Legal CFP Betting – How To Bet On The College Football Playoff

Legal CFP betting has long been a major sensation, as the College Football Playoff itself is the crowning three-game event of the NCAA sports wagering year. While NCAAF betting is second in popularity after NFL betting in the US, when the CFP rolls around, sportsbooks experience a spike in action only surpassed by Super Bowl betting. As such, there’s a tremendous amount of interest in CFP betting, and that translates into big opportunities for savvy sports bettors. Most reliable estimates suggest that over 20 million US sports gamblers spend upwards of $4 billion wagering on the College Football Playoff. Such overwhelming popularity means that there’s going to be thousands of different associated wagers you’ll be able to place on these three games.

Now that federal sports betting ban has been lifted, more and more states are going to have legal CFP betting products offered within their borders. However, the vast majority of American bettors are still without any convenient land-based wagering options, and many millions of US residents bet on the CFP via online, offshore sportsbooks. Regardless of which legal sports betting method you choose, however, one thing is clear: if you like sports betting, you’re going to be betting on the College Football Playoff and the CFP National Championship. NCAA football betting is hugely popular, but the regular season is just a warmup for all the action you’ll find at your sportsbook of choice once the CFP rolls around.

Current CFP Betting Odds

The current CFP betting odds are available, but only as National Championship futures. This is simply because there are too many contenders right now for sportsbooks to offer comprehensive lines on which will be the top four teams at the end of the upcoming NCAAF season. Plenty of sports media outlets have posted their pre-season predictions about which quartet will make the playoff (with Georgia, Michigan, Alabama, and Clemson being the most common finalists), but it’s still too early for any other action. At Bovada, the current CFP National Champion futures look like this:

Team Odds Team Odds
Clemson +175 Alabama +220
Ohio State +750 Georgia +850
Oklahoma +1400 Michigan +1600
Texas +2500 Florida +3000
LSU +4000 Notre Dame +4500
Oregon +4500 Washington +4500
Auburn +5000 Wisconsin +6500
Miami +7000 Penn State +7500
Texas A&M +7500 Florida State +12500
Michigan State +20000    

Can I Legally Bet On The College Football Playoff?

You can absolutely enjoy legal sports betting on the CFP, no matter where in the US you happen to live. To date, more than 10 states have legalized sports betting within their borders, with many more to follow in the coming months and years. By 2023, it is estimated that upwards of 35 states will have some form of regulated, licensed sports wagering product available to the public. In short, when you want to bet on college football, FBS bowl games, the College Football Playoff, or the CFP National Championship, Las Vegas is no longer the only game in town. However, despite far greater accessibility to legal sports betting around the country, the majority of avid NCAA bettors still don’t have convenient access to US-based sports wagering solutions.

For them, the only current option to get in on the action is to use a legal offshore sports betting site. These overseas sportsbooks – like Bovada, BetOnline, 5Dimes, and other top service providers – have been offering NCAA odds and lines to residents of all 50 states for over a combined century, each with a generation or more of action under their belts. Signing up at these sites is free, deposits are quick and easy, and the betting boards themselves are often far more robust – and offer far better odds – than any of the land-based options near you. Even if you join a local book to handle the bulk of your betting, it is highly advisable that you join one or more offshore wagering services so you can shop lines for the best values, especially when you’re betting on the home team.

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Differences Between Land-Based And Online Sportsbooks

There are several important differences between land-based and online sportsbooks. No book is fundamentally better than any other in theory, but depending on where you live and how often you wager, you’ll definitely need to know about these differences to make an informed decision about where to place your NCAA football bets.

Land-based books have the advantage of being explicitly licensed and regulated in your home state (or a neighboring state, if yours doesn’t yet offer legal sports betting). This makes account management, deposits, and payouts potentially simpler for the bettor. Additionally, this can give first-time bettors more peace of mind from a legal perspective, especially those who are unfamiliar with the laws governing online, offshore sportsbooks. However, land-based books also have a couple of major drawbacks. For one, they’re simply not viable for most bettors in the US. Land-based books are only operational in a handful of states, and even fewer states actually have statewide online components for these books. Sports bettors tend to wager several times per week, and it’s not reasonable for everyone to take long trips to simply place their bets. Secondly, local sportsbooks in states that have them may not allow NCAA betting, and if they do, the local fanbase can easily shift the line so far in favor of the home team that the bet loses much of its value.

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Legal online sportsbooks located overseas completely eliminate these latter two issues, as NCAA and CFP betting are available at all of them, and because they serve residents from just about every state in the US, there is no local fandom in play to skew the lines. These offshore books also have the benefit of offering cryptocurrency (Bitcoin et al.) deposits and withdrawals, which are not available at any land-based US sportsbooks. Generally speaking, crypto like Bitcoin is the favored way to fund and withdraw from online books, and the digital money has many other benefits to the US dollar and other bank-vested payment processors. Still, for most users, the biggest appeal of using offshore sportsbooks is that you can use them from literally anywhere you have an Internet connection. Offshore books are not geo-fenced, and you can travel state to state without every missing out on a wagering opportunity. These overseas betting sites have a tremendous head start on US-based sportsbooks when it comes to mobile betting and live betting, too.

