College Bowl Game Betting Odds

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Making it into the top five of the polls is usually a good thing. But seven weeks into the 2021 college football season, the top-five has been unusually volatile. Six top-five teams have been knocked from the undefeated ranks and out of the top five; several others have had dangerously close calls.

The biggest shock has been Alabama losing to an unranked Texas A&M team. But all it took was a week for the Crimson Tide to make it back into the top four. However, after losing to the Aggies and the close call against Florida, the Crimson Tide is far from invincible.

Georgia, on the other hand, looks like it could run the table.  Outside of their seven-point win over Clemson, no one has come close to competing with them. With three dominant wins against ranked teams, their CFP resume is the best in college football– and will only get better with a win over Alabama in the SEC title game.

Cincinnati is looking like it might be the first Group of Five team to have a shot at making the College Football Playoffs. Several Big Ten teams are in contention (Penn State, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State). But Penn State’s loss to Iowa probably knocks them out of the running. Losing to Purdue in Week Seven likely did the same for the Hawkeyes.

While a playoff picture is starting to take shape, there is still quite a bit of football still to come. As we have learned, no one in the top five is safe this season. If Georgia gets knocked down a peg by Florida, could we see an undefeated Cincinnati move up to No. 1?

Who knows, but one thing is sure—the national championship picture is far from settled.

Current College Bowl Game Odds – 2021-2022 Season

The College Bowl Season is scheduled to include 44 games this year, but the most-watched and bet on will likely be the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl—which happen to be the College Football Playoff Semifinal games this season. Those two games will lead into the game fans look forward to the most—the CFP National Championship Game.

As the bowl games featuring the best four teams in the nation, the bowl odds are bound to be close. Odds for bowl games like them and every other game can be found at just about every sportsbook legally operating in the United States. But with so much football left to be played, the bowl picture is far from getting cleared up.

So, for now, the more relevant discussion is the national championship and the college football playoffs.

If the Bulldogs go into the SEC title game undefeated, they are a lock for one of the four spots. Because even if they lose to Alabama in that game, the furthest they will fall is to No. 4. But with their loss to Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide may need a win in that game to secure a spot.

So far, it appears as if Cincinnati could be the first Group of Five team to make it in. They will have a solid win over a ranked Notre Dame team on their resume and have absolutely dominated everyone they have played. But—they have not played anyone worth talking about other than Notre Dame. If the Committee has them in the top four when the CFP rankings come out, they are in.

Otherwise—probably not

Several teams have a reasonable shot at making the playoffs this season, i.e., Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Michigan State, Oregon. But in the weeks to come, the list will get smaller, and the picture will become clear. For now, the following teams are the current top contenders to make the CFP this season:

Georgia Bulldogs

The Bulldogs have done what they have needed to do to remain in the national championship conversation. The win over Clemson vaulted them into the midst of it, but with wins over ranked Arkansas, Auburn, and Kentucky teams, it will take a complete meltdown going forward for them to fall out of contention.  It is starting to look like it is not a matter of whether they make the playoffs but what seed they are.

Cincinnati Bearcats

It is hard to argue against the Bearcats getting a shot in the playoffs this season. They have not only won every game they have played in, but they have been dominant in each one. Yes, the win over Notre Dame was by just 11-points, but the score is not indicative of how the game went. But it will be hard to reconcile their relatively weak schedule against some of the one loss Power Five teams. Their best chance will be for SMU to remain undefeated until they play in a few weeks.

Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners have not looked great and probably should have lost at least two games this season—but they have not. Instead, not only have they continued to find a way to win, but the Sooners have also figured out how to get better—change quarterbacks. If they can continue to roll with Caleb Williams under center—like they did against Texas and TCU — they will make the playoffs.

Alabama Crimson Tide

If you are tired of seeing Alabama make it to the playoffs every year, then seeing Texas A&M beat them had to make your day. But when you are a team like Alabama with an SEC schedule, one loss is not going to knock you out of the playoff race and national championship picture. However, the one loss does take away their margin of error. That means they will likely have to beat Georgia in the SEC title game to make it in.

Ohio State

With the loss to Oregon and some lackluster performances early in the season, it looked like the Buckeyes were not going to be in the national championship conversation this season. But with how they have dominated opponents in recent weeks, it is hard to deny them. However, since the loss to Oregon, they have not played anyone worth bragging about. But with games against Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State, and Michigan—they will.

