As Mr. Whipple might have said had he worked in our little firm, “Please don’t squeeze the PiRate Picks!”
Okay, so we have enjoyed two very successful weeks in a row with these money line parlay selections. We followed up a 75% return on investment two weeks ago with a 24% return last week. It only took one winning parlay to pull off the profit. BUT, we only one thanks to a Hail Mary, and we didn’t even go to confession.
Yes, the Tennessee game appeared to doom us to total defeat last week, but the incredible finish did as much for us as it did for Butch Jones–it brought us to our knees. Aside from Tennessee, the rest of the parlay included wins by Akron, Old Dominion, and Florida, giving us a return of $373 on our $100 investment. Remember this, our bankroll and investments are entirely mere illusion; we do not ever wager any real currency on our selections, and we highly recommend that you do not either. We know from our site statistics that some of you reading this weekly entry do so from Las Vegas. We don’t think Billy Walters, or any of his “friends” are reading this, because Mr. Walters is intelligent and knows how to win. What we fear is that Billy Doe has his rent money at the betting window with his iPhone in hand looking at our picks, while Mrs. Doe and brood cannot find food in their refrigerator back home.
For the season, our total picks now show a minor loss of 6%, which is about where we were this time last year, before we went on a six-week winning streak that took us north of +50%.
There are two reasons why this week’s picks were very difficult for us. First, the number of NFL teams getting byes moves from two to four teams. Second, Hurricane Matthew is causing a lot of logistic issues as teams in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina scramble to re-schedule games–some to later dates; some moving up a day; and some moving the location of the game. If we like a home team at a certain line, and then the game moves to another state or does not play at all, it wrecks the selection. So, we had to greatly limit the pool this week and barely scraped together three selections. Because we would have to go 2-1 to make a profit, it would not be worth going with three long shot parlays when we can make a profit by going 1-1. This then presented an additional problem; which parlay would we eliminate?
Four hours later, we realized that our choosing to eliminate what we liked was like playing Tic-Tac-Toe with a computer that always knows the correct response. Infinite draws lead to a lot of head-banging, and we already have too many concussions between us. So, we did what we thought best and added a fourth game that will allow us to go 2-2 and make a profit. However, the fourth game is not a parlay at all; it is a straight wager on the underdog to win outright.
Selection #1: College Parlay at +155
Memphis over Temple
Alabama over Arkansas
Auburn over Mississippi St.
Memphis looked like an SEC team playing at Ole Miss last week. The Tigers don’t have Paxton Lynch, but the rest of the team looks a little better than last year’s edition. Temple has regressed a bit this year, and we think the home team from the Bluff City will win the game.
Until somebody actually pins a loss on the defending champs, we are not going to select against Alabama. To date in 2016, the Crimson Tide have looked like they could score 70 points per game if the offense needed to. And, the defense is still among the best in the nation. This team reminds us some of the 1966 Tide team, which went undefeated.
Auburn is slightly favored in Starkville against the Bulldogs. Mississippi State is 10-14 points weaker this year without Dak Prescott. Prescott hid some liabilities in last year’s Maroon and White.
Selection #2: College Parlay at +189
Tulsa over SMU
Oklahoma St. over Iowa St.
Utah over Arizona
Michigan St. over BYU
Ohio U over Bowling Green
Tulsa had an extra week to prepare for their game against SMU, while the Mustangs faced Temple on the road after playing TCU the week before. Now, SMU has to play at Skelly Stadium, and it has the makings of a 20 or more point win for TU.
Iowa State had a tough and emotional loss at home to Baylor last week and now goes on the road to play an Oklahoma State team that has a little added confidence after shredding Texas.
Utah rarely loses at home, and when the Utes’ do lose in Salt Lake City, it is usually against a powerhouse team. Arizona is no powerhouse; they are more like a wind-up dynamo for an emergency radio. In other words, Utah should win by double digits this week.
Michigan State is in a must-win situation this week with non-conference foe BYU coming to East Lansing. A loss puts the Spartans in danger of finishing under .500 for the season, and we cannot see a Mark Dantonio team go 5-7. BYU is having a rough re-adjustment under new management, and Bronco Mendenhall’s recent success in his first year at Virginia shows us that he was worth a lot more points as a coach than his average peer.
The Ohio U-Bowling Green line is a bit odd to us. We feel it should be much more in favor of the Bobcats, but we will gladly take what we feel is some extra juice. What Coach Mendenhall was to BYU, current Syracuse coach Dino Babers was to BGU. This brings us to the next contest.
Selection #3: College Money Line Game @ +130
Syracuse over Wake Forest
This is not a parlay; it is a straight pick of the underdog to pull off the upset. There is a tiny bit of concern here, because weather could be a factor in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons’ athletic department has no plans to change the time or place of this game, but still, it could be wet and windy. Wet doesn’t bother us, and in fact, we like passing teams playing on wet surfaces. Wind does bother us. A gentle breeze is not that much of a factor, but a 25 mile per hour gust can adjust a thrown football by enough to turn a completion into an incomplete or even intercepted pass.
Nevertheless, we like the Orangemen in this game. Wake Forest is a close-to-the-vest conservative team. They own a win over a more wide open Indiana team two weeks ago, but the Hoosiers wrapped that game up as a gift to the Deacs.
Meanwhile, Syracuse has looked better and better offensively every week under the Babers version of the spread passing game. We believe SU will outscore Wake and pull off the upset.
Selection #4: NFL Parlay @ +199
Pittsburgh over N.Y. Jets
Baltimore over Washington
Indianapolis over Chicago
Honestly, we did not love any of the NFL picks this week. These are the only three games that we could combine into a parlay worth playing. Our selections were more about the losing team than the predicted winner.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has reverted back to his old Pickpatrick days. He has thrown nine intereceptions the last two weeks, and the Jets have begun to look like the Browns during that time. Meanwhile, the Steelers had the look of an AFC Champion contender last week, and they host this game this week.
Baltimore needs to win to keep pace with the Steelers and stay ahead of the Bengals, while the Redskins look to us to be a paper tiger at 2-2.
Indianapolis is now facing a must-win situation at home against the lowly Bears. Already two games in back of Houston, the Colts cannot afford to lose a home game to a probable double-digit loss team. With Houston having to face Minnesota, it gives the Colts a chance to get back to within a game of the Texans in a division that is almost assured to produce just one playoff team.