It’s never too early to get in on College Football futures. Given the injuries that can happen in spring training, changes in position battles, and coaches retiring, it’s always good to take advantage of any advanced knowledge you have as soon as you know it (or think you know it). With that in mind, let’s get to some of the key NCAAF future bets for the upcoming college football season. Keep in mind the lines posted will, unless otherwise stated, will always be the opening lines of the wager.
What are College Football Futures?
College football future wagers are wagers placed, typically well in advance of the season, on items ranging from who will win the Heisman to who will win the national championship. As these wagers are considered long shots to hit, it’s often not one does to maximize the return on their wager. Wagers on future bets are typically done by fans or alumni of their own team or bettors who believe they have some inside knowledge (such as who the starting quarterback will be out of spring practice, see below).
Conversely, a popular futures option is also to wager on the team win totals for a particular team. For example, the Colorado win total for the 2023-2024 season is showing at 4.5 games. Fans wanting a reason to follow the excitement at Colorado that Coach Prime has brought to the school may elect to take Over 4.5 wins meaning Colorado would need to win 5 or more games in order for the wager to win.
An important item to note before moving on is to remember that college football futures are similar to other futures, in that all of your funds will be tied up as “pending” in your account throughout the course of the season. If this is a percentage of your pre-planned wagering bankroll, which it should be, then make sure you consider this before placing a futures wager.
Do Conference Championships and Bowl Games Count Towards Team Totals?
No. Typically, a victory in the conference championship, bowl game, or college football playoff will not count toward a team’s regular season win total. It is important to check with your sportsbook or mobile betting app in order to know for sure before placing your wager.
Do College Football Futures Have To Be Placed Before Season Begins?
It depends. If the future you want action on is a team total, then you need to place that wager before the opening kickoff of the college football season. Otherwise, the answer is no. Heisman and national champion odds, as well as conference champion odds, will typically update on the Monday or Tuesday following the previous weekend’s slate of college football games.
Historically, there is no single stat more predictive of who will win the Heisman Trophy than the position one plays. Heisman winners have disproportionately been Quarterbacks and Running Backs. Note the image below where “halfbacks” is a throwback to a previous life when the backfield was mostly manned by hybrid players. As you can see, Quarterbacks occupy a little less than half of all Heisman trophies ever awarded. When combined with running backs and halfbacks, the number soars above 90% of all Heisman trophy winners.
Heisman Future Notes
Other than the position, there are other things to keep in mind when wagering on Heisman Trophy futures.
Receivers typically need to be returners as well: Larry Fitzgerald gave it a great run when he finished second in Heisman voting as a sophomore, but he would’ve been the first to ever win the trophy as a true receiver. Almost all winners who played wide receiver, perhaps the most famous being Desmond Howard, were also extremely impactful as either a returner, on defense or played some quarterback or running back as well.
Seven of the last Eight Winners Have Been Quarterbacks: In seven of the last eight years, a quarterback has won the Heisman trophy. The other one? Despite the note above, the 2020 winner was receiver DeVonta Smith. However, even when the Alabama wideout took home the owner, he did so with only 66.81% of the vote. The lowest since Derrick Henry won it in 2015 (65.73%).
Regional bias: A substantial amount has been written about the regional bias in Heisman voting. As the Heisman is voted on by journalists and there are more sports journalists on the east coast than the west coast a substantial margin exists. Less than 20% of all voters are based in the west coast which has disproportionately impacted voting as for a twenty-year period only two players from the Pac-12 won the Heisman.
If it’s not a QB, he plays at Alabama: Since 2000, three non-quarterbacks (not counting Reggie Bush’s vacated Heisman) have won the Heisman trophy and all of them played football at Alabama. Running backs Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram II, and previously mentioned receiver, DeVonta Smith. Given Alabama’s dominance and pro-style offense (that frequently places the emphasis on non-quarterbacks), Saban’s Crimson Tide provides a national spotlight for non-signal callers to impress voters.