Legal Deposit Methods For CFP Betting

The legal deposit methods available to you when betting on the College Football Playoff are going to vary based on where you’re placing your wagers. If you’re using a land-based or state-licensed online sportsbook, you will be able to use most of the common payment processors you’re used to. These include Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, eChecks, Skrill, Neteller, and so on. (Some venues will accept cash, but this is actually rarer than you might expect.) 

If you’re using an offshore College Football sportsbook, you’ll have some of the same options as well as some different ones. Whether or not these are better options will depend on each individual bettor. Online sportsbook accounts can almost universally be funded by Visa, Mastercard, and American Express credit and debit cards, as well as international gift cards or preloaded cards from these brands. Additionally, every major offshore book offers Bitcoin deposits in addition to other cryptocurrency support (like Litecoin, Ethereum, Cardano, DASH, Bitcoin Cash, etc.). Most offshore books will also accept cashier’s checks, money orders, MoneyGram and Western Union transfers, and so on. Generally speaking, all books, both online and off, have adequate and accessible deposit options. The main thing is that if you want to use Bitcoin/crypto, offshore sites are your only option for the foreseeable future. 

How To Bet On The College Football Playoff

The Straight Moneyline

The most important concept in CFP wagering is the moneyline. All wagers have attached moneylines, which show the ratio of how much a wager costs to how much it pays out. Moneylines work like this: Each side of a bet has a number attached, which is either positive or negative. A positive number shows how much money you stand to earn on a $100 bet, while a negative number shows how much money you must wager to win $100. (Note that these amounts show the ratio of a bet’s buy-in vs. payout and are not betting minimums). Now then, in straight betting, a positive moneyline number denotes an underdog, while a negative moneyline number denotes a favorite. Take the following College Football Playoff straight bet:

– Clemson Tigers +135 vs. Alabama Crimson Tide -150

In this example, the Tigers are the underdog. If you wager $100 on them, a win would pay out $135. Alabama, meanwhile, is the favorite. If you wager $150 on them, a win would pay out $100. You as the bettor will use these ratios and apply them to whatever amounts you risk. If you put $10 on Clemson, a win would yield $13.50, while a $10 bet on the Tide would pay out $6.70. All reputable books will show you how much you stand to win on whatever amount you choose to put up.

The Spread Bet

The spread bet is the most popular College Football bet type, and that goes double for a huge event like the CFP. Spread bets use handicapping to balance action on both sides of a given wager, and the moneyline – or bet cost – is typically the same on either side of said wager (usually set at -110). With spread betting, the presumed favorite will “give” points to the presumed underdog. A favorite then has to win by a given number of points to pay out, while the underdog can lose by a given number of points and still win the wager. 

 – Oklahoma Sooners -3.5 (-110) vs. Georgia Bulldogs +3.5 (-110)

In this matchup, the Sooners are favored by 3.5 points. This means that if you wager on OU, they’ve got to beat Georgia by at least 4 points to win the bet. Meanwhile, the Dawgs can win outright or lose by up to a field goal and still win the wager. Sportsbooks usually use half-point increments on these kinds of bets in order to avoid “push” results, where all action on a particular wager would be refunded. 

The Over/Under

The over/under is the third-most-popular CFP bet type. Over/under bets, also called totals bets, are not concerned with winners and losers, instead only focusing on the total combined points scored between both teams in a given matchup. Before the game, your book will assign the game an over/under number, and you simply place a wager on whether you think the two teams will combine to score more or fewer points than said number. 

 – Notre Dame vs. Ohio State O/U 48.5 (-110)

Here, the over/under (or O/U) number is set to 48.5 points, and the odds are posted at -110 on either side of the wager. If you pick the “over” and the final score is 27-23, that adds up to 50 points, so you’d win the bet. However, if you picked the “over” and the final score is 27-13, that adds up to 40 points, and you’d lose the wager. 

Prop Bets

Prop bets, short for “proposition bets,” are based on elements and outcomes of a given game that aren’t covered by the above bet types. Props are not concerned with which teams win or lose, instead focusing on individual or team-based performance thresholds within given contests. For example, you can place a CFP player prop bet on how many TDs a quarterback will throw or how many tackles a DB racks up during the game. Similarly, you can also place team props, which are just like player props but oriented around team performances. Team prop examples include things like how many total touchdowns one club will score, how many total kick-return yards a special teams will gain, or how many turnovers a defense will force. Because College Football Playoff games are so popular, you will also get a variety of game props to choose from. These are game-related wagers on things like which team will score first, which club will win the coin-toss, and so on.

Other Ways To Legally Bet On The College Football Playoff

In addition to all of the above, big games like those that make up the College Football Playoff will typically have lots of other bets you can place. There will be game specials, like how long the national anthem will run or what color outfit the halftime performer will wear. You can also assemble multiple individual wagers into parlay bets, where all legs have to win in order for your ticket to pay out. Most sportsbooks will allow you to stack all kinds of different CFP bets into parlays, with straights, spreads, totals, props, and specials all on the same ticket. Parlay bets are harder to win, but they pay out at much higher rates than their constituent bets. 

