College Football Prop Bets

College Football Betting: Prop Bets

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

Prop bets are predictions you make about events within an event. In this case, you bet on certain details within a college football game that are not tied to the final result. Another way to describe it is as a bet that doesn’t concern which teams win or what the total will be. They can be based on individual player performance or team stats compiled within a certain game.

It’s important to note right from giddy-up that not all books go bonkers on college football prop bets. Some might only offer a smattering of them for only the biggest of games. If gauging individual player performance is a strength of yours in college football handicapping, make sure the book you select matches your talents.

Some bets that might be offered are which QB will throw for the most yards? Or which running back will compile the most yardage? Or which team will have the most total yards from scrimmage? These are things where your betting acumen can actually come into play. These events can be analyzed.

Then you have more arbitrary wagers like who win the coin flip? Or which team will score first? These events don’t really lend themselves to handicapping. If a prop bet appears to be a bet where you’re gambling for the sake of gambling, it is generally not advisable.

Also remember we are not dealing with consistent professionals here. College players can have peaks and valleys throughout the year. But if you see a prop bet and have a strong feeling, go ahead and bet it. Just keep in mind that any observations you might have stumbled upon were also undoubtedly noticed by the bookie. Remember that the book determines the playing field. It’s not a wide-open market where your individual appraisals of players will necessarily give you the edge. The bookie only selects specific players and certain match-ups. You kind of have to play along.


So you can bet they have their act together on prop bets. Remember, we’re dealing with the “house” here. We might see soft lines from time to time, but generally they’re not giving away money for free. So when you develop what might be a scary-insightful piece of analysis, don’t assume you’re the only one who thought that.

One technique that seems worthwhile is siding with the bookie in the case of sucker bets. Those are the bets where a line jumps out at you compelling you to consider one side. It’s designed that way. Bookies dangle carrots out there and watch the general betting public gobble them all up. The bet almost looks too good to be true. A quarterback who averages 307 yards per game is matched with one who throws 197 yards a game and the odds on who will throw for the most yardage is almost even!

The first thought is almost always to take the more prolific passer, right? Well, why would the bookie post such a line? Because he wants to be generous? You best believe that he has some information to substantiate that line. The guy averaging over 300 has maybe been facing soft secondaries and this week is facing a shutdown unit. The guy throwing 197 has done it against some of the best defenses in the country and now faces a swiss-cheese unit. Maybe the more prolific passer is facing bad weather. It could be anything. When you see something too good to be true, bet the opposite. Go with the bookie. He’s tempting the public to bet one way, you go the other way.

Teams play with a wide array of form, but things even out. If one guy is having an off game, another player can step in and fill the void. That’s the rule of nature in college football. Betting on teams is a more dependable scenario. You can handicap a game in clearer fashion sometimes than how a single player will fare. Weird things happen to affect games, but when a team you bet on falls short, you can sort of figure out why. A player’s individual performance can be tied to mere happenstance. A running back might not get yardage because his team fell behind and started passing more. He just might just not get his number called often for some bizarre reason. These things can be a little harder to forecast.

At the same time, prop bets are definitely worth your consideration. Whenever the book imposes strict betting limits on any type of bet, our ears should perk up a bit. The very fact that those limits are usually pretty low on prop bets should suggest to us that some of these bets can be exploited. Look for the right spots.