Quarterbacks once again dominate the opening lines of the 2023-2024 list of Heisman favorites. Looking to be the second player ever to win the Heisman twice, USC QB Caleb Williams is 5 to 1 to win the Heisman for a second time. Florida State QB Jordan Travis is second on the favorites shortlist, coming in at 10 to 1 (twice the odds of Caleb Williams). Drake Maye, Oregon signal quarterback Bo Nix, Washington QB Michael Penix, and Notre Dame transfer Sam Hartman round out the favorites.
After that, things get a little dicey as Vegas and College Football fans try to guess who will win jobs coming out of spring practice. Texas QB Quinn Ewers showed flashes as to why he was once the #1 QB prospect in the country, but he is expected to be pushed by Arch Manning who is already in Austin (Arch Manning, for his part, is 100 to 1 to win the Heisman in his freshman season). UGA Quarterback Carson Beck, who is one of the favorites to replace Stetson Bennett in Athens, comes in at 25 to 1. His Spring competitor for the job, Brock Vandagriff, is 35 to 1 to win the Heisman. Finally, Alabama’s backup who was shaky when forced into action, Jalen Miroe, is 50 to 1. Incoming Crimson Tide freshman, the electric Ty Simpson, comes in at 40 to 1.
Having just advised at the relative rarity of a non-quarterback or runningback winning the Heisman, one might circle Marvin Harrison Jr. who comes in at a lofty 60 to 1. Additionally, Tight End Brock Bowers, who led the University of Georgia to back to back to championships as perhaps their best offensive player, sits at 100 to 1 entering the season.
Odds to Win College Football National Championship
After back-to-back national championships the Georgia Bulldogs, despite losing a quarterback and key contributors on defense, come in once again as the favorites to win the college football playoff. The Bulldogs opened as low as +200 (depending on the sportsbook) and as high as +300. Most sportsbooks are pricing the Dawgs odds of claiming a three-peat at +250. However, despite the SEC’s dominance in recent years, there is value to be found elsewhere. Remember that Ohio State was one half and one last-second field goal away from ensuring that an SEC team would not win the CFP playoff. Furthermore, despite TCU being overwhelmed in the finale, they showed the formula for getting into the conversation.
In terms of other SEC teams, if this is Nick Saban’s redemption year, Alabama comes in at a somewhat reasonable +500. Tennessee, who made a great run in their 2022-2023 campaign before star quarterback Hendon Hooker went down, comes in at 20 to 1 (some books have them as high as 40 to 1). Texas A&M in desperate need of major changes in a major way comes in 60 to 1.
Let’s look at some of the more longshot odds that motivate almost every futures bettor. A believer in the Deion Sanders hype? Right now you can get the Colorado Buffaloes at 250 to 1. That’s a $25,000 return on a $100 bet if they do the impossible.
Check out our full list breaking down every team’s odds to win the College Football National Championship.
Conference Champion Futures
Even less risky than either the National Championship future or the CFP playoff future is the wager on who will win a particular conference. This typically allows for more fun as, unless a complete disaster occurs, will likely be alive for most of the season. Sportsbooks typically wait till after spring practice before accepting wagers on College Football Playoff futures so we’ll wait until those are posted before previewing our favorites.
College Football Team Win Total Futures
College football win totals are wagers placed on a particular team to have Over or Under a particular amount of wins throughout the course of the regular season. These types of wagers must be placed in advance of the first kickoff of the regular season game. Prior to that kickoff, the line is subject to change rapidly as bettors bet on either side of the matchup. Furthermore, news such as injuries, suspensions, and players leaving the team can all impact the spread of a particular college football future.
Similar to conference champion futures, sportsbooks typically do not post those lines until after spring practice. Upon doing so, we will update this page with our favorite plays on the slate. One team that already has future odds out is the Deion Sanders lead Colorado Buffalo’s who post a line of 4.5 wins in the 2023-2024 season.