The Pi-Rate Ratings

October 3, 2008

PiRate Ratings Week 5 NFL Previews: October 5-6, 2008

PiRate Ratings For NFL Week Five

 

The PiRate Pro Ratings

 

The NFL version of the PiRate Ratings is not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL version is strictly a statistical formula than could be reproduced by anybody who knew the equations I use to devise the formula.  No subjective data is used.

 

The formula combines scoring margin, strength of schedule, and early in the season, last year’s scoring margin and strength of schedule.  As the season progresses, last year’s data decreases to where it has little effect by mid-October. 

 

The Mean Ratings

 

Just like the PiRate Ratings, the NFL Mean Ratings are not the same as the collegiate version.  The NFL Mean Ratings consist of a dozen different calculations.  Three calculations consist of different ways to look at point differential and strength of schedule.  Five calculations look at yards gained and allowed rushing and passing and special teams play with the strength of the opponents’ rushing and passing.  Point values are assigned based on each set of data.  The remaining four ratings are my old four pro ratings from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The 12 ratings are given equal weight, and then I take the average (mean) to get the rating.

 

The Bias Ratings

 

The Bias Ratings consist of five of the components of The Mean Ratings.  The five ratings are not given equal weight.  The five ratings are weighted at 37.5%, 25%, 12.5%, 12.5%, and 12.5%.  I have back tested these ratings and found that this weighting gives the rating its best predictive percentage.

 

Current NFL Standings & Ratings

(alphabetically by division)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Dallas Cowboys

3

1

0

120

89

105.62

110.24

106.84

2

New York Giants

3

0

0

83

43

106.18

107.84

105.87

2

Philadelphia Eagles

2

2

0

110

74

104.29

109.20

104.57

2

Washington Redskins

3

1

0

86

81

106.50

107.53

106.48

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Chicago Bears

2

2

0

94

80

108.05

107.28

103.74

2

Detroit Lions

0

3

0

59

113

77.87

91.85

85.61

3

Green Bay Packers

2

2

0

109

101

97.22

105.01

102.32

2

Minnesota Vikings

1

3

0

71

82

98.76

103.91

100.00

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Atlanta Falcons

2

2

0

90

83

92.71

99.62

97.33

2

Carolina Panthers

3

1

0

80

70

107.98

105.90

105.24

2

New Orleans Saints

2

2

0

111

100

110.15

105.57

105.01

2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3

1

0

101

78

109.21

107.44

106.40

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Arizona Cardinals

2

2

0

106

103

98.46

101.91

100.74

3

St. Louis Rams

0

4

0

43

147

73.72

89.51

83.12

2

San Francisco 49ers

2

2

0

94

97

88.35

98.50

97.44

3

Seattle Seahawks

1

2

0

67

70

90.56

100.41

97.66

3

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Buffalo Bills

4

0

0

109

63

106.64

98.99

104.80

3

Miami Dolphins

1

2

0

62

64

95.36

94.46

95.63

2

New England Patriots

2

1

0

49

58

94.77

96.65

101.35

2

New York Jets

2

2

0

115

116

99.40

96.86

99.92

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Baltimore Ravens

2

1

0

65

43

102.14

98.35

102.57

3

Cincinnati Bengals

0

4

0

52

87

96.20

92.47

91.80

2

Cleveland Browns

1

3

0

46

78

91.71

93.68

94.15

2

Pittsburgh Steelers

3

1

0

77

58

100.53

100.52

103.28

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Houston Texans

0

3

0

56

99

91.61

93.98

92.99

3

Indianapolis Colts

1

2

0

52

67

99.93

97.50

101.36

2

Jacksonville Jaguars

2

2

0

79

85

102.80

98.58

102.75

3

Tennessee Titans

4

0

0

102

46

111.36

103.45

106.63

2

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

Won

 

Lost

 

