The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 22, 2011

PiRate Picks for College and Pro Football–September 24-26, 2011

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:32 am

Following Some Early Trends

After three weeks in the football picking season, we have seen a few trends develop where we are going to try to find profitable value.


We have selected five college money line parlays and five NFL 13-point teasers.  Both have gone 4-1 for an 8-2 total.  80% is ridiculous, and we would be crazy to believe we can continue with that success.  However, the rest of our picks have been just plain lousy.  So, until otherwise proven to be incorrect, we are going to load up on college money line parlays and NFL 13-point teasers.


We have set limits when we play money line parlays.  We pick enough teams in each parlay to lower the odds under -130, or what we get from a 13-point teaser.  At -130, we must be correct more than 56.5% of the time, and 80% surely is better.  The average odds of the money line parlays we have played in the last three years has been -121, so the real break even point is actually 54.8% accuracy, or only a fraction over the odds for a straight 11-10 pick.


We believe there are two factors playing in our favor with theses selections.  First, in the college picks, there is a trend developing among the land dividing teams into two categories—haves and have-nots.  Just like with our nation’s Middle Class rapidly disappearing, college football is losing its middle tier of teams—the one’s that are always 6-6 or 7-5 every year (think Northwestern and Kentucky).  When a have, played a middle-tier, chances for an upset used to be about 20-25%, which was enough to kill a parlay of three to five teams.  When a have-not plays a have these days, chances for an upset are 0-10% depending on the degrees of have and have-not.  To get any players to wager on these games, we feel the money lines have been fudged a little lower than what they should be.  Combine four or five of these games, and it gives us a distinct advantage—or at least we hope it does.


If we can find four games in which the money line appears to be off by 5%, and we play them together in a parlay, the “fudge gain” improves by 18.6% in our favor.  Since we have determined that 54.8% accuracy is needed, this looks like a profitable pursuit.


Now, for the NFL 13-point teasers, we see the opposite effect from what is happening in college football.  There are fewer haves and have-nots in pro football.  Most of the teams are now middle tier.  You have the Patriots and Packers, and you have the Chiefs and Vikings, but for the most part, any team can defeat any other team at least three times out of ten.  The pointspreads must stay tight, because any outlier line will quickly be hit by the smart players.  Thus, the lines have to squeeze into the middle and stay conservative. 


So, if we move a line by 13 points, we are greatly moving it out of this narrow trading range.  A three-point favorite may beat their opponent 60% of the time, but the average margin of victory might by five points with a standard deviation below 7.  If we force that three-point favorite to cover at 16, they may only do so one time in 25.  Additionally, if we take the favorite and give them 10%, the underdog may only cover one time in 25. 


The same reasoning can be applied to the totals.  Teams that typically average 23 points per game and give up 20 points per game will seldom play in a game with a total of 28 points, unless the game is played in inclement weather. 


Remember our warning:  We do not wager on games and thus do not use these picks for that purpose.  We are number crunchers, and this is just an exercise for fun.  Additionally, in the past, when we were really accurate, there were five and sometimes six of us pooling our experience together to come up with a consensus.  Now, there are just two old codgers doing this.  Don’t lose your house because two gents old enough to remember Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas squaring off in the NFL Championship Game during the 1964 season are picking the games.


I. College Money Line Parlays


1. Money Line Parlay (3 teams @ -117)

L S U over West Virginia

South Carolina over Vanderbilt

Michigan State over Central Michigan


2. Money Line Parlay (4 teams @ -114)

Michigan over San Diego State

Oregon over Arizona

Ohio State over Colorado

Baylor over Rice


3. Money Line Parlay (3 teams @ -116)

Miami (Fl) over Kansas State

East Carolina over U A B

Iowa over Louisiana-Monroe

Florida over Kentucky


4. Money Line Parlay (4 yeams @ -112)

Illinois over Western Michigan

Alabama over Arkansas

Florida Int’l over Louisiana-Lafayette

Virginia Tech over Marshall

 Note: These four parlays break even at 53.4% success, but of course with just four parlays, we need to win three of them to make a profit.  The following seven 13-point teasers need 56.5% success to break even, so four victories will do that.  Combining the 11 selections, we need to go 7-4 to make money.  If we can maintain 80% accuracy on these picks, we need to be correct with 8.8 rounded to 9 of these picks.  Good Luck–Good Grief!

II. NFL 13-point Teasers

5. 13-point Teaser

San Francisco +16 vs. Cincinnati

San Francisco & Cincinnati OVER 27 ½

Miami +14 ½ vs. Cleveland

Miami & Cleveland OVER 28


6. 13-point Teaser

New England +4 vs. Buffalo

New England & Buffalo UNDER 66 ½

San Diego -1 ½ vs. Kansas City

San Diego & Kansas City UNDER 58 ½


7. 13-point Teaser

New Orleans +9 vs. Houston

New Orleans & Houston OVER 40

Atlanta +14 ½ vs. Tampa Bay

Atlanta & Tampa Bay OVER 32 ½


8. 13-point Teaser

Denver +19 ½ vs. Tennessee

Denver & Tennessee OVER 29

Jacksonville +16 ½ vs. Carolina

Jacksonville & Carolina OVER 29 ½


9. 13-point Teaser

Detroit +9 ½ vs. Minnesota

Detroit & Minnesota OVER 32

Green Bay +9 ½ vs. Chicago

Green Bay & Chicago OVER 32 ½


10. 13-point Teaser

Baltimore +9 vs. St. Louis

Baltimore & St. Louis UNDER 51 ½

Pittsburgh +2 ½ vs. Indianapolis

Pittsburgh & Indianapolis UNDER 52 ½


11. 13-point Teaser

Oakland +9 ½ vs. New York Jets

Oakland & New York Jets OVER 28

Seattle +16 vs. Arizona

Seattle & Arizona OVER 30


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