All the Different Bets (An Overview, Part I)

College Football Betting: All the Different Bets (An Overview)

By Loot, College Football Handicapper.

Straight Bets: This is the most common form of college football betting, where you try to beat the spread. The point-spread is a number of points designed to make the game as even as possible, to attract a relatively even number of bets on each side of the game. An example would be Oklahoma -3 vs. Texas +3. For a bet on Oklahoma to win, they would need to win by more than 3 points. That’s why they’re “-3.” It means they are giving up 3 points. Texas, being +3, is getting 3 points, meaning they can lose by less than 3 or win the game and the bet is a win. Obviously, if the margin of the game is 3 in favor of Oklahoma, all bets are returned. Straight bets are usually made on a -110 line, meaning you need to bet $110 for every $100 you win. Try to find books offering reduced juice at -105.

Money Line Bets: Some people don’t like to deal with point-spreads. They like a side to win and that’s it. Most people will do this with teams that are favored. If a team is favored by a certain number of points, you can just bet on them to win the game straight-up. And naturally, you receive lesser value on the bet, as opposed to just betting it against the spread. An example of a money line college football bet would be Boise State (-300) vs. Texas Tech (+240). If you like Boise State to win the game outright with no point-spread, you need to wager $300 for every $100 you win. And you see by looking at Texas Tech, if you like underdogs to win the game straight-up, the profit is much better. A winning bet on Texas Tech would win $240 for every $100 you bet. A (-) sign always means that’s how much you need to bet to win $100. A (+) sign is how much you win if you bet $100. Once you have that down-pat, you have money lines mastered.

Over/Unders (Totals): Probably the easiest bet on the board to understand. The bookie puts up a number for how many points will be scored in a game. You then decide if the number of points will go over or under that number. Just like straight bets, these bets generally follow the -110 framework, where you win $100 for every $110 you wager.

Parlays: You take multiple teams and/or totals and put them on the same ticket. You need to win all of them to win a parlay. A parlay can be as small as two teams. You see two teams you want to bet: San Diego State Aztecs -2.5 and Virginia +8. You make a two-team parlay. If both win, you get 13-5 on your money–$260 for every $100 you bet. A 3-team parlay pays 6-1. A 4-teamer pays 10-1. And it goes up from there. Again, one loss renders the parlay a loser.

Teasers: Similar to a parlay with one major distinction. Just like a parlay, it is a multiple-team or total bet on the same ticket and you have to win all of them. But you get points in your favor, with the more popular teasers being 6, 6.5, and 7-points. Using the above example with San Diego State -2.5 and Virginia +8, you would make a 2-team/6-point teaser. Now it would be San Diego State +3.5 and Virginia +14. If you win both games, you get 10-11. A $110 teaser would win $100. A three-teamer pays 9-5 and a 4-teamer is 3-1. And it goes up from there.


Pleasers: A strangely-named bet, since no one ever seems particularly pleased afterwards. This is like a parlay and the opposite of a teaser. You make multiple picks on the same ticket and they all need to win for you to get paid. But instead of getting points like you do on a teaser, you give points–with 7 being the number on most pleasers. So if you liked Michigan at -4 and Iowa at -9.5, you would make a 2-team pleaser. Then it would be Michigan -11 and Iowa -16.5. WInning both would pay 8-1. A 3-teamer would pay 25-1 and a four-teamer would pay 60-1.