Tied

Pts

Opp

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HTA

Denver Broncos

3

1

0

133

117

108.27

96.97

102.92

2

Kansas City Chiefs

1

3

0

65

97

85.33

90.22

90.98

2

Oakland Raiders

1

3

0

78

101

94.83

93.54

94.74

2

San Diego Chargers

2

2

0

138

112

111.16

101.91

105.68

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFL Previews-Week Five

 

Kansas City (1-3) at Carolina (3-1)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperatures 75-80

 

PiRate:         Carolina by 25  

Mean:           Carolina by 18

Bias:             Carolina by 16

Vegas:        Carolina by 9½         -420/+350  

Ov/Un:        38

Strategy:     Kansas City +19½ in a 10-point teaser, Carolina +½ in a 10-point teaser, Over 28 in a 10-point teaser

 

Kansas City looked like a different team against Denver last week, but the Chiefs won’t run the ball for 200+ yards this week against the Panthers’ defense.  Damon Huard completed a bunch of safe passes last week, but I believe he will have to throw the ball downfield more to give his team a chance to win Sunday.

 

Carolina is not the type of team that will beat an opponent 35-10.  Their 15-point win over Atlanta last week is about the limit of their ability to win.  The Panthers should move to 4-1, but I think this will be an entertaining game for most of the day.  I’m looking for Carolina to win by about 10-14 points in the neighborhood of 27-17 to 27-13.   

 

Tennessee (4-0) at Baltimore (2-1)

Time:           1PM EDT            

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature around 65

 

PiRate:        Tennessee by 6

Mean:           Tennessee by 2

Bias:             Tennessee by 1

Vegas:        Tennessee by 3        -150/+130

Ov/Un:        33

Strategy:     Under 43 in 10-point teaser, Baltimore +13 in 10-point teaser          

 

If you really loved the old Packers-Vikings games back in the days when Coaches Lombardi and Grant went head-to-head, this is a must-watch game for you.  These two teams are no longer in the same division, but the rivalry is still as strong as ever.  They hate each other, and it will lead to a death-match in Baltimore. 

 

The Ravens just don’t allow teams to run the ball, and Tennessee is one of the most run-dependent teams in the NFL.  The Titans have little if any weakness on the defensive side, and they will throw multiple blitz packages at rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.  I cannot see either team winning by more than a touchdown, so I am playing the home team in a 10-point teaser.  Additionally, since I believe they are going to beat each other up, I expect the final score to be around 17-13.  Keep an eye on the Raven’s injuries in this game.  They must play at Indianapolis next week, and they are almost guaranteed to bounce.  The Titans have a bye next week, and they couldn’t have asked for a better time for it.

 

San Diego (2-2) at Miami (1-2)

Time:           1PM EDT            

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Scattered thunderstorms, windy, temperature in low 80’s

 

PiRate:        San Diego by 14

Mean:           San Diego by 5

Bias:             San Diego by 4

Vegas:        San Diego by 6½            -260/+220

Ov/Un:        45

Strategy:     Miami +16½ in 10-point teaser, Over 35 in 10-point teaser  

 

Miami actually used a real single wing offense with unbalanced line two weeks ago against New England, and the Patriots were caught with their pants down.  The Dolphins scored four touchdowns in just a handful of single wing plays, including a brilliant touchdown pass from the hands of tailback Ronnie Brown.  What’s next? Is Brown going to punt out of this formation and become a true triple-threat? 

 

Anything that upsets a teams’ normal weekly routine has an effect on the scoreboard on Sunday.  The Chargers aren’t the best defensive team in the AFC, and they have been forced to prepare for the possibility that the Dolphins will not only use it again this week, but they might have added more to the package.  I expect Miami to run this old-time formation about five to eight times, as any more usage will kill its effectiveness.

 

For these reasons, I think this should be a higher than expected scoring game, and Miami will stay in this game for longer than most people expect.  In fact, if the Dolphins’ defense can force Phillip Rivers to beat them instead of LaDainian Tomlinson, they have a decent shot at another upset.

