The Pi-Rate Ratings

October 27, 2021

PiRate Picks–October 28-30, 2021

Back To Back Winning Weeks

Usually, the middle of October to the middle of November has been the period where our college football parlay picks have made their move into positive territory, and this year has been another example of that. After going north and south of the break-even line, in the last two weeks, a couple of big wins with fat payouts has taken our imaginary bankroll and turned it from red to black numbers.

We won two of the four parlays, one paying out at +187 and the other at +147.40. That comes to a 33.6% return on investment for the weekend. For the year, $3,500 in imaginary funds have been wagered with the sports books, and $3,704.28 in imaginary funds have been returned for an ROI of 5.84%.

Last week, we did not particularly like the games overall. It was difficult finding suitable parlays with payouts better than +120 that our “system” said had a better chance than the minimum needed to show a profit. The week before, too many games presented themselves as playable, and we had to limit the ones we wanted.

This week, it is somewhere in between. We selected to underdogs to win outright with rather fat payout odds. Our methods say these two games are virtual tossup games, so if we can get better than +120 on these games, we feel compelled to take the ‘dogs.

However, after the two straight up upset selections, we spent an extra hour plus trying to combine games into suitable odds while remaining confident that the teams would win.

So, without further adieu, here are our five selections for this week.

Date:

October 28-30

Odds:+360
Must WinOpponent
UTEPFlorida Atlantic


Odds:+170
Must WinOpponent
Michigan St.Michigan


Odds:+225.59
Must WinOpponent
IllinoisRutgers
Notre DameNorth Carolina


Odds:+269.54
Must WinOpponent
Central FloridaTemple
Kansas St.TCU


Odds:+150
Must WinOpponent
Utah St.Hawaii
San Jose St.Wyoming

October 20, 2021

PiRate Picks–October 21-23, 2021

What a minor difference a week made! After just missing on three big-payout parlays two weeks ago, we played the same strategy last week and made a minor splash thanks to the help of one long shot parlay that won and returned better than 3 to 1 odds. With another win at +187, we made a small profit last week, but large enough to turn our minor net loss for the season into a net gain of 2.3%.

Of course, as we say every week, our financial loss or gain is merely imaginary, as we are playing with imaginary funds that never run out but never accrue. This feature is presented just for fun, and we strongly urge you not to wager real money on what you read here, unless it merely validates your research.

This week presents the fewest number of games that met our criteria this year in any week. We could only go with four parlays of two teams apiece. None are major long shots, but they all top +120, which is the minimum odds we will play. Enjoy!

Date:

October 21-25

Odds:+187
Must WinOpponent
Central FloridaMemphis
Notre DameUSC

Odds:+147.40
Must WinOpponent
Eastern MichiganBowling Green
Kent St.Ohio U


Odds:+138.99
Must WinOpponent
San Jose St.UNLV
Ball St.Miami (O)


Odds:+131.08
Must WinOpponent
MinnesotaMaryland
TCUWest Virginia

October 13, 2021

PiRate Picks–October 16-17, 2021

If you are like us here on the aging PiRate ship, you probably grew up in the 1950’s, 1960’s, or 1970’s watching Wile E. Coyote chase the Roadrunner every Saturday morning. He always had a great plan, and of course, he was Acme Products’ best customer. Every plan came “this close” to working. But, in the end, he fell hundreds of feet to the canyon floor and made a splat.

That’s how last week’s episode of the PiRate Picks turned out to be. We chose the best games we saw at Acme Handicapping. We came “this close” to having an incredibly successful week. Two of the long shot parlays won and returned big payouts. With less than five minutes to go in three other selections, we were on the winning side. Alas, at the last second the Roadrunners of the gridiron made their Beep Beep sounds and ran off to safety, leaving our three selections to make a splat at the bottom of the canyon.

Ah, but here’s the rub. Just like Wile E. Coyote, who has endless funds to continue obtaining more great Acme products, our imaginary bank account is just as endless with funds. Just like Wile E., we can go splat on the canyon floor and get right back up and go at it again, because any financial losses are just as fake as the images drawn on a cartoon.

