Yahoo is partnering with The Action Network during the football season to bring you expert sports betting information and analysis.
Our college football handicapping always starts with The Action Network power ratings, but we also use Havoc statistics for both offense and defense to help gauge which teams might be more volatile than others.
Havoc rate is composed of tackles for losses, forced fumbles or passes defended. It can take a defense from good to great. Havoc also is made up of interceptions, tackles for losses and fumbles from the offensive side. Investing money in offenses that protect the ball is vital to a bettor.
You can find our full Havoc Rankings for offense and defense here, but let’s use the stat to zoom in on the biggest college football game this weekend — Auburn at Florida — which features a massive Havoc mismatch and, as a result, has some nice betting value.
All odds below as of Friday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150)
On Sunday afternoon, Circa Sports was the first to open the marquee SEC showdown for Week 6. The opening point spread was a pick ’em before a deluge of money toward Auburn pushed the Tigers to a field goal favorite on the road.
True freshman Bo Nix has led Auburn to a 5-0 record with impressive victories over Oregon, Texas A&M and Mississippi State. Nix has been a reliable caretaker, racking up multiple sub-200-yard passing games without a turnover. That all changed against the Bulldogs, as Nix had just five incompletions, three touchdowns and 335 yards passing.
Nix’s metamorphosis has masked some issues plaguing the offensive line. Mississippi State’s front seven generated a couple of sacks, six tackles for losses and one quarterback hurry. The Auburn offensive line has allowed 31 tackles for losses, while the skill positions have 12 total fumbles, one of the worst ranks in the nation. Auburn ranks 88th in Havoc Allowed, a number that may come into play against Florida.
Florida has thrived despite an injury to starting quarterback Feleipe Franks. Kyle Trask had just two incompletions against Towson, bringing his 2019 total to 51-of-66 for 647 yards, with five touchdowns and two interceptions. The Gators started the season with a lot of new offensive linemen, but have managed to rank 53rd overall in Havoc Allowed. This game will be determined on defense, where the Gators rank third in the nation defensively in Havoc.
Florida ranks in the top 10 in passes defensed and top five in tackles for losses. This will be Auburn’s toughest test of the season by a wide margin, especially for Nix and the offensive line. The Tigers have been fortunate to recover seven of their 12 fumbles, but the Gators defense should be in the backfield during plenty of Nix’s pass attempts. Our Action Network projection makes this game a pick ’em, and we will happily take the havoc-minded home defense getting points.
Pick: Florida +3
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