2018 College Football Betting Guide

by | Jul 16, 2018 | NCAA Football

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Hopefully, you enjoy our college football betting guide that includes an overview of the entire season, a look at each conference, some favorites and more. If you are ready to start betting on college football — click the button below and get started today.

Each year during the college football season, millions upon millions of dollars are spent wagering on NCAA College Football. This year is no different but unlike other years, the Spooky Express is taking a bit of a different approach with providing you endless information to help guide you along through your college football gambling.

Each year, the Spooky Express provides you with weekly game matchups, various some conference previews, an early season look at who we think may compete within each division and of course, our most popular piece of the year, the Spooky Express Bowl Handicapping Selections.

This year, we are expanding our coverage and providing our readers with a 2018-2019 NCAA College Football Betting Guide, which we feel can help earn you some extra wins throughout the NCAA College Football regular season.

This College Football Betting Guide will contain all of the information you will need to get started with your research for the season. We will break down each conference and will also provide you with a handicapping preview of each NCAA College Football team that you may be interested in wagering on this season. College Football has gained its popularity within the gambling clients of Spooky Express and in general due to the increased amount of options you can wager and the amount of televised broadcasted games. With most sports, there are a handful of options to wager but with College Football, the types of wagers are really endless. Most of the Spooky Express recommended online sportsbooks will offer College Football wagering with the following types bets:

  • Point Spread Betting
  • Moneyline Wagers
  • Total Over/Under Betting
  • Parlay Wagers
  • Teasers
  • Prop Wagers

Each of these wagers has its benefits to the bettor and can be advantageous to play through different sportsbooks. Each sportsbook will have their own unique odds and we strongly recommend you having at least several options from which you can play. The most successful gamblers in the world will utilize several different online sportsbooks and use the lines to their benefit.

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Conference Review

There are (11) eleven NCAA College Football Conferences that are eligible at most sportsbooks to wager within.  Among these College Football Conferences, they each contain a various amount of teams and sub-divisions.  Each of these conferences are known for a unique aspect of football.  Some are known as a run-heavy conference, while others are known for being a pass-oriented offensive conference.  We will briefly discuss each conference and a little bit about the details of the conference and then get into more detail within each conference breakdown.

American Athletic Conference

The American Athletic Conference, also at times referred to as The American or AAC, is composed of 12 teams selected from the Northeastern, Midwestern and Southern regions of the United States.  The conference was formerly known as the BIG East from 1979 until 2013 when it became the American Athletic Conference. The American Athletic Conference is split into two divisions, the Eastern Division and the Western Division.  At the end of the regular season, the best team from the East and the best team from the west meet up in the AAC Championship Game.  The American Athletic Conference contains the following teams:

Atlantic  Coast Conference (ACC)

The Atlantic Coast Conference or better known as the ACC, is one of the longest running football conferences in the NCAA.  They are made up of 14 College Football schools geographically located in the Northeast and Southeast areas of the United States of America.  The ACC was one of six conferences within the NCAA that was considered a “Power” conference, prior to the current Bowl Championship Series.  The ACC has had seven National Championship teams in the history of the conference and also have five members that rank among the Top 25 winningest football programs in the history of the NCAA.  The ACC contains the following teams:

BIG 10

The BIG 10 Conference is the oldest Division I Football Conference in the NCAA.  The conference is made up of 14 Division I teams in the Northeast and Midwest locations of the United States.  The BIG 10 Conference is divided into two divisions, the East and the West.  In 2011, the conference decided upon having a Conference Championship game to determine who the BIG 10 Conference Champions will be each year.  The BIG 10 has had a ton of success over the years, winning 47 National Championships with their 14 current members.  Each member of the BIG 10 has at least one National Championship with the exception of Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue, Northwestern and Indiana.  The current list of BIG 10 teams are as follows:

  • Illinois Fighting Illini
  • Indiana Hoosiers
  • Iowa Hawkeyes
  • Maryland Terrapins
  • Michigan Wolverines
  • Michigan State Spartans
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • Nebraska Cornhuskers
  • Northwestern Wildcats
  • Ohio State Buckeyes
  • Penn State Nittany Lions
  • Purdue Boilermakers
  • Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  • Wisconsin Badgers

BIG 12

The BIG 12 is a NCAA DI Conference that has been around since 1994 but actually never really played football conference play until 1996.  The BIG 12 is made up of 10 schools spread out across the United States of America.  The combination of the entire BIG 12 Conference has secured 21 National Titles, including 3 since 1994, when they established the BIG 12.  Prior to the teams joining the BIG 12, a majority of the schools were part of the BIG 8 Conference and the Southwest Conference.  The lone oddball in the conference is the West Virginia Mountaineers, who were part of the BIG East.  The following teams are currently a part of the BIG 12 Conference:

Conference USA

Conference USA is predominantly made up of teams in the southern portion of the United States of America.  The Conference USA do not have any teams west of Texas and no teams north of West Virginia.  The majority of the teams are in that southeast corner of the United States.  The headquarters is in Irving, Texas and contains 14 teams.  The teams from the Conference USA are as follows:

  • Charlotte 49’ers
  • Florida International (FIU) Panthers
  • Florida Atlantic Owls
  • LA Tech Bulldogs
  • Marshall Thundering Herd
  • Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
  • North Texas Mean Green
  • Old Dominion Monarchs
  • Rice Owls
  • Southern Miss Golden Eagles
  • UAB Blazers
  • UTEP Miners
  • Texas San Antonio Roadrunners
  • Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Independents

The NCAA Independents consist of schools that are not a part of an official affiliated conference.  There are currently 6 Independents in the 2018 NCAA Football Season, which is up two schools from 2017.  Both Liberty and New Mexico State became Independents after they were refused acceptance into a specific conference or were evicted from their previous conference.  The 6 Independents for the 2018 Regular Season are as follows:

  • ARMY Black Knights
  • BYU Cougars
  • Liberty Flames
  • New Mexico State Aggies
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • UMass Minutemen

Mid-American Conference

The Mid-American Conference, or sometimes called the MAC, will be playing in their 73rd year in the NCAA DI.  The conference is made up of 12 teams that play as part of the Football Bowl Subdivision in the NCAA. They are headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio and are geographically located around the Great Lakes.  The college is a public school that has sort become known as the “League of Quarterbacks” as many of the top quarterbacks in the NFL have come from the MAC. The MAC is split into two divisions, East and West Divisions. The teams in the Mid-American Conference consist of the following:

  • Akron Zips
  • Ball State Cardinals
  • Bowling Green Falcons
  • Buffalo Bulls
  • Central Michigan Chippewas
  • Eastern Michigan Eagles
  • Kent State Golden Flashes
  • Miami Ohio Redhawks
  • Northern Illinois Huskies
  • Ohio Bobcats
  • Toledo Rockets
  • Western Michigan Broncos

Mountain West Conference

The Mountain West Conference has been around since 1999 and is basically located geographically in the Western portion of the United States.  They have been a conference that routinely has teams play the spoiler role in bowl games, with teams like Boise State Broncos competing in high level bowl games over the past 10 years.  There are currently 12 teams that are positioned in the Mountain West Conference which include:

  • Air Force Falcons
  • Boise State Broncos
  • Colorado State Rams
  • Fresno State Bulldogs
  • Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
  • Nevada Wolf Pack
  • New Mexico Lobos
  • San Diego State Aztecs
  • San Jose State Spartans
  • UNLV Rebels
  • Utah State Aggies
  • Wyoming Cowboys

PAC-12 Conference

The PAC-12 is known for being the “Conference of Champions”.  There are 12 teams that play within the PAC-12 Conference and they are some of the toughest teams year in and year out in the NCAA.  The PAC-12 Conference is geographically located in the western hemisphere of the United States.  The following teams are the 12 current members of the PAC-12 Conference:

  • Arizona Wildcats
  • Arizona State Sun Devils
  • California Golden Bears
  • Colorado Buffaloes
  • Oregon Ducks
  • Oregon State Beavers
  • Stanford Cardinals
  • UCLA Bruins
  • USC Trojans
  • Utah Utes
  • Washington Huskies
  • Washington State Cougars

SEC Conference

The SEC Conference is one of the oldest conferences in football.  They have long been known as the toughest conference in NCAA DI and their 43 National Football Championships prove it.  Year in and year out the SEC Conference puts a team into the hunt for the National Championship and routinely have the best draft classes among all NCAA DI Conferences. The SEC has 14 teams in the football conference that consist of:

  • Alabama Crimson Tide
  • Arkansas Razorbacks
  • Auburn Tigers
  • Florida Gators
  • Georgia Bulldogs
  • Kentucky Wildcats
  • LSU Tigers
  • Mississippi State Bulldogs
  • Missouri Tigers
  • Ole Miss Rebels
  • South Carolina Gamecocks
  • Tennessee Volunteers
  • Texas A&M Aggies
  • Vanderbilt Commodores

Sun Belt Conference

The Sun Belt Conference features 10 Universities that participate in the NCAA DI.  The conference has been around since 1976 however they didn’t actually sanction football in the Sun Belt Conference until 2001.  Starting this year, the conference will be split into two divisions, the East and the West, with the winner of both division meeting in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game.  There are 10 schools that make up the Sun Belt Conference and they include:

  • Appalachian State Mountaineers
  • Arkansas State Red Wolves
  • Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
  • Georgia Southern Eagles
  • Georgia State Panthers
  • Louisiana – Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
  • Louisiana – Monroe Warhawks
  • South Alabama Jaguars
  • Texas State Bobcats
  • Troy Trojans

Preseason Favorites

Each year there are favorites that seem to rise up above the rest of the competition and contend for the National Championship.  In this section, we will highlight the Top 5 teams that we feel will contend for the National Title in College Football.

Alabama Crimson Tide – The defending National Champions will once again be one of the top teams in the NCAA this year.  It will be very difficult to defeat the National Champions this year as Head Coach Nick Saban will be looking to repeat as National Champions, for the second time since the BCS era, which began in 1998.  The only other time that happened, was by Nick Saban and the 2011/2012 Alabama Crimson Tide.  The Crimson Tide lost 12 players to the NFL Draft but in this system, it is next man up.  They have the best recruiting class year after year but this year will be especially interesting to watch as 11 of those 12 players were starters. Taking that all into consideration, they will still be one of the favorites to win the 2018-2019 NCAA National Championship.

Georgia Bulldogs – The Georgia Bulldogs barely came up short last year in the National Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide.  They ended up losing that game 26-23 but were in the game and a willing participant in the title game.  This year, they should come in to all 12 of their regular season games as the favorite and barring any setbacks, this team should be primed for several blowout wins over the year.  Their defense is the only part of the equation that is left sort of with a question mark hovering above.  They lost Roquan Smith in the NFL Draft and replacing someone the caliber of Smith isn’t something that is easily done.  They do however have a pair of All-Americans at the Corner and Safety positions that will make it nearly impossible to throw on their defense.  There is no reason to believe that this team can’t run the table and go 12-0 to set up a SEC title game against the dreaded Alabama Crimson Tide.

Ohio State  Buckeyes – The Ohio State Buckeyes have a ton of players to replace if they want to get back to the BIG 10 Title Game but the fact remains that Urban Meyer is the Head Football Coach and it is business as usual for the Buckeyes.  The Buckeyes have something this year that they haven’t really had in years past, a starting Quarterback that is secure in his position.  Sophomore Dwayne Haskins is the starting QB in Columbus.  He is a talented passer that brings the team a much greater level of talent as a passer than they have had in several years.  They will get JK Dobbins back in the backfield and he should be just as good, if not better this year, than he was last year in his 1400+ yard season.  The Buckeyes don’t have the most favorable schedule this year, facing TCU in the third week of the year, then turning around and playing Penn State two weeks later in Happy Valley. They will end the season with a rivalry game at home against the Michigan Wolverines.  It won’t be easy but the BIG 10 Championship should once again come through Columbus.

