Wilson: Updated Havoc Ratings for Week 11 & How I’m Betting ECU-SMU

Wilson: Updated Havoc Ratings for Week 11 & How I’m Betting ECU-SMU article feature image
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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: The Iron Skillet

  • Collin Wilson updates his havoc ratings to pinpoint volatile teams that could create betting value.
  • Havoc is the rate at which a defense creates disruptive plays -- tackles for loss, forced fumbles, interceptions and passes defended.

The first set of College Football Playoff rankings came out Tuesday night. Not surprising were the inclusions of Ohio State, LSU and Alabama in the top four. Surprisingly, Clemson was left out of the top four in favor or Penn State.

Oklahoma was listed behind the current Pac-12 division leaders, while five Group of Five teams rounded out the list.

Of the teams ranked in the College Football Playoff standings, 16 rank in the top 25 in defensive havoc. The ability to sack the quarterback, generate tackles for loss or pass breakups will lead to a defensive identity.

Havoc is not figured into a point spread, but gamblers are wise to know teams like Memphis cannot create turnovers. The Tigers rank 89th in defensive havoc, causing just four fumbles on the season.

Our havoc ratings have long pointed out the teams that have built an identity around causing chaos on defense and protecting the ball on offense, and that those are teams you want to back. Only a small number of teams rank in the top 25 in both havoc and havoc allowed.

Those teams include Clemson, Oregon, SMU and Wyoming. The Cowboys curiously make the list because of just 28 tackles for loss allowed and 10 forced fumbles on defense.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into this week’s Havoc Ratings.

For defenses, 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.

For offenses, havoc allowed is interceptions, tackles for loss and fumbles. Investing money in offenses that protect the ball is vital.


All odds below as of Wednesday 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 these havoc statistics for both offense and defense will be used to pinpoint the more volatile teams as a means of unlocking additional betting value.

College Football Week 11 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.

East Carolina at SMU

The 2018 Holton Ahlers we’d come to love at East Carolina had been on sabbatical this season.  The Pirates quarterback had a 10/2 TD/INT ratio last year, but has been pretty awful in 2019.

Against Cincinnati, Ahlers broke out in a big way with 535 passing yards and five total touchdowns.

But SMU should bring more pressure against ECU’s signal caller. The Mustangs are 20th in sack rate and 11th in defensive havoc. SMU has 79 tackles for loss, good enough for second in the nation. That will spell trouble against an East Carolina offense ranking 95th in havoc allowed.

The Pirates have issues keeping defenders out of the backfield, with an Opportunity Rate of 117th and Stuff Rate of 122nd.

Our Action Network power ratings make this game SMU -21, while the line opened -23.5 and has been steamed down to -21 or -21.5 in most spots.

Ahlers made the Cincinnati defense look pedestrian, but SMU presents a tougher front seven.

I will patiently set up line watcher in Sports Insights for notification of when the number dips below three touchdowns with SMU’s loss to Memphis fresh on most bettors’ minds.

Pick: SMU -20.5 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]