The Pi-Rate Ratings

October 3, 2019

PiRate Ratings Picks For October 3-7, 2019

Yet another week went by with mixed results here on the PiRate ship.  Our original picks began the weekend on a high note, as we hit on outright Money Line upsets by Duke and by Baylor.  Indiana even looked promising for awhile, before Michigan State proved too much for the Hoosiers.  Then, what we gained on Saturday, we gave back on Sunday.

The Davey19 experimental system had another successful week, bringing the total for the year back into the black.  When we use this formula, many times we look at the plays and feel apprehensive about publishing them, but they have proven to be winners so far this year.

Today, our concentration is more on the number and less on the teams involved.  Certainly, the teams involve matter, as getting 7 1/2 points for a winless team wouldn’t be worth a hoot against a top 5 team.  But, when it comes to games that are not considered blowout games, we are going to go heavy on the ones that cross multiple frequent numbers most prevalent in football outcomes.

By the way, do you know which numbers we speak of?  There are separate sets of numbers for college and for NFL games.  Let’s look at college first.

About 35% of all FBS football games end with the winner beating the loser by 3, 4, 7, 10, 14, 17, or 21 points.  Those 7 margins make up better than 1/3 of all game outcomes.  When we refer to crossing numbers, this means we can play a teaser of 6, 6 1/2, 7, 10, or 13 points and cross multiple frequent margins.

For example, let’s say that Team A is listed as a 2 1/2 point underdog to Team B.  If we were to play Team A in a 10-point teaser as part of a 3-game parlay, we’d be allowed to move that spread from 2 1/2 to 12 1/2.  Doing so crosses 3, 4, 7, and 10, four of the most frequent margins in football games.  Crossing four numbers is quite nice.  

If Team B is a favorite over Team A by 2 1/2 and you play Team A in a 6-point, 2-game teaser, you can make Team A go from a 2 1/2 point to an 8 1/2 point underdog, crossing 3, 4, and 7.  In this instance crossing three frequent margins is wonderful when only having to win two games on a parlay.

When it comes to NFL games, the frequency of margins has changed quite a bit since 2015, when the extra point attempt was moved back to the 18 yard line and more teams began going for two-point conversions.

Today’s NFL sees a lot of games decided by 5 or 6 points.  Prior to 2015, more games ended by 10 and 4 points than today.  The advantage is now more in the smart bettor’s favor than it used to be.  42% of all NFL games end with a margin of 3, 4, 5. 6, or 7 points.  So, being able to cross these five margins in a teaser is an incredible opportunity if you can find a tossup game and tease it past that magical number 7.  Or, if you think you have a team that is a sure outright winner and is favored by more than 7 points, if you can tease that number to 2 1/2 or less, you are gaining a large advantage.  Professional gambling author John Ferguson, known by the nom deplum of Stanford Wong made the Teaser play that moves through 3 and 7 point margins quite famous, and today, this is called a Wong Teaser.  Wong’s favorite teaser play was a 6-point tease of favorites of 7 1/2, 8, or 8 1/2 points down to 1 1/2, 2, or 2 1/2 points, and a 6-point tease of underdogs of 1 1/2, 2, or 2 1/2 points to 7 1/2, 8, or 8 1/2 points.

When Ferguson made big money betting these types of teasers, the books offered much fairer odds on them, until more people picked up on this and began to win too much.  Now, you can get -110 odds on 2-game, 6-point teasers.  You have to put up $11 for every $10 the books put up.  We are not in the business of advertising for any company, so we won’t tell you the name, but if you do your research, you can still find a place where a 2-game, 6-point teaser has +100 odds, which means they put up dollar for dollar what you put up.

We have heard from a few of you that anxiously await these picks to come out every Thursday morning in the Central US.  Hopefully, you heed our advice and never wager real money on our published suggestions (And if you do, maybe it is to convince you not to play the games we picked!).

Even though our Davey19 experimental program is showing a profit for the year, the number of weeks it has been tried is still too small to mean much.  Our regular system had a multi-year run of success, but this year, it stinks.  So, just because Davey19 has a multi-week run of success, it could just as easily stink this week.  

Let’s get on with it.  Here are our selections for the week.  Once again–we never wager real money on these picks.  We are math geeks, and numbers are our friends.  We will make a statement that some people have taught their children how to love math by using applications like this and others using money to teach them how important math is.