 

Seattle (1-2) at New York Giants (3-0)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Mostly sunny, light wind, temperature around 65

 

PiRate:        New York by 18

Mean:           New York by 9

Bias:             New York by 10

Vegas:        New York by 7          -330/+270

Ov/Un:        43½

Strategy:     New York -7, New York +3 in 10-point teaser, Over 33½ in 10-point teaser

 

Both teams had two weeks to prepare for this game.  The last time these two teams played a game when both they and their opponents had two weeks to prepare were their two most recent Super Bowl games.  The Giants fared rather well in their Super Bowl, while the Seahawks did not.  That’s not the only reason I like the Giants this week.  Seattle just doesn’t show up when they travel from coast to coast.  Buffalo drilled them 34-10 in week one, so the trend continues in 2008.

 

New York can realistically think about a 6-0 start before heading to Pittsburgh in week eight.  The Giants are winning games in the same manner as they finished 2007-with strong defense and ball-control offense.  They are emulating the Packers of the 1960’s.  This team is not resting on its laurels, and Coach Tom Coughlin, like Vince Lombardi, is too tough of a guy to allow the team to just show up expecting to win.  I think the Giants can win by 14 or more points in this game, so I like them straight up as well as in a teaser.  I’m considering teasing the Over because 34 total points is easily possible in this game.

 

Washington (3-1) at Philadelphia (2-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, light wind, temperature around 65

 

PiRate:        Pick

Mean:           Philadelphia by 4

Bias:             Pick

Vegas:        Philadelphia by 6            -260/+220

Ov/Un:        42

Strategy:     Washington +16 in 10-point teaser, Over 32 in 10-point teaser, Philadelphia -260, Philadelphia +4 in 10-point teaser           

 

They’re talking do-or-die up in the City of Brotherly Love.  While the Phillies are getting the headlines, the Eagles cannot afford to begin the season 2-3 in the league’s top division.  It’s possible that three NFC East teams will make the playoffs for the second straight year, but the Eagles could be the odd team out once again if they fall two games behind the other three teams.

 

The Redskins rode an emotional high all week after thumping the Cowboys in Big D last Sunday.  They can only bounce this week, but this will still be a close game.  Washington has played four close games so far, while the Eagles have played three consecutive nail-biters after toying with the St. Louis Lambs.  There’s no reason to think this game will be any different.  It should be exciting, but I think the Eagles will be ready to stay in the playoff hunt.  I’m looking at a final score of Philadelphia 24  Washington 20.

 

Indianapolis (1-2) at Houston (0-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Sunny, light wind, temperature near 85 (this game will be an outdoor game due to roof damage at Reliant Stadium)

 

PiRate:        Indianapolis by 5

Mean:           Indianapolis by 1

Bias:             Indianapolis by 5

Vegas:        Indianapolis by 3            -170/+150

Ov/Un:        47

Strategy:     Indianapolis -3, Indianapolis +7 in 10-point teaser, Over 37 in 10-point teaser, Indianapolis -170

 

Either the Colts are going to get off the mat and begin to play like the Colts that we all know, or this is going to quickly become a long season in Indy.  They are heading into a shootout in Houston this week, as the Texans finally get a home game.  Reliant Stadium has undergone some changes thank to Ike’s Construction Company.  That blowhard Ike took off the roof and temporarily turned it into an open venue. 

 

If Houston wins this game, Peyton’s place will be last in the AFC South.  I just cannot see that happening, especially when Indianapolis had a week off to prepare.  The Colts should square their record and win this game by at least a touchdown.  I also think this week will see them reaching 28 points for the first time this year, so I like teasing the Over.  My guess at the final score is 28-17 Indianapolis.

 

Atlanta (2-2) at Green Bay (2-2)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Scattered showers, light wind, temperature in low 50’s

 

PiRate:        Green Bay by 7

Mean:           Green Bay by 7

Bias:             Green Bay by 7

Vegas:        No Line        (Aaron Rodgers ?)

