The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 1, 2022

PiRate Picks For December 2-3, 2022

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:00 am

We here at the PiRate Ratings believe like Ted Williams that you don’t sit out the final day of the season to protect a .400 average. We could sit out this final weekend of the regular season, not including Army-Navy next week, and be guaranteed our 18th winning season in the last 23 years, albeit imaginary revenue. We are showing a small 3.5% profit for the season, and we could have sat this week out to guarantee the winning year. We could have merely played one or two games, for going 0-2 would still mean we would have a winning season.

Just like The Splendid Splinter, we are in the lineup and taking our cuts this week with five selections. If we can’t go at least 2-3, we don’t deserve to consider it 18 out of 23. We’re attacking this Championship Week like it’s an opportunity to go from .400 to .406.

Our selections this week include three games straight up against the spread and two Money Line Parlays. We are almost always looking for underdogs that we find undervalued to win and like to go with short underdogs. We tend to never play underdogs of more than two touchdowns. Yet, this week, we are going against our grain. We’re taking two short favorites and one heavy underdog to cover. As for the Money Line Parlays, there were limited choices, and it took a little extra work to come up with two parlays that paid out more than +120. Enjoy, but remember the most important advice you will ever read here–do not wager real money on these selections. We wager $0 in real money, and we know best the value of these selections.

Selection #1: USC -2 1/2 vs. Utah

A two-point conversion in Salt Lake City in October is all that separates USC and a 12-0 regular season. Utah’s home field advantage is worth a good 3 points or more, and this game is being played in Las Vegas. With a College Football Playoff berth on the line, we believe the Trojans could win this game by more than a touchdown.

Selection #2: TCU -2 1/2 vs. Kansas St.

Kansas State’s defense couldn’t stop TCU’s offense in October once the Horned Frogs trailed 28-10. TCU stormed back in the final two plus quarters, outscoring KSU 28-0. With a College Football Playoff on the line, we believe the Horned Frogs are peaking at the right time and sitting on a double-digit win. If so, Kansas State might be the weakest Sugar Bowl team in decades.

Selection #3: LSU +18 1/2 vs. Georgia

We don’t see LSU pulling off an incredible upset to clinch a Sugar Bowl bid, and the defending national champions still look like the prohibitive favorite to win back-to-back titles. However, we have this suspicion that LSU is going to make this game a lot closer than people expect. When a 38-21 game wins this wager (or 45-28 or 28-10), we’ll take a Brian Kelly team to cover.

Selection #4: Money Line Parlay 3 games @ +153.47

Buffalo over Akron

UTSA over North Texas

Boise St. over Fresno St.

Selection #5: Money Line Parlay 3 games @ +121.02

Troy over Coastal Carolina

Tulane over Central Florida

Michigan over Purdue

November 23, 2022

PiRate Picks For November 24-26, 2022

Just when we got our imaginary bank account into the black, we lost just enough this past week to take it a few dollars back into the red. What worked so well for a couple weeks came to a crashing halt last week in this topsy-turvy season.

We’re going to play it a bit more conservatively this week, but play more games in a conservative manner. We’ve chosen to games to play straight up, and then five Money Line Parlays. Remember, we never wager real money on these selections and suggest you follow our lead. Don’t get heartburn after consuming your turkey and then not be able to go max your cards out on Friday.

Selection #1: Eastern Michigan +1 1/2 vs. Central Michigan

Selection #2: Florida Atlantic + 7 1/2 vs. Western Kentucky

Selection #3: Money Line Parlay @ +136.48

Cincinnati over Tulane

LSU over Texas A&M

Selection #4: Money Line Parlay @ +136.90

Washington over Washington State

Ohio State over Michigan

Selection #5: Money Line Parlay @ +127.74

Southern Miss. over UL-Monroe

North Carolina over North Carolina St.

Selection #6: Money Line Parlay @ +125.59

Arizona over Arizona St.

Marshall over Georgia St.

Selection #7: Money Line Parlay @ +250.54

Buffalo over Kent St.

SMU over Memphis

Louisiana over Texas St.

November 16, 2022

PiRate Picks for November 17-19, 2022

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:10 pm

What a unique season it has been for this weekly feature. A blistering hot start followed by a long slump and then a rebound last week basically brought the imaginary bank account almost back to where it was before the season began.

Last week, we went heavy into teasers, playing 10 of them plus a Money Line Parlay. Our 10 teaser selections went 7-3, while the lost the big odds parlay. For the year, we are now back on the positive side with two full weeks remaining in the regular season. Can we hold onto this profit to make it our 17th imaginary winning season in 22 years? We’ll have to have another successful week with 7 and 10-point teasers with one big odds Money Line Parlay. Once again, it is more important what numbers we tease to and through than it is the teams involved.

