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College Football Week 11 Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc & More (Saturday, Nov. 12)

College Football Week 11 Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc & More (Saturday, Nov. 12) article feature image
Credit:

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Yam Banks (8) of the South Alabama Jaguars.

Week 10 delivered us a fantastic weekend of college football with four top-25 matchups and a massive shakeup in the College Football Playoff rankings as Alabama and Clemson lost on the road.

This week’s college football slate may not feature any top-10 matchups, but it’s no slouch either. In particular, we have four marquee matchups to look forward to:

  • No. 22 UCF at No. 17 Tulane
  • No. 9 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss
  • No. 25 Washington at No. 6 Oregon
  • No. 4 TCU at No. 18 Texas

Last week, I committed a grievous error by backing an over in a military academy game. But, have no fear: This week we will most definitely not be betting on points to be scored by a triple-option team.

We also took a “L” on the Northern Illinois team total over in our debut MACtion article earlier this week, so we need to stop the slide this week with a winner.

This breakdown looks at three metrics that have proven 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 11.

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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 11:


Home Team Havoc Allowed vs. Away Team Havoc Rate


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

  1. UCLA Bruins Offense vs. Arizona Wildcats Defense
  2. Buffalo Bulls Defense vs. Central Michigan Chippewas Offense
  3. Boise State Broncos Defense vs. Nevada Wolf Pack Offense

Away Team Havoc Allowed vs. Home Team Havoc Rate


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

  1. Central Michigan Chippewas Defense vs. Buffalo Bulls Offense
  2. Cincinnati Bearcats Defense vs. East Carolina Pirates Offense
  3. Washington Huskies Offense vs. Oregon Ducks 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. Arizona Wildcats Offense vs. UCLA Bruins Defense
  2. Colorado Buffaloes Offense vs. USC Trojans Defense
  3. James Madison Dukes Defense vs. Old Dominion Monarchs Offense

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


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

  1. NC State Wolfpack Defense vs. Boston College Eagles Offense
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes Defense vs. Indiana Hoosiers Offense
  3. Fresno State Bulldogs Offense vs. UNLV Rebels Defense

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. USC Trojans Offense vs. Colorado Buffaloes Defense
  2. UCLA Bruins Offense vs. Arizona Wildcats Defense
  3. Oregon Ducks Offense vs. Washington Huskies Defense

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


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

  1. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Offense vs. Memphis Tigers Defense
  2. SMU Mustangs Offense vs. USF Bulls Defense
  3. Washington Huskies Offense vs. Oregon Ducks Defense

College Football Week 11 Betting Takeaways


I am going to go against the grain with this pick.

South Alabama has a huge mismatch against Texas State on offense — but, check out the right spider chart. The Bobcats defense matches up extremely well against the Jaguars offense.

In addition, South Alabama has rushing-oriented offense with a slow pace of play, as you can tell by its seconds per play ranking (89th).



Despite their tendency to lean on the rushing game, the Jaguars are not very successful on the ground, ranking 101st in rushing success rate.

This plays into one of Texas State’s (few) strengths: The Bobcats rank 34th in success rate allowed against the run.

If Texas State forces South Alabama into passing situations, the Bobcats defense can pounce on the Jags offense. Check out these matchups:



Texas State has the advantage in every category.

The Bobcats can hold this Jaguars team if the offense can give the defense a break and grind out a few drives.

Pick: South Alabama Team Total Under 32 (-115) ⋅ Bet to Under 32 (-120)

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