The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 18, 2011

PiRate Picks For College And Pro Football–November 19-21, 2011

Time To Play Conservatively

We tend to isolate on fewer selections as we approach Thanksgiving.  Colder temperatures and more windy conditions begin to affect games.  Injuries that have piled up affect teams lacking depth.  Healthy teams under new systems begin to gel.  Some teams change personnel and find a more effective way to move the ball or stop movement by the opponents.

 

We really like to take advantage of the sweetheart teasers this time of year.  We try to find games where we can tease a game underdog or short favorite to get double digit odds.  Beginning this week, we will try to isolate those games where we believe this strategy is valid.

 

1. 13-point Teaser

Louisville +14 vs. Connecticut

Virginia +30 ½ vs. Florida State

Akron +24 ½ vs. Buffalo

Tennessee +14 ½ vs. Vanderbilt

 

Connecticut has a hard time scoring touchdowns, while Louisville’s defense is better than average.  We see the Huskies scoring no more than 21 points, so Louisville should cover with just one TD; we actually believe the Cards can win outright.

 

Virginia is good enough to beat Florida State.  The Seminoles have about a 60% chance of winning, so we just cannot see any reason why not to take more than four touchdowns and the Cavaliers.

 

Buffalo may have difficulty scoring 24 points.  The Bulls are little better than Akron, and we see this game remaining close to the end.

 

Tennessee welcomes back the return of Tyler Bray this week, so the Volunteers should finally move the ball and score points.  This Vanderbilt team may be better than the bowl team of 2008, but that team lost to a mediocre Volunteer squad.  The last time Vanderbilt won by double digits in this series was 1959, so we cannot see the Commodores winning by two touchdowns in this 50-50 tossup game.

 

2. 13-point Teaser

Rice -1 vs. Tulane

Rutgers +16 vs. Cincinnati

Kansas State +21 ½ vs. Texas

Arkansas Pk. vs. Mississippi State

 

Tulane may be the weakest team in the nation at this point of the season.  The Green Wave is little better than Florida Atlantic at this point.  While Rice is not much to shout about, the Owls should hoot against the Olive Green and Sky Blue boys from New Orleans.  Rich Rodriguez could be interested in the TU job, so Green Wave fans may have something to cheer about.

 

We love the Rutgers pick here.  The Scarlet Knights could easily win this game in the ever-balanced Big East.

 

We love Kansas State for two reasons this week.  The Wildcats are good enough to win this game, and we love the 21 ½ points we get.  If Texas wins 42-21, we cover.

 

Arkansas may be due for a letdown this week.  Mississippi State could be an upset possibility, but we feel the Razorbacks will find a way to come up with the win.  Arkansas has too much riding on this game to let it slip away.

 

3. Money Line Parlay (5 teams @ -112)

Georgia Tech over Duke

Wake Forest over Maryland

Oklahoma over Baylor

B Y U over New Mexico State

Wyoming over New Mexico

 

Duke’s defense does not have the lateral speed as a whole to consistently stop Georgia Tech’s offense, and thus the Yellow Jackets should accumulate 400-500 total yards and 35-45 points.  Duke may score 25-30 in this game, but we feel Tech will win by 7-17 points.

 

Wake Forest needs this win to become bowl eligible, while Maryland is just playing out the season as an also-ran.  The Demon Deacons should win by double digits.

 

Oklahoma better not overlook Baylor, because the Bears are good enough to end any chances for the Sooners to move back to number two in the BCS.  We believe the Sooners will bring their A-game this week and easily dispose of Iowa State next week to set up the big game in Stillwater on December 3.

 

As for the other two games in this parlay, these were put here to bring the money line odds down to a manageable number.  Both of these games should be blowouts.

 

4. Money Line Parlay (3 teams @ -121)

Tulsa over U T E P

U C L A over Colorado

Utah State over Idaho

 

Tulsa is being overlooked in the CUSA West.  With Houston and Case Keenum rolling over opponents week after week, few people realize the Hurricane are still undefeated in conference play with losses only to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Boise State.  UTEP is one of those teams that can pull off an upset one week and lose by 35 the next.  We believe TU will clear the final hurdle prior to their big game next week at home with Houston.