Selection #1: 10-point Teaser at -120

Duke + 17 1/2 vs. Pittsburgh

Michigan St. -1/2 vs. Indiana

TCU +7 1/2 vs. Baylor

Selection #2: 10-point Teaser at -120

Georgia -12 1/2 vs. Kentucky

Stanford + 14 1/2 vs. California

Oklahoma St. +17 1/2 vs. Oklahoma

Selection #3: 7-point Teaser at -130

Connecticut +17 1/2 vs. Army

James Madison -1 1/2 vs. Georgia St.

Selection #4: 7-point Teaser at -130

Buffalo -6 1/2 vs. Akron

Texas -2 1/2 vs. Kansas

Selection #5: Money Line Parlay at +248.51

Florida Atlantic over Middle Tennessee State

Auburn over Western Kentucky


November 10, 2022

PiRate Picks–November 10, 2022

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:11 am

With apologies to Steve Sabol at NFL Films, the Autumn Wind is a PiRate Pick, blustering in from a sea of football spreads.

After a successful 3-1 week, our annual fake bank account for the season is just three bucks short of break-even, so a successful week of any kind this week will put us back in the black with a positive fake bank account.

There is a reason this weekly feature is late this week by three or four hours; we saw too many playable games, and we could not eliminate one over the other. Thus, we are issuing a whopping 11 selections this week. They are all exotic selections, as we have been doing much better with them than straight picks this year.

Included this week are six, 7-point teaser parlays, four, 10-point teaser parlays, and one money line parlay. Without further adieu, take a look but only wager imaginary money on these games or plan to be looking for a second job in order to pay the bills on your Christmas shopping.

Selection #1: 2 Team, 7-point Teaser @ -130

Georgia Southern +10 1/2 vs. Louisiana

Fresno St. – 2 1/2 vs. UNLV

Selection #2: 2 Team, 7-point Teaser @ -130

Arkansas +10 1/2 vs. LSU

Tennessee -13 1/2 vs. Missouri

Selection #3: 2 Team, 7-point Teaser @ -130

West Virginia +14 1/2 vs. Oklahoma

Pittsburgh +3 1/2 vs. Virginia

Selection #4: 2 Team, 7-point Teaser @ -130

Michigan St. -2 1/2 vs. Rutgers

James Madison – 1/2 vs. Old Dominion

Selection #5: 2 Team, 7-point Teaser @ -130

Clemson Pk. vs. Louisville

North Texas +12 1/2 vs. UAB

Selection #6: 2 Team, 7-point Teaser @ -130

Washington State -1 1/2 vs. Arizona State

Florida -1 1/2 vs. South Carolina

Selection #7: 3 Team, 10-point Teaser @ -120

Notre Dame -5 1/2 vs. Navy

Connecticut +24 1/2 vs. Liberty

Alabama -1 1/2 vs. Ole Miss

Selection #8: 3 Team, 10-point Teaser @ -120

Houston -9 1/2 vs. Temple

Penn St. – 1/2 vs. Maryland

Iowa + 11 1/2 vs. Wisconsin

Selection #9: 3 Team, 10-point Teaser @ -120

Central Florida +11 1/2 vs. Tulane

Iowa State +8 1/2 vs. Oklahoma State

Marshall +11 1/2 vs. Appalachian State

Selection #10: 3 Team, 10-point Teaser @ -120

South Alabama -6 1/2 vs. Texas State

Georgia -6 1/2 vs. Mississippi State

Southern Mississippi +14 1/2 vs. Coastal Carolina

Selection #11: Money Line Parlay @ +180.91

Memphis over Tulsa

Cincinnati over East Carolina

Texas over TCU

November 2, 2022

PiRate Picks–November 3, 2022

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:12 pm

This has been an upside down season for these picks in this weekly feature. In most years, we start out below .500 and then climb upward as the season continues. October and early November are usually our best weeks in most years. This year, we began as hot as can be with a 16-5 start against the spread. Since then, a steady decline has led us to try exotic options that we have not relied on in years. Last week, we incorporated a teaser parlay in our picks. It was a winner. 10 years ago, we had a successful season by relying on teasers. So, without further adieu, we try one 7-point teaser parlay and three 10-point teaser parlays. As always, please use these choices for entertainment purposes only. So, you should get a good laugh from these selections and thank your lucky stars (and intelligence) that you do like us and do not wager real money on the selections.

