A fool and his money are soon parted. There’s a sucker born every minute. And so on, and so forth. At least you don’t have to pay for this information, so that does not really make you a sucker or a fool until the time comes where you actually use this information.
Every week at the PiRate Ratings, we will release some picks against the spread JUST FOR FUN. Do not use these with money you care to still have next week.
From 2006 to 2010, we had the privilege of having somebody here that did know how to select winners. He was correct between 56 and 65% of the time before he decided that a career in management with a large home improvement warehouse was more stable.
After he left the PiRate Ratings, we decided last year to do this just for fun. Where we had previously charged a small fee for the info, we began giving it out for free, and our picks were priced correctly last year, as we had a 53% winning percentage. At least you didn’t lose anything if you actually used these picks and wagered the same amount every week. And, if you just wagered the pro picks, you made a little profit.
Still, we are doing this just for fun again this year. None of us here actually wager on these games. We would be a lot more conservative with the picks if we used them for that purpose, never actually playing anything but 1, 3, or 5 games in a week.
If you have been following the PiRate Ratings for several years, you know we love to play 10-point teasers with a few rules. We enjoy teasing games so that a favorite gets points or reduces down to – ½ point. We love playing teasers where the new teased line is a favorable number such as 7 ½, 10 ½, 14 ½, 17 ½, or even 3 ½. We love giving 10 extra points to an underdog that we feel has a 60% chance of beating the non-teased spread.
Here are our picks for August 30-September 3, 2012.
1. Massachusetts +24 ½ vs. Connecticut
2. Michigan State – 6 ½ vs. Boise State
3. San Diego State +14 ½ vs. Washington
Connecticut is not back to where they were in 2010. Paul Pasqualoni’s team will struggle to become bowl eligible this year, and we do not see the Huskies running any opponent off the field. This is UMass’s first game as a FBS team, and they will be fired up against their former rival in the old Yankee Conference and later Atlantic 10. UMass will suffer through a very long year, but this is their first game, and the players still feel confident. We look for the game to be lower scoring than expected, something like 27-10 in favor of the Huskies.
Boise State is getting a lot of respect now, but this team is depleted and would lose to last year’s team by three touchdowns. Michigan State has some minor rebuilding to do, but Mark Dantonio is like Nick Saban and Jim Tressel. He won’t use many gimmick. The Spartans will take advantage of their muscle and pound the ball until Boise tries to add an extra man in the box. Boise will wear down as the night goes on, and their defense will stay on the field too long. MSU’s defense will slow down the Boise offense, and we look for the Spartans to win by 10 or more points—in the neighborhood of 28-17.
We like Rocky Long’s ability to come up with a sound defensive game plan. He did it for years with undermanned New Mexico teams, and he’s done it at San Diego State, first as DC and now as head coach. His Aztecs face a UW team that is missing a lot of offensive stars from last year and was not much of a defensive power in 2011. We actually believe SDSU has a decent shot at the upset win, so getting 14 ½ sounds like gravy.
4. UCLA & Rice UNDER 57
5. Nebraska & Southern Mississippi UNDER 52 ½
6. LSU & North Texas UNDER 52
We tend to believe that opening game totals are a bit high in college football. In a lot of instances, the defense is ahead of the offense in the first game. It takes timing to get offenses to click, whereas defenses are usually ready. This is not the way it always happens, but we usually like to look for first-game opportunities to play the UNDER.
We have chosen these three games for specific reasons. In the UCLA/Rice game, we look at new coach Jim Mora II’s history as a defensive-minded coach plus the transition from the Pistol offense to the pro offense with a redshirt freshman making his first start. It is also a road game, so we do not see UCLA scoring a lot of points. Rice is an offensive-minded team, and the Owls played matador defense too many times last year, but before depth issues emerged, they were much better defensively at the beginning of the season, holding Texas to 34 and upsetting Purdue. We see UCLA winning by 10 in a low-scoring game, 31-21.
