Stuff Rate Definition: How to Utilize the Metric When Looking at Defenses For Betting

Stuff Rate Definition: How to Utilize the Metric When Looking at Defenses For Betting article feature image

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan Taylor #28 of the Indianapolis Colts is tackled by Ross Blacklock #90 of the Houston Texans

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Stuff Rate Definition

Stuff rate is the consistency at which a defense tackles the opposing player at or behind the line of scrimmage. It can be effective at looking at how well a defensive line is playing.

When evaluating the stuff rate of a defense, it can be useful to look at the opportunity rate of an offense. Opportunity rate is the consistency at which a running back gains five yards on a carry. This is typically reflective of offensive line play, as the metric looks at the first five yards of a carry, rather than what happens after. For now, we'll focus on stuff rate.

Examples and Statistics

Stuff rate statistics can be found in both college football and NFL forms, but I'll use the latter as an example.

Number of PlaysPlays Stopped At/Behind the Line of ScrimmageStuff Rate

Simple enough, right? Below is a list of the NFL leaders in stuff rate from 2020, with the Eagles leading the pack.

TeamStuff Rate
Philadelphia Eagles23.9%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers22.3%
Atlanta Falcons21.9%
Pittsburgh Steelers21.7%
Washington Football Team21.5%
New Orleans Saints20.6%
San Francisco 49ers20.6%
New York Jets20.3%
Arizona Cardinals19.5%
Seattle Seahawks19.3%

On the other side, here are the five worst defenses in terms of stuff rate in 2020.

TeamStuff Rate
New England Patriots10.1%
Minnesota Vikings10.3%
Kansas City Chiefs11.2%
Detroit Lions12.2%
Dallas Cowboys12.7%

Can Stuff Rate Help Me With Betting?

Yes, but you're going to have to get a little crafty with this one. On its own, stuff rate likely can't provide you with a good measure of how a team will fair against the spread or simply against another team. It can, however, help you identify when a team may have an advantage at the line, especially when placed in context with the opposing team's opportunity rate.

This is a statistic that may give hints on how a team will fair in a certain circumstance, such as against the run, in a given matchup. While this may assist you in making judgements on a matchup, it can also theoretically help with something such as a rushing yards or touchdowns prop bet. Below are the stuff rate leaders, the worst teams in stuff rate and their rushing yards/touchdowns conceded per game in 2020.

As you can see, this is not an end all, be all metric to identify rushing yard projections, but it can give you an idea of possible edges when looking at rushing yard props. Additionally, you could consider this stat when making a decision on a daily fantasy selection. These are just some example of how the metric can be used, and it's up to you to decide how you can incorporate it.

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