The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 26, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 17: December 31, 2017

Week 17 PiRate Rating Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Total
Baltimore Cincinnati 13.1 12.6 13.6 38
Detroit Green Bay 3.2 3.0 3.7 46
Miami Buffalo 1.8 1.6 1.3 41
Atlanta Carolina 3.3 3.8 3.0 50
Tampa Bay New Orleans -7.9 -7.3 -8.0 49
Tennessee Jacksonville -2.4 -2.2 -2.8 45
New England N.Y. Jets 16.4 16.9 16.5 39
Indianapolis Houston 3.3 3.4 3.5 44
Pittsburgh Cleveland 18.8 18.3 21.8 39
N.Y. Giants Washington -4.9 -4.6 -5.0 42
Minnesota Chicago 12.7 12.3 13.4 34
Philadelphia Dallas 6.9 6.0 8.0 46
LA Chargers Oakland 9.3 8.4 10.2 44
Seattle Arizona 8.7 8.9 8.3 41
Denver Kansas City -6.0 -6.1 -6.4 42
LA Rams San Francisco 13.7 13.3 14.1 50

Current PiRate Ratings–12/26/2017

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 108.3 108.4 108.4 108.3 23 12-3
Buffalo 96.0 96.3 96.1 96.1 20 8-7
Miami 95.8 95.9 95.3 95.7 21 6-9
N. Y. Jets 94.3 94.0 94.4 94.3 16 5-10
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 107.0 107.1 107.2 107.1 23 12-3
Baltimore 105.5 105.7 105.6 105.6 22 9-6
Cincinnati 95.3 96.1 94.9 95.5 16 6-9
Cleveland 90.7 91.4 87.9 90.0 16 0-15
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Jacksonville 103.3 103.2 103.4 103.3 23 10-5
Tennessee 97.8 98.0 97.6 97.8 22 8-7
Indianapolis 92.3 92.7 91.8 92.3 22 4-11
Houston 91.0 91.2 90.4 90.9 22 3-12
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Chargers 104.5 104.1 104.7 104.4 23 8-7
Kansas City 103.1 103.2 103.5 103.3 23 9-6
Oakland 97.7 98.3 97.0 97.7 21 6-9
Denver 95.2 95.0 95.1 95.1 19 5-10
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Philadelphia 106.7 105.4 107.7 106.6 23 13-2
Dallas 101.8 101.4 101.7 101.7 23 8-7
Washington 98.4 98.6 98.2 98.4 24 7-8
N.Y. Giants 91.5 92.0 91.2 91.6 18 2-13
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Minnesota 107.4 107.0 108.1 107.5 18 12-3
Detroit 99.4 99.7 99.2 99.5 27 8-7
Green Bay 98.2 98.7 97.5 98.1 19 7-8
Chicago 96.7 96.8 96.7 96.7 16 5-10
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 107.4 106.8 107.9 107.4 28 11-4
Atlanta 103.9 103.7 104.1 103.9 24 9-6
Carolina 103.2 102.4 103.5 103.0 26 11-4
Tampa Bay 97.5 97.5 97.9 97.6 21 4-11
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 107.3 106.6 107.9 107.3 25 11-4
Seattle 102.9 103.0 102.3 102.7 20 9-6
Arizona 97.2 97.1 97.0 97.1 21 7-8
San Francisco 96.1 95.8 96.3 96.1 25 5-10

Playoff Scenarios

You can go to any sports site online to see the generic playoff scenarios, where you can see what must happen for each potential playoff team to earn their spot.  Let’s take a look at the logical scenarios in the order that they are most likely to occur.

AFC

Baltimore

The Ravens have the overwhelming advantage among the teams vying for the two wildcard spots.  The 4 division championships have been clinched.  Baltimore is the number 5 seed if they win at home over Cincinnati Sunday.  The Ravens have about a 75% chance of winning this game and getting in at #5.  Even if the Ravens lose to the Bengals, if Either Buffalo or Tennessee lose but not both, the Ravens still get in as the number 6 seed.  If Baltimore loses, and both Buffalo and Tennessee lose, then Baltimore stays at number 5.

Baltimore falls out of the playoffs only if they lose to Cincinnati, and both Buffalo and Tennessee win.  The Ravens have about a 95% chance of making the playoffs.