2022 Championship Odds For Alabama, Georgia, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Ohio State

2021-22 National Championship Odds     
PointsBetFanDuelBetMGMCaesarsDraftKings
Alabama+225+250+240+225+240
Georgia+125+115+120+125+120
Cincinnati+2500+3000+2500+2500+2500
Oklahoma+1200+1600+1200+1400+1400
Ohio State+800+700+800+800+800

Sportsbooks With The Best College Bowl Odds 

If you are looking for a sportsbook that carries college football bowl odds, you can rest assured that books like BetRivers, BetMGM, William Hill, FanDuel, and DraftKings will have you covered. 

Who you bet with will depend on who is licensed to operate online in your state legally:

  • BetRivers: Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, and New Jersey (PlaySugarHouse.com)
  • William Hill: Virginia, New Jersey, West Virginia, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan
  • BetMGM: Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey, Nevada, West Virginia, Indiana, Tennessee, Colorado, Iowa, and Pennsylvania
  • FanDuel: Illinois, Colorado, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, and Michigan
  • DraftKings: New Jersey, Virginia, New Hampshire, Iowa, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, and Michigan

University Of Colorado And PointsBet

Going with the sportsbook that backs your favorite team is not an option yet for college football like it is in the NFL. The NCAA has been reluctant to embrace sports betting as the NFL has. 

But with the need for increased revenue ever-present in college sports, it would not be shocking if that were to change. Whether or not it does could depend on how the deal between Colorado and PointsBet works out. 

Towards the end of 2020, the University of Colorado became the first Division I program to sign a sponsorship deal with a sportsbook. This could be a trend in the future. 

What App Should You Bet With? 

For most, it is merely a matter of who has the best college bowl game lines. As for who that will be, it depends on how many bets they take on a given game. Odds typically do not vary much when they open, but more so after sportsbooks start taking bets. 

If one team is getting a disproportionate amount of the action, sportsbooks will adjust the odds to encourage users to bet on the other team. That is why many users will go with whoever is offering the better bonus.

Sportsbooks will offer everything from risk-free bets to deposit bonuses to get people to sign up. With bowl season a popular time for sports bettors, they may even offer deposit match bonuses to existing users as well. 

NCAA College Football Schedule

At one time, to qualify for a bowl game, teams had to have a winning record at least. As the number of games has grown, the restrictions have loosened. Now, teams with losing records can be eligible (5-6 or 5-7).  

Bowl game season usually starts around mid-December and will conclude with the national championship game in early January. The lesser-known games will announce who is playing as soon as early December. 

Major games, i.e., the New Years Six, are not announced until after the final regular-season rankings are revealed.

There were only 26 bowl games during the 2020 season, but in the two prior seasons, there were 41. Assuming no games are canceled in 2021, there could be as many as 43 bowl games.

Most Popular College Bowl Games For Betting  

It stands to reason that the most popular college bowl games for betting are the New Year’s Six– the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl. Along with the four CFP semifinalists, the games feature the best teams in college football.

They are usually the most-watched bowl games of the season and are likely among the more popular games with bettors. Finding competitive bowl game lines for these games is not hard since every sportsbook will carry the New Year’s Six bowl lines.

Along with betting the spread, moneyline, and over/under, sportsbooks will often carry quite a few prop bets related to each game as well.

College Football Playoffs

The College Football Playoff system was created with the idea that a true national champion could be crowned via a playoff system. It was deemed necessary after years of controversy surrounding BCS champions.

Teams are chosen by a 13-person committee. Since the system’s inception in 2014, two teams have dominated the playoffs—Alabama and Clemson. Both have qualified for the playoffs in six of the CFP’s seven seasons. 

Between them, they have won the title game five times. One, if not both of them, has made it to the title game every year but the first. Because of this dominance, Alabama and Clemson usually open with the shortest odds to win the national championship every year. 

Odds adjust as the season goes on, of course. Alabama began the 2020 season with +300 odds. While they increased to +500 for a few weeks early on, they were +300 or better from Week Six on.

As the final and hopefully the best games of the college season, sportsbooks tend to see a lot of action on these games. With competitive lines on bowl games like these, sportsbooks can end the season with a bang. 

How To Bet On College Bowl Games 

There are various ways in which fans can bet on college football bowl games. The most common, of course, is the point spread. Bowl game spreads often open at a number that gives each team a real chance to win. 

For more competitive bowl game point spreads, it can be beneficial to wait and see how the public bets first. As sportsbooks adjust odds to protect themselves, opportunities for savvy bettors are often created.

Moneylines are also common. Rather than pick one team to win or lose by a specific number, bettors can win more by picking underdogs but less if they go with the favorites. 

Totals, also known as over/under are common and used by any betting market. Along with the total score, over/under bets are often offered on player production for the whole game, specific quarters, or a half. 