Thus, we have six more Money Line picks this week after suffering a minute net loss last week. For the year, our return on imaginary investment is -1%. It’s not a big negative, but comically, this feature usually returns a small profit every year. However, we would never play these picks, because we prefer to sleep at night. We encourage you to follow our lead. Read it for a laugh, just like you make when you see Wile E. falling off the cliff yet again.

Date:

October 14-18

Odds:+309.14
Must WinOpponent
South AlabamaGeorgia Southern
Northern IllinoisBowling Green
UtahArizona St.


Odds:+218.93
Must WinOpponent
Utah St.UNLV
Boston CollegeNorth Carolina St.


Odds:+185
Must WinOpponent
Virginia TechPittsburgh


Odds:+248
Must WinOpponent
Kent St.Western Michigan


Odds:+187
Must WinOpponent
Central MichiganToledo


Odds:+152.44
Must WinOpponent
MiamiJacksonville
DenverLas Vegas

October 6, 2021

PiRate Picks–October 9-10, 2021

Last week, time constraints limited this weekly feature to the bare minimum. We have plenty of time this week, so rather than just list the games we have chosen, there’s time to go a little more in-depth with our selections.

First, we made a minimal profit of imaginary revenue last week, as we hit on the long odds 4-game parlay at +372.50 with Texas beating TCU, Wake Forest beating Louisville, South Carolina beating Troy, and Oklahoma State holding on to edge Baylor.

This week presented us with numerous opportunities where certain factors triggered plays. We ended up trimming it to eight parlays, and all but one game coming on Saturday. We had one key Sunday game but could not find an NFL partner for the game, so it attached to other college games to give us the biggest odds of the week. Without further adieu, here are our picks for this week. Remember, this is for entertainment purposes only, and we highly encourage you not to wager real money on these selections, unless you have other research that the information herein merely endorses.

Odds:+153.06
Must WinOpponent
Wake ForestSyracuse
BaylorWest Virginia

This first parlay is cut and dry. We believe that the public is not all that high on the two favorites. Wake Forest is supposed to be weak most years, but Dave Clawson has the Demon Deacons creeping up on Clemson for best in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. Baylor came oh so close to knocking off Oklahoma State in Stillwater last week. Had they pulled that win off, the Bears might be approaching the Top 10. West Virginia has played a tough schedule in a short time, and we feel they might show some fatigue in this game.

Odds:+155
Must WinOpponent
UTSAWestern Kentucky

Obviously, this is not a parlay. It is one of four games where we are picking an underdog to win straight up. Western Kentucky is due to bounce after getting up and playing a close game at Michigan State, while UTSA has quietly started 5-0 with a Power 5 win.

Odds:+160
Must WinOpponent
TexasOklahoma

It hasn’t been often in the last 15 years that we went into the second weekend in October believing that Texas would beat Oklahoma. Oklahoma has been narrowly escaping with wins over mediocre competition. After getting pasted at Arkansas, Texas has begun to look like a team ready to compete for the Big 12 Championship Game. We consider this a tossup game, so we go with the better odds and the underdog.

Odds:+160
Must WinOpponent
NebraskaMichigan

This is more of a system play. Nebraska won by more than 38 points in a conference game and now plays a conference home game the next week. In a high percentage of cases like this, the home team continues to play at the same top level it played the previous week. Additionally, Michigan is on the road for the second consecutive week in a key conference game. This has the look of a traditional upset.

Odds:+161.90
Must WinOpponent
San Jose St.Colorado St.
Bowling GreenAkron

The key game here is the San Jose State-Colorado State game. We feel like the wrong team is favored. However, playing SJSU in a single game does not supply us with the odds we look for when playing Money Lines. So, we added the Bowling Green game to it to make a parlay that has fat payout odds. The betting public may not see how much the Falcons have improved this year, while Akron remains one of the five worst teams in the FBS.

Odds:+188.93
Must WinOpponent
IowaPenn St.
TennesseeSouth Carolina
Arizona St.Stanford

This is the first of three big-odds payouts we are playing this week. In the first game in this parlay, our ratings show Iowa at the present time to be good enough to run the table and make the Playoffs. Penn State looks like a 10-2 team destined to play on New Year’s Day in Florida. Kirk Ferentz may have his best team in Iowa City.

