With so many quality college football programs hailing from California, betting on college football will undoubtedly be a big deal in the Golden State.
From your typical moneylines, point spreads and totals bets to props, futures and parlays, California sportsbooks will post every conceivable kind of NCAA football bet.
Sports betting in California is not legal at this time. However, one social sportsbook gives football fans in California one betting option.
On this page, we break down the ins and outs of betting college football, plus some live college football odds direct from legal sportsbooks for every game.
Best sites for NCAA football betting in California
Once California sports betting is legalized, California bettors will see all of the best names in the sports betting industry. That means not only a great variety but also a high quality of online sportsbooks, betting apps, customer service and user experience.
Here’s a brief look at some of the expected best college football betting sites and top sportsbook apps that will post daily college football betting odds in California.
DraftKings Sportsbook has explosively entered the sports betting realm in recent years and brought with it a legion of customers from its DFS side.
DK is highly focused on user experience, especially with its famous promotions and odds boosts. The DraftKings app is considered one of the best. Plus, its new account bonus offers are always competitive.
For example, a recent bonus offer for new customers was a deposit match of up to $1,000 for the first deposit.
College football bettors can expect to find:
- Game lines for virtually every NCAA football game from every conference
- Some of the most competitive odds available
- A very wide range of game props
- Live betting experience
Some of the college football features include:
- Early cashout options
- Round-robin multi-parlay feature for game outcomes
- Up-to-the-minute stats and reports focused specifically on college football
One of FanDuel’s recent bonus offers for new account holders was a bonus first bet up to $200. It also has a nice variety of NCAA features to keep fans engaged.
- Betting on all Power Five conference teams
- Same game parlays
- Seamless live betting experience with up-to-the-second line shifts and results
- Good variety of props, futures and single game parlay opportunities
NCAA football bettors have discovered FanDuel offers up:
- NCAA football parlay insurance
- Deep variety of futures for conference champions and playoff predictions
- Player props designed off their popular NCAA daily fantasy sports
Bettors across the country have made BetMGM’s mobile app one of the most popular in legal states. The well-known sportsbook offers up features hard to find elsewhere. These include the ability to edit a bet or easily build a parlay.
The college football bonus offers that BetMGM has previously made available are similar to those at other sportsbooks. For example, a recent offer was a bonus first best up to $1,500.
For users of the online sportsbook and app, ease of use is one of the biggest draws, along with:
- Various live betting odds
- Large selection of games
- Odds boosts for existing customers
- Higher than average focus on parlays
Advanced college football bettors will find things like:
- Odds on the next No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick
- Futures odds for the next NCAA champion
- Deep markets for NCAA football prop bets
If you’re a bettor who likes to take advantage of solid bonuses, then Caesars is the right sportsbook for you. It offers not only strong introductory bonuses, such as bet insurance up to $1,000 on your first bet, but also odds boosts and a loyalty program for active account holders.
A true Las Vegas original, Caesars has some of the best odds available for college football, especially for moneyline bets. Expect to find the following with the Caesars Online Sportsbook or the Caesars betting app:
- Multiple parlay offerings with an easy-to-use parlay building tool
- Competitive Las Vegas odds for all NCAA betting opportunities
- Early-to-market lines for NCAA futures odds
NCAA football bettors will discover Caesars also features:
- Competitive live betting experiences for all major college football games
- Early odds on Heisman Trophy hopefuls
- Very little waiting on game lines
Live college football odds
When online California sportsbooks go live, here’s where you’ll find the latest college football odds. Use the drop-down menu to see various odds boards. Click on any odds to get started.
- USC Trojans football odds
- UCLA Bruins football odds
- San Jose State Spartans football odds
- San Diego State Aztecs football odds
- Fresno State Bulldogs football odds
- Stanford Cardinal football odds
- California Golden Bears football odds
NCAAF live betting and sportsbook apps
Multiple bet types are available through live betting on college football, also known as in game betting on some sites. That said, the focus is typically on prop bets and over/under scenarios.
To bet live, you’ll need to use either sportsbook websites or a betting app. In either case, you will be able to keep up with the constantly shifting odds.