Tennessee

The Titans have the best chance of making the playoffs as the 6-seed (or even 5-seed) of the remaining contenders.  If Tennessee beats Jacksonville on Sunday, the Titans are in as the 6-seed if Baltimore wins, and the 5-seed if Baltimore loses.  What Buffalo does in this instance does not affect the Titans moving up to number 5; only what Baltimore does affects the Titans seeding if they beat a Jacksonville team that has nothing to play for (3-seed win or lose) and will most likely rest their key players.

Tennessee can still make the playoffs at 8-8 if Buffalo and the LA Chargers lose.  They hold all tiebreakers over the Bills and Chargers.

Tennessee misses out on the playoffs if the Titans lose to the Jaguars and either Buffalo or the Chargers win.  The Titans chances for making the playoffs are about 55%.

Los Angeles Chargers

This is where the scenarios get a little tricky.  First, the Chargers can only get in the playoffs if they win and Tennessee loses.  However, they still need some help.  Either Baltimore must also win or Buffalo must lose, or else the Chargers will be eliminated.  If Buffalo and Baltimore win, then the Chargers get in over the Bills, but if Buffalo wins and Baltimore loses, then the Bills take the 6-seed.  Of course, if Tennessee and Buffalo lose, and the Chargers win, then the Chargers make it over both the Titans and Bills.  The Chargers have about a 37.5% chance of making the playoffs under these scenarios.

Buffalo

The Bills are on life support with only a 1 in 10 chance of making the playoffs.  There are at least two different sets of scenarios that will get the Bills in.  If they win at Miami in what will most likely be Jay Cutler’s real swan song, then they can get in if Baltimore loses, which will then eliminate the Chargers.  They would move up to a 5-seed in this scenario if Tennessee loses or gets the 6-seed if Tennessee wins.

The Bills will also make it as the 6-seed if they win and both Tennessee and the LA Chargers lose.  They can then earn the 5-seed if Baltimore also loses.

Top Seed

New England holds the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh, so the only way the Steelers can get the top seed is for the Jets to beat the Pats, while the Steelers send Cleveland to 0-16.

 

NFC

Philadelphia has clinched the top seed.  If Minnesota beats Chicago in Minneapolis, the Vikings get the 2-seed.  Minnesota can still get the 2-seed, if they lose to the Bears, and they will still get the 2-seed unless Carolina wins, New Orleans, loses, and the Rams lose. Then, Carolina would get this seed.  Chances are better than 95% that Minnesota gets the 2-seed.

For the 3-seed, the LA Rams hold the tiebreaker over New Orleans and Carolina, while New Orleans holds the tiebreaker over Carolina.

The 5-seed will go to either Carolina or New Orleans, whichever does not win the NFC South (New Orleans has about a 60% chance and Carolina a 40% chance).

The 6-seed is what is up for grabs

Atlanta

The Falcons earn this spot with a win over Carolina or a Seattle loss to Arizona.

Seattle

The Seahawks must win and Atlanta must lose.

Here are our Playoff Projections for this week.

AFC Seeding
1 New England
2 Pittsburgh
3 Jacksonville
4 Kansas City
5 Baltimore
6 Tennessee
NFC Seeding
1 Philadelphia
2 Minnesota
3 LA Rams
4 New Orleans
5 Carolina
6 Atlanta
Wildcard Round
Kansas City over Baltimore
Jacksonville over Tennessee
Carolina over New Orleans
LA Rams over Atlanta
 
Divisional Round
New England over Kansas City
Jacksonville over Pittsburgh
Carolina over Philadelphia
LA Rams over Minnesota
 
Conference Championship
New England over Jacksonville
LA Rams over Carolina
 
Super Bowl 52
LA Rams over New England

 

 

 

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December 12, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 15: December 14-18, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Total
Indianapolis Denver 0.5 0.8 0.3 41
Detroit Chicago 6.2 6.5 5.7 45
Kansas City LA Chargers -1.7 -0.8 -2.0 46
N. Y. Giants Philadelphia -12.6 -10.6 -14.6 43
Carolina Green Bay 7.1 5.8 8.3 48
Minnesota Cincinnati 12.9 11.7 14.0 35
Buffalo Miami 2.4 2.8 2.7 41
Jacksonville Houston 11.1 10.8 11.8 44
New Orleans N. Y. Jets 16.2 16.0 16.6 47
Washington Arizona 5.4 5.5 5.3 47
Cleveland Baltimore -12.0 -11.7 -12.2 39
Seattle LA Rams 2.4 3.0 1.4 46
Pittsburgh New England 1.1 1.0 1.1 45
San Francisco Tennessee 0.2 0.0 0.7 45
Oakland Dallas -1.9 -0.9 -2.7 47
Tampa Bay Atlanta -4.5 -4.2 -4.4 48