In the second leg of this parlay, Tennessee fits the same criteria that Nebraska faces. They won by 38 points against a conference opponent and play at home this week against another conference opponent. While South Carolina’s defense is considerably better than Missouri’s, their offense is not as sharp, and we believe Josh Heupel’s Vols are sitting on another great performance.

The third part of this parlay is simply a case where we believe Arizona State is clearly superior to Stanford on both sides of the ball and should win by double digits.

Odds:+195.50
Must WinOpponent
South AlabamaTexas St.
Kent St.Buffalo
WisconsinIllinois

South Alabama looks to be 10-14 points better than Texas State, and when we saw the Money Line odds on this game, it was the first one that went into our play pool. Kent State has a score to settle with Buffalo. In the weird Covid year of 2020, The Golden Flashes only managed to get four games in the books. Buffalo was the last, and Kent State went into this game 3-0 and averaging 53 points per game. Buffalo was also 3-0. The Bulls hung 70 points on the Flashes. Kent State gets their revenge this week.

Wisconsin is the best 1-3 team in America. It is odd how many times unforced errors have hurt the Badgers in their three losses. The Badgers don’t particularly like their rival to the south, and we expect UW to win this game by a large margin.

Odds:+241.12
Must WinOpponent
Central MichiganOhio U
BYUBoise St.
CarolinaPhiladelphia

Finally, we come to our biggest odds play of the week. We only found one NFL game we wanted to play based on the Money Line odds, so we had to parlay the Carolina Panthers with a couple of college games.

While 2021 looks like a so-so year for Central Michigan, Ohio is in a state of flux after former coach Frank Solich retired during the Summer. The Bobcats are almost sleep-walking through games this year, which can be attributed to growing pains.

Boise State is a mere shell of its former self under Bryan Harsin. New coach Andy Avalos inherited 16 returning starters, but the Broncos never played up to their potential last year and appear to be repeating it this year. Maybe, they were just a bit overrated?

BYU has shown the world that they were more than just Zach Wilson last year. The Cougars’ defense is top notch, while the offense is a bit more deliberate this year, but it helps the defense perform even better. Other than the fact that the Cougars may be looking ahead a tad to next week’s game at Baylor, everything here looks like a BYU win.

Carolina should be a heavier favorite over Philadelphia. The loss to Dallas has been factored a bit too heavily. We like the Panthers solely because their Money Line odds are so favorable this week.

September 30, 2021

PiRate Picks–September 30-October 4, 2021

This edition will be short this week due to time constraints, but it is chock full of college money line parlays, as we perceive some excellent value on the college side and not on the NFL side. We even include a rare, 4-team parlay at +372.50. Remember, we never wager real money on our selections and recommend you do the same. Use this feature only for entertainment purposes or supplemental research.

Date:

September 30-October 4

1. Odds:+173.19
Must WinOpponent
Notre DameCincinnati
Michigan St.Western Kentucky


2. Odds:+219.78
Must WinOpponent
PurdueMinnesota
OregonStanford
ArmyBall St.


3. Odds:+220.45
Must WinOpponent
MissouriTennessee
USCColorado
West VirginiaTexas Tech


4. Odds:+372.50
Must WinOpponent
TexasTCU
Wake ForestLouisville
South CarolinaTroy
Oklahoma St.Baylor

September 22, 2021

PiRate Picks For September 23-27, 2021

A Weekend of Despair

We hope you have read numerous times on this site that we do not wager real money on the selections you see here in this weekly feature. We always encourage you to do the same. It is for this reason that we were able to sleep peacefully this week after the incredibly unlucky fortunes that destroyed what could have been a second incredibly successful weekend.

The weekend started out with a nice parlay win as Kansas State beat Nevada and Troy beat Southern Miss. to return a nice $282 on our imaginary $100 wager. The combo parlay with one college game and one pro game was next. Mississippi State had to beat Memphis, and they should have done so. The officials in the game admitted to making a major mistake in the game, and there was a blatant oversight on the same play. Memphis scored the decisive touchdown returning a punt that had already been signaled as dead by the back judge. At the same time, the punt returner wore number four. Nothing wrong with that, but he was not the only number four in the game for the Tigers. Had the mistake not been made, Mississippi State wins the game, and when Denver won the next day, that parlay would have been a winner of $226.42 on the imaginary $100 wagered to guarantee a winning weekend.

