Betting on College Football Means More Than 500 Options

Betting on college football games offer a lot more choices compared to betting on NFL contests. The professional National Football League boasts 32 teams. But the National Collegiate Athletic Association governs 125 Division I-A and 122 Division I-AA amateur college football teams (as of 2013). There are also more than 410 NCAA Division II and Division III football teams. That means you can bet on more than 500 college teams each and every year. And while the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 outlaws US companies from offering sports betting in all but 4 states (Oregon, Delaware, Montana and Nevada), you do have legal options as a United States citizen. Some smart Internet sportsbook operators moved to established economies in the UK, Canada, Panama and elsewhere and now legally support college football betting for US sports gamblers.

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26 Division I Football Conferences See the Most Betting Action

While there are 3 major divisions of NCAA college football, the beef of the betting takes place on the 125 Division I teams. And even then, the top 40 or 50 ranked teams each year see the majority of college football betting action. Teams like Oregon, Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Texas usually field very competitive teams each year. There are currently 11 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences (Division I-A) and 15 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conferences (Division II-A). Each year a handful of Division II-A teams beat Division I-A squads, and these are definitely seen as upsets. That is because the NCAA FBS college football teams are as a whole much stronger and more talented than FCS teams.

NCAA Football Champions by Conference

As a sports better, you probably understand that in a lot of situations, it makes sense to pay attention to applicable trends. When betting college football, there are definitely some noticeable statistics that jump out at you. For instance, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) which ran from 1998 to 2013 culminated in the BCS National Championship Game. The championship title was won by a Southeastern Conference (SEC) team every year from 2006 through 2012. The SEC also leads in BCS National Championship game appearances with 11. The Big 12 Conference has showed up in the BCS title game 7 times. However, the first official Division I college football national championship was handed out way back in 1869, and there have been no fewer than 25 different champion deciding systems since the very first outing.

How Does the New College Football Playoff System Work?

The BCS is dead, long live the BCS! The much-maligned Bowl Championship Series for deciding a college football King ended in 2013. With the 2014 season, the new College Football Playoff format will crown a Division I champ. If you love betting college football, you need to understand the changes. 6 familiar and popular bowl games, the Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl and Peach Bowl will rotate as hosts for two semifinal playoff games to be played each year. The winners of those two contests will advance to the College Football Championship Game. That venue is selected based on bids submitted by cities, similar to the Super Bowl or Final Four. The two semifinal games join four other top-level bowl games in what the NCAA is marketing as the "New Year's Six". 3 college bowl games will be played per day, usually on consecutive days that include New Year's Day. The Division I Championship game will be played on the first Monday which is 6 or more days after the semifinal contests.

Top Contenders For Making The 2016-17 College Football Playoffs

The college football bowl system is far from perfect, and there's no shortage of people to remind us of that fact every time their personal favorite team doesn't get to play in the National Championship bowl game. However, we're going on the third year of the College Football Playoff, and while there is still some controversy in small measures, by and large the CFP system has been a smashing success, especially juxtaposed against the BCS system. CFP is even a much better system for sports gamblers, as you're no longer looking at only the AP and coaches' polls but actually have a more objective gauge of where talent rests thanks to the playoff committee and their rankings of the top teams in the nation. This means more accurate assessments of teams based on more criteria than just what a computer program says. And this means tighter and more accurate odds for the best bowl games of the season. Though what about the playoff in particular? Which teams are most likely to make their way to the playoff system this season? Let's have a quick look at the four teams we feel are in the best position to claim a playoff spot, based on strength of schedule, recruiting, and other criteria.

The Baylor Bears

Baylor fans, and many Texans in general, swear that there's some anti-Big 12 bias, so let's nip this in the bud by listing the Baylor Bears as our first pick to make the CFP this season. The biggest issue here, outside of the opinions of those in Texas, is the fact that the Big 12 doesn't have a championship game like the SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12, etc. Because they don't name a champion after an end of the year game, teams in the Big 12 have to do a whole lot more to land on the CFP radar. Though it's far from impossible; in only the second year of the CFP, the Oklahoma Sooners, a one-loss Big 12 team, made the playoff, and we suspect that Baylor might make it an even two years in a row for the conference. Baylor, with their QB and other offensive weapons returning, can threaten to go undefeated. Their schedule is back-loaded, with TCU, OSU and other good teams coming after the midway point. Though if Baylor can stave these teams off, which we expect they can, they should earn one of the lower two seeds in the four allotted by CFP.

The Ohio State Buckeyes

Losing Elliot, Jones and half of their receiving corp, many people's first thought was that Ohio State would be behind Michigan and Michigan State for the Big Ten championship. However, the Buckeyes kept J.T. Barrett and still have a very stout defense. And as long as we're being perfectly honest about the conference, there isn't a whole lot of talent in the Big Ten that can stop a good Ohio State team. Outside of Michigan, this is Ohio State's conference to lose, and the truth is that we can't see Michigan improving that much this season. By and large, their off-season has been about little more than Jim Harbaugh trying to start controversy with Nick Saban from Alabama and other big coaches from big schools. So instead of recruiting a good class, Coach Jim has just been pressing everyone's buttons, not improving his team. This leaves the Big Ten firmly in the hands of Ohio State, and as Big Ten champions they should have no issue in securing one of the four playoff spots.

The Alabama Crimson Tide

Outside of Alabama's core fans, most people are sick of seeing the Crimson Tide at the top of the polls. Though if one could draw a template of a collegiate football team as in what to do correctly, it would be the Alabama Crimson Tide. For the past six years now, they have been a top-ranked team in the nation and have threatened for the National Championship. Even though they lose all sorts of players to the NFL Draft every year, Nick Saban goes back out and recruits a top class. This season, for instance, while other coaches were involved in controversy, Nick Saban recruited the nation's #1 class and will put a great program out on the field again for about the 9th consecutive year. When you start looking at Alabama's chances to make the playoff, what you're really looking at are their chances to win the SEC Championship. Auburn and LSU are predicted to be tough this season, but Alabama has a way of winning that simply has come to be expected. We can see them taking a loss to one of the power-house teams in the SEC West, such as the Auburn Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels or LSU Tigers, but we can't see them losing more in-conference games than anyone else in the division, which means they will likely be the team out of the West to face the best in the East, which will likely be Florida or Georgia. This means Alabama will only have to win the championship to be in, and we can't see any team stopping them this season. Even as a two-loss champion, the CFP committee would still punch their ticket with a 4 seed.

The Oregon Ducks

Oregon actually made the first ever CFP as a one-loss Pac 12 champion, back when Heisman Trophy-winner Marcus Mariota was the team's QB. Last year, however, no Pac 12 team had better than one loss, so their champion, with two pretty bad losses, was overlooked in favor of an undefeated Clemson team and a one-loss Oklahoma team. This season, we think the one-loss benefit of the doubt will return back to the Pac 12, and any one-loss team in the ACC, like a Clemson or Florida State, will be passed over in favor of the better conference out there in the west. This is because the quality of the Stanford Cardinal and USC Trojans is superior to anything you can pluck out of the ACC. Of course, this is all contingent on Oregon actually winning the Pac 12 championship. If they put a better product on the field than they had last year, they stand a great shot at winning the championship. They just have to actually show up to play every game, not every other game like they were in the habit of doing last season. If Oregon can keep its stuff together this season and actually beat some of these good teams, they should be the favorites to win the Pac 12, and this should thrust them into the CFP with one of the four seeds.

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