Between the NFL and NCAA, which level of football is more appealing for newcomers to bet on? Is one “easier” to bet than the other? Does one create more opportunities for profit?
Below, we look at betting on the NFL and NCAA, what sets them apart, what makes them similar, plus the pros and cons of betting on each.
NFL vs. NCAAF betting action
Comparing the NFL and college football, one thing is clear: the NFL stands above all other sports in the world of betting. That’s not just in Texas but also nationwide.
All bettors have their own preferences, but there are some solid reasons for professional football getting more attention than its college counterpart.
The NFL is usually more consistent
NFL players are the absolute best in the business. Consistency at the professional level isn’t a problem on most days. Thus, bettors can be confident that their usual research methods will stay true week in and week out for NFL betting.
On the other hand, college football has far more lopsided contests, more mental errors, and more unexpected underdog victories. Overall, it’s just more volatile for sports betting.
Researching college football can be difficult
College football is a patchwork quilt of philosophies, offensive and defensive schemes, and approaches to the game. Conversely, the NFL is pretty much cookie-cutter in most ways.
The pros run similar offensive styles, perform consistently and often put up average final scores. College football, however, brings a slew of new ideas to the game every year.
Teams will bring in new offensive schemes to fit their program’s strengths. Plus, many coaching staffs focus on innovation to keep opponents on their toes. That makes homework on potential outcomes between teams more challenging than in the NFL ranks.
Access to information and data
Because of the sheer volume of Division I college football teams, it’s much harder to track down information on every player and team. On the other hand, the NFL has far fewer teams, far fewer players and tons of focus from the media and sportsbooks.
Information on every team is readily available for NFL bettors. Meanwhile, college football tends to have fewer reliable sources, even on the biggest football programs.
NFL bet types vs. NCAAF bet types
Thanks to the popularity of both NFL and college football, sportsbooks typically offer the widest selection of bets possible. This means nearly every bet type you’ve ever heard of should be available at Texas sports betting sites (once legalized). You’ll find everything from moneylines to point spreads to totals, plus props, parlays and more.
Below, we look at the three most popular bet types for NFL and NCAA football.
NFL and college football moneylines
The moneyline bet is the most popular for newcomers to sports betting. It’s the easiest to understand, and that’s part of the big draw. You get two teams, and you pick which one will win. If you’re right, you get paid out based on your wager amount and the odds at the time you submitted your betting slip.
Sportsbooks like DraftKings offer a nice variety of moneyline bets, ranging from the most popular NFL teams to Division I college football programs across Texas. Its website and the DraftKings betting app give you access to moneyline bets on every sport played in the United States.
NFL and NCAA football point spreads
While the moneyline is the first choice for newcomers, the point spread is a favorite among experienced bettors. That’s because it creates more value in games expected to be one-sided affairs. If the favorite fails to win the game by the assigned number of points (the spread) or more, then bets on the underdog pay out.
BetMGM Sportsbook has made a name for itself with some of the most competitive lines on NFL and college football point spreads. Using the BetMGM mobile app or online sportsbook, bettors will be able to make point spread wagers anywhere within the state lines.
NFL and college football totals bets
These bets are also commonly known as over/unders. Sportsbooks give you a total number of points the two teams will combine to score. Your job is to decide if the two teams can score over or under that predicted threshold. The ultimate winner of the game doesn’t matter, just the teams’ combined point total.
FanDuel Sportsbook has a robust selection of totals bets available each and every week for college football and NFL games. That selection is paired with competitive lines, all available on the sportsbook’s website and FanDuel app.
However, your bets aren’t limited to just those three types. You’ll find opportunities with futures wagers, prop bets, parlays and more. Many online sportsbooks also have live betting, which allows you to wager on the action while the game is underway.
Do NFL or NCAAF odds have more potential?
The NFL and college football end up pretty even for bettors when it comes to wins and losses. That’s because most bettors don’t venture too deep into college football. They stick to the best-known and most-covered college teams, where the most data and information are available.
That said, there is value in college football betting, especially in the games featuring lesser-known teams. Many of those games are one-sided, which leaves room for potential point spread betting if you’re willing to do the research to find potential upsets.