On Sunday, Seattle led Tennessee by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and Kansas City led Baltimore by 11 in the fourth quarter. The other parts of the final two parlays had already won. Tennessee scored twice to tie the Seahawks where they went on to win in overtime to kill one parlay, and Baltimore pulled off a minor miracle to beat Kansas City by a point to kill the other one.

Even with the three heartbreakers losing, we are out nothing. No stress means we can return to picking games this week with the same imaginary bank account that never runs out of $100 investment opportunities.

When the opening lines came out, we immediately spotted a huge mistake in one college game. It was the spread in the Georgia-Vanderbilt game, as it opened at 30 1/2 or 31 depending on the books in question. The bookmakers made a big mistake, and within five minutes, that spread had moved to 35. The mistake they made was assuming that Vanderbilt would get about three points for home field advantage. SEC fans and bettors know that Georgia fans will make Vanderbilt Stadium a sea of red. Somewhere either side of 90% will be rooting for the Bulldogs, making this a home game on their opponent’s field. Vanderbilt’s quarterbacks will have to use hand signals on their home field. Georgia is really the home team, and poof, the line may still be low at 35. We don’t issue straight wagers against the line these days. But, we came oh so close to issuing a special bulletin Sunday night when we saw that incredibly low number.

We spent a couple hours looking over the money lines this week looking for certain in-house data to come up with the games we wanted to play. This was a difficult week, because we didn’t particularly like the schedule in either college or pro football. In the end, in order to get our parlays up above +120, we had to go with multiple very long shot combinations at very large odds.

We are going with five selections this week, one of which is not a parlay, but just one single upset pick. Three of our parlays include three games each; we prefer to play two-game parlays, especially when using NFL teams, where it is hard to pick the winners of three games all that often. So, when you look at these picks below, realize they are long shots. Please don’t wager real money on these games unless you have other research data that our selections merely verify.

This Week’s Parlays

Date:Sept 23-27
Odds:+205
Must WinOpponent
Kansas St.Oklahoma St.

Odds:+259.50
Must WinOpponent
Eastern MichiganTexas St.
Michigan St.Nebraska
MemphisUTSA

Odds:+217.69
Must WinOpponent
Michigan St.Nebraska
Boston CollegeMissouri

Odds:+157.86
Must WinOpponent
CarolinaHouston
Kansas CityLA Chargers
Las VegasMiami

Odds:+208.86
Must WinOpponent
ArizonaJacksonville
BuffaloWashington
SeattleMinnesota

September 15, 2021

PiRate Picks For September 16-20, 2021

After a swing and a miss on opening week of the football season, last week we went two for two with big wins. Not only did we win both of our Money Line Parlays, we mentioned a first week NFL system that has worked well over the course of a couple of decades. We told you that even though we are only issuing Money Line Parlays this year, that playing the NFL underdogs of 1/2 to 3 points in Week 1 was a winning proposition. There were seven such underdogs last week, and playing them and the points went 5-2.

For the year, our pretend bank account has wagered pretend money on four games, $400 at $100 per wager, and we have received $604.56 in return from the pretend book. That’s a return on investment of 51.14%.

Now, the pressure is on to keep that profit and not give it back to the imaginary book. We begin including NFL games this week, and we have chosen four different parlays, each with more than +120 odds. Additionally, we are doing something we have only done three or four times in the last decade–combine a college game and NFL game into a parlay. We are number’s enthusiasts here on the PiRate ship, so sometimes we are left with orphan numbers needing to go to a matchmaking service. Combining college and pro football games into a hopeful match is rare for us, but there is no real reason not to do it. We just like to know at 1 AM on Sundays whether we won or not.

Enjoy these four parlays, but remember that these are for entertainment purposes only. We strongly urge you not to wager real money on these picks unless you have done your own research, and this feature merely verifies your own findings.

This Week’s Money Line Parlays

Date:
Sept 16-20

Odds:

+182
Must WinOpponent
Kansas St.Nevada
TroySouthern Miss.

