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College Football Week 7 Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc & More (Saturday, Oct. 15)

College Football Week 7 Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc & More (Saturday, Oct. 15) article feature image
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Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)

It’s officially Week 7 of the College Football season, and this one is going to be an absolute dandy.

Let’s take a look at what the degenerate powers have provided for our gambling pleasure:

  • #10 Penn State (5-0) at #5 Michigan (6-0) | Noon ET on FOX
  • #8 Oklahoma State (5-0) at #13 TCU (5-0) | 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
  • #3 Alabama (6-0) at #6 Tennessee (5-0) | 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
  • #7 USC (6-0) at #20 Utah (4-2) | 8 p.m. ET on FOX

They say that the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but this weekend is shaping up to be some stiff competition. Unfortunately for me, I will be embroiled in one of the worst situations imaginable: a wedding on a fall Saturday (forgive the bride and groom, they didn’t go to a football school).

Don’t worry, though, that won’t stop me from providing you with an absolute heater of a pick again this week.

With a record of 4-0-1, this article is doing astoundingly well compared to the rest of my plays. 

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 7

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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 7:


Home Team Havoc Allowed vs. Away Team Havoc Rate

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

  1. Miami (OH) RedHawks Defense vs. Bowling Green Falcons Offense
  2. Washington Huskies Offense vs. Arizona Wildcats Defense
  3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Offense vs. Stanford Cardinal Defense

Away Team Havoc Allowed vs. Home Team Havoc Rate

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

  1. Bowling Green Falcons Defense vs. Miami (OH) RedHawks Offense
  2. UCF Knights Defense vs. Temple Owls Offense
  3. Baylor Bears Offense vs. West Virginia Mountaineers 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. Georgia Bulldogs Offense vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Defense
  2. Washington Huskies Offense vs. Arizona Wildcats Defense
  3. Eastern Michigan Eagles Offense vs. Northern Illinois Huskies Defense

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

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

  1. Marshall Thundering Herd Defense vs. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Offense
  2. UCF Knights Defense vs. Temple Owls Offense
  3. LSU Tigers Offense vs. Florida Gators 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. Washington Huskies Offense vs. Arizona Wildcats Defense
  2. Eastern Michigan Eagles Offense vs. Northern Illinois Huskies Defense
  3. Minnesota Golden Gophers Defense vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Offense

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

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

  1. UCF Knights Defense vs. Temple Owls Offense
  2. Clemson Tigers Offense vs. Florida State Seminoles Defense
  3. Northern Illinois Huskies Offense vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles Defense

College Football Week 7 Betting Takeaways

I’m not going to get cute here. The Washington-Arizona game shows up in every single Home Offense vs. Away Defense chart as a massive mismatch.

This is one of the most one-sided offense vs. defense matchups I’ve ever seen. And to be honest, it almost seems a little too good to be true, especially with a team total of 43.5.

I’m still taking it.

Look for Arizona to have quick possessions, as it has one of the fastest offenses in the country. However, the Wildcats are terrible. I expect the Huskies to get the ball in advantageous field position often and capitalize with one of the most opportunistic offenses in the country.

Pick: Washington Team Total Over 43.5 (-125) ⋅ Bet to Over 44.5 (-120)


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