The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 17, 2021

PiRate Picks–November 17-20

Last week, we had a lot of difficulty isolating potential Money Line parlays where the numbers and our method meshed. In the end, we could only issue three selection parlays. So, guess what happened? We won big! How big? How about a Return on Investment of 96.8%? Yes, we almost doubled our imaginary weekly investment, and that ballooned our imaginary profit for the year to 10.63%. With more than $500 in imaginary profit to play with, we are loosening the reins a bit this week, because the third week in November historically has been the week with major upsets of teams thinking they have sure wins in the bag prior to playing their penultimate rival the following week. It isn’t exact as much as it used to be; USC and UCLA are playing this week, and both rivals have additional games. Some of the games we are choosing as big upsets do not necessarily fit this category, but in this case, Game 12 for these teams may be even more important than playing an arch-rival. We will explain each pick separately this week to show you why.

One of the weekly questions we receive at our email is “where do you get those payout odds?” First of all, it’s amazing how many of you email us when we don’t give out the email address. Sure, it can be found elsewhere, but to go to that much trouble to find it actually means a lot to us, and because of that, we try to answer every one of them without using a form response.

Here’s how we do it. We bookmark almost 2 dozen sports books, which include Las Vegas, Off shore, and those now legal in the various states that legalized sports betting and forced every radio and TV station to carry 30-40 ads per day, making it like it is election season 24/7/365. From these 2 dozen books, we then note which specific book has the best odds on each college football game. Contrary to what most people might do, where they look for the game and then wager due to their thought on the outcome, we look at the number and then wager based on the advantage we believe we gain by the number being off by a 5% or more. For example, if State U is listed at -225 vs. Tech, and we believe the Money Line should be -240, and there are 15 other books with the game between -240 and -250, we consider that a 6.25% advantage for us. Anything over 5% presents a possible choice.

Next, we then begin to combine these games into parlays that return a minimum of +120 odds. We rarely play a parlay at +120. We are usually more interested in parlays of +150 or better, where winning the parlay 30-40% of the time will produce a net profit. Of course, the key is that our own inside data must present the 5% or better advantage, not just one book over the other books.

Another question we receive often is, “which book has the best money line odds?” We cannot answer that question, because it changes from week to week. Just about every parlay we select in a given week comes from a different book than every other parlay for that week. This week, we are going with six different selections, using four different books. If you want to know which single book would be the best one and only book where you choose to open an account, we are not qualified to give you that answer, because the answer would change from week to week.

Let’s get started with this week’s selections.

Odds:+270
Must WinOpponent
MissouriFlorida

Dan Mullen has lost the locker room. After firing multiple coaches, the Gators’s defense quit on their coach, while at the same time, the new defensive coordinator was not ready against weak FCS Samford. Missouri has an offense capable of scoring 50 points against this Gator defense. The Tigers and Gators have some bad blood, and the head coaches even displayed animous last year. Both teams are now playing for a minor bowl game. Florida’s players could care less about a possible Birmingham or Gasparilla Bowl bid. Missouri’s players realize this is a good step forward for the future. At +270 and playing at home in a cold Columbia, Missouri, climate, where the temperature will be in the low 50’s with a wind chill in the 40’s, everything is in Missouri’s favor to pull off the upset and becoming bowl eligible.

Odds:+160
Must WinOpponent
Old DominionMiddle Tennessee

This one does not fit the upset pattern listed above. It is a different theory entirely. Old Dominion head coach Ricky Rahne is accomplishing incredible things in 2021. ODU was one of the teams that did not play football in 2020. Their roster was decimated with just 7 of their starting 22 players from 2019 suiting up this year. The Monarchs looked more like Connecticut and Massachusetts when the season commenced in September. After a 1-6 start with the win over FCS Hampton, ODU looked like a potential 1-11 team. However, Rahne and his staff kept the team’s confidence level high and made adjustments on both sides of the ball, and the Monarchs have won three consecutive C-USA games to put themselves into contention to win out and become bowl eligible. Looking at just the last three weeks, ODU clearly looks superior to Middle Tennessee, and at +160, we’re willing to risk $100 in imaginary bucks that they will win their fourth game in a row and then beat Charlotte next week to become a bowl team.

Odds:+360
Must WinOpponent
SMUCincinnati

We couldn’t resist this one. Cincinnati has been sneaking by with 20 minutes of good football per game since winning at Notre Dame. That sufficed in narrow wins over weak Navy, Tulane, Tulsa, and South Florida teams. SMU can stake themselves to a three touchdown lead if the Bearcats don’t play a first 30 minutes like they did against the Irish. It is our belief that Cincinnati will lose a game before the end of the regular season, and they will have to beat SMU, East Carolina, and most likely Houston to get to 13-0. Playing like they have since Mid-October, we don’t see a path to 13-0. With the odds this high and with SMU capable of outscoring the Bearcats, we are willing to take a little more risk calling for an outright upset.

Odds:+159.65
Must WinOpponent
Northern IllinoisBuffalo
HoustonMemphis

Normally, we release this feature late on Wednesday or on Thursday morning. We had to move the release up to Wednesday at Midday because of the Northern Illinois-Buffalo game that plays tonight. The Huskies generated a big difference in the money line in our belief. We believe NIU should be in excess of -250 against the Bulls, so this became an automatic play. Combining NIU with Houston was done because this game had the best odds with the same book that had the best odds for NIU, and it moved the parlay to greater than +150. We think Houston might actually be the best G5 team at this point.

Odds:+303.09
Must WinOpponent
East CarolinaNavy
ClemsonWake Forest
West VirginiaTexas

The +303.09 payout odds on this game is the perfect example of finding better numbers. If we played this same parlay at the same book from the previous parlay, the odds would have been around +275. That’s a difference of more than 9%, and that’s where winning edges come from.

All three of these games feature small favorites playing teams with specific liabilities that can be exploited by the favorite. East Carolina can exploit Navy’s weak pass defense while hiding a vulnerable pass defense that Navy cannot exploit. Clemson’s defense is strong enough to limit Wake Forest to 24-28 points, and the Demon Deacon defense gives up 30 points to opponents before kickoff. Even the mediocre CU offense will score 31 points against WFU. West Virginia playing at home in November is a tough out. Texas is a dying rose and without Bijan Robinson, we are not sure that the Longhorns could win on the road against Marshall at this point.

Odds:+235
Must WinOpponent
ColoradoWashington

Washington fired coach Jimmy Lake this week after losing to Arizona State. They play rival Washington State next week. The Huskies are just not talented overall, and their 4-6 record is well-deserved. Having to play on the road with little to no depth and at high altitude, we don’t expect UW to have their A-game this week. Colorado is 3-7 with a road game against Utah next week. This is senior day, and CU’s players know in the back of their heads that this is their chance for one more victory. This has the look of a 20-17 game either way, and at +235, we will take the home underdog to come out on top.

Remember that the PiRates never wager real money on these games, and we highly suggest you do not either. At this time of year, you need all the extra cash you can get, and losing a couple hundred of those greenbacks because of what you have read here is so not in the holiday spirit.

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