Odds:+126.42
Must WinOpponent
Mississippi St.Memphis
DenverJacksonville

Odds:+140.08
Must WinOpponent
LA RamsIndianapolis
Kansas CityBaltimore

Odds:+127.91
Must WinOpponent
ArizonaMinnesota
SeattleTennessee

September 8, 2021

PiRate Picks For September 9-13, 2021

Last week’s opening picks missed, as Virginia Tech made Sam Howell look like Thurston Howell. Duke then failed to show up against Charlotte, and poof, our two picks were destroyed. Such is life when you wager on parlays that return the odds we look for when we place our imaginary wagers.

We have two more picks returning some fat odds this week, and maybe we’ll get lucky and hit on one. We will also tell you a week 1 tip for the NFL. Although we are here just for Money Line Parlays this year, it doesn’t mean we cannot give out a little interesting information.

Here are our two Money Line Parlays for Week two of the college season. We will eventually pick some NFL games, but Week one is not the time and place for that.

Parlay 1

Odds:+224
Must WinOpponent
VirginiaIllinois
RutgersSyracuse
MichiganWashington

Parlay 2

Odds:+180.56
Must WinOpponent
Mississippi St.North Carolina St.
TCUCalifornia

Here’s our tip for Week 1 of the NFL season. Underdogs of 1 to 3 points tend to win outright 50% of the time, but they also lose by less than 3 points another 8-10% of the time. That’s 58-60% success for wagering on 3-point Underdogs.

There are seven games as of this writing with a 3-point spread. The Dogs are:

Houston against Jacksonville

Arizona against Tennessee

Philadelphia against Atlanta

Indianapolis against Seattle

Cincinnati against Minnesota

Miami against New England

N.Y. Giants against Denver

September 1, 2021

PiRate Picks For September 1-6, 2021

Last week, we explained what our PiRate Picks are all about. We even gave you a sample Money Line Parlay that included Illinois beating Nebraska, UTEP beating New Mexico St., and UCLA beating Hawaii. This parlay had payout odds of +341, which meant if you wagered $100, and the teams all won, you would receive $441 in return. But, we made sure you understood that this was a sample and not official.

As of Monday afternoon, three people had notified us that they had played a little real currency on this parlay and were quite happy with their return.

How many times can we state this? Please do not bet real money on our just for fun selections! Okay, so one of you wagered $20, one of you wagered $50, and one of you wagered $100 on this parlay and won money. These same people could just as easily have lost this wager, and there is no guarantee that this week’s two selections have a snowball’s chance in Hades of winning.

We strongly urge you to look at these selections as mathematical entertainment and nothing else. If you are going to wager real money on sports, please do your research. Don’t rely on this site as your substitute for research. We use mathematical factors and not actual research to make these selections.

That said, we have two actual Money Line parlays this week, involving five games. If you did not read last week’s tutorial, or if you are a long-time follower of this site and need a refresher course, our expertise is the Money Line Parlay. The Money Line is a number, plus or minus. If the number is a minus, then you must wager this number of dollars against the book’s offering $100. So, a -145 means you the bettor must put up $145 to win $100 from the book. If you bet $145 on this game and won, you would receive $245 from the book ($100 + your investment money). If the number is positive, for every $100 you wager, the book offers the amount of the the positive numbers in dollars. So, a +170 means that if you wager $100 and win, the book will give you $270 ($170 + your investment).

When you wager on the money line, all that matters is that your selection wins. They can win by one point or 100 points; it doesn’t make a difference.

Obviously, if you want to wager on Alabama against Louisiana-Monroe, expect the Money Line to be about -100,000. You would have to wager $100,000 to win $100. If you wagered $100 on this parlay, when Alabama wins, you would receive one dime in profit, and the book would possibly not accept this one wager.

Obviously, it is much easier to bet a favorite to win, but you will receive less than even money odds. A -240 favorite equates to the team having a 70% chance of winning the game. If you believe that team has a better than 70% chance of winning, it might be worth your while to wager on it. If you win 75% of the time you wager on a -240 money line, you will turn a small profit.

The problem with wagering on favorites is that it is quite difficult to maintain the percentage needed to make a profit. Betting on 20 different teams at -240 and winning 13 of 20 means a loss of $380.

