The NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) is the highest tier of collegiate football in the United States. NCAA football is not only one of the most-watched sports in the country, it’s also wildly popular among the ever-growing betting public. This page will lay out our 2021-22 College Football Playoff picks as well as our national champion selection.
College football betting presents a unique landscape compared to the NFL. Higher point totals, greater disparities in talent, and a glut of games each week makes it one of the most opportunistic leagues to wager on if you can find the right edge.
The season runs from August until December with dozens of games being played each week but all roads lead to the College Football Playoff (CFP), which is played at the end of the season and decides the sport’s national champion. The top four teams — selected by the CFP Selection Committee — meet to play a two-round, single-elimination playoff.
The CFP is incredibly popular among bettors, with the three playoff games producing some of the highest single-game betting handles of the entire year at online sportsbooks. This page will serve as a one-stop shop for 2022 College Football Playoff betting. Included are CFP odds, schedule, and preseason predictions this coming year.
NCAA Football National Championship Predictions
We should have never second-guessed ourselves. After moving off Alabama for one week, we’re back on the train.
The Crimson Tide are in an excellent position to make the Playoff, either as a one-loss or the first-two loss team ever. Barring an embarrassing blowout to Georgia in the SEC Championship, Alabama is likely in no matter what.
From there, it comes down to championship experience. With new teams like Michigan, Cincinnati, and Oklahoma State in the running, Alabama is a tantalizing pick, especially at plus odds. More so in college football than almost any other league, championship experience matters and the Tide have by far the most of it.
After all of this mayhem and parity, Alabama is going to close the book with a big sigh.
The Pick: Alabama ()
2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Odds
How To Bet On College Football Playoff
- Ohio State -240
- Michigan +185
Ohio State (-240) indicates that the Buckeyes are heavily favored in this matchup on the moneyline, which is a wager on which team will win the game. A $100 bet on them would result in $41.67 in winnings, plus the initial $100 bet back. However, a successful $100 bet on Michigan (+185) would result in $185 in winnings plus the initial bet back.
The point spread refers to how many points the favorite is projected to win by. It’s also a projected losing margin for the underdog. Favorites must win by more than the spread indicates, while underdogs can lose by a lesser number than the spread and still win your bet.
For example, Alabama -23.5 (-110) vs. Auburn indicates the Tide are favored by 23.5 points. Should Alabama win by 24 or more points, they cover the spread. Should Auburn keep the game within 23 points or win outright, then Auburn (+23.5) would win. Typically, point spread odds are kept at -110, which results in a $90.90 winning for the successful $100 bet (plus the initial $100 bet back).
Over-unders are similar, but refer to the total amount of points scored in a given game instead. Bettors are simply selecting whether the combined score will go over or under a total set by oddsmakers. For example, Texas-Oklahoma may have a point total of 56.5 points. If a bettor makes a $100 bet on the Over (-110)– or, that the team will combine for over 56.5 points– they would see the same payout listed above.
The CFP also offers futures bets on teams before the games start. The most common futures bet for the CFP is who will win the National Championship out of the field of four remaining.
2021-22 College Football Playoff Schedule
The College Football Playoff consists of three games, with two of the New Year’s Six bowl games alternating as semifinal venues each year. This time around, the two semifinal games are the Cotton Bowl (Arlington, Texas) and the Orange Bowl (Miami, Florida), with the CFP National Championship game taking place in Indianapolis. Below is the schedule:
- CFP Semifinals: Cottom Bowl (AT&T Stadium) – Friday, Dec. 31, 2021
- CFP Semifinals: Orange Bowl (Hard Rock Stadium) – Friday, Dec. 31, 2021
- CFP National Championship Game (Lucas Oil Stadium) – Monday, Jan. 10, 2022
Where Can You Bet On The CFP?
College Football Playoff Betting Trends
Unfortunately, CFP semifinal games haven’t always been the nail-biting thrill rides we hoped for. The average point margin in 14 semifinal games thus far is nearly 21 points and only three games have presented tense endings.
Conversely, three National Championship Games have been drawn within one score. The past three title games haven’t been as competitive, with the average point margin being 24.3 points.
Alabama and Clemson are frequent participants of the CFP and have typically covered their point spread, as those two teams are 7-3 against the spread in the semifinals (when not facing each other). The Over is also 6-8 in the 14 matchups so far, with five games failing to score 40 total points.
The CFP continues to be at the center of criticism for its seeming predictability and for good reason. Alabama or Clemson have won five of seven CFP title games, including four straight between 2015 and 2019. Further, either team has appeared in all but the first CFP National Championship Game.
Finally, no preseason AP No. 1 team has won a CFP National Championship since its inception.
College Football Playoff Betting Strategy
The small historical sample of the playoff states that one of two teams are likely to reach the title game, with a less– but still high– chance of one of them winning. Those teams would be Alabama and Clemson. As mentioned, history will also tell you to write off the preseason AP No. 1 team. This season, it’s Alabama, which is a hard write-off to make.
Ultimately, college football comes down to a small handful of factors: Coaching, quarterback talent, and defense. Alabama has won six national championships under Nick Saban because he is one of the best coaches of all time. LSU won the title in 2019 because they had the most prolific quarterback season ever. Clemson upended Alabama in the 2018 title game because their defense stifled the Tide to 16 points.
Going with Clemson or Alabama is a simple formula that’s often overlooked because it’s not exciting and the odds aren’t as long as some other teams. However, it can be effective.
Once we reach the CFP Semifinals on New Year’s Eve, bettors should keep two things in mind. One is that favorites tend to win these games and have gone 14-7 straight up in the seven seasons since the playoff was implemented. With that said, favorites are just 10-11 against the spread, meaning many of these games are closer than expected.