The introduction of online and app-based sportsbooks has helped the sports betting industry boom in recent years. Live betting is bringing in a larger and larger percentage of the overall betting handle.
How to bet on college football online in CA
Setting up an account with a sportsbook is free and easy. Having multiple sportsbook accounts (you can have only one account at each book) lets you shop for the best odds for each bet.
When the industry launches and you know which California sportsbooks you want to sign up with, use one of our links to register a new account. You’ll provide some personal details before you’re able to proceed. These include, but are not limited to your name, address, phone number, and social security number.
Once you’ve completed that section of the account setup process, you’ll need to approve the sportsbook’s terms and conditions. We do recommend you read through these. They outline the rules for every sport you’ll be betting on with that sportsbook.
The final steps in your account setup will include claiming your bonus bets, making your initial deposit and downloading the betting app.
That’s it! You’re ready to start betting on NCAA football.
How to read college football betting lines
Betting lines can be confusing when you first encounter them. The good news is they are actually really easy to understand with slight practice.
College football is one of the most popular sports for Californians to bet on, which means it gets plenty of attention from all of the legal and regulated sportsbooks. That translates to a huge variety of betting odds. That said, the most popular trio of college football bets are:
- Point spreads
An example of a betting line for an NCAA football matchup could look like this at top college football betting sites in California:
|USC||-7.5 (-110)||-125||Over 46.5 (-110)|
|Notre Dame||+7.5 (-110)||+155||Under 46.5 (-110)|
Let’s break this down into more understandable pieces.
NCAAF point spread
USC -7.5 (-110) and Notre Dame +7.5 (-110) — what you’re seeing in these USC football odds is they are favored to win by at least eight points. If they fail to win by eight or more, then bets on Notre Dame will pay out.
You’ll see -110 odds on both sides. That means you win $100 for every $110 you wager. A bet of $220 would pay out $420, which is the original stake plus $200 in winnings.
USC -125 and Notre Dame +155 — this tells you which team is the favorite to win and which is the underdog. Look for the negative odds to identify the favorite, while the positive odds indicate the team oddsmakers believe will lose the game.
Negative odds show you how much you have to bet in order to win $100. In this case, that is $125. A successful bet of that amount would pay out $225. That’s your original bet returned to you plus the $100 profit.
Positive odds indicate how much you will win for every $100 you bet. If you put $200 on Notre Dame, for example, and win, you’d get paid out $510. That is the original $200 bet plus $310 in winnings.
The final set of numbers in our above example is for the totals bet, also known as the over/under. We see that the oddsmakers have set the total at 46.5 points with both the over and under at -110 odds.
This is the only bet of the trio that doesn’t require you to pick which team is going to win the game. Instead, your focus is only on whether the two teams can combine their final scores to have over or under 46.5 points.
If you choose correctly, you’ll win $100 for every $110 you bet.
Keep in mind that our numbers are just examples. You don’t have to bet that much or that little. Instead, any dollar amount you do put down for your stake will have potential winnings determined by the odds that you locked in when you finalized your bet slip.
If you’re unsure of how much you might win, use a free online betting calculator or the bet slip at your sportsbook. The latter should break down potential winnings before you finalize your bet.
Other bet types, such as futures, props and parlays all use the same odds here in the United States.
Betting on the College Football Playoff and bowl games
The College Football Playoff boasts a bit of a different structure than most season-ending tournaments. In order to make the playoffs, a team must finish in the top four in the rankings by a 13-person selection committee.
Those four teams are then seeded one through four and are matched up with the highest seed playing the lowest and the two middle seeds squaring off.
Those semifinal playoff games determine which two teams will play for the National Championship. The semifinal games will always be a part of the New Year’s Six bowl games, which are the most important bowl games of the year and all played on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
Those six bowl games are:
- Orange Bowl
- Cotton Bowl
- Rose Bowl
- Sugar Bowl
- Peach Bowl
- Fiesta Bowl
Of course, there are many, many more bowl games than just those six. In fact, most years feature well over 40. Here are some examples of other notable bowl games that don’t have any ties to the College Football Playoff:
- Sun Bowl
- Gator Bowl
- Citrus Bowl
- Outback Bowl
- Holiday Bowl
As a California bettor, you can bet on any of these bowl games, among the dozens of others that create betting opportunities in legal and regulated sportsbooks.
