The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 29, 2013

PiRate Football Picks For August 29 to September 2, 2013

PiRate Picks For August 29 to September 2, 2013

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Welcome back to the most popular weekly publication of the PiRate Ratings.  Last year, anywhere from 585 to 1,734 readers came by to peruse our picks, as we have become known for playing sweetheart teasers and moneyline parlays.


Our percentages were down a bit last year, but it was hard to go up after we cleaned up in 2011, winning the prestigious Prediction Tracker title for best record against the spread for our NFL games.  Our ratings are meant to be predictive in nature and not retrodictive, and we use these ratings as a starting point when we make our selections.


We did charge for these picks at one time, but in the last few years, we have made these available for free.  Remember, you get what you paid for, so if you have to mortgage your house to cover your losses, it is your fault and not ours.  Truth be told, none of us here ever bet on football games.  Our only wagers in the last ten years have been at horse tracks, where we concentrate on plain, everyday claiming and allowance races—never the big stakes and classics.


While we tend to gravitate toward 10 and 13-point sweetheart teasers and moneyline parlays, we also usually have a weekly theme based on certain trends we have noticed.  Obviously, this is the first week of actual games that count in the standings, and we leave preseason NFL games alone.  So, it is difficult to notice any trends.  Well, normally, it is difficult to notice any trends.  However, we have noticed what we believe is a major mistake in the opening games.  It is difficult to find much of a mistake, because smart money usually controls the movement of the lines.  The public usually then moves that line in the wrong direction, and the smarts profit from their ignorance.  Their specialty is playing both sides of a line that has moved by 2 points or more.  With a 10% vigorish, if you play both sides in a moved line, you only need to hit the middle ground one time in 19 to profit.  Here is how it works.


Let’s say Oklahoma opens as a 19-point favorite over Kansas.  The smarts believe this line is way too low and takes OU -19 placing truckloads of dough on the Sooners.  The line moves to -21 ½ a couple days later and stays there through Friday night.  Now, the smarts place the same amount of truckloads on Kansas +21 ½.


If the spread falls outside the 19 to 21 ½ range, the smarts win one wager and lose one wager.  They lose 10% vig only.  If the spread is exactly 19, then they win one wager and push on the other.  They turn a nice profit.  If the spread is 20 or 21 points (a frequent event), they win both wagers and bleed the books for multiple truckloads.  It is impossible to lose both wagers.  So, the possible results are 2-0, 1-0, and 1-1.  The only possible problem is if the line does not move in the direction they want it to move, and the result is still a 50-50 proposition (either win or lose the single wager).  So, if you want to be a success at this, look at the opening line and look at your favorite games where you believe the line will move.  Play ½ of what you plan to play on that game.  Then, watch that line.  If it moves in the direction you believe and crosses over the number 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 17, 20, or 21, then play the other ½ of your amount on the other side


We believe we have noticed one line that is off to start the season.  It is not off by enough to play the game straight as a side.  No, where we like this game is in the money line.  Just like keying a horse with multiple horses in an exacta wager, we believe we can key this game with other games in multiple money line parlays.


The game in question is Colorado State versus Colorado.  Our ratings show that the Rams are vastly improved this year and should challenge for bowl eligibility under second year coach Jim McElwain.  CU starts over from scratch with new coach Mike MacIntyre.  We believe MacIntyre will turn things around in Boulder, but not in year one.  CSU won this game last year by five, and we believe they are a clear favorite with a 90% chance of winning.  The money line number is CSU -145, CU +125.


We only play the money line when we can get the number on the favorite side down to -120 or lower.  Obviously, -145 is too much of a gamble, but if we combine that game with other sure wins up to -1175 will allow us to play a 2-game parlay at -120 or lower.


We have chosen six different parlays this week where you can get -120 or better odds using Colorado State as one of the two money line winners.  If you play all six, you are taking a large risk.  We are showing the six that we like. Only choose what you can afford to risk.


