squads include last season’s national title teams (Alabama and Ohio State), Oklahoma, and Clemson. Teams from top college football conferences are more likely to be selected for the CFP.
Did you know that 13 out of the last 15 Heisman trophy winners were QBs? Also, focus on QBs on good teams.
Remember That “Dark Horses” Can Win the Heisman
A prime example is LSU QB Joe Burrow who was +10000 in Week 1 of the 2019 season to win the trophy.
Common Futures Betting Mistakes
Not Reviewing the Schedule
For example, consider factors like how many top-25 teams an NCAAF team plays during a particular season.
Not Reviewing Different Odds
The approach of comparing odds may thus improve your futures strategies.
At MaximBet.com, our aim is to offer our bettors the sharpest odds and the best value for their money. Check out the latest college football odds on our sportsbook now.
Not Prioritizing Value
“Packaging” many bets together can boost your chance of winning futures bets and getting bigger payouts.
Not Considering the Mid-Range Underdogs
Review mid-range underdogs with 10th to 20th best-ranked odds in any futures betting category. Mid-range underdogs can provide value bets due to the lower odds than favorites.
2021 NCAAF Futures Report
Various factors affect the NCAA futures odds for competing teams, from the favorites to longshots:
Alabama Crimson Tide
- QB Bryce Young
- Coach Dabo Swinney
- QB D.J. Uiagalelei
Ohio State Buckeyes
- QB Justin Fields going to the NFL
- WR Garrett Wilson
- Defensive End Zach Harrison
- Big 12 Championship
- Defeated Florida in Cotton Bowl
- QB Spencer Rattler.
- QB JT Daniels returning
- Solid defense
- Head coach Kirby Smart
Texas A&M Aggies
- RB Isaiah Spiller
- QB: Zach Calzada or Haynes King?
- Strong defense
- Heisman candidate QB Kedon Slovis
Iowa State Cyclones
- Highest AP ranking
- Fiesta Bowl win
- RB Breece Hall
- QB Brock Purdy
- QB Kyle Trask to NFL
- QB Emory Jones
- Coach Dan Mullen
Other possible longshots include:
- Air Force
- Boise State
- Boston College
- Coastal Carolina
- East Carolina
- Mississippi State
- New Mexico
- Notre Dame
- Old Dominion
- Ole Miss
- Oregon State
- San Jose State
- SMU (Southern Methodist University)
- South Alabama
- South Florida
- Texas Christian University (TCU)
- University of Central Florida (UCF)
- University of Nevada Las Vegas
1. Where can I bet on CFP in the US?
Sports betting is legal in several states, including Colorado, Nevada, and New Jersey. Meanwhile, gambling legalization is pending in other states.
2. How is the opening CFP favorite determined?
Bookmakers often set the CFP championship odds right after the title game. However, no team has won the National Championship after being listed as the opening favorite.
3. When does the CFP take place?
The national semi-finals are played at locations such as the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl in late December or early January. The CFP National Championship is played on a Monday during the first two weeks of January.
Selection Sunday is scheduled right before the Bowl Season starts.
Have fun, make good picks, and bet responsibly. Contact us today at MaximBet.com to get more information about college football odds.