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College Football Week 10 Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc & More (Saturday, Nov. 5)

College Football Week 10 Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc & More (Saturday, Nov. 5) article feature image
Credit:

Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Air Force Falcons flags.

Last week was a bounce-back week for this article, as we managed to improve our record to 6-1-1 on the season. And you know what? I think we should do it again.

We have another loaded slate this week, with two top-10 SEC matchups being the highlights:

  • No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 1 Tennessee
  • No. 6 Alabama vs. No. 10 LSU
  • No. 24 Texas vs. No. 13 Kansas State
  • No. 21 Wake Forest vs. No. 22 NC State

While not all of these games have playoff implications, they all should be fun to watch.

Florida also plays Texas A&M, and Aggie fans most likely were hoping for this game to have playoff implications at the start of the season. However, now it has buyout implications. Gotta love college football!

This breakdown looks at three metrics that have been found to be relevant to covering the spread:

  1. Havoc
  2. Success Rate
  3. Finishing Drives

If you’re interested in why these metrics have been chosen, check out this piece by Collin Wilson. To quote his findings:

“Data from the past five years indicates defensive Success Rate, Havoc and Finishing Drives are the biggest indicators in beating oddsmakers this college football season.”

Let’s dive in and see where we can find an edge in Week 10.

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Havoc

What is Havoc?

Havoc is a college football term defined as a play where there’s an unexpected outcome.

Pass breakups, forced fumbles and tackles for loss are just a few of the plays that cause chaos on any given Saturday. Collectively, these plays are used to build an identity for a team.

The calculation for Havoc is simply a cumulative number of tackles for loss, interceptions, fumbles and passes defensed divided by the number of plays on both sides of the ball.

Let’s see where we can find some big Havoc discrepancies in Week 10:


Home Team Havoc Allowed vs. Away Team Havoc Rate

Top 3 Havoc Mismatches (Home Offense vs. Away Defense)

  1. Utah Utes Offense vs. Arizona Wildcats Defense
  2. Duke Blue Devils Defense vs. Boston College Eagles Offense
  3. Cal Golden Bears Offense vs. USC Trojans Defense

Away Team Havoc Allowed vs. Home Team Havoc Rate

Top 3 Havoc Mismatches (Away Offense vs. Home Defense)

  1. Air Force Falcons Offense vs. Army Black Knights Defense
  2. Bowling Green State Falcons Defense  vs. Western Michigan Broncos Offense
  3. Ohio State Buckeyes Offense vs. Northwestern Wildcats Defense

Success Rate

What is Success Rate?

Success Rate is an advanced metric in football that measures efficiency, but with the important context of down and distance considered.

A play is defined as successful if:

  • It gains at least 50% of the yards required to move the chains on first down
  • 70% of yards to gain on second down
  • 100% of yards to gain on third or fourth down

To calculate Success Rate, simply divide the number of successful plays (as defined by down and distance above) by total plays.

This definition is taken from our article on Success Rate.


Home Team Offensive Success Rate vs. Away Team Defensive Success Rate

Top 3 Success Rate Mismatches (Home Offense vs. Away Defense)

  1. Utah Utes Offense vs. Arizona Wildcats Defense
  2. Marshall Thundering Herd Defense vs. Old Dominion Monarchs Offense
  3. USC Trojans Offense vs. Cal Golden Bears Defense

Away Team Offensive Success Rate vs. Home Team Defensive Success Rate

Top 3 Success Rate Mismatches (Away Offense vs. Home Defense)

  1. Oregon Ducks Offense vs. Colorado Buffalo Defense
  2. Air Force Falcons Offense vs. Army Black Knights Defense
  3. Virginia Tech Hokies Defense vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Offense

Finishing Drives

What is Finishing Drives?

Finishing Drives is calculated as points per opportunity when the offense passes the opponent’s 40-yard line.

Defensively, this is how many points per opportunity a defense allows when the opposing offense crosses the 40-yard line.


Home Team Offensive Finishing Drives vs. Away Team Defensive Finishing Drives

Top 3 Finishing Drives Mismatches (Home Offense vs. Away Defense)

  1. Boise State Broncos Offense vs. BYU Cougars Defense
  2. Mississippi State Bulldogs Offense vs. Auburn Tigers Defense
  3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Defense vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Offense

Away Team Offensive Finishing Drives vs. Home Team Defensive Finishing Drives

Top 3 Finishing Drives Mismatches (Away Offense vs. Home Defense)

  1. Oregon Ducks Offense vs. Colorado Buffalo Defense
  2. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Defense vs. Troy Trojans Defense
  3. Old Dominion Monarchs Defense vs. Marshall Thundering Herd Offense

College Football Week 10 Betting Takeaways

Gambling gods forgive me for what I’m about to do this week: take an over in a service academy game.

What mismatch appears on all three charts? Air Force Falcons offense vs. Army Black Knights defense. Let’s take a closer look at this matchup (and you can create your own matchups using this link).

Look at the differences in rankings between Air Force’s offense and Army’s defense. Yes, the Falcons play at one of the slowest rates in football (as does Army). However, this Falcons team should be able to move the ball at will this weekend.

If you read the article last week, you’d remember that we had a similar situation with Georgia: an extremely successful offense that played slow. Well, we’re going back to that well this week.

Now, Army plays at a much slower pace than Florida did. That’s not enough to scare me away.

Take the Falcons team total this weekend, sweat it down to the wire and let’s be legends.

Pick: Air Force Team Total Over 23.5 (-120) ⋅ Bet to Over 23.5 (-120)

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