 

PiRate Ratings Picks

 

10-point Teasers

 

#1

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Duke

Pittsburgh

15

Pittsburgh

Toledo

Western Michigan

12

Western Michigan

Ole Miss

Vanderbilt

17 1/2

Vanderbilt

Our feeling on this one is that Pittsburgh is vastly underrated with close losses to Penn State and Virginia.  Their listless win over Delaware can be excused as a sandwich game between the big upset of Central Florida and the conference game with Duke.

We believe that Western Michigan has about a 55-60% chance of winning this game outright, so making Toledo a double-digit favorite entices us to take the Broncos in this one.

An admission: we typically never play either way on a game involving Vanderbilt.  Our captain has inside connections with the program, and he feels that it wouldn’t be right to issue picks either way on the Commodores.  However, this week, this game becomes a prime pick, and the Captain has no inside information here.  This is purely a comparison of personnel, as well as production so far.  The Captain says that Vanderbilt’s opening troika of games with Northern Illinois in Game 4 basically made it a certainty that they would open 1-3 and become devalued.  Ole Miss’s defense is going to suffer a letdown against the Vanderbilt offense.  The Rebels have reached that point where the players pretty much know that the season is going to head south in October and November.  Meanwhile, Vanderbilt has a gimme game next week with UNLV and will not be looking forward past the next play in this game.  Ole Miss must play at Missouri, against Texas A&M, and at Auburn the next three weeks.  With LSU and Mississippi State coming at the end of the year, the chances of making it to bowl eligibility are about 1-2%.  Vanderbilt must win this game so that the UNLV game next week really matters.  A win Saturday virtually guarantees getting back to .500 the next week and with three definitely winnable games left on the schedule.  The SEC needs one of the bottom five teams to step up and gain bowl eligibility, and unless Missouri wins their challenge to ineligibility before December, the Commodores have the most favorable path to 6-6.

 

#2

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Florida

Auburn

7 1/2

Auburn

Miami (Fla.)

Virginia Tech

4

Miami

Oklahoma St.

Texas Tech

Pk

Oklahoma St.

 

We have been looking at the Florida-Auburn game since last Saturday night.  Our statistics and schedule strength show Auburn to be a legitimate touchdown or more favorite in this game, so getting more than that magical 7 points is quite appealing.

Teasing Miami from two touchdowns to 4 points brings us through the numbers 14, 10, and 7, and until Virginia Tech looks like a team with players that care, we will always look at teasing in their opponents’ favor.

Oklahoma State should beat Texas Tech 8 out of 10 times, so we are hoping that getting the Cowboys as a Pick’em will work, and this won’t be one of those two other times.

 

#3

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Penn St.

Purdue

18

Penn St.

Iowa

Michigan

6 1/2

Michigan

Washington

Stanford

6 1/2

Washington

 

We are not the type of player that plays a 4-touchdown favorite over a conference opponent, but with Purdue’s injury issues, we almost went with Penn State in a straight play at -28 over the Boilermakers.  However, we went the safer route and teased this under 21 points.  James Franklin may call off the dogs and allow PU a backdoor cover, but 18 points feels safe.

The Iowa-Michigan game was one of those really tough calls.  We hoped Iowa would pick up a little more Sharp support being undefeated, while Michigan has not won any big games under Jim Harbaugh.  Alas,  not enough Sharp money came in on Iowa, and the margin didn’t move to the 2 1/2 points we wanted.  We still like this number giving Michigan 6 1/2 points to play with, which does move the margin through two crucial numbers.  The fact that our ratings show that Michigan has about a 60% chance of winning the game, we’ll take the 6 1/2 points like it is bonus points for the true spread.

We get to move through 14, 10, and 7 in the Washington-Stanford game, and in our analysis, we believe the Huskies can blow the Cardinal off the field.  As a matter of fact, the Davey19 formula could be used to take UW outright at -16 1/2, but it was so close that we did not include it in this week’s Davey19 picks.

 

#4

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Tulane

Army

13

Army

Kansas St.

Baylor

12

Baylor

Nebraska

Northwestern

17 1/2

Northwestern

 

Tulane has become the sexy new Group of 5 favorite among the media, especially the ladies and gentlemen at ESPN and Fox Sports.  Army has yet to fire on all cylinders this year, but we don’t see the Green Wave going to West Point and winning by two touchdowns.

