College Football Betting in Pennsylvania

Updated on August 14, 2019

College football betting is alive and well in Pennsylvania

In fact, there are few restrictions when it comes to betting on college football in PA. As long as you don’t have a direct affiliation with a PA college or the NCAA, you are free to bet on college football in the Keystone State.

PA sportsbooks offer moneylines, point spreads, over/unders, futures, and parlay betting on college football. From the regular season to the postseason and any one of dozens of bowl games, retail sportsbooks and sports betting mobile apps in Pennsylvania have college football more than covered.

Football generates more bets than any other sport in the US. Considering football’s popularity in PA, Keystone State sportsbooks should put up some big betting numbers this season.

Read on to see exactly how you can bet on college football in Pennsylvania, both online and in-person. Plus, learn the latest in college football betting trends and the local PA schools competing this year.

Dive a little deeper, and you’ll find answers to the most frequent questions about betting on college football right here in Pennsylvania.

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Is college football betting legal in Pennsylvania?

It is 100% legal to bet on the college football at all licensed PA sports betting sites. That includes retail sportsbooks and PA sports betting apps. 

Pennsylvania lawmakers first made sports betting legal in October 2017. However, it required a change in federal law. That change came in May 2018 when the US Supreme Court struck down a ban on sports betting across the US. 

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) created the regulations governing sports betting in PA. 

That means you can now bet the moneyline, point spreads and over/unders on most college football games. Plus, you can bet on multi-game parlays. You can even bet on who will win the National Championship before the season starts.

In New Jersey, regulators put specific restrictions on college football betting. You can’t bet on local teams or games played inside the state. 

Gaming regulators have not done the same in Pennsylvania. You’re free to bet on PA college games happening locally as well as those occurring across the US, including New Jersey.

The PCGB provides oversight, so don’t expect to be able to bet on any wild college football props, even for the national championship game.

However, if it’s directly related to a college football game in the US and its outcome, it is likely legal to bet on in it in PA.

The state’s first retail sportsbook launched in November 2018 and the first PA sports betting apps went live in the summer of 2019. Now, it’s completely legal to bet on college football throughout Pennsylvania.

Find a sports betting app

It’s hard to think of something easier for betting on college football than through a mobile sportsbook.

The first step is choosing the Pennsylvania sports betting app that’s right for you and your college football action. 

You can go local since most PA online sportsbooks are attached to local casinos. Or you can simply choose your favorite since all PA sports betting apps are available across the state.

You’re also free to choose more than one sportsbook and take advantage of the many new-player bonuses. There’s no reason not to try them all. Then you can take the majority of your college football action to the one you like most.

With each app, you must sign up for an account. However, that’s usually as easy as clicking a link and entering a few personal details.

You’ll also want to make sure you don’t forget to enter the specific bonus code or promo code for each app. 

After you register, you can browse through the various college football betting markets. However, you’ll most likely need to make a deposit before you can place a bet. PA sports betting apps make this an easy process as well. 

Most accept major credit cards, recognizable third-party payment processors, and a variety of other options. You can always head to the casino cage and deposit cash in your account or do the same at a 7-Eleven store with PayNearMe.

Finally, you can go back to browsing through the college football betting markets to see what’s available. 

Finding the right bet should be easy. Mobile sportsbooks in PA give you the ability to search betting options and see how much each bet will pay.

You’ll need to confirm a bet before actually placing it, which makes it easy to browse bets according to outcomes and payouts.

Find a bet you like, confirm it and, in just minutes, you’ll have made your first college bet. It’s that simple.