Clemson Tigers The Clemson Tigers have written their names in the sand of being one of the top contenders year after year and this year should be no different.  The Tigers have won at least 10 games every season since 2011 and all though some would say that they play in a weak division, the fact remains that Dabo Swinney gets this team up and ready for competition each and every year. On defense, this team should be one of the toughest in the NCAA to score on and that side of the ball will be the anchor of the team.  On offense, there are some questions that need to be answered.  Kelly Bryant did a fine job last year replacing DeShaun Watson but he will be on a short leash this year as five star freshman Trevor Lawrence has arrived in Clemson and will fight for the starting position.

Washington Huskies – The Washington Huskies were a 10 win team last year and will look to improve on that record as they are a better team this year and the clear-cut top team in the PAC 12.  If they can get past week one of the regular seasons, they could cruise to a potential 12 win season.  They will open up the year on the road against the Auburn Tigers, who are one of the top teams in the NCAA this year.  They will have QB Jake Browning back for another year under center and should be one of the best starting quarterbacks returning this year. They will also have Myles Gaskin in the backfield and should be on his way to a fourth 1,000-yard season.  With a favorable schedule, other than the Auburn game on a neutral site, they could easily be considered one of the favorites to contend for the College Football National Championship.

2019 College Football Playoffs

The 2019 College Football Playoff National Champion will take place this season on January 7, 2019.  The game will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, which will be the fifth time that this venue has been the host site of a National Championship Game.  The game will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Radio.

The teams will be selected as the two winners of the qualifying bowl games, which this year is the 2018 Orange Bowl and the 2018 Cotton Bowl. The winners of each of those games will meet in Santa Clara, California for a shot at the National Championship.

Each week, during the NCAA College Football Regular Season, we will be updating this portion of the College Football Betting Guide, to keep you up to date with live information and current rankings.  Our goal is to provide you with the most College Football information to help you with your regular season wagers, bowl season handicapping and National Championship bets.  This rankings portion of the College Football Betting Guide will change each week several times.

We will update the Associated Press Poll each week as they change the rankings.  The AP Poll is compiled from 65 sportswriters and broadcasters from across the United States.  This system has been around since 1936 and is updated once a week.  The Spooky Express will update the AP Poll each week, on Sunday’s at the completion of the release from the Associated Press.  Normally, the Associate Press will release the rankings around 2:00 PM, at which time the Spooky Express will update our rankings below.

We will update the USA Today Coaches Poll each week as the rankings change.  The USA Today Coaches Poll has been around since 1950 and has been used to determine the teams eligible for the prior Bowl Championship Series.  The USA Today Coaches Poll rankings are developed from 62 head coaches in DI.  These coaches compile a top 25 ranking system each week and submit the ranking system, which is then combined into a consensus overall Top 25 ranking.

We will update the College Football Playoff Rankings beginning in October 2018.  The College Football Playoff Rankings have been around since 2014 and determine the teams that will play for the NCAA National Championship. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will release their rankings each week from the end of October until the beginning of December.  The committee will release the rankings on the following dates:

  • October 30, 2018
  • November 6, 2018
  • November 13, 2018
  • November 20, 2018
  • November 27, 2018
  • December 2, 2018
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Sleepers

It seems that every year we have that one team that sort of comes out of nowhere and shocks the College Football world.  Last year it was Central Florida.  They ran the table on their season under former Head Coach Scott Frost and finished up their regular season 13-0.  They were 8-0 in the conference and went on to win the Peach Bowl.  They won’t be looked at this year as a sleeper but many other teams may qualify to take over that claim.  In this section, we will take a look at some of the sleeper teams that we feel can shock some experts in the 2018 NCAA College Football Regular Season.