Nebraska and Southern Mississippi have new coaches this year. Nebraska lost its defensive coordinator, Carl Pelini, and his brother, the head coach Bo, will now be calling the defensive plays and taking more responsibility for the defensive game planning. He was a fine DC in his days as an assistant, and we believe that in order to help his fine defense look better, he will play it close to the vest on offense. Southern Miss has a new head coach. Ellis Johnson is a defensive whiz, and he also will be a more conservative coach on the offensive side, nothing at all like former coach Larry Fedora. USM could keep this game close for a half, and we don’t see either team lighting up the scoreboard. Call it a 27-10 win for the Cornhuskers.
LSU missed a day of practice due to the hurricane, which might have a minor affect on their game preparation. What draws us to this game is the fact that the betting public believes it will be a 56-0 game. We tend to believe it will be more like a 38-7 game in favor of the Tigers. We don’t believe Les Miles will ask Zach Mettenberger to do a lot other than hand the ball off to four exceptional running backs and throw an occasional play-action pass. We would not be surprised if LSU ran the ball 50 times and passed just 15. Our estimation is they would achieve 375-400 yards and 35-40 points. North Texas might need an extra two quarters to reach double digits on the scoreboard.
About Teasers: In a teaser bet, you get to move the pointspread the number of points you have chosen and bet a parlay of teams based on how many points you are moving the line. In a 10-point teaser, the standard number of teams in the parlay is three. All three teams must cover the spread with 10 points added in your favor.
In a 13-point teaser, you must select four games in a standard parlay, and all four must win. If in any instance any games in these parlays tie against the spread, you lose. So, it is not advisable to play teasers very often, unless you think you are going to be correct about 85% of the time in each game in the 10-point teaser and 95% of the time for each game in a 13-point teaser
7. South Carolina +3 ½ vs. Vanderbilt
Eastern Michigan + 13 ½ vs. Ball State
UCLA -6 ½ vs. Rice
8. UNLV +18 ½ vs. Minnesota
Michigan State +3 ½ vs. Boise State
San Jose State +35 ½ vs. Stanford
9. Notre Dame -5 ½ vs. Navy
Syracuse +11 ½ vs. Northwestern
Ohio State -13 vs. Miami (O)
10. Illinois Pk vs. Western Michigan
Tulsa +8 ½ vs. Iowa State
Boston College +12 vs. Miami (Fla)
11. Arizona Pk. vs. Toledo
San Diego State +24 ½ vs. Washington
Georgia Tech +17 ½ vs. Virginia Tech
13-point Teaser on Totals
12. Central Florida & Akron UNDER 61 ½
Penn State & Ohio U UNDER 57 ½
Nebraska & Southern Miss UNDER 65 ½
Georgia & Buffalo UNDER 66 ½
About Money Line Parlays: The money line is a separate betting line in which you bet on a team to win with no pointspread. You get better than even money odds if you bet the underdog and weaker odds if you bet the favorite. For instance, if Texas A&M and Texas State were playing, the money line might be Texas A&M -7000, Texas State +5000. If you bet Texas A&M, you would have to wager $7,000 just to win $1. If you bet $1 on Texas State, you would receive $5,000 if they pulled of the upset. Most money line games are more like -125 +115 or -350 +275. You would never bet one team at -7000. That is where the money line parlay comes into play. If you add teams to the bet, and all these teams must win for you to win, the odds come down. There are several money line parlay calculators available online.
We have chosen eight games where we believe there cannot be an upset. All eight must win for us to win this parlay. The calculator says the odds on these eight teams is -118, which means we are betting $118 to win $100. We have to be correct 54.1% of the time to break even at -118. We will play money line parlays that are under -120.
Money Line Parlay (@ -118)
13. Connecticut over Massachusetts
UCLA over Rice
Notre Dame over Navy
West Virginia over Marshall
Ohio State over Miami (O)
Nebraska over Southern Mississippi
Florida over Bowling Green
Texas over Wyoming