How to bet on college football games

There are several ways you can bet on college football games at Pennsylvania sportsbooks. These include:

  • College football moneylines: The moneyline is the easiest way to bet on a college football game. PA sportsbooks post moneyline odds on most games; you simply pick the winner. If your team wins, so do you and the sportsbooks pay you out at the odds posted at the time you placed that bet. Favorites have a negative (-) number in front of them, which means you have to lay money to win money. The number tells you how much you’ll need to bet to win $100. Underdogs have a positive (+) number in front of them. The positive number tells you how much you’ll collect for every $100 you bet if your team wins.
  • College football point spreads: College football point spreads are much the same as they are in the NFL. You have to pick the winner of a game with that point spread factored into the final score. The difference with college football is all the mismatches mean some of those point spreads will get pretty big.
  • College football over/under: College football over/unders allow you to bet on if the total points in a game will be over or under a total scoreline that oddsmakers set. 
  • College football futures: Here’s where you make a pick on a team to win a national title or their conference. PA sportsbooks have the college football futures markets open before the season starts and adjust the odds as it continues. 
  • College football parlays: College football parlays allow you to make a bet on more than one game and combine them for better payouts. The trick is you have to win all legs of a parlay for it to pay.

What is the difference between betting on college football versus the NFL?

It’s all football, and the basic bets are similar, but there are several significant differences between betting on college football and betting on the NFL.

The first difference is the number of teams. There are 32 teams in the NFL, but the NCAA says there are more than 780 colleges and universities with football programs across the country. 

The top-tiered programs play in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), where there are 130 teams, or the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), where there are 126 teams.

There is a lot of media coverage and hype surrounding both college football and the NFL. However, with almost 260 teams in college football’s top tiers, you won’t find the same kind of attention paid to most that NFL teams enjoy.

That means information is harder to come by in college football, for both gamblers and oddsmakers. 

That generally means more mistakes by oddsmakers and softer betting lines for a lot of games. Oddsmakers have laser-focus when it comes to setting NFL lines. The lack of information out there makes that harder to do when it comes to college football.

Put plainly; there can be betting opportunities in college football that do not exist in the NFL. 

Plus, the differences between programs that compete on the national stage and teams that are a little more localized also means big mismatches. That’s why you’ll often see larger spreads in college football games than you see on NFL games.

College football betting lines, odds

College football betting lines are different than the odds that retail and online sportsbooks post. In other words, these college football betting lines are the different bets that you can make.

Basic college football betting lines include moneylines, point spreads, over/unders, and futures or outrights.

How to shop for lines in Pennsylvania

Most retail and online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania will set their own lines. Although, they often employ a third-party service to do it for them.  

What that means for you as a customer is that you can shop around for the best price on a bet, aka line shopping. 

When you check the line on a bet before you book it, you’re line shopping. If you find the bet at a better price, you’re putting money in your pocket.

Let’s say you like Florida over Miami. You see the moneyline at -335 at one sportsbook. Then, after shopping around, you find it at -305 somewhere else.

Placing the bet with the second book would instantly save you $30 for each $100 you bet. All you had to do was browse through the betting lines at a few PA sportsbooks. Something that took you just a few minutes can save you big bucks.

Line movement

Sportsbooks often change the lines in the lead up to a game.  

Line movement can be because of several factors, including weather reports or news about injuries to key players.

However, sportsbooks often change the lines because of heavy action on one side. Even one big bet can force a sportsbook to move a line.

When a college football betting line moves, it’s usually an indication of which side the majority of the betting public is backing. You can then adjust your bet accordingly and possibly find some real value.

Regular season and postseason

When it comes to college football betting, there’s a difference between the regular season and postseason. Oddsmakers can suddenly focus on just a handful of teams in the postseason. As such, the lines are infinitely more accurate. 

Mistakes happen in the regular season, with so many teams competing in the FBS and FCS and fewer games played to base predictions on. But not so much come postseason time.

College football betting tips

If you’re planning to bet on college football games in PA this season, here’s three tips that might help:

1. Tryfading the public.’

Fading the public” means taking advantage of line movements when the overwhelming majority of the public is betting on one side. The public seems to love home favorites in college football, so when sportsbooks move the line in the underdog’s favor to even out the betting, pounce on it.