West Virginia Mountaineers Now is the time for the West Virginia Mountaineers to make their move and contend for the BIG 12 Championship, and potentially more!  The time is right for Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers to rise above the rest of the BIG 12 and show their power in the division.  The Mountaineers have one of, if not the best, Quarterback in the division with former Florida Gators transfer Will Grier.  Grier is a talented QB with a tremendous arm. He will have his best set of Wide Receivers in his collegiate career with David Sills, Gary Jennings, and Marcus Simms.  This trio of receivers will provide Grier with the speed and athleticism to put up big points, each and every game.  This group should be better than the likes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech.  The only two other teams with talented returning leaders on offense will be TCU and Kansas State, which both I feel are not as explosive as West Virginia.  They will open up the season with a very tough game against the Tennessee Volunteers, before two relatively weak out of conference games against the Wolfpack from NC State and Youngstown State Penguins.  If the Mountaineers can escape the Volunteers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, then they may be able to pull off the unimaginable and go undefeated on the regular season.

Arizona Wildcats – The Kevin Sumlin era in Arizona has begun and this is a team to watch as a potential sleeper in the 2018 season.  He was successful in Houston and was successful in Texas A&M and that trend should continue, possibly in his first year as Head Coach of the Arizona Wildcats.   Sumlin was given the boot in Texas A&M much in part because they wanted to sign Jimbo Fisher, a signing that happened and caused plenty of heartache in Tallahassee, Florida.  Sumlin is going to want to prove that he is a great football coach and has some really good talent on this team to potentially shock some teams this year.  This team showed glimpses of stardom but then also stunk up the field in other games.  I think Sumlin keeps them more balanced and leads them to some sleeper wins.

Nebraska Cornhuskers – I’m sold on Scott Frost.  I thought it was all hype when he first took over UCF but his ability to make a team play and believe in themselves sold me on him as a Head Coach.  This guy talented and now comes into a much larger school with better recruiting.  The real task is can he turn around a team that was 4-8 and make them a bowl-eligible team.  I see no reason to think he can’t since he took a 0-12 team and made them a 12-0 team in just 2 years!

Florida Gators – The Florida Gators have gone from constant National Champion Contenders on a yearly basis to a team that wasn’t even bowl eligible last year.  That brought in Dan Mullen to take over the Head Coaching duties in Gainesville.  Mullen is bet coach they’ve had in Florida since a guy named Urban Meyer. Mullen should pose an immediate impact on the SEC and make this team competitive once again.

Virginia Tech Hokies – The Hokies are hoping that Josh Jackson is the next big thing and takes this Virginia Tech team to the next level.  Some would say that this really isn’t much of a sleeper but while having Clemson in the ACC, it is tough to pick any other team than Dabo’s squad so therefore, it is on my sleeper list.  I truly believe that Virginia Tech is a double-digit win team this year.  With a talented quarterback returning and a powerful defense to keep them in games, this squad may be the scariest non-top 10 team in the nation!

College Football Betting Strategies

There are hundreds of ways that various handicappers and bettors alike plan how they will spend their bankroll.  College Football can either be really profitable or you can exhaust your entire bankroll in just a few weeks.  I always like to say that people don’t plan to fail, but they fail to plan.  Without a strategy on betting and without a game plan for sustainability, there is no way to remain in this industry.

You can ask 10 different professional handicappers and they will give you 10 different theories on what is the best way to be successful in College Football betting.  No one way is 100% correct and none of them are going to win every time but by tracking the overall win percentage of various theories will help you in the long run.  The one thing that we can say without a shadow of a doubt, is the fact that you can use various sportsbooks to bet the best and most favorable line in a game, to stack the deck in your favor.  I highly recommend you checking out the following articles prior to the NCAA College Football Season and freshen up on some strategies that we feel are important and beneficial for long-term sustainability in NCAA College Football Betting.

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