If you wager on a bunch of underdogs, there is also little chance that in the long run you will come out ahead. The answer to this is to bundle a group of favorites into a parlay that returns better than even money odds. For our purposes, we look for parlays of +120 and higher. At +150, we break even if the teams we wager on to win all win more than 40% of the time. At +200, if the parlay has a better than 33.3% chance on winning, we turn a profit.

It looks easy. Try it yourself without wagering. Look at the Money Line odds and make a parlay. There are free parlay calculators online to show you your odds. Try it with 10 parlays and see if you can win enough to make it work. You will find that the books know what they are doing. They build billion dollar mega-structures in the desert, because they know how to vacuum your money into their accounts.

Here are our two selections for Week 1 of the College Football Season. Remember, these are just for fun. We have a bottomless pretend bank account to repeatedly wager $100 on every selection.

Odds:+125
Must WinOpponent
Central FloridaBoise St.
DukeCharlotte


Odds:+265.98
Must WinOpponent
North CarolinaVirginia Tech
Kansas St.Stanford
PurdueOregon St.

August 26, 2021

PiRate Picks For August 28, 2021

Welcome to all the newcomers to the PiRate Ratings site for the 2021-2022 football season. Saturday, we have the fortune of having a dress rehearsal for the college football season. Nine FBS teams will be in action, as one FBS team plays an FCS opponent.

The PiRate Ratings enjoy issuing picks against the spread or money line on Thursdays each week until January. Because we are most concerned with Money Line Parlays, there are only five options to combine games this week, and many of the books do not issue a line for FBS vs. FCS games. So, in a quest to obtain the best odds, there really are just four games.

This presents multiple issues that basically make it close to impossible to issue a real wager, because the options don’t fit our paradigm. Let’s take a look.

First, before we get started, you must know and understand one thing. We offer these selections purely for the fun of it. It is math and not gambling to us. We NEVER bet on sports. We play with a pretend bankroll that never runs out. We wager the same amount of fake currency on every selection–$100. It could just as easily be $5, $10, $1000, $5000, whatever, but $100 is an easy number and typical of many wagers in real life.

Second, we urge you with everything we can say about it to NOT use this weekly feature as betting advice, unless you have legitimate advice or are a professional, and then this becomes a secondary reference.

Third, we hunt around for the best possible odds on our pretend wagers. You may or may not be able to find the same odds we do, because you would have to search at the exact same time we do. Because, we are not limited to just the legal books available to us in our state of Tennessee, where betting is legal, we might pick a parlay based on a sports book that is only for people in Nevada, or New Jersey, or even off shore.

Okay, now that you know the ground rules, here is our specialty–Money Line Parlays. The money line is different from the spread of a game, but the number is the equivalent of a spread. If a team is favored by 7 points, their money line is going to be roughly -330, and if a team is a 7-point underdog, their money line is going to be roughly +250.

How does a Money Line work? If the line is a negative number, if you wager the amount of the negative number and win, you will receive $100 plus the amount you wagered. So, if you wager on a team at -300, and you bet $300, if the bet wins, you will get back $400 (your investment money plus $100). If you lose, you are out the $300. On the other hand, if the line is a positive number, you can win that amount of money with a $100 wager. So, if the line on a team is +300, you can wager $100, and if the team wins, you receive $400 (your investment money plus $300).

In Money Line wagers, all that matters is that the team you picked wins the game, be it by 1 point or 63 points. Obviously, if Alabama is playing Mercer, the odds are going to be such that to win $100, you will have to put up maybe $100,000. So, if you bet $100 on Alabama at -100000, when Alabama wins, you receive $100.01. Would you risk $100,000 to win one penny?

When you wager on more than one money line to win as one bet, this is called a parlay. Let’s say that you like Mississippi State to beat Arkansas and Oklahoma State to beat Texas Tech. Mississippi State’s money line number is -275. Oklahoma State’s money line number is -250. By combining these two wagers into one bet, with $100 riding on the outcome, instead of attempting to win a little more than $36 on MSU and $40 on OSU, by combining the two games into a parlay, you stand to win almost $91 if both teams win. If you bet them individually, you would only win $76, so by combining the two, you win $15 more. Of course, if one team wins and the other loses, your losses would be less by playing the games separately.