2. Focus on the smaller conferences

You can find value all over the place betting regular-season college football games. Just don’t look for it in the major conferences. Bookmakers are pretty sharp when it comes to the teams you see on TV each week, but sometimes they don’t have time to give due diligence to some of the smaller, lesser-known teams and conferences.

Pennsylvania college football teams

The list of college football teams in Pennsylvania is a lengthy one. Although, only a handful play in the FBS or FCS. These teams are:

  • Penn State Nittany Lions (FBS)
  • Pittsburgh Panthers (FBS)
  • Bucknell Bison (FCS)
  • Duquesne Dukes (FCS)
  • Lafayette Leopards (FCS)
  • Lehigh Mountain Hawks (FCS)
  • Penn Quakers (FCS)
  • Robert Morris Colonials (FCS)
  • Saint Francis Red Flash (FCS)
  • Temple Owls (FCS)

Also, there are several Division II and Division III teams in the state.

Top 25 rankings for 2019-20 season

After playing in the National Championship (FBS) one year ago, Alabama and Clemson topped the preseason rankings for this season.

There is also one PA school which ranked in the top 25. 

Last season’s star quarterback Trace McSorley was drafted by the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, but the NCAA still had the Nittany Lions at No. 13 in the preseason rankings. 

Bowl games

Penn State lost to Kentucky 27-24 in the Citrus Bowl last season. The Nittany Lions made a furious fourth-quarter comeback in the game but fell just short.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Panthers lost to Northwestern 31-24 in the Pinstripe Bowl last season. 

Both teams are favorites to put together decent records and qualify for another bowl game this season. Although, they’re likely out of the National Championship picture.

College Football national landscape

According to most experts, the National Championship is a two-horse race this year. That’s because the two teams that are playing in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship game are returning a bunch of stars this season.

The Clemson Tigers won the title last season and quarterback Trevor Lawrence will try to lead them back to the promised land again this year. In the meantime, runner-up Alabama returns quarterback Tau Tagovailoa and wide receiver Jerry Judy on offense, alongside linebacker Dylan Moses on defense.

Last season, Clemson took on Alabama with the title on the line for the third time in the past four years. It’s a good bet these two teams are ready to make it four out of the past five years this season. In the off-year, Alabama also met Clemson in the CFP semifinal. 

Clemson-Alabama has quickly grown into college football’s greatest rivalry. Preseason polls have Alabama and Clemson as co-favorites, and it appears the road to a national title in 2020 runs through them.

2019-20 college bowl schedule

The 2019 NCAA Division I FBS football season begins Aug. 24 and runs through Dec. 14.

The postseason will consist of the top four ranked teams in the country facing off in two semifinal bowls, the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl, on Dec. 28.

The winners will play in the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 13, in New Orleans.

The 2019 NCAA Division I FCS football season runs on a similar regular-season schedule to the FBS. However, the postseason is instead a 24-team playoff bracket.

The first round of the playoffs is set for Nov. 30. Second-round games will be played Dec. 7. The four quarterfinal games are set for Dec. 21 and the semifinals for Dec. 28.

Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas will host the 2020 Division I FCS Football Championship game on Jan. 11.

How to watch the bowl games in Pennsylvania

You’re going to have to move around the dial a little to view Penn State college football games in Pennsylvania this season. The games move from BTN to FOX, ABC, and FS1 in the first four weeks. 

The TV schedule hasn’t been released for the rest of the year, but it’s a good bet you’ll find most games on these networks.

Pittsburgh Panthers games are televised on the ACC Network for the most part. However, the Panthers Week 3 matchup with Penn State on Sept. 14 is on ABC this season.

Biggest rivalries in Pennsylvania

Penn State vs. Ohio State

Ohio State is one of Penn State’s biggest rivals. 

Not only has the annual matchup helped decide the Big Ten Conference title numerous times, this game often has national championship implications as well. 

This year, the Nittany Lions will visit the Buckeyes to renew the rivalry on Nov. 23.

Biggest upsets in Penn State history

Penn State is consistently a part of the college football national championship picture. However, the Nittany Lions have relished the underdog role more than a time or two. 

