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College Football Week 6 Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc & More (Saturday, Oct. 8)

College Football Week 6 Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc & More (Saturday, Oct. 8) article feature image
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Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: The scoreboard at Memorial Stadium, home of the Illinois Fighting Illini football team.

Welcome to Week 6 of the college football season.

Halloween is coming up and of course, its spooky season. What things terrify me? Spiders, Ghosts and Broncos Primetime games.

However, Action Network readers haven’t needed to fear losing: This columns owns a record of 3-0-1 (and no, I will never stop complaining about the Week 1 Texas Tech push).

How have we done it? Targeting team totals. However, we are going to throw a change up this week.

What game am I looking at? You’ll have to read on to find out!

If you’re new to this article, thank you for taking a chance on it! 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 are 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 6.

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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 6:


Home Team Havoc Allowed vs. Away Team Havoc Rate


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

  1. Duke Blue Devils Defense vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Offense
  2. Alabama Crimson Tide Offense vs. Texas A&M Aggies Defense
  3. BYU Cougars Offense vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Defense

Away Team Havoc Allowed vs. Home Team Havoc Rate

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

  1. TCU Horned Frogs Offense vs. Kansas Jayhawks Defense
  2. Bowling Green Falcons Defense vs. Buffalo Bulls Offense
  3. Nevada Wolf Pack Defense vs. Colorado State Rams Offense

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. Liberty Flames Defense vs. UMASS Minutemen Offense
  2. Miami Hurricanes Offense vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Defense
  3. Michigan Wolverines Defense vs. Indiana Hoosiers Offense

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. Arizona Wildcats Defense
  2. Illinois Fighting Illini Defense vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Offense
  3. Washington Huskies Offense vs. Arizona State Sun Devils 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. Liberty Flames Defense vs. UMASS Minutemen Offense
  2. Louisville Cardinals Defense vs. Virginia Cavaliers Offense
  3. Kansas Jayhawks Offense vs. TCU Horned Frogs Defense

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

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

  1. Illinois Fighting Illini Defense vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Offense
  2. Washington Huskies Offense vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Defense
  3. Georgia Bulldogs Defense vs. Auburn Tigers Offense

College Football Week 6 Betting Takeaways

Congratulations on making it through that odyssey of charts. You’re probably tired of the pictures and want a winning pick. So, let’s get one.

Recommendations from this column have gone 3-0-1 in previous weeks — with the push coming via an absurd overtime game (once again, will not stop complaining about this until we get an equally absurd result in our favor).

This week, we will be looking at the Big Ten, in what is almost assuredly going to be an absolutely terrible game to watch: Iowa at Illinois.


Yep, we’re going to be betting on the “defensive slugfest” (or … however you’d like to put a positive spin on this game). Not only that, but we’re going to bet on Iowa vs. Illinois to be even worse than projected.

That’s right, we’re taking the under.

If you take a look at the finishing drives charts, you’ll notice that both teams are absolutely awful at finishing their drives off with touchdowns. What’s even worse is their pace of play, as you can see in the picture above. I’m expecting a slow game with a ton of field goals.

Pick: Iowa vs. Illinois Under 36.5 ⋅ Bet to Under 35.5 (-110)


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