First Big Payday (even if it wasn’t real)
After failing miserably in the opening two weeks, and then failing minimally in week three, the PiRates reaped quite an imaginary booty of riches last week when our money line parlays returned 75% on investment. Thanks to winning big on the NFL Parlay of Indianapolis, Oakland, and Dallas, and to the nice college parlay of Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, and Memphis, our imaginary $400 wagered returned us $699 for a profit of $299 and ROI of 75%.
For the season, we are still in the hole to the tune of $193 on $1,600 wagered and an ROI of -12%. Let’s hope that like last year, once we began to win, we won consistently every week. On the other hand, one winning week out of four, even if it was big, is not enough to convince us that we are on to something again this year.
In fact, this week’s games do not excite us very much. We had to peruse the odds carefully multiple times just to come up with three parlays. At least, these parlays go off at such odds that winning just one of any of these three would make our week profitable. The glass half-empty types, which represents 95% of the players, might say that the odds on these three games are so stacked against us that there is no way any of them could win. Since our wagers are imaginary, we can see that our glass is half-full with liquids about to be poured to fill it up. In other words, we don’t feel any stress going with these three parlays this week.
1. College Parlay at +218
Ohio U over Miami of Ohio
Louisiana-Lafayette over New Mexico State
Iowa over Northwestern
You may notice that a high percentage of our college plays is made in games involving teams outside the Power Five. It is our opinion that the odds can be off more in these Group of Five games than in games where the nations’ sports eyes are more focused. Whereas games like Michigan and Wisconsin are perused carefully by the betting public, games from the MAC or Sun Belt don’t see the same amount of action, and thus we feel like the odds are a little bit off. UL-Lafayette is properly favored over New Mexico State, but we think they should be favored by more than what the line says. We feel the same way about Ohio over Miami. The Iowa-Northwestern line is about where we feel it should be, but in this case, we think the Hawkeyes have a strong chance of winning and completing the triplet parlay for a $318 return on $100 invested.
2. College Parlay at +273
Tennessee over Georgia
Akron over Kent St.
Old Dominion over Charlotte
Florida over Vanderbilt
This parlay presents us with three separate psychologies, as well as the belief that the favorites are just plain better than the underdogs and should win without any added psychologies. The public expects Tennessee to venture between the hedges and come out flat, while Georgia rebounds in a big way after losing to Ole Miss by more than 30. We feel that Georgia is just much weaker than normal this year, and the loss in Oxford was not an anamoly. The talent in Athens is just not what it normally has been in typical years. Thus, we believe that the Volunteers will win by up to two touchdowns in this game.
The Akron and Old Dominion games are further examples of Group of Five game odds being off. We believe the two favorites should be more heavily favored and choose to take advantage of the odds being favored in our direction for higher potential payouts.
The Florida-Vanderbilt game is the polar opposite of the Tennessee-Georgia game in one way, and the exact same thing in the other way. Florida had the Tennessee game secured by halftime and then saw an orange tornado vanquish their Gator bite in the second half. They can ill afford to lose two games in a row in the Volunteer State. Vanderbilt won a hard-fought overtime game at Western Kentucky last week after the Hilltoppers squandered opportunities to put the game away.
Last year, a shanked punt allowed Florida to kick a field goal and win a sloppy game 9-7 in the Swamp. The public is looking at this game and believes this one could be similar with a possible upset. However, this Vanderbilt team lacks the defense that last year’s team had. In fact, it is one of the weakest among the Power Five teams, and Florida should play four quarters similar to how they played the first two in Knoxville last week.
3. NFL Parlay at +331
Cincinnati over Miami
Houston over Tennessee
Baltimore over Oakland
Pittsburgh over Kansas City
The Dolphins had to go to overtime to beat a lowly Browns’ team using a third string quarterback. Now, they must face Cincinnati on Thursday night on national television after the Bengals dropped back-to-back games against two tough teams. Cinti should win by 10 or more.
Houston can take a commanding lead in the AFC South this week by winning this game and hoping Jacksonville can dispense of Indianapolis. The Texans had an extra three days to prepare for a team they have owned in recent years. Tennessee has a potentially potent offense hiding behind an ineffective smashmouth offense. When Marcus Mariota is forced into a quick score situation, he guides the Titans like he did at Oregon. But, the Titans refuse to use this gameplan until all hope is lost or close to lost. Expect Houston to shoot out to a double-digit lead, and then when the Titans have to play catch-up, they will make the game closer but not close enough.
Baltimore looks to begin the season at 4-0 as they host Oakland. The Raiders are having to make a 2,000-mile trip for the second week in a row, and the Raiders may show signs of fatigue after having to play last week in the oppressive heat with temperatures in the 90’s. We believe the Raiders will be just a tad slow to react on defense and not quite as explosive on offense, leading to a Ravens’ win.
The Steelers are in the same boat as the Texans this week. Following an embarrassing loss in which they were manhandled by Philly, look for Pittsburgh to bounce back with their best performance of the season.