How does public betting differ between NCAAF and NFL odds?
There are a few reasons lines shift at sportsbooks, but public betting is one of the main sources. If the public is betting heavily on one outcome of a bet compared to the other, sportsbooks will typically adjust the odds to make the other outcome more attractive to its customers.
In contests where the odds are heavily favored for one side, it’s not likely you’re going to see much betting that will cause a sportsbook to shift the lines. Most bettors won’t try to profit off such a one-sided game. However, games between more evenly matched teams can see line shifts when the public begins to favor one team’s chances. That’s when odds move.
The same is true for NFL games, though it’s not quite as common to see the line shift because of public betting trends. Because the entirety of the NFL is under constant coverage by major media outlets, nearly unlimited data is available for each team and every game. Because of that volume of available data, oddsmakers and sportsbooks tend to keep much tighter betting lines.
That’s not to say there aren’t line shifts due to NFL public betting. Public betting can cause the line to move in really popular contests like the Super Bowl. That’s because both teams are so evenly matched. In most cases, oddsmakers won’t give one side a huge advantage over the other. If the public is leaning hard to favor one team in such an event, then the sportsbooks have no choice other than to shift the lines to offset the betting.
You should investigate why if you start seeing line shifts at your sportsbook. Adjust your betting strategy if needed. Line-shop to find value at sportsbooks that haven’t adjusted their own lines yet.
Most popular NFL bets
As mentioned above, the moneyline is the most popular bet for newcomers. Moreover, newcomers have made the NFL their favorite league for betting. In each moneyline bet, you have a favorite and an underdog. Identify the favorite by negative odds (such as -145), while the underdog has positive odds (like +170).
Bettors with some experience tend to do a bit more wagering on the point spread. In this case, the favorite is identified with a negative points spread (like -7.5 points) and the underdog by positive numbers (like +7.5). You pick the favorite if you believe they will outscore their opponent by the assigned number of points or more. You wager on the underdog if you think they can keep the game closer than the point spread, or win outright.
In the majority of point spread bets, both sides of the wager carry the same odds (like -110) because the spread evens the contest.
Most popular NCAA football bets
The moneyline and point spread are also the two most popular bet types in college football.
Unlike the pros, college football can be much more volatile when it comes to upsets and underdogs. Even so, many games are guaranteed to go heavily in favor of one team over the other. Sure, there might be a scenario where the Rice Owls defeat the Texas Longhorns, but it’s not going to happen very often, if at all. The odds are heavily stacked against some underdogs for good reason.
Because many games are so one-sided, bettors can often find value in college football parlays. While parlays aren’t a bet type we’d suggest you lean on too heavily, there is some potential value for those willing to sift through the games and find the right combination for a multi-leg parlay.
Pros and cons of NFL betting
In the eyes of many bettors, the biggest pro to betting on the NFL is the sheer immensity of information on every player, team and matchup. You can truly research to your heart’s content.
There are cons to NFL sports betting as well. Take upsets, for example, which typically show up at least once a week during the season, which can throw off a lot of bettors’ strategies.
Additionally, all of that information makes the lines for NFL games very precise, which oftentimes makes it difficult to find any real value in NFL games. All that data is available to everyone, including to oddsmakers and sportsbooks.
Pros and cons of NCAAF betting
Betting on NCAA football can be enjoyable for many bettors, especially those who like to find more volatile matchups.
One of the biggest pros to betting on college football is the much larger selection of regular season games. There are 130 Division I-A programs across the country and a dozen in Texas alone.
Because of the plethora of games each week, oddsmakers can never fully dig into each one like they can on the NFL side. Therefore, you could find value if you go digging where the oddsmakers haven’t.
Another pro is the greater potential to make money off a single game with a smaller bet amount than in the NFL ranks. There, tighter lines make it a bit slower to build up profits unless you’re willing to wager much larger amounts of money.
Of course, there are cons to having less information and fewer in-depth breakdowns on college football. You don’t have that readily available information either. It’ll take time to scour the internet for intel on overlooked matchups. That said, never make a bet unless you have the data to make an informed decision.
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