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For Week 10, we’re going to dive into four of my favorite key stats to review when betting totals on a college football game. Regardless if you're betting the over or under, these stats will help you to determine which side to be on. Let's start first with seconds per play,
- The first stat I focus on is the pace, which I use seconds per play (TR). This stat is giving you an average of how fast the teams in question are getting back up to the line and running their next play. This is important information to gather as for example Indiana ranks as the fastest team in getting up to the line and running their next play, but their offense is one of the worst in football. So not only are they inefficient on offense, they are putting the other teams offense on the field more often with their quick pace. This is a stat that I’ll always start with when handicapping a total.
- Offensive and defensive explosiveness (CFD) is another key stat I will look at for totals. Explosiveness is the consistency of chunk plays by the offense or chunk plays given up by the defense. This stat is a big component in totals. If a team is putting together chunk plays on offense this can make or break your side depending what your play is. You want to look at discrepancies on this stat. If a team is 3rd in offensive explosiveness and their opponent on defense is 121st in FBS you have a large discrepancy and strength for the offense.
- Offensive and defensive points per opportunity (CFD). This stat is one of my favorites when dealing with totals. This stat uncovers how many points per opportunity a team scores or gives up once inside the 40 yard line. This accounts for touchdowns scored, field goals scored and no points scored once inside the 40. Over and unders are won and lost inside the 40. This stat shows the consistency of teams stopping and finishing drives.
- Offense and defense success rates (CFD). This is showing the consistency of the offenses and defenses in play. When looking at a total you want to have a good idea of how consistently successful those units actually are as the points per game can be deceiving. Offense and defense Yards per play (TR). This is the last of my top five stats to look at when handicapping a total in a game. Yards per play in my opinion will give you the true consistency of an offensive and defensive unit as well. A couple chunk plays in a game can skew an average but if the units are consistently good that number with come back to where it is supposed to be.
Now that we have the process, let’s look at a few of my favorite totals this week:
Michigan/Rutgers Under 45.5
This is a big letdown spot for the Michigan Wolverines. Coming off of a rivalry game where tempers flared and the distraction of the post game altercation throughout the week, I see Michigan just coming in grabbing a lead and sitting on it. Michigan and Rutgers both sit at the bottom in seconds per play so love to take the game slow. Michigan ranks 118th in seconds per play and Rutgers 127th so they are in no rush to get to the line. Michigan runs the ball at a 60% clip and Rutgers at a 55% clip. This clock should be continuously running throughout this game. Michigan has an efficient offense but the one strength of Rutgers is there defensive success rate at a respectable 32nd. With an unmotivated Wolverines team I see Michigan getting a commanding lead and burning clock in the second half. I do not expect many points in this game for Rutgers against the Wolverines number one ranked yards per play defense. Give me the under in this one.
Kentucky/Missouri Under 42.5
Kentucky visiting Missouri on Saturday should be a methodical type of game. I don’t see either team being too motivated for this matchup. Kentucky’s QB Will Levis looks like he will either be banged up for this game or will have to miss this game. My breakdown of this game shows this game as a grind it out ugly football game. Kentucky and Missouri rank 70th and 93rd in offensive success rate while countering that in defensive success ratings of 12th and 14th. These offensives should have a tough time moving the football. They also rank towards the bottom in seconds per play at Missouri 91st and Kentucky 130th. With both teams not in a hurry and more concerned with the field position game I see these offenses being very cautious in this one. Even when they do get inside the 40 yard line, these defenses usually do a good job of holding as Kentucky ranks 15th in defensive points per opportunity and Missouri 22nd. All of these key stats lean towards the under play here. This is a low total for college football but the game flow in this one should be slow and I see this being a first to 20 type of game. Give me the under here.
Michigan State/Illinois Under 42.5
Michigan State is a dead team. There should be absolutely no motivation for Sparty after they played their rivals last week. With all of the distractions this week around this team and coming to Champaign, IL to play one of the top defenses in the nation I just don’t see a lot of scoring for Sparty. Michigan State does get to the line pretty quickly as they rank 25th in seconds per play but when you have the 73rd ranked offensive success rate and going up against the number one team in defensive success rate and number one team in defensive points per opportunity it just won’t make a difference. If the Spartans were playing a more prolific offense here, I may lean the other way but on Illinois’ side of the ball they are going to be running the football. Illinois runs the ball at a 59% clip and once they get a lead they lean on the run more often. They are also expecting winds up to 24mph in this one. Illinois has their sites set on a bigger prize and this game is just going to be about cruising to an easy victory with their defense. Illinois in games that they’re favored in this year are five out of six to the under. Give me the under here with an unmotivated Spartan team playing a very stout Illinois defense.
By Brandon Kenyon
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