The question you most likely wanted to ask while reading the above paragraph is, “Why risk playing two separate games that both teams you selected must win and still not get even money?” Did you ask it? The answer to that question is, “You are correct; why wager $100 to just win $91 and then have to be right twice to cash it?” You can bet a regular game against the spread and get 11-10 odds, just a fraction better than the odds of the parlay above.

The ultimate answer is that we are only looking for parlays that pay better than even money. We really don’t want to play any parlays at less than +120 odds, where we would win $6 for every $5 wagered.

The next question you might have is, “Isn’t finding two teams to win and pay off at +120 going to require me to bet an underdog to win outright?”

Our answer to you is, “Yes, but we don’t look for many two-team money line parlays. Let’s take a look at another example with three teams.

Let’s say that we believe that Washington will beat Oregon State, and the money line is -260.

We also believe that Army will beat Temple, and the money line is -240.

And, we believe that Wisconsin will beat Purdue, and the money line is -250.

If you wager $100 on these three teams to win, and all three teams win, your payout is just under $175 plus the $100 you wagered for almost $275 ($274.62 to be exact.)

Let’s take a look at 5 wagers, where we win two and lose three at these odds

We bet $500 at $100 for 5 wagers.

On the two winning wagers, we receive $275 * 2 or $550.

Invest $500 and win $550 by being right 40% of the time. In one week, we have made a 10% return on an investment. What investment on the Stock Market makes a 10% gain in one week after you have paid the commissions on the trip?

Ah, but here’s the rub: how often can you wager on 5 money line parlays that average +175 and win 40% of the parlays? Most people fall into this trap and only win about one of five of these parlays. At 20% success, you lose $225 a week for a 45% loss. Now, where can you loses 45% in the stock market in one week? We put our real money in high-cap value stocks with durable competitive advantages, long histories of consistent increases in earnings, and long histories of consistent dividend payouts. The pretend money is just fine for football wagering.

By now, you want to know who we are picking in Week 0 of the college football season. Maybe, you have figured it out already. We don’t have any official picks this week, because there are not enough games to come up with a parlay better than +120.

Here is a practice parlay that is not an official pick, but shown here to show you what we mean.

The three games involved are: Nebraska versus Illinois, UCLA versus Hawaii, and UTEP versus New Mexico St.

Let’s say that we think Illinois will upset the Cornhuskers, UCLA will take care of Hawaii, and UTEP will win the big rivalry game.

Here are the three Money Lines for these three games.

Illinois +215 vs. Nebraska

UCLA -875 vs. Hawaii

UTEP -390 vs. New Mexico St.

This parlay calculates to +341. If we wager $100 on this game, and Illinois, UCLA, and UTEP all win, we receive $441 in our account (The $100 we wagered plus the $341 on the win).

Why isn’t this an official pick? We believe that Illinois might have been an excellent pick against the spread when the Illinois-Nebraska game spread opened at -9 1/2. But, it has come down to -6 1/2 as of this writing. Sharp money was wagers on Illinois +9 1/2, and also on Nebraska -6 1/2. A three-point middling is too good to be true. Playing both sides, the Sharps only need to have the game win both sides one out of every 19 times (5.26%) to make a profit. The spreads of 7, 8, and 9 account for 10.8% of all FBS college football games. That’s double the amount needed to make a profit. The key is the Sharps can find these spreads when they open. Also, playing the opening lines is the most effective way to win for a Sharp.

The UTEP-New Mexico State game is the biggest issue in this parlay. One axiom that older Sharps believe in is not to rely on a losing program to have to win for you to win. The Miners are probably a 3-9 team, which is almost a good year for this program. The Aggies are really weak and should be an underdog in every game, but this is their big rival, maybe bigger than playing New Mexico. The I-10 rivalry frequently is a tossup game.

Two out of three of these games are iffy. The chances that Illinois pulls off the upset of Nebraska are not good enough to have faith in this parlay winning. Scott Frost is in deep cow poo if the Cornhuskers don’t win at least six games and earn a bowl bid, and losing to the weakest Big Ten team will turn the heater on in his heated seat. This will be Bret Bielema’s first game as Illinois head coach, and he brought in an offensive coordinator that runs a system totally different from what the Illini ran under Lovie Smith. Expect growing pains.

We hope this gets you pumped for next week, when there will be more than enough games to play some parlays.

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