Selection #1: 2 team, 7-point Teaser (-130)

North Carolina – 1/2 vs. Virginia

Tulane – 1/2 vs. Tulsa

Here you can see us playing the numbers more than the teams. Lowering a spread from 7 1/2 to 1/2 gives us a free point, as the game cannot end in a tie, so 1/2 is merely a pick for an outright win.

Selection #2: 3 team, 10-point teaser (-120)

Duke + 1/2 vs. Boston College

TCU + 1/2 vs. Texas Tech

Kentucky + 8 1/2 vs. Missouri

Again, the point numbers are more important than the games. We’d prefer to move down to – 1/2 instead of + 1/2, but we expect both Duke and TCU to win, but using a Money Line would not give us good odds. As for Kentucky, moving them from a small favorite to an underdog of more than a touchdown looks promising, even though Missouri looked much better beating South Carolina while Kentucky was being demolished against Tennessee.

Selection #3: 3 team, 10-point teaser (-120)

Virginia Tech + 7 1/2 vs. Georgia Tech

Middle Tennessee + 7 1/2 vs. Louisiana Tech

Mississippi State – 2 1/2 vs. Auburn

The first two games in this parlay are obvious numbers’ plays allowing us to move two short favorites to underdogs of more than a touchdown. The third leg of this parlay goes against the 2022 tide. All the teams playing under an interim head coach the week after the head coach was fired have played their best game of the year the next game. However, none of these teams were in the SEC. Carnell Williams will have a rude awakening going up against Mike Leach. Our guess is the Bulldogs will win this game by 10-14 points, so moving the number to less than a field goal looks good to us.

Selection #4: 3 team, 10-point teaser (-120)

South Carolina + 3 1/2 vs. Vanderbilt

UCLA – 1/2 vs. Arizona St.

Tennessee + 18 1/2 vs. Georgia

This is the more variable parlay. South Carolina failed miserably against Missouri last week after Missouri barely held on to beat Vanderbilt. The Commodores also got an extra week to prepare for this game, so the spread is only 6 1/2 points. USC must win this game to have a good shot at bowl eligibility, while Vanderbilt has not won an SEC game since before Covid. We’ll go with the Gamecocks getting more than a field goal. UCLA moving to 1/2 point is our favorite teaser number. As for the last game in this parlay, Georgia figures to have about a 55-60% chance on winning this game, but if this game becomes a blowout of more than two touchdowns, we would tend to believe the winning team would be the team that earned the top-ranking in the first College Football Playoff Poll.

October 27, 2022

PiRate Picks — October 27, 2022

Due to overwhelming new scheduling issues, this feature is truncated this week.

Selection #1: 3, team 10-point Teaser (-130)

Miami (O) + 1 1/2 vs. Akron

Penn St. + 25 1/2 vs. Ohio St.

Virginia + 11 1/2 vs. Miami (Fla)

Selection #2: Money Line Parlay @ +169.53

South Carolina over Missouri

SMU over Tulsa

Selection #3: Money Line Parlay @ +166.75

North Carolina over Pittsburgh

Wake Forest over Louisville

October 20, 2022

PiRate Picks–October 20, 2022

A Fool’s Folly

As we always forewarn every week on this particular feature, do not use this entry as real money wagering reference material. This is purely for entertainment purposes, and this season has been a lot more entertaining to those that like comedies of errors. Last week’s picks went 3-3, which resulted in a minor loss. This week, we go with five selections, all against the spread, and a couple swimming against our normal current. Normally, we are more interested in the numbers than the names on our selections. This week, we are choosing five games where we think our pick has been undervalued. It is not our forte, but then our forte needs reinforcing.

Selection #1: Ball St. -2 1/2 over Eastern Michigan

This goes against everything we look for in making a selection. EMU has been playing hot and cold all season, and they are actually due to be hot this week. However, we think that Ball State is 7 to 10 points better, so we are taking the Cardinals as a short favorite. We considered bringing out the big 10-point teaser play with this game included to make it BSU +7 1/2, but there just weren’t two other games to combine it with to our liking.

Selection #2: Ohio +3 vs. Northern Illinois

We’d like this a lot more at +3 1/2, but we didn’t make the selection when it briefly was that number. Ohio has improved by 10 points since the start of the year, while NIU has been mediocre, and the Huskies are not playing up to their talent level. The MAC East is definitely up for grabs, and the Bobcats are in the mix. We believe Ohio will win this game outright.