All that said, the most common type of CFP wager that doesn’t fall under the above categories is the futures bet. These bets will typically be available year-round, often posted a full year in advance of the CFP. Futures bets are basically long-term props. The most common NCAAF futures wagers are on which team will win the championship game and which player will take home the Heisman Trophy. 

Mobile Betting On The College Football Playoff

Mobile betting is available on the College Football Playoff in a small number of states that offer Internet-based betting (like Nevada and New Jersey), as well as at all the major offshore sportsbooks. While the state-based mobile betting platforms have official iPhone and Android apps, the offshore books actually make use of mobile web-app experiences to bring you all their odds and lines. These app-like interfaces require no downloads, are always automatically updated on the backend, and offer sports bettors in all 50 states quick, efficient odds browsing and ticket submission. To access any offshore book’s mobile betting portal, simply visit the site of your choice via your smartphone’s or tablet’s web browser, and you’ll automatically be redirected to a small-screen optimized mobile sportsbook interface. From there, you can tap and swipe your way to big College Football Playoff winnings!

College Football Playoff Live Betting

CFP live betting, aka in-game betting, is a major sensation, as live wagering in general has taken the sports betting world by storm. Whereas traditional sports betting requires you to have all your bets turned in and finalized before a given game gets underway, live betting allows you to wager on lines all game long. All of the major offshore sportsbook operators offer live betting, and almost all land-based sportsbooks do, as well. When live betting, all the typical wager types (straights, spreads, totals, props) will be offered, and these will dynamically adjust as the game is being played, in real-time! Live betting adds hundreds of lucrative and exciting betting opportunities to every game, and there’s no more immersive way to bet on the College Football Playoff than to do so via live betting.

Legal College Football Playoff Betting FAQ’s

Do all sportsbooks offer College Football Playoff odds?

No. However, these are the exceptions, as only a very few US states bar wagering on collegiate athletics. For the most part, you’ll have no trouble finding action on the CFP at US-based sports betting venues. If you use a reputable offshore book, of course, you’ll definitely have all the CFP and CFP National Championship wagering options that you could possibly want, as these books offer thousands of different lines, alternate lines, and props on these three huge NCAAF games.

Why is it important to shop lines on the College Football Playoff?

Shopping lines is incredibly important if you want to get the most bang for your betting buck. Because sportsbooks compete with each other for your business, you are rarely going to find exactly the same odds at any two books, whether on-land or online. As a result, whenever you see a bet you’d like to go on, it’s important that you compare the odds on that wager across as many books as possible. After all, if one book has the Sooners at -175 and another has them at -135, you’d be leaving a lot of money on the table by going with the former. The biggest edge any College Football Playoff bettor can get is to join multiple sportsbooks to shop lines for the best payouts.

How do I pick the best CFP sportsbook bonus?

The best College Football Playoff sportsbook bonus will depend on how often – and how much – you wager. If you only bet a small amount of cash on a few big events each year, you should not accept bonuses generally speaking. However, if you’re a high roller or wager frequently, bonuses can add lots of value to your bankroll. Bovada has the easiest bonus for new bettors and small spenders, as it tops out at $250 and only has a small 5X rollover. For big spenders, of course, sites like BetOnline and SportsBetting offer $1,000 bonuses, though these come with 10X rollover requirements. No matter which bonus you’re looking to accept, always be sure you fully understand your sportsbook’s bonus terms and conditions.

What is the best way to withdraw my College Football Playoff winnings?

If you’re using a land-based or state-licensed (i.e. domestic) online sportsbook, the best way to withdraw is going to be via checks, eChecks, PayPal, prepaid cards, or – in some cases – cash. However, if you’re using offshore sportsbooks, there is only one option if you want to be paid out ASAP: Bitcoin (or other supported cryptocurrencies). Offshore books will pay your winnings out via other methods like money orders or courier checks, but these take up to two weeks to show up stateside. If you want same-day payouts from offshore books, crypto is the only option. Please note that in order to withdraw via crypto, you will have had to make the associated deposit via crypto first.

Does the favorite usually win its College Football Playoff games?

The CFP was installed in 2014, and in that time, there have been a total of 15 games. Of these, the outright favorite has a record of 9-6 (60%). When measured against the spread (aka ATS), however, the favorite has only covered the spread six times in 15 chances. Thus, College Football Playoff favorites are 6-9 ATS, meaning that they cover only 40% of the time. Going back into the sport’s CBS days, favorites have won the NCAAF national championship nine times in 16 tries (9-7, 56%) and are 8-8 ATS (50%). Combining just the BCS and CFP title games, the favorite is 11-10 straight up (52%) and 8-13 ATS (38%). Since 1999, then, favorites have had a tiny edge outright while consistently failing to cover the spread.