Week 12 College Football Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc, Explosiveness & More

Week 12 College Football Analytics Betting Preview: Success Rate, Havoc, Explosiveness & More article feature image
Credit:

David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.

Welcome to Week 12 of the College Football Season.

We’ve had 11 weeks to feel out these teams, and now its starting to pay off.  Michigan State vs. Ohio State is just the first in what seems like a massive slate of matchups coming into the final two weeks of the regular season. This is the time of year when seasons are either made, or broken. With that being said, let’s get into it.

This breakdown looks at four metrics that have been found to be relevant to covering the spread:

  1. Havoc
  2. Success Rate
  3. Finishing Drives
  4. Explosiveness

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.”

We’re throwing explosiveness in here as well. With that in mind, let’s dive in and see where we can find an edge in Week 10.

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 pandemonium on any given Saturday. These plays, collectively, 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 take a look at how each team’s Havoc Rate and Havoc Allowed Rate compare:


Some Quick Takeaways

  • If you had “Miami (OH) will be an elite Havoc team in 2021” stand up! Now everyone leave, you big bunch of liars.
  • Texas, look at where Kansas is on this chart. And make sure to note where they are on every other chart this week. Y’all lost to THAT.
  • It is going to be hilarious when Wisconsin spoils the Big Ten’s CFP bid by beating Ohio State 13-10 in the Big Ten Championship
  • The Oregon-Oregon State game next week is going to be the best Civil War game since 2020!

As we harp on each week, these charts are great to see how each team stacks up nationally but can be tough to see where the advantages lie on a game-by-game basis. So, let’s break it down that way.

Home Team Havoc Rate vs. Away Team Havoc Allowed Rate


Biggest Mismatches (ignoring Games Played)

  1. Middle Tennessee’s Offense vs ODU’s Defense
  2. Cal’s Offense vs Stanford’s Defense
  3. Western Michigan’s Offense vs Eastern Michigan’s Defense

Home Team Havoc Allowed Rate vs. Away Team Havoc Rate


Biggest Mismatches (Ignoring Games Played)

  1. San Diego State’s Defense vs UNLV’s Offense
  2. Pitt’s Offense vs Virginia’s Defense
  3. Army’s Offense vs UMass’ Defense

Finishing Drives

What is Finishing Drives?

Finishing Drives is points per opportunity when the offense passes its 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.

Offensive Finishing Drives vs. Defensive Finishing Drives


General Notes & Observations

  • Georgia: still historically good. I will keep pointing this out until they are not historically good.
  • Kansas, Mizzou and Texas Tech – worst P5 teams at keeping opponents out of the end zone.
  • Alabama has the worst defense when it comes to keeping opponents out of the end zone of any of the CFP teams (plus Ohio State and Cincinnati).
  • Clemson-Wake Forest will be an interesting matchup. A red hot offense coming into a slumping powerhouse that can still play great defense. This game is going to be a fun one. Wake will be looking to hand back the better part of a decade’s struggles in one game .

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


Biggest Mismatches

  1. Army’s Offense vs UMass’ Defense
  2. Coastal Carolina’s Offense vs Texas State’s Defense
  3. Appalachian State’s Defense vs Troy’s Offense

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


Biggest Mismatches

  1. Florida’s Offense vs Missouri’s Defense
  2. Boise State’s Defense vs New Mexico’s Offense
  3. Hawaii’s Defense vs Colorado State’s Offense
The must-have app for college football bettors

The best NCAAF betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

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 straight from our article on Success Rate. So, which teams excel at moving the chains?

Offensive Success Rate vs. Defensive Success Rate


General Notes & Observations

(Once again, top left is bad and bottom right is good)

  • Put the Bearcats in the Playoffs you cowards!
  • Navy is just not in a spot you expect to see a service academy
  • Alabama is improving at defensive success rate every week.
  • Can anyone stop the Chanticleers on offense?

Home Team Success Rate vs. Away Team Success Rate Allowed


Biggest Mismatches

  1. San Diego State’s Defense vs UNLV’s Offense
  2. Coastal Carolina’s Offense vs Texas State’s Defense
  3. Kentucky’s Offense vs New Mexico State’s Defense

Home Team Success Rate Allowed vs. Away Team Success Rate


Biggest Mismatches

  1. Kent State’s Offense vs Akron’s Defense
  2. Florida’s Offense vs Missouri’s Defense
  3. Western Michigan’s Offense vs Eastern Michigan’s Defense

Explosiveness

Per College Football Data (CFBD), Explosiveness measures the average EPA on plays that were marked as successful. We are using this definition since we are using their metrics.


General Notes & Observations

(Once again, top left is bad and bottom right is good)

  • Washington is having a tough season, but at least they’re not allowing opponent’s fans to enjoy any big plays!
  • This has nothing to do with these stats, but its a shame how far the Florida State and Miami programs have fallen. Last week’s game should have been a marquee matchup, but instead it was barely a footnote outside of Florida (but a great game)!
  • Wisconsin and Rutgers competing for “worst offense to watch in the Big 10”
  • Mike Leach? Sir? Could you please get your offense going for the Egg Bowl?

Home Team Explosiveness vs. Away Team Explosiveness Allowed


Biggest Mismatches

  1. Nebraska’s Defense vs Wisconsin’s Offense
  2. Washington’s Defense vs Colorado’s Offense
  3. FIU’s Offense vs North Texas’ Defense

Home Team Explosiveness Allowed vs. Away Team Explosiveness


Biggest Mismatches

  1. Penn State’s Defense vs Rutgers’ Offense
  2. Iowa’s Defense vs Illinois’ Offense
  3. Washington State’s Defense vs Arizona’s Offense

Week 12 Betting Takeaways

Congratulations on finishing this article (it can be a little dense), but now that you’re here, it’s time to reap the rewards. Based on these charts, what edge can we gain against the books?

Over our last four weeks, we’ve gone 2-4 (gross). If you take away games we bet on the South Alabama Jaguars, we are 2-1. So, let’s avoid them completely.

So which game offers value? How about Florida @ Mizzou?





Both these teams have had down seasons, especially ATS. Florida is 3-7 ATS while Mizzou is 2-8. So how do we bet this game? Well let’s take a look at the third chart posted above. The green is Florida’s offense, which has been thoroughly above average. The orange is Mizzou’s Defense, which has been absolutely terrible.

Don’t overthink this one. Bet on Florida to score a ton of points.

Pick: Florida Team Total Over 38.5 (-110). Pointsbet

 

The ultimate CFB betting cheat code

Best bets for every game

Collin Wilson’s biggest weekly edges

Profitable data-driven system picks

How would you rate this article?