Our other favorite play, the 13-point sweetheart teaser requires a 4-team parlay where you get to move the line by 13 points in your favor.  In NFL games, we like playing totals this way, but we do not like this philosophy for college games.  What we like for the opening week is the favorite getting an extra 13 points to bring the spread down to a better number and a game underdog getting double digit points in a game where they are no worse than a 7-10 point ‘dog in our eyes.  Any time we can get a 13 ½ point favorite to a ½ point favorite; a 15 ½ point favorite to 2 ½ point favorite; a 5 ½ point favorite to a 7 ½ point underdog; and other games where moving the spread crosses a frequent outcome spread, we give that game extra notice.  If we can take a minor underdog and move it to better than +14, +17, or +21, we give that a lot of notice.  And, when we can take a short favorite and turn them into a double-digit ‘dog, we definitely look at that game, because upsets are rarely by double digits.


At the end of this article, we will reveal our official picks (7) for this week.  First, let’s show you the four Colorado State parlays that are not our official picks, but are nevertheless good values in our opinion.  We cannot take the risk of playing six of these, so these are the three that did not make the final cut.


1. Colorado State over Colorado and Minnesota over UNLV at +103

2. Colorado State over Colorado and North Carolina St. over Louisiana Tech at +101

3. Colorado State over Colorado and Florida State over Pittsburgh at +111


Any of these three games can be wagered and if won will return more money than wagered.  For instance, if you bet $100 on parlay number 1 above, you will win $103 if the parlay wins but lose $100 if it loses.


We also take note of the games in which all three of our PiRate Ratings (Regular, Mean, and Bias) are on the same side of the line by 2 or more points difference from that line.


14 of this week’s college games meet that criterion

1. Ole Miss -3 vs. Vanderbilt

2. Rutgers +10 vs. Fresno St.

3. Southern Cal -22 ½ vs. Hawaii

4. Michigan State -28 vs. Western Michigan

5. Miami (Fl) -32 ½ vs. Florida Atlantic

6. Buffalo +35 ½ vs. Ohio St.

7. Maryland -20 vs. Florida International

8. Notre Dame -30 vs. Temple

9. BYU +1 vs. Virginia

10. Kentucky -5 vs. Western Kentucky

11. Washington St. +15 ½ vs. Auburn

12. Nebraska -29 vs. Wyoming

13. Washington -4 vs. Boise State

14. Northwestern -6 vs. California


If we further a criteria to where the above situation is met plus the total spread of the game is 14 or less points (10 or less if it were NFL), we come up with these six games that meet the criteria


1. Ole Miss -3 vs. Vanderbilt

2. Rutgers +10 vs. Fresno St.

3. BYU +1 vs. Virginia

4. Kentucky -5 vs. Western Kentucky

5. Washington -4 vs. Boise St.

6. Northwestern -6 vs. California


Okay, now for our official selections this week.  We are going with three money line parlays using Colorado State with another game, and we are going with four 13-point teasers.


1. Money Line Parlay at -116

Colorado State over Colorado

Louisville over Ohio U


2. Money Line Parlay at -105

Colorado State over Colorado

North Texas over Idaho


3. Money Line Parlay at -119

Colorado State over Colorado

Alabama over Virginia Tech


4. 13-point Teaser

Minnesota – ½ vs. UNLV

Central Florida -9 vs. Akron

Utah St. +15 ½ vs. Utah

Ole Miss +10 vs. Vanderbilt


5. 13-point Teaser

SMU +18 ½ vs. Texas Tech

Maryland -9 vs. Florida Int’l

Notre Dame -16 ½ vs. Temple

Alabama -7 vs. Virginia Tech


6. 13-point Teaser

Western Kentucky +18 vs. Kentucky

Marshall -6 ½ vs. Miami (O)

Oklahoma St. + ½ vs. Mississippi St.

Nebraska -16 ½ vs. Wyoming


7. 13-point Teaser

Georgia +11 ½ vs. Clemson

LSU +9 vs. TCU

Colorado St. +10 ½ vs. Colorado

Florida St. +2 vs. Pittsburgh


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