Ov/Un:        No Line

Strategy:     N/A

 

As of Friday morning, Aaron Rodgers is still questionable for this game, so no official line has been issued.  Rodgers is probably worth 5-7 points, so if Matt Flynn starts and plays, Green Bay is in trouble.  The Falcons are capable of winning a low-scoring game on the road with two rookie quarterbacks playing.  The weather may also force both teams to stick to a ground game.

 

Chicago (2-2) at Detroit (0-3)

Time:           1PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        Chicago by 27

Mean:           Chicago by 12

Bias:             Chicago by 15

Vegas:        Chicago by 3½         -200/+170

Ov/Un:        44½  

Strategy:     Detroit +13½ in a 10-point teaser, Under 54½ in 10-point teaser

 

Chicago has a chance to take over first place in the old black and blue division.  If Rodgers cannot go for Green Bay, Chicago could easily be alone at the top of the standings if they can edge an old, weak rival this week.

 

Don’t expect Detroit to hand over the game to the Bears.  The Lions can score points, and they could force Chicago to reach the 30-point mark to beat them.  The Lions have had an extra week to prepare for this game, and they could be this week’s Kansas City Chiefs.  I don’t believe Chicago is capable of blowing Detroit off their home field, so I like the 10-point teaser in this one.  Since I believe the Bears will try to control the clock and hold the score down, I also like the Under in a teaser.  This game could easily be a 24-21 affair.  Even if it goes to overtime at 24-24, a touchdown won’t kill the teaser.  However, a big day by Devin Hester and/or Calvin Johnson could push the total over 55.

 

Tampa Bay (3-1) at Denver (3-1)

Time:           4:05 PM EDT

TV:               Fox

Forecast:     Isolated thunderstorms, light wind, temperature around 60

 

PiRate:        Denver by 1

Mean:           Tampa Bay by 8

Bias:             Tampa Bay by 1

Vegas:        Denver by 3       -170/+150

Ov/Un:        47½

Strategy:     Tampa Bay +13 in 10-point teaser, Over 37½ in 10-point teaser

 

This should be a quite entertaining game.  I call it close to a 50-50 tossup.  The Broncos were tamed in Kansas City last week, and they should be more focused for this game and not suffer a four turnover repeat.

 

Tampa Bay’s offense has improved a little every week thus far, and the Bucs have to be considered a serious contender for the NFC Championship.  Their defense is strong enough to keep Jay Cutler and company from scoring 30 points, but I think Denver is still capable of scoring 24-28 points.

 

Denver’s defense has yet to prove they can stop a competent offense, and Tampa Bay should easily top 20 points in this one.  Denver has a 55-60% chance of winning outright, but they won’t win convincingly, and the game should still be up for grabs well into the fourth quarter.  Thus, I like the underdog Bucs getting double digits in a 10-point teaser, and I like the Over in a teaser.

 

Cincinnati (0-4) at Dallas (3-1)

Time:           4:15 PM EDT            

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, windy, temperature in upper 80’s

 

PiRate:        Dallas by 11

Mean:           Dallas by 20

Bias:             Dallas by 17

Vegas:        Dallas by 17              -1500/+1100

Ov/Un:        44

Strategy:     Cincinnati +27 in 10-point teaser, Over 34 in 10-point teaser

 

This is purely a numbers’ pick here.  I don’t think Cincinnati has a chance to win this game, even if Carson Palmer is able to play.  I don’t think they can stay within 10 points of Dallas even if Palmer has a 250 yard passing day.  However, 27 points is just plain ridiculous to get in a teaser.  Dallas could jump out to a 28-0 lead and then cruise to a 38-14 win, and they wouldn’t cover at 27.

 

The Cowboys have an excellent shot at topping 35 points and satisfying the Over in a teaser, but for our sake let’s hope we get that 38-14 blowout and nothing worse.