 

Rick Neuheisel may be in serious jeopardy of losing his job, although his Bruins look more like the Green Bay Packers when compared to Ben Howland’s basketball team.  UCLA needs to win a big game to keep their slim Pac-12 South title aspirations alive.  If they lose this game to CU, Neuheisel is as good as gone.  We believe his players will rally around him and gain bowl eligibility.

 

Utah State could still win the WAC.  The Aggies have been on the losing end of multiple close games, but they are beginning to play 60 minutes of good football week after week.  Idaho is always tough at the Kibbie Dome, but the Vandals are not as good as Coach Robb Akey’s previous two squads.  Look for USU to win this game to set up a big one at home against Nevada next week.

 

5. NFL 13-point Teaser

Atlanta +7 vs. Tennessee

Buffalo +15 vs. Miami

Minnesota +14 vs. Oakland

Green Bay -1 vs. Tampa Bay

 

The Falcons may be down, but they are not out.  With seven games to play , they can still earn a wildcard bid to the playoffs.  They are good enough to run the table (but they won’t), and they are certainly good enough to knock off Tennessee at home.  The Titans are an 8-8 team; they can destroy the teams that will have a top 10 pick in next year’s draft, but they do not compete on the road against good teams.

 

Buffalo is being discounted a bit too much and Miami is being credited with a bit too much.  We’ll gladly take 15 points and the 5-4 Bills.

 

Minnesota is nowhere as good as Buffalo, while Oakland is better than Miami.  However, we still like the Vikings in this part of the parlay.  We look for a much closer game with the purple people eaters capable of pulling off the upset.

 

We do not see the Packers running the table this year, but we do not believe the Bucs are the team that will end the winning streak.

 

6. NFL 13-point Teaser

Washington +20 ½ vs. Dallas

St. Louis +10 vs. Seattle

Chicago +9 ½ vs. San Diego

New England -2 vs. Kansas City

 

The Redskins are sinking fast in the NFC East, but this is their big rivalry game.  Dallas may be much better than Washington, but we’re getting more than 20 points in this game.

 

St. Louis and Seattle should be a tossup game at the Edward Jones Dome.  If the Seahawks win, we can only see it being by single digits.

 

Chicago is now playing as competently as last year, when the Bears came within a few points of going to the Super Bowl.  San Diego could still win the AFC West (at 8-8), but the Chargers are misfiring on half their cylinders this season.  We believe “da Bears” will win “da game.”

 

Kansas City could stay within striking distance of New England into the second half, but the Patriots should win by more than a touchdown.

 

7. NFL 13-point Teaser

Baltimore +6 vs. Cincinnati

Jacksonville +14 vs. Cleveland

Detroit +6 vs. Carolina

Philadelphia +17 ½ vs. New York Giants

 

This is our favorite teaser of the week.  We believe all four of these underdogs have an excellent chance of winning outright, so we gladly accept the points we are given with each part of the parlay.

 

At Home, Baltimore is as good as Green Bay.  Cincinnati should hold on to a wildcard spot in the AFC, but the Bengals are clearly in over their head playing at the Ravens.

 

Cleveland may not score 14 points in this game, yet they could still win.  Jacksonville is even weaker than the Browns on offense.  14 points are like 24 in almost any other game this week.

 

Detroit cannot afford to slip up this week with the Green Bay game Thursday.  The Lions could be a full game behind three or four others in the hunt for a wildcard if they lose this week and on Thanksgiving.  Carolina could not move the ball against Tennessee, and Detroit’s defense is a better version of the Titans’ defense.

 

Philadelphia may have to rely on Vince Young at quarterback this week, but Michael Vick has not been an asset this year.  Maybe Young can work some of his magic.  We have a feeling that Philly will play their best game of the year and either scare the Giants or knock them into a tie with Dallas.

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