Sports Betting Strategy

The Differences Between College And NFL Totals

At the college level, the disparity in the skills and talents of the athletes are much more pronounced compared to the NFL – the same applies for the effectiveness of coaches. As a result, this could have a significant impact on the outcome of the game, especially when betting on the over/under game totals. While the game of football is essentially the same between different competition levels and leagues, minor differences, such as differences in rules, could play a deciding factor in whether you end up winning a over/under game totals bet or not. With that said, here are the differences between college and NFL totals.


The rules are different for college football and the NFL when it comes to overtime. In college football, if a game is tied after four quarters, extra periods will be played until a team wins. Each period consists of only one possession for each team, with each drive starting at the defense’s 25-yard line. If the game remains tied at the end of one period, another period must be played. Additionally, starting in the third period, teams can no longer kick for extra points and must instead go for the two-point conversion after touchdowns. On the other hand, in the NFL, a coin toss will determine which team receives possession at the start of overtime. Overtime in the NFL revolves around the sudden death format – the first team to score wins the game – with the only exception being if the team to score on the first possession of overtime does so via a field goal. If this occurs, the other team is granted one possession to match the field goal, which would result in the continuing of overtime until the next team to score wins, or win/lose the game by scoring a touchdown or failing to score. Since college football overtimes tend to go on for a much longer time period compared to NFL overtimes, additional points are more likely to be tacked onto the final game total, resulting in more overs.

Higher Totals In General – College

NFL totals usually fall within the 30–50 point range whereas college totals are routinely set in the 60–70 point range. Due to the larger strength disparity of college teams, a top ranked team is able to dominate a lower level team more easily and significantly drive up the game totals. On the other hand, there is much less disparity among NFL teams – teams will not be able to dominate others on a consistent and regular basis. Additionally, college teams are encouraged to blowout other teams by putting up as much on the scoreboard as possible while limiting the scoring of their opponents due to the fact that college rankings depend, in part, on the margin of victories. Combined with huge talent gaps and poorer defensive schemes, it is no wonder that game totals are higher for college football than the NFL in general.

Point After Touchdown

Both college and the NFL provides a team after scoring a touchdown with an opportunity for two more points. However, the distance that must be covered in order to gain the two points are different. In the NFL, the PAT is attempted from the two-yard line whereas in college, the PAT is attempted from the three-yard line. As a result, college teams are more unlikely to try a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown, whereas this is more easily achieved in the NFL.

Clock Rules

In college, the clock is stopped whenever a first down is obtained whereas in the NFL, the clock keeps running. Since previous few seconds can often mean the difference of winning or losing the over/under on game totals, college games have higher totals due to the fact that these additional seconds that get accumulated over the course of a game could end up pushing the game totals upwards even further.

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