Cal-Utah Betting Pick & the Week 9 Havoc Ratings

Cal-Utah Betting Pick & the Week 9 Havoc Ratings article feature image

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Utah Utes

Before diving into this week’s Havoc Ratings, let’s touch quickly on fumble luck. There’s a reason a team’s fumble recovery rate isn’t factored into my ratings, as anything too far above or below 50% is often the result of luck.

The most fortunate teams recover opponent fumbles 70% of the time. Teams that have eclipsed that mark with double digit opponent fumbles include Illinois, South Florida, Fresno State, Syracuse and Buffalo. Both Illinois and UAB have recovered 12 opponent fumbles, but the Fighting Illini have done so on just 15 opportunities.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Minnesota, Louisiana Tech, Tulane and Florida International have recovered the ball just 30% of the time. Of 14 opponent fumbles, the Gophers have recovered just three the entire season.

TCU is in a similar boat: five opponent fumbles and no recoveries. To make matters worse in the luck department, the Horned Frogs have had 16 offensive fumbles on the season and recovered just seven. Texas has forced just three fumbles this season, making Week 9 a prime bounce-back spot for TCU in the turnover luck department.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into this week’s Havoc Ratings.

For defenses, havoc rate is total plays divided by the total number of tackles for loss, forced fumbles or passes defended divided. It can take a defense from good to great.

For offenses, havoc allowed is interceptions, tackles for loss and fumbles. Investing money in offenses that protect the ball is vital.

All odds below as of Morning morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

My handicapping always starts with the Action Network power ratings, but these havoc statistic for both offense and defense will be used to pinpoint the more volatile teams as a means of unlocking additional betting value.

College Football Week 9 Havoc Rankings

PD is passes defensed, FF is Forces Fumbles, and TFL representing Tackles for Loss. Havoc Rate is calculated per the Five Factors definition.

Cal at Utah

The Havoc column continues to take favorites to the window, as that extra push in turnovers is all many teams need to get the cover. This week is no different with Utah.

This game actually represents the biggest havoc mismatch of the weekend: Utah ranks sixth in havoc against a Cal offense that is 108th in havoc allowed.

Arguably the biggest game of the Utes’ season looms in Week 10 against Washington, but I don’t expect this team to overlook Cal, even if QB Tyler Huntley can’t go.

Cal is likely to start freshman Spencer Brasch, who has just six passing attempts in his career, one of which was picked and only two of which were completed … and that was against Oregon State. The Bears offensive line ranks 128th in sack rate, which is just one piece of a bad looking puzzle for Cal.

Oregon State's defense came to play. 😱@BeaverFootball's 9️⃣single-game sacks against Cal were the most since 1996! #Pac12FB

— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) October 21, 2019

Cal gave up nine sacks to Oregon State, which was in the Bears backfield the entire game. Brasch will find himself in plenty of passing downs, as the Utah defense ranks fifth in line yards, 13th in opportunity rate and 11th in stuff rate.

Even if Huntley is unable to play — and really, the Utes don’t have a ton of reason to play him with Washington on deck — Utah has a bit of experience behind him with Jason Shelley and Drew Lisk.

Expect a healthy Zack Moss to help take some pressure off whoever starts under center and lead an attack that is 12th in rushing success rate. The Utes will want to be firing on all cylinders after a sluggish performance against Arizona State.

Pick: Utah -18 (has value up to -21 if Huntley sits)

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