What’s the difference between NFL betting vs. NCAAF betting?
Football is football is football, right? Well, not really, especially when you start to break down the finer rules of college football and the NFL. What’s considered a catch? How does overtime work?
When it comes to betting on football in California, there are mostly similarities between college and professional ranks. However, there are a couple of differences we want to point out for you.
- Point spread differential: College football point spreads tend to have a much larger difference than those in the NFL. Why? Well, NFL teams are full of the best players in the world, which means the games usually aren’t massive blowouts. In college football, the mismatches can be quite severe, which leads to much larger point spreads.
- Prop bets: There are usually fewer prop bets, especially player props, to be found when betting NCAA football in comparison to the NFL. Some states even make betting on individual college players illegal, though such rules are determined by each state’s legislature during the legalization process.
- More games to choose from: The NCAA has a massive slate of games each week and while you won’t always be able to bet on every team that you might like to follow, you will have quite a bit more opportunities than the maximum number of 16 games played in the NFL from week to week.
While there are some differences you’ll encounter when comparing NFL betting to CFB betting, the vast majority of the betting experience will be similar.
Why do sports betting sites remove the college football moneyline or spread?
There are going to be times when you look for specific NCAA football game lines only to find some of them are missing moneyline or point spread betting options.
Sometimes, the two teams playing just aren’t matched up well enough for a fair bet to take place. When this happens and one team is an extremely overwhelming favorite, sportsbooks might just remove those betting opportunities. They aren’t going to see very much action anyway, especially with such unappealing odds on the favorite.
Sportsbook rules for NCAA football
Every sportsbook has its own set of rules that are listed under its terms and conditions. These rules help dictate when bets are canceled, pushed or otherwise modified.
You can find these by visiting the terms and conditions page at your sportsbook, or you can simply Google the name of your sportsbook and either “terms and conditions” or “house rules.”
For the most part, NCAA football is handled the same across all the sportsbooks in California. However, there are some specific rules you should be aware of. Here are a few examples:
- Football games must be played through the entirety of regulation time in order for there to be action. Any game called earlier than that will be determined a “no action” by the sportsbook, and all bets will be refunded.
- All results are based on the statistics and scores officially recorded by the governing body of the sport.
- Overtime counts toward sides, totals, moneylines and second-half wagers.
- All wagers on National Championship futures have action regardless of a shortened season or any other unforeseen event. If no winner is determined, all wagers are refunded.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for the rules at sportsbooks. We highly recommend taking the time to read through them for any sport you plan on betting.
College football Las Vegas odds vs. local sportsbook NCAAF odds
Once upon a time, there were only a handful of places in the United States where you could place a legal sports bet. The most famous was Las Vegas. At that time, everyone made sure to familiarize themselves with the Vegas lines before making any wagers anywhere.
These days, that’s not as essential. Vegas odds are still great for comparison reasons, and you will still see them in sportsbooks. However, other online sportsbooks didn’t just dip their toe in the pool but rather dove in headfirst to become competitive in the sports betting market.
To do so, they hired their own experts and oddsmakers to craft predictions and lines. Those experts are some of the best in the business, making them peers with the Vegas oddsmakers and, sometimes, even superior in some ways.
Local sportsbooks have just as competitive of odds as any Vegas sportsbook might feature, so you don’t have much to worry about when it comes to how well the odds you are seeing stack up with the odds out of Nevada. They are often extremely similar and almost always very competitive.
Obviously, there might be times when Vegas lines look more appealing than those in California sportsbooks, but the vast majority of the time you will discover that NCAA football odds are going to be similar no matter where you turn.
However, that’s just another reason to have access to multiple sportsbooks. Line shopping for the best odds means the best potential return on your bet. Why leave money on the table if you don’t have to?