Tips and Strategies for Betting College Football Totals

Tips and Strategies for Betting College Football Totals

One of the more popular college football bets, in addition to moneyline bets and spread bets, is on the game total. A totals bet is simply a wager on whether or not the final total combined number of points in a given game will go Over or Under a set amount.

A totals bet has nothing to do with which team wins or loses. It is simply based on the total number of points scored by both teams. There are a number of ways to be more successful in betting college football totals. Let’s take a look.

Understanding the Bet

You have to understand the bet in order to win. It is a simple bet and even novice bettors can pick it up very quickly.

Oddsmakers use a number of factors to decide on a game total. Let’s say a given game total is 55. You decide the two teams involved will not score that much and bet the final score will total less than 55.

In the end, if the final score of the game was 27-24, you are a winner. If the final was 37-24 (a total of 61 points), you would lose. A final score of 28-27 would make the bet a Push and your wager would be refunded.

Understanding Common Totals

College football is a little different than the NFL. There is much more variety in the quality of teams, since there are so many more. The best teams in college football are much better than the worst. That’s not the case in the NFL.

As a result, there is much more scoring in college football. Now, there are a handful of common totals in college football games. The most common combined score in a college football game is 45. Second is 41. Other common totals are 52, 44, 51, and 48. Knowing these totals can help you in your assessment of your bets.

Pace, Tempo and PPP (Points Per Play)

PPP is simply points per play. Some teams have offenses that score a lot of points. Those teams may also play at a faster tempo which means they have the opportunity to score more points. The best teams in college football typically average over 40 points per game. These are a few of the factors bettors can look at when assessing a wager on a game total.

Defensive Efficiency

There are a handful of teams each year that will hold opponents to fewer than 20 points per game. Last year’s Army team, for example, was second in the nation allowing just 14.8 points per game.

When you have two good defensive teams, you will likely see a lower total. Taking a look at defensive efficiency as well as the offensive numbers can help a bettor make a determination on a wager.


Injuries can play a key role in a college game, especially at some of the more marquee positions. When a starting quarterback goes down and a backup comes on to play, that will affect an offense. Bettors have to adjust their thinking accordingly.

Multiple injuries to an offensive line, for example, would have a huge impact on an offense. The same would be true of a secondary with multiple injuries. They may be susceptible to giving up more yards passing and, eventually, more points.

Wind and Weather

One factor that will really affect a game total is wind. Games with wind speeds over 8mph typically go Under a posted total. Snow and rain can have similar effects, but nothing like a strong wind has as powerful an influence on a game’s total score. Check the weather conditions at game time before placing a wager.

Shop Around

One of the easiest things bettors can do to ensure success in betting totals is to shop around for the best numbers. If you like the Over in a game between two high-scoring teams, it would be better to wager on a total of 69 as compared to 72.

If your final score is 37-34, if you bet the Over at 69, you’re a winner. If you didn’t shop and bet at 72, you lose. Shop around for the best numbers and win more often.

Read our guide on betting college football player props next.