Wilson: Week 8 Havoc Ratings & How I’m Betting Pittsburgh-Syracuse

Wilson: Week 8 Havoc Ratings & How I’m Betting Pittsburgh-Syracuse article feature image
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James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Paris Ford (12).

  • Havoc helps Collin Wilson single out betting opportunities since it can create volatility and uncertainty.
  • What is Havoc? It's the rate at which a defense creates disruptive plays -- tackles for loss, forced fumbles and passes defended.
  • Collin uses his Week 8 ratings to make a pick in Friday's Pittsburgh-Syracuse matchup.

During the Action Network Podcast I mentioned the top three teams in the updated havoc are all members of the Big Ten. Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State are the top three disrupters in college football. With havoc allowed having as much importance, the three teams rank 20th, 40th and 67th respectively.

Wisconsin has the run the fewest amount of defensive plays out of the group, but rank third in the nation in passes defensed. Ohio State has mastered the ability of getting in the opponent backfield. The Buckeyes are second in the nation in tackles for loss.

Meanwhile, Micah Parsons and my $30,000 ticket will make a nice laminated coaster for my house, but the Penn State defense continues to erase opposing offenses.

If there is one team that has taken a large jump in havoc, it is the Oklahoma Sooners. The Big 12’s best team now ranks 32nd, with 49 tackles for loss as the best part of defense.

The Sooners’ havoc minded defenders go up against one of the worst offenses in havoc allowed during Week 8. West Virginia ranks 108th in havoc allowed with nine interceptions and 44 tackles for loss allowed.

Havoc rate is total plays divided by the total number of tackles for loss, forced fumbles or passes defended divided. It can take a defense from good to great.

Havoc allowed is interceptions, tackles for loss and fumbles offensively. Investing money in offenses that protect the ball is vital to a bettor.


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


My handicapping always starts with the Action Network power ratings, but the Havoc statistic for both offense and defense will be used to gauge which teams can cause volatility and lead to betting value.

College Football Week 8 Havoc Rankings

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

Pittsburgh at Syracuse

If you have been betting the 2019 season with me on the Action Network App, we have been pretty successful with these teams. Pitt drew investors to the window against Duke, Central Florida, Penn State and Ohio. A cover against Liberty didn’t deter from a fade of Syracuse against NC State last week.

We’re not backing Pitt simply because they have made us money, or fading Syracuse because of previous success. There are statistical reasons in havoc for going to the well with the Panthers one more time.

Pittsburgh ranks fifth in overall havoc, with a heavy dose of forced fumbles and passes defensed. The Panthers are 19th in total defense and 14th in opponent yards per play. Specifically, a Pitt defense that is seventh in sack rate will take on an Orange offensive line that is 125th in sack rate.

Tommy DeVito will continue his season long trend of being flushed out of the pocket:

The Syracuse offense is 96th in havoc rate allowed, with a ranking of 117th in tackles for loss allowed. Even if the Orange offense is able to get into red zone, it may not be able to convert any points.

Syracuse ranks 115th in red zone points per attempt, which gives us plenty of reason to back the visiting favorite.

Pick: Pitt -3