Along with the final score, over/under bets are often offered for the score of certain quarters or the half.

Bettors who want to win more will string several bets together (from one game or multiple) into a parlay. However, while the reward can be great, parlays also come with significant risk since you lose if you miss on just one leg.    

What Affects College Football Predictions And Odds  

Sportsbooks will often have their own formula for setting the odds on bowl games for NCAAF betting. The odds are not generated until the matchups are set following the end of the regular season. So, game odds do not change throughout the year, but they can change leading up to the game. 

Oddsmakers will adjust them according to how the public is betting to make sure the sportsbook is protected. Inclement weather can have an impact, as can injuries and critical players opting out of the game.

NCAA Football Game Odds

College football odds and NCAAF betting, in general, can vary throughout the season depending on the perception of teams. Complete betting lines (point spread, moneyline, and totals) are typically posted about a week ahead of time for games

Several things can impact odds for each game. Injuries to crucial players, guys opting out or entering the transfer portal, legal or disciplinary issues that result in suspensions of key players, inclement weather, etc. 

If the availability of players or their ability to perform can be impacted by something, then the game’s odds can be affected. For example, when the pandemic caused teams to play in empty stadiums, the home-field advantage disappeared. But as fans were allowed back in, it returned.

Throughout the season, fans will be able to bet on several aspects of college football. There will be the outcome of games, of course (point spread, moneyline, totals). Sportsbooks will often carry prop bets of various types for every game. 

Then there are also things like who will win the Heisman, conference championships, who will make the playoffs, and who will win the national title.  

Restrictions On College Betting Online

While college football and college football bowl games are insanely popular, some states have had concerns over the integrity of the game and athletes when it comes to sports betting. As a result, some states have imposed restrictions on betting on college sports:

  • New Jersey: Betting is prohibited on college teams from New Jersey or on college sports events held in New Jersey.
  • Illinois: Betting is prohibited on games involving teams from in-state colleges and universities. 
  • Indiana: Betting on games involving teams from Indiana is legal, but bets on player performance are not (player prop bets). So, no college bowl prop bets for Notre Dame or Indiana next season.
  • Colorado: Betting on games involving teams from Colorado is legal, but bets on player performance are not (player prop bets). Sorry, Buffalo fans– no college bowl props the next time C.U. makes a bowl game.
  • Tennessee: Betting on games involving teams from Tennessee is legal, but bets on player performance (player prop bets) and live betting are not. That means no college bowl live betting on the Volunteers.
  • Virginia: Betting is prohibited on games involving teams from in-state colleges and universities.
  • New Hampshire: Betting is prohibited on games involving teams from in-state colleges and universities.
  • New York: Betting is prohibited on collegiate sports events held in-state and on games/events involving teams from New York.
  • Oregon: Betting on college sports via the state-run app is prohibited, but you can bet on them at a tribal casino that offers sports betting.
  • Rhode Island: Betting is prohibited on college teams from New Jersey or on college sports events held in Rhode Island.
  • Washington DC: Betting is prohibited on games involving teams from in-state colleges and universities.

FAQs – NCAA Football & College Bowl Game Odds

Is It Legal To Bet On College Bowl Games Online? 

Yes, it is legal to bet on college bowl games online, but only in states where online sports betting is legal, and there are no restrictions regarding college sports. In some states, there are restrictions on betting on in-state college teams. This is the case, for example, in New Jersey and Virginia. 

Who Sets College Bowl Lines?

The opening lines for college bowl games are set by the oddsmakers for each respective sportsbook and then adjusted leading up to the game as oddsmakers deem necessary.  

Where Can I Find Bowl Game Vegas Odds?

To find the odds posted by sportsbooks in Vegas, you can find them on aggregate sites like VegasInsider.com and VSIN.com. You can also check out some of the sportsbook apps that are licensed in Nevada.

Where Can I Find The Best Bowl Game Picks?

It is hard to specify a single sportsbook as having the best bowl game odds. Opening odds usually do not vary much, but once bets start coming in, each respective book will adjust their odds as they deem necessary.

Your best bet at finding the most competitive ones for your game of interest is to check out the odds posted at several sportsbooks (at least the major ones like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, William Hill, etc.) before betting.

Do Sportsbooks Offer Live, In-game Betting For College Bowl Games?

Yes, sportsbooks will offer live, in-game betting for college bowl games as long as state law does not prohibit them.

Does DraftKings Offer College Bowl Odds?

Yes, DraftKings does offer college bowl odds in states where they operate and college betting is legal. 

About the Author

Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver is a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, his love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.

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