Selection #3: Ole Miss + 1 1/2 vs. LSU

The Rebels have not had a lot of success in Baton Rouge, last winning there in 2008. Ole Miss has a chance to win the SEC West with Alabama coming to the Grove in November. LSU is coming off an impressive road win at Florida, and we believe the odds have been moved too many points in the Tigers’ favor based on these perceptions. Ole Miss has lapses in most of their games, but then they find their mark and go on big scoring runs, almost like a basketball team. Our belief here is that LSU might have the lead in the second half, before the Rebels score two or three times to win the game.

Selection #4: Purdue + 2 1/2 vs. Wisconsin

This was the game that had us wait to put our picks out, and it never went to 3 points during the time we isolated on it. This game may be a must-win game for the Badgers’ bowl hopes this year. Losing at Michigan State left UW with a thin margin in the hunt for a 6-6 record. On the other hand, Purdue is now squarely in the Big Ten West race with Illinois and can become bowl eligible with a win. As we said above, this game and pointspread goes against all we normally play, but maybe that’s a good thing in this strange year.

Selection #5: Penn St. -4 vs. Minnesota

Again, this is another against the current play. Normally, we would not consider a 4-point favorite coming off a deflating loss as a playable game. However, in this case, we believe the Nittany Lions might win this game by double digits. They had the third quarter lead at Michigan, and then the Wolverines proved too strong. Minnesota has not yet righted the ship after losing Tanner Morgan for the Purdue game. Morgan’s return didn’t propel the Gophers against surprising Illinois last week. Additionally, Morgan exited last week’s game with a blow to the head, and while we expect him to play this week, he won’t be 100% healthy. This looks like the perfect setting for a James Franklin-coached team to rebound with an impressive win to make next week’s very big game meaningful. Jimmy Frank will not led his team look ahead to the Buckeyes.

October 12, 2022

PiRate Picks for October 13-15, 2022

Crash! Like a meteorite falling to Earth, our picks free-fell and left a tail of fire as they fell. In just two lousy weeks, a 16-5 start with an incredible profit has been reduced to a minor loss after failing to pick a single correct selection last week.

Of course, the good news for those of you that read this strictly for enjoyment is that your profit and loss statement has remained the same as ours, nothing wagered and nothing lost or gained, so we can come right back with some selections, knowing we will still have the same amount of money in our real accounts, regardless of what our imaginary accounts indicate.

This week, we add a couple of teaser selections, something we have used in the past, sometimes with very successful results and sometimes stinkers. When we issue teaser selections, it is more important which numbers the teasers pass than the teams involved. We look to change the margin in a way that picks up a large percentage in historical actual spread. Teasing through 3, 6, 7, 10, and 13 points picks up some extra oomph. Additionally, being able to tease a favorite down to just 1 point is another good option. And, if you can tease a favorite into an underdog status of 3 1/2 points or 7 1/2 points, you enjoy some extra advantage.

We haven’t forgotten money line parlays this week, as we have a 3-team parlay going off at better than 2-1 odds, something that won big for us in September.

Without further adieu, here are this week’s selections.

Selection #1: Iowa State +17 vs. Texas

When the margin went from 16 1/2 to 17 late Wednesday afternoon (when this feature is composed), this became a play for us. While we believe this is a single-digit game, we waited for that precious half-point. Iowa State’s defense can slow down the combination of Ewers and Robinson, maybe not enough to win, but enough to lose by 7-13 points.

Selection #2: North Carolina State + 3 1/2 vs. Syracuse

Syracuse being undefeated is a feel good story, but we think the wrong team is favored, and getting that hook onto the 3 makes it quite attractive for our system.

Selection #3: 6-point teaser with 2 games @ -110

Alabama -1 vs. Tennessee

North Carolina -1 vs. Duke

As we mentioned above, teasing a favorite down to 1 point is something we like. We believe the Tide and Tar Heels will both win, and teasing down to 1 is valuable

Selection #4: 9-point teaser with 3 games @ -107

Clemson +5 1/2 vs. Florida St.

Arkansas + 7 1/2 vs. BYU

Illinois + 15 1/2 vs. Minnesota

Taking Clemson from -3 1/2 to +5 1/2 goes through 3 on both sides, and we like the percentage advantage knowing that a 3-point CU loss still wins for this selection. Taking Arkansas from favorite to underdog by more than 7 and knowing that K. J. Jefferson is now likely to play makes the second leg very attractive. Taking a hot home dog and making them more than a 2-touchdown underdog in a game we believe the Illini have a 35-40% chance of winning completes the trio.