 

Buffalo (4-0) at Arizona (2-2)

Time:           4:15 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Partly cloudy, windy, temperature around 80

 

PiRate:        Buffalo by 5

Mean:           Buffalo by 6

Bias:             Buffalo by 1

Vegas:        Pick              Arizona -115, Buffalo -105

Ov/Un:        44½  

Strategy:     Arizona Pk, Arizona +10 in 10-point teaser, Over 34½ in 10-point teaser

 

I’ve been keying on this game all week.  I think the Cardinals should be favored by at least a field goal, and it looks like the start of a nice gift as a pick.  Right off the bat, a 10-point teaser looks like a 13-point cushion to me. 

 

Buffalo is a good team, but they are not so good that they can go on the road 2,000 miles and beat a playoff-quality team.  I just don’t see the Bills at 5-0 on Monday morning. 

 

Arizona has only played one home game, and they looked strong in their destruction of the Dolphins.  When Miami thumped New England the following week, the 21-point Cardinals’ victory looked even better.  Throw in the fact that the Bills are making a second consecutive road trip, and I think they will be just a little off this week.  I like the Cardinals to win outright at home, and I could see this one becoming a shootout.  My guess is Arizona will win by a score similar to 35-28.

 

New England (2-1) at San Francisco (2-2)

Time:           4:15 PM EDT

TV:               CBS

Forecast:     Showers likely, windy, temperature in mid to upper 60’s

 

PiRate:        New England by 3

Mean:           San Francisco by 5

Bias:             New England by 1

Vegas:        New England by 3           -200/+170

Ov/Un:        41

Strategy:     San Francisco +13 in 10-point teaser

 

This game is this week’s toughest for me to gauge.  New England lost big at home against Miami two weeks ago.  With two weeks to prepare for the 49er passing game, the Patriots’ defense should be up to the challenge.  I think they will hold J. T. O’Sullivan below his average of 240 passing yards per game. 

 

San Francisco has moved the ball this year, but the 49ers have struggled to put points on the board at times.  Their current average of 14.2 yards gained per point scored is not going to get them into the playoffs, but it could allow them to win this game.  They are likely to struggle to reach 300 yards in this game.  If they gain 280 total yards, that would mean they would fail to score 20 points.  However, the Patriots haven’t scored 20 points in any of their first three games.  Throw in the fact that they are traveling west more than 3,000 miles, and the edge begins to tilt toward the upstart home team.

 

Whether or not San Francisco can win and possibly stay in a first place tie in the weak NFC West is up for debate, but I cannot see New England winning by 14 points.  Thus, I think taking the 49ers in a 10-point teaser is the way to go with this game.

 

Pittsburgh (3-1) at Jacksonville (2-2)

Time:           8:15 PM EDT

TV:               NBC

Forecast:     Clear, windy, temperature dropping from 80 to the low 70’s

 

PiRate:        Jacksonville by 5

Mean:           Jacksonville by 1

Bias:             Jacksonville by 2

Vegas:        Jacksonville by 4             -215/+185

Ov/Un:        36

Strategy:     Over 36, Over 26 in 10-point teaser, Jacksonville +6 in 10-point teaser 

 

If you have Ben Roethlisberger on your fantasy team, you could see him throw the ball 40-50 times this week.  I’m not into fantasies, so the only way that could help me is to see Big Ben connect on 25-30 of those passes for 300-400 yards and a couple of touchdowns.  What that would do is make this game a higher than expected offensive exhibition.

 

Jacksonville likes to hold onto the ball for long drives and take chunks off the clock, but I don’t think the Jaguars can do that against the Steelers’ defense.  The Jags gave up 27 to Houston, and Pittsburgh should top 20 as well even with no running attack whatsoever.  What it means to me is that Jacksonville should score points aplenty this week and win by a score of something like 31-24.  The Over 26 becomes my top priority in a 10-point teaser parlay, and if I was an aggressive guy, I might play this in every parlay.  Since my imaginary bank account is up by over a grand from the start of the season, I won’t be liberal even with play money, so I will use it just once.