The Kansas State-Baylor game is strictly a numbers’ play.  Moving 2 to 12 goes through 3, 4, 7, and 10.  We don’t particularly love Baylor’s chances of winning after the emotional home upset of Iowa State, but 12 points from 2 are too much to turn down.

The same thing applies to Nebraska and Northwestern.  Neither team looks strong enough to blow out the other.  17 1/2 moves the spread through 10, 14, and 17, and in addition, we think the Cornhuskers should be favored by about 4 points.  So, this becomes more like a 13-point tease at a 10-point price.

 

#5

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Ohio

Buffalo

13

Buffalo

Iowa St.

TCU

13

TCU

Western Kentucky

Old Dominion

13 1/2

Old Dominion

 

These three plays are 100% about the numbers and not the teams after you factor in that these games are fairly evenly matched.  Ohio has been a disappointment so far, but their schedule has been a bit more than the Bobcats could handle to this point.  Additionally, this is a major revenge game for Buffalo, and it is a must-win game if the Bulls are to remain alive in the MAC-East.  Moving the line through 4, 7, and 10 is just gravy.

Iowa State and TCU might split 10 games, so getting the Horned Frogs and 13 is another great numbers’ play.

Western Kentucky has moved up from near the bottom to near the top in the CUSA East Division race, and the big upset over UAB last week means the Hilltoppers are now a contender in the division race.  However, teams that pull off big home upsets in conference games that go on the road the next week as a road favorite in a conference game have poor records covering the spread.  WKU may win this game, but not by two touchdowns.  

 

#6

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

UTSA

UTEP

11 1/2

UTEP

North Carolina

Georgia Tech

1/2

North Carolina

Rice

UAB

1

UAB

 

UTSA and UTEP could combine their rosters and still struggle to finish 3-9, so when one of these weak teams can be forced into a double-digit situation that crosses all the lower key numbers (3, 4, 7, and 10), we jump on this one.

Teasing the Tar Heels is the only way to go in this game.  North Carolina will bounce some after falling short against Clemson, but Georgia Tech is likely to go 0-8 in ACC play this year trying to move from the triple option philosophy to the standard style of play.  That’s usually a three-year transition process.  We’ll put enough faith in Mack Brown to get his Carolina team ready enough to win this game, even if just by a couple points.

The Rice-UAB spread should probably be larger than it is, and we were enticed to look twice at playing UAB straight up.  Teasing the Blazers into an underdog is too good to pass up in this one.

 

13-point Teaser

#7

Team

Team

Total

Pick

Arizona

Cincinnati

34

Over

Minnesota

N.Y. Giants

30 1/2

Over

Tennessee

Buffalo

25 1/2

Over

San Francisco

Cleveland

33 1/2

Over

 

We had to choose one 13-point teaser and go with NFL Totals.  It can be hard to find action in a 13-point teaser of totals, but it is possible, so we are going with one.

The reasoning behind this play is that NFL games have smaller standard deviations of point totals in games.  The books have to be careful with totals that are too low in an environment where offenses have the advantage over defenses.  Thus, moving them by 13 points back in the direction where they probably need to be makes these games enticing.  Other than that, we don’t have a lot else to go on in these plays.  We chose these four games because our own internal ratings show that all four games should be played in the 38-45 point total range.

Davey19

Davey19 is a mechanical system using multiple rules that would take much too long to explain.  And, if it proves to be successful, we aren’t about to explain it to the rest of the world.

 

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Kansas St.

Baylor

1

Kansas St.

Eastern Michigan

Central Michigan

5 1/2

Eastern Michigan

SMU

Tulsa

13 1/2

Tulsa

Auburn

Florida

2 1/2

Auburn

LSU

Utah St.

28

Utah St.

Carolina

Jacksonville

3 1/2

Jacksonville

Kansas City

Indianapolis

11 1/2

Indianapolis

New England

Washington

15 1/2

Washington

Philadelphia

N. Y. Jets

14 1/2

N.Y. Jets

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. This site definitely has all of the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    Comment by service in jaipur — October 4, 2019 @ 12:13 am

  2. But, remember, that the information supplied may or may not be worth a hill of beans. If you are looking for fun with math, then we hope to serve your needs. If you are looking to score big in Vegas, then maybe not so much.

    Comment by piratings — October 4, 2019 @ 6:01 am


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