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How Does the Point Spread Work in College Football?

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Point Spreads Can Make or Break a Bookie

The most common bet in college football is the point spread. In fact, many games won’t even have money line (ML) odds, which happens when one team is too big of a favorite. Online sportsbooks have varying rules on when a game will have ML odds, but nearly every game will have a spread.

There’s nothing quite like watching a full slate of college football games every Saturday during the season. There are also more and more games being played on Thursday and Friday nights too.

Apart from the NFL, the college football season is one of the busiest times for a bookie.

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Every week there are dozens of games to bet on in college football. This means you’re likely going to spend more time handicapping CFB compared to the NFL, however, it’s also easier to target a few bets every week where you think the market is wrong and therefore have an edge.

Understanding College Football (CFB) Point Spread Bets

● Point Spread Bet Example: LSU -6.5 (-110) vs. Clemson +6.5 (-110)

The goal of a point spread is to make any college football game a 50/50 proposition. In the example above, the market is saying that LSU are -6.5 points better than Clemson.

You’re not simply betting on a team to win the game when you wager on the point spread.

The team with a negative (-) spread is always the team that’s favored to win. Since LSU are -6.5 point favorites they need to win the game by a TD (7 points) or more to cover against the spread (ATS).

A wager on Clemson would cash if they win the game or if they lose by 6 or fewer points.

With that being said, the only two outcomes using the point spread bet example are as followed:

LSU -6.5 Points = LSU must win the game by 7+ points

Clemson +6.5 Points = Clemson can win the game or lose by up to six points

In some cases the point spread may be a whole number. For example, LSU might be -10 favorites in a game against Georgia. If the spread is a whole number there’s one more possibility.

Using the LSU -10 vs. Georgia +10 example, if LSU win the game by exactly 10 points then both sides of the bet end in a tie (push) and bettors on both sides of the point spread will get their bet back.

From a bookie’s perspective, the CFB season is a great time to make bank.

Increase your profits – offer more NCAA betting options. The leading PPH providers are starting to offer a ton of props bets to go along with straight bets during the NCAA football season.

Betting on the NFL and CFB go hand in hand and many of your NFL clients will also wager on CFB throughout the season, thus increasing your turnover and potential profits as a bookie.

Now that you know how college football point spread bets work, it’s time to start betting.

More Pay Per Head tips:

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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