Here’s a look at the top three greatest upsets in Penn State history:

2005: No. 16 Penn State vs. No. 6 Ohio State

The Nittany Lions went on to finish the year ranked No. 3 in the country after they beat Ohio State 17-10 in 2005. Ohio State was the favorite to win the Big Ten Conference, but the Penn State defense shut down 2006 Heisman-winning quarterback Troy Smith on this day.

2013: Penn State vs. No. 18 Michigan

It took three overtimes to get it done, but an unranked Penn State team defeated bitter rivals and No. 18-ranked Michigan 43-40 in 2013. Unfortunately, the rest of the season didn’t go so well for the Nittany Lions.

2016: Penn State vs. No. 2 Ohio State

Penn State’s 24-21 win over Ohio State in 2016 is widely considered the biggest upset in the school’s history. Particularly in the modern era.

Ohio State was the second-ranked team in the country. Penn State was not ranked. The Nittany Lions went on to win a conference championship and book a Rose Bowl appearance. Plus, it couldn’t have been a more dramatic win with a blocked field goal attempt leading to a 60-yard Penn State touchdown with five minutes left sealing it.

College football FAQ

When does the college football season start?

The 2019 college football season began on Aug. 24. The first few games of the college football season happen during what they call Week Zero.

Just five days later, on Aug. 29, Week One of the college football season kicks off with a full slate of games Thursday through Monday.

How long is a regular game?

College football games run for 60 minutes with two halves of 30 minutes each and four 15-minute quarters. However, a typical game runs over three-and-a-half hours of real-time with all the clock stoppages.

How does overtime work in college football?

If a game is tied at the end of regulation time, it goes to overtime. 

Overtime starts with a coin toss deciding first possession. Each overtime period includes a two-possession series. That means each team will get one possession on offense and one on defense. 

The team on offense starts at their 25-yard line. The object is to score, and then prevent your opponent from doing so. If the teams are still tied after a two-possession series, they play another.

Once the teams reach a third overtime period, they must attempt two-point conversions on touchdowns. Once the teams reach a fifth overtime period, teams run alternating two-point conversion plays instead of starting at the 25-yard line.

How many teams are there?

The NCAA says there are more than 780 colleges and universities with football programs. 

Only 130 teams play in Division I FBS. Another 126 play in Division I FCS.

When do college football rankings come out?

The AP releases a final top 25 in January. It releases a preseason poll in mid-August. The USA Today Coaches Poll also releases a season-ending top 25 at the end of bowl season and a preseason poll at the beginning of August.

Both polls then release weekly rankings once football season is underway.

The playoff rankings start coming out on Tuesday evenings in late October and continue every Tuesday throughout November. The rankings that the College Football Playoff is based on is generally released the first Sunday in December.

Where and when is the 2020 championship game?

New Orleans will host the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 13, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

This game is the culmination of a bracket tournament between the top four teams in the country. It will be a matchup of the winners of two semifinal bowls, the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl, played on Dec. 28.

What school has the most national championships in college football?

Princeton has 28 national titles and Yale has 27. 

Nobody has more national titles than these two schools, but neither Yale nor Princeton is likely to win one again. The last time Princeton had a championship season was 1950. For Yale, it was 1927. Neither team competes at the FBS level so that they won’t be adding to their total anytime soon either.

If you’re looking for the school with the most national championships that still compete for titles, look no further than Alabama. The Crimson Tide has won 17 national titles and their last championship season was in 2017.

At second place is a three-way tie between Michigan, Notre Dame, and USC. Although, the last time any of these teams won was when USC won back-to-back national championships in 2003 and 2004 to get to 11.

How many college football bowl games are there?

The 2018-2019 football season featured 40 FBS bowl games, including the two semifinals and the National Championship games.

How many conferences in college football?

The top-tiered NCAA Division I FBS features 130 schools in 10 conferences. The second-tiered NCAA Division I FCS features 126 schools in 13 conferences.

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