The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 29, 2022

PiRate Picks–September 29-October 1, 2022

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:38 am

If you follow this weekly feature, then you must realize at this point in the season that the picks made here have put us in an untenable position. Through four full weeks and one partial fifth week in the college football season, we have issued 21 selections. 16 of them have won, and five of them have been at odds exceeding even money. Our imaginary $1,000 starting account has ballooned to $1,906.19 after going 3-0 last week with two of those three wins bringing better than +130 parlay payouts. That 16-5 record is even more ridiculous when you consider that we had one week where we were 1-4. In all the other weeks, our pretend wagering selections are 15-1! Meanwhile, we made comments in two of those weeks that we did not particularly like the slate of games available for those weeks. All this should tell you that if a situation is obviously untenable, don’t make any large gambles on the situation continuing to be as successful or even successful at all in the future. If 76.2% winners were the norm, and the wagers were real, we would be banned from wagering at most of the books and definitely greatly limited in the amount we could wager at those that did not ban us. Only a small minority of the big-time players ever get limited or banned. That’s why in all honesty, the selections going forward are almost sure to disappoint until the percentages normalize. Think of our selections being like the Cleveland Indians beginning the 1966 baseball season at 14-1 and then 27-10 near the completion of the first quarter of the season. The Indians held a substantial lead over Baltimore, but Leon Wagner was not Frank Robinson. Robby would go on to win the Triple Crown, and the Orioles would pass Cleveland with ease and go on to win the AL pennant in a breeze. The PiRate Ratings are Cleveland. Maybe, our 1954 is out there some day, but there is no reason to believe that it is this year.

Now, that we have a clear conscience, here are our picks for this week. Remember: we never wager real money on these selections, and we suggest you follow this lead. If you are a professional wagering maven, then we know you only read this weekly feature as supplemental information for your other research.

Selection #1: Iowa +10 1/2 vs. Michigan

This play is all about the number. At 9 1/2, we wouldn’t play it. We probably wouldn’t play it at 13 1/2 either. Michigan is clearly better than Iowa, but can they win by double digits in Iowa City when the Hawkeyes’ offense is starting to show signs of respectability? Iowa might be able to control the ball for 32 or more minutes in this game, and Michigan has played one above average team at home with no road games. At 10 1/2, we get 39% of the spreads most likely for a game to have, including nine of the top 15 spreads in college football. Our internal (not the PiRate Ratings) quick compare system shows this game to be a maximum of 8 points in Michigan’s favor and only about a 65% chance that the Maize and Blue will win the game by any amount. We see this being a 27-20 game for the Wolverines, and it wouldn’t be a big shock if Iowa pulled off the upset.

Selection #2: Penn State & Northwestern Under 52 1/2

James Franklin has this team believing in itself, and we have little doubt that the Nittany Lions will win this game with relative ease, but we also believe the first quarter and some of the second quarter of this game will be played conservatively as Penn State tries some new wrinkles. Northwestern’s history of being good in even-numbered years and rebuilding in odd-numbered years may have come to an end, as the Wildcats look no better than they were last year, and their win over Nebraska isn’t worth much. The NU offense isn’t likely to keep the scoreboard operator busy. We think this could be a 34-10 game, maybe a 38-7 game.

Selection #3: UNLV and New Mexico Over 42 1/2

This was a late addition to our selections this week, as the total dropped by a full point on Wednesday, and we think it has been moved too much. There are some middling plays going on with this game. At 43 1/2, it was too close to our projection of 28-17 and 45 points. Usually, we like a game to differ by three points or more in the total, but when it’s this low, 2 1/2 points are enough to make a play. The only concern is that the Lobos are scoring points of fewer than normal total yards gained. However, UNLV’s offense is better than New Mexico’s defense, and we also think there is a chance that the Rebels could score more then 28 points in this game.

Selection #4: Minnesota & Purdue Over 51 1/2

If you follow this weekly feature for any amount of time, you will probably see a trend toward playing the Under on more totals than the Over, but this week, it is an even split. We respect Minnesota’s excellent start to the season, but their defense has yet to be tested by a Power 5 competent offense, as it will this week. This isn’t Drew Brees bringing the Spoilermakers to The Cities, but this also isn’t the Bobby Bell Gophers of 1960 and 1961. Our internal rating shows PU will top 24 points in this game, but their lack of a power running game might prevent the Boilermakers from scoring the one extra TD needed to win this game. Minnesota probably will top 30 points. At 34-27, that’s 9 1/2 more points than needed to satisfy this play.

Selection #5: Oklahoma & TCU Under 68 1/2

This was actually the one total that jumped off the page when we first saw it. Oklahoma is coming off an upset loss to Kansas State where they gave up more than 40 points. TCU is averaging 46.3 points per game but hasn’t played a real defense yet. We suspect that defensive-oriented Sooner coach Brent Venables will concentrate his efforts this week on giving his defense more confidence by playing this game a little more conservatively. Meanwhile, TCU will experience some difficulty trying to consistently move the ball with short passing plays. We think the total for this game will be 60 or less. A final score of 34-21 is expected.

Selection #6: Money Line Parlay @ +176.22

Kent State over Ohio U

Wyoming over San Jose St.

The key game for us this week is the Wyoming-San Jose State game in Laramie. We believe the wrong team is favored. The Cowboys have been a different team at home in altitude as opposed to the road, and San Jose State is coming into a weather situation they have not had a chance to prepare for in the Bay Area. This game could be played in a windy rainstorm, possibly a thunderstorm, with a chance that it could be delayed one or more times. Wyoming has an advantage if the running game must be used more in the quarters where the wind is in the face of the offense. We are looking for Wyoming to win this one outright by 5 to 10 points.

We didn’t want to play Wyoming straight up for 11-10 odds, so we looked to a coupling game that would ramp it up to better than +130, and we found it in the Kent State-Ohio game. The Golden Flashes are at least 10 points better than the Bobcats, but the Money Line was only -450, and combining it with the underdog selection, it makes this parlay an attractive +176.22.

Selection #7: Money Line Parlay @ +157.22

Kansas State over Texas Tech

North Carolina over Virginia Tech

Western Kentucky over Troy

Both teams won big games last week in the Kansas State-Texas Tech match-up. But, the Red Raiders beat their most hated rival. TTU rarely gets the respect in the Lone Star State by the fans of the Longhorns. At the same time, Kansas State has used a big win over a ranked opponent to propel themselves to bigger and better things. Add in the factor that our internal rating shows the Wildcats to be nine points better, and this is an attractive part of a parlay for us.

Neither North Carolina nor Virginia Tech are going to go on big runs to finish with fat won-loss records this year. In fact, we think the Hokies are looking at 5-7 or even 4-8, while the Tar Heels are maybe looking at 7-5 and a minor bowl game. We are looking at a 35-28 win for Mack Brown’s squad.

In Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Hilltoppers have been known as a basketball school with a neat mascot, but their football team should not be overlooked this year. Following a 73-0 win over possibly the worst FBS team in Florida International, they step up to play another under-the-radar team in Troy. This used to be a fierce rivlary game when both were Sun Belt Conference members, and we expect a close, hard-fought game with a lot of offensive action. Our selection of WKU here comes about due to an old theorem of ours from the 1970s that states that when a team easily slaughters a weaker team in a home game one week and then plays at home again the following week, they tend to continue to play near the best of their abilities. We think WKU wins this close game, maybe by just a field goal to five points.

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