 

Minnesota (1-3) at New Orleans (2-2)

Time:           8:30 PM EDT Monday

TV:               ESPN

Forecast:     Dome

 

PiRate:        New Orleans by 13

Mean:           New Orleans by  4

Bias:             New Orleans by  7

Vegas:        New Orleans by 3           -215/+185

Ov/Un:        46½  

Strategy:     Over 36½ in 10-point teaser 

 

Monday night games tend to be higher than average scoring games.  New Orleans can score points with anybody in the league, and the Vikings can score points when their running game gets untracked.

 

Adrian Peterson is facing a Saints’ defense that surrendered 82 rushing yards in 16 attempts to Frank Gore, 65 yards in 11 attempts to Selvin Young, 96 yards on 21 attempts to Clinton Portis, and 91 yards on 10 attempts to backup Buc runner Earnest Graham.  Look for A.P. to run the ball 25 times for 150-200 yards in this game.  Minnesota will reach their season-to-date high point on the scoreboard Monday night; the Vikings should hit or top the 24-point mark.

 

Will 24 points be enough to win at the Superdome?  I’m not sure, but I am sure without a doubt that the Saints will top 14.  24 plus 14 means this game should easily go Over in a 10-point teaser.  Let’s lay off any side in this one and watch our Over win early in the second half.

 

The Imaginary Bank Account Turns A Profit For A Fourth Straight Week

 

Four weeks does not a season make, but I must admit I am quite pleased with how my picks against the spread have fared so far.  I not only made it a perfect four for four in winning weeks, I finished better than 70% for the second time in three weeks.  My picks finished 5-2-2 for 71.4% for the week, and those two pushes were on third parts of teasers.  For the season, my record against the spread stands at 27-12-3 for 69.2%, and my bank account added another $260 to make the new profit $1,265 for the season.  My return on investment is now 30.1%.  I am going to stick with what has been winning, namely 10-point teaser parlays.  I will use that 10-point change to turn favorites into underdogs and force favorites to blow out their opponents to beat me.  I will tease the totals line to give me very opportunistic numbers.

 

Here are my wagers for week five (all wagered to win $100):

 

1.    New York Giants -7 vs. Seattle

 

2.    Philadelphia -260 vs. Washington

 

3.    Indianapolis -3 vs. Houston

 

4.    Indianapolis -170 vs. Houston

 

5.    Arizona Pk vs. Buffalo

      

6.    10-point teaser

       a.    Carolina +½ vs. Kansas City  

       b.    Baltimore +13 vs. Tennessee

       c.    Miami +16½ vs. San Diego

 

7.    10-point teaser

       a.    Kansas City & Carolina Over 28

       b.    Miami & San Diego Over 35

       c.    New York Giants +3 vs. Seattle

 

8.    10-point teaser

       a.    Washington +16 vs. Philadelphia

       b.    Indianapolis +7 vs. Houston

       c.    Detroit +13½ vs. Chicago

 

9.    10-point teaser

       a.    Detroit & Chicago Under 54½ 

       b.    Tampa Bay +13 vs. Denver

       c.    Jacksonville +6 vs. Pittsburgh

 

10.  10-point teaser

       a.    Tampa Bay & Denver Over 37½ 

       b.    Cincinnati & Dallas Over 34

       c.    Arizona +10 vs. Buffalo

 

11.  10-point teaser

       a.    Cincinnati +27 vs. Dallas

       b.    Arizona & Buffalo Over 34½

       c.    Pittsburgh & Jacksonville Over 26

 

AND REMEMBER!!!  Do not use these picks for real.  I have no real money on the line in this mathematical experiment.  I won’t lose a penny if all nine wagers lose this week, so you shouldn’t risk a penny on these picks either.  This is strictly for fun.

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