College Football Betting Trends

Keeping up on college football betting trends can change your outlook.

Key Points

– Looking at ATS and totals trends can help college football bettors handicap games.

– Bettors should be aware of postseason college football betting trends.

College Football Betting Trends

College football is one of the most popular sports in the U.S. and is watched by millions every season. With recent legal changes allowing sports betting in over 30 U.S. states, it is also now one of the most-bet sports in the U.S.

Success in college football betting relies on a number of different factors. One of those is examining college football betting trends.

Against The Spread Winners

Certain teams seem to have a knack for covering point spreads. Last season, Michigan led the country with an 11-3 ATS mark. Oklahoma State (10-3-1) was the only other team with higher than a 75 percent cover percentage. 

The Cowboys have been outstanding against the spread over the past five seasons. They rank second with a 38-24-2 (61.3%) ATS record. What’s interesting is that the No. 1 team in the time span is Fresno State. When kickoff comes close, it’s important to watch line movements as well.

The Bulldogs ATS record of 36-21-2 (63.2%) is tops over the past five seasons. What makes Fresno State interesting is that in two of the seasons – 2019 and 2020 – the Bulldogs defense gave up over 30 points per game. 

Still, what Fresno State and other teams like Georgia, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State have in common is defense. All four teams have historically put up good defensive numbers and defense keeps teams in games.

Texas A&M is 37-24 ATS (60.7%) and Georgia is 41-27 ATS (60.3%) over the past five seasons.

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NCAAF Totals – OVER UNDER

A quick look at the 2021 season reveals the top three Over teams in college football – Tennessee (10-3), Rice (9-3), and Louisiana Tech (9-3). Only Tennessee had an offense that averaged over 30 points per game (37.9). 

What these three teams had in common was that their defenses were atrocious. All three teams gave up more than 30 points per game:

  • Tennessee: 31.5
  • LA Tech: 33.3
  • Rice: 36.4

That is a trend worth noting for bettors. Look at teams that give up a lot of points when considering the Over. Over the past five CFB seasons, the top Over team in the country is … UMass. Yep, UMass.

The reason why is simple. Here are the Minutemen’s defense points allowed per game numbers for each of the past five seasons.

  • 2021: 44.7
  • 2020: 40.3
  • 2019: 53.4
  • 2018: 45.5
  • 2017: 31.9

The Over is 33-19 in UMass’s 52 games over the past five seasons. That’s a winning percentage of 63.5 percent.

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Conference Championships – College Football Betting Trends

Since 2005, underdogs have been a solid play in conference championship games. Overall, underdogs are 57-49-3 ATS (53.8%) in conference title games. True home and road underdogs are 22-12 ATS as compared to neutral site games where the dogs are 35-37-3 ATS.

When conference championships roll around, it’s worth taking a look at a couple things. One category is underdogs of over +7. Since 2005, these underdogs are 29-21 ATS.



Unranked teams also have done well covering in 14 of 20 title games and doing so by an average of 9.45 points. The best conference underdogs have been in the MAC where they are 11-4-1 ATS in championship games. 

As one might expect, totals are right around the 50 percent mark in conference title games. The Under has a slight edge at 55-53-1 since 2005.

What’s interesting is that the best Under conferences have been the Mountain West (7-1) and Big 12 (8-2). The top Over conference is the SEC (11-4) which typically has some of the best defenses in the country.

Conference championships with a total of 45 or less have gone 8-1 to the Over. Totals 65 and higher have gone 14-9 to the Under. 

Bowl Games

When the CFB regular season ends, the bowl season begins and bettors are given more opportunities to win on bowl games

Lately, bowl season hasn’t been very predictable. In a given regular season, underdogs will win games outright about 23.5 percent of the time. In 27 percent of regular season games, underdogs lose but cover the point spread.

College Football Betting Trends & the Power 5

That does not translate to the bowl season where underdogs win a remarkable 36 percent of games. Dogs only lose and cover about 15 percent of the time. 

What’s essentially happening is this. There are bowl games with big (double-digit) spreads and favorites are covering them. There are also bowl games where underdogs are just winning outright. Why?

The best guess is motivation. It happens every year. A Power 5 team gets overlooked and plays in what it feels is a lesser bowl game. A Group of 5 team with something to prove knocks off the Power 5 opponent. That’s not all bowl games, but consider that factor when betting them.