Selection #5: Money Line Parlay @ +238.81

Baylor over West Virginia

Miami (O) over Bowling Green

Oregon State over Washington State

West Virginia coach Neal Brown, hoping to not be fired in midseason like five others have been fired so far, has made statements that he knew turning around the Mountaineer program would be a long process. When a coach says this, he is admitting that his team is outmanned. Brown’s job is only a little more secure than Bryan Harsin’s job at the moment, while Baylor is still in the Big 12 race to finish in second place and make the conference championship game.

Miami of Ohio might lose another conference game this year, but we can’t see woeful Bowling Green being that team.

Oregon State and Washington State should be an excellent game to watch as an impartial football fan. The two teams are stronger than many give credit for, and we think the Beavers’ home field advantage is worth just enough to give OSU a slight advantage.

Remember: Dont wager real money on these games!

Special Note: We here at the PiRate Ratings do not report on rumors, as we previously were professional sports journalists. In order to report on a story, we wanted two different sources independent of each other to give us nearly identical information. We have such information, and the news is not good for Auburn football coach Bryan Harsin. Rumors of his being dismissed now have two different sources telling us that a substantial loss to Ole Miss this weekend would be the end of his coaching tenure at the Loveliest Village On The Plains. What substantial means was not explained.

October 6, 2022

PiRate Picks — October 6, 2022

After coming back down to Earth last week with a 2-5 record against the spread, our seasonal record now stands at 18-10. That’s still abnormally high. Let’s hope we can get back on the winning side this week with seven selections, hoping to go 4-3 and be happy with a profit.

About 18 other games came within a point or two of being playable for us in our in-house method of picking games either against the spread, the total, or in creating a money line parlay where the odds are +120 or higher, preferably higher than +130 or +140.

Here are this week’s selections. Remember: We never wager real money on our selections, and we suggest you follow this lead.

Selection #1: Alabama and Texas A&M Over 51 1/2

First, we expect Bryce Young to be ready for this game, and he will only need a half or so of time he will be needed, as Alabama exacts some revenge against the Aggies. We chose to take the Over here, because ‘Bama could cover the total by themselves. We aren’t saying that a 52-0 game is in the offing, but 41-14 would be realistic.

Selection #2: Georgia Southern and Georgia St. Under 67 1/2

Both of these teams can put points on the scoreboard and score 35 points against a defense the caliber of their opponent this week, but this heated rivalry game is liable to have added defensive stops. Thus, we think the total is a little too high. We think this game could be 31-28, as high as 35-28, and we still win at 35-31. As long as this game doesn’t go to overtime, we think this is our top play of the week.

Selection #3: Army and Wake Forest Under 66 1/2

Our thinking here is that Army will try to reduce this game to a minimum of plays, and Wake Forest is coming off consecutive big games. Army’s offense isn’t assessing the real estate like it has in recent years, so scoring 20 points is not automatic, as they could only manage 14 against a weaker Georgia State defense last week. Wake Forest gave up 25 points to a Vanderbilt team that is somewhat comparable offensively to Army’s offensive abilities, and the Demon Deacons put up a strong defensive effort last week. We see this game as a 35-14, and 45-21 still wins this one.

Selection #4: Arkansas + 9 1/2 vs. Mississippi State

It is not in our DNA to play an underdog at 9 1/2 points, as 10 1/2 gives us so much better odds for the money. And, we know that teams that play Alabama frequently show the effects of the pasting they received in the next game.

Our internal game projection makes this spread playable for us, as we see this as almost a tossup and only give the Bulldogs the edge due to home field advantage. We don’t see State winning by more than a touchdown, if they win at all.

Selection #5: Money Line Parlay at +144.92

Notre Dame over BYU

Utah over UCLA

We wanted to find a way to get the Utes into our selections this week, and this appears to be the best possible play. After dropping the opener to Florida, the Utes have begun to look like the class of the Pac-12. As for the Notre Dame-BYU game, it is our belief that Notre Dame’s game with Marshall was a wake up call for the Irish. Looking at how close they came to winning at Ohio State compared to how the Buckeyes have fared since, we believe Notre Dame is sitting on their best game of the year this week. This is a neutral site game in Las Vegas, and it could be one of the more exciting TV games. But, we think the outcome is not all that much in doubt.

Selection #6: Money Line Parlay at +148.05

Nevada over Colorado St.

Tulane over East Carolina

These two games are simply a matter of our thinking that the ML is too low for the favorites, and thus, it gives us an inflated potential payout for playing the two favorites.

Money Line Parlay at +202.93

Oklahoma St. over Texas Tech

Kentucky over South Carolina

North Carolina St. over Florida St.

Similar to the #6 selection, our beliefs that these three favorites will win, while not as strong as the two-gamer above, still remains strong enough to make it playable at better than 2-1 odds.

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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