Wilson: How to Bet Ohio State vs. Nebraska Using Havoc Stats

Wilson: How to Bet Ohio State vs. Nebraska Using Havoc Stats article feature image

Patrick Gorski, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Wan’Dale Robinson

  • Collin Wilson loves defenses that cause chaos, because they can create betting volatility.
  • Based on Football Outsiders' original measures, he quantifies the most and least disruptive defenses in the country.
  • He also outlines how to use these statistics to handicap Ohio State at Nebraska.

One of the biggest questions heading into Notre Dame at Georgia was the lack of Havoc. Georgia had an excellent defense in 2018, but had issues creating turnovers. Hosting the Irish was a good chance for new faces to prove themselves to Kirby Smart.

Three tackles for loss and two interceptions made the difference in the game. Specifically, J.R. Reed’s interception of Ian Book in the 4th quarter stopped what could have ended up an Irish victory.

That right there is what we call Havoc — the plays by each defense that result in a tackle for loss, forced fumble or pass defended. It can take a defense from good to great.

Turnovers can be random, but the more fumbles you’re forcing and more passes you’re defending, the more you’ll recover.

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

And havoc rate matters not just with players, but as a team. At this stage in the college football season, UMass, the lowest-ranked team in my power ratings, has generated more havoc than Michigan.

We mentioned Wisconsin taking a havoc plunge last season in comparison to 2017. This year alone we are seeing a major bump in the stat for Wisconsin, Oregon and Navy. Navy? The Midshipmen were 126th overall in havoc for 2018, but this season they rank ninth.

My handicapping always starts with the Action Network power ratings, but the Havoc statistic will be used to gauge which teams can cause volatility and lead to betting value. Certain coordinators and coaches are better at creating Havoc than others, which makes Michigan’s rank through three weeks so surprising.

This article will look at current Havoc rates for the season, plus a look at any matchups in Week 5 where a large discrepancy can be found.

College Football Week 5 Havoc Rankings

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

Ohio State at Nebraska (+17.5)

Ladies and Gentlemen, your clubhouse leader in passes defensed after four weeks of play is the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Last season, Erik Chinander’s defense was 63rd overall in havoc, with a defensive back rating of 27th. It may be safe to assume the Nebraska defense has caught on to the 3-4 scheme and is executing at a high pace this far in the season.

Do not be fooled by the Illinois box score, where two of the Illini touchdowns came from drives in Nebraska territory. The Cornhuskers had four fumbles lost on the day.

Ohio State leads the nation in havoc, with seven forced fumbles and 44 tackles for loss being best in FBS. The entire key to the Big Ten showdown is Nebraska’s ability to protect the ball.

Our Action Network power ratings make this game Ohio State -15.5, giving a small edge to Nebraska. The Nebraska defense should be able to limit Justin Fields in the passing game, but this comes down to Adrian Martinez ball protection.

Pick: Nebraska +17.5

How would you rate this article?