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 107.8 107.9 107.9 107.8 22 10-3
Miami 96.5 96.5 96.1 96.4 21 6-7
Buffalo 95.9 96.3 95.9 96.0 20 7-6
N. Y. Jets 94.1 93.8 94.2 94.1 18 5-8
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 105.8 105.9 106.0 105.9 23 11-2
Baltimore 105.7 106.0 105.8 105.8 22 7-6
Cincinnati 95.6 96.4 95.2 95.8 17 5-8
Cleveland 91.2 91.8 91.1 91.3 17 0-13
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Jacksonville 102.7 102.6 102.8 102.7 22 9-4
Tennessee 97.7 97.8 97.3 97.6 22 8-5
Houston 94.6 94.7 94.1 94.5 22 4-9
Indianapolis 93.0 93.3 92.5 92.9 22 3-10
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Chargers 105.8 105.1 106.2 105.7 23 7-6
Kansas City 101.0 101.4 101.2 101.2 23 7-6
Oakland 97.5 98.1 96.7 97.4 23 6-7
Denver 95.0 94.9 94.8 94.9 19 4-9
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Philadelphia 107.4 106.0 108.8 107.4 25 11-2
Dallas 102.4 101.9 102.4 102.3 24 7-6
Washington 97.5 97.7 97.3 97.5 25 5-8
N.Y. Giants 92.8 93.4 92.2 92.8 18 2-11
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Minnesota 105.5 105.1 106.2 105.6 18 10-3
Detroit 100.3 100.6 100.0 100.3 27 7-6
Green Bay 99.4 99.9 98.7 99.3 21 7-6
Chicago 96.6 96.7 96.8 96.7 18 4-9
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 107.4 106.8 107.9 107.4 29 9-4
Atlanta 104.1 103.9 104.3 104.1 26 8-5
Carolina 103.5 102.7 104.0 103.4 27 9-4
Tampa Bay 97.2 97.2 97.4 97.3 22 4-9
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 104.9 104.4 105.5 104.9 25 9-4
Seattle 104.4 104.4 103.9 104.2 21 8-5
Arizona 95.7 95.6 95.5 95.6 22 6-7
San Francisco 94.4 94.3 94.5 94.4 23 3-10

NFL Playoff Projections

Beginning this week, we look forward predicting the outcomes of every game and then use the NFL tiebreaker system to forecast seeds.  Prior to week 15, we use only the PiRate Ratings themselves to estimate won-loss record.

This week, we have Seattle winning a tiebreaker over the Rams for the NFC West, with the Rams getting a wildcard, and we have the Saints winning a tiebreaker over the Panthers in the NFC South, with the Panthers getting the other wildcard.

In the AFC, we still show New England getting the top seed by virtue of a road win against the Steelers.  We have the Chargers edging the Chiefs in the AFC West, but we show KC getting the last playoff spot due to a possible 4-game collapse by Tennessee.

This is rather sketchy and only one possible outcome for the season.  Obviously, by this time next week, the probabilities will be drastically reduced with many key games.

AFC Seeding
1 New England
2 Pittsburgh
3 Jacksonville
4 LA Chargers
5 Baltimore
6 Kansas City
   
NFC Seeding
1 Philadelphia
2 Minnesota
3 New Orleans
4 Seattle
5 LA Rams
6 Carolina
Wildcard Round
Jacksonville over Kansas City
LA Chargers over Baltimore
New Orleans over Carolina
Seattle over LA Rams
 
Divisional Round
New England over LA Chargers
Jacksonville over Pittsburgh
Seattle over Philadelphia
Minnesota over New Orleans
 
Conference Championship
New England over Jacksonville
Minnesota over Seattle
 
Super Bowl 52
New England over Minnesota

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 5, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 14: December 7-11, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Total
Atlanta New Orleans -1.0 -0.5 -1.4 57
Buffalo Indianapolis 6.3 6.5 6.7 42
Carolina Minnesota 0.1 0.0 -0.2 43
Cincinnati Chicago 7.5 7.9 7.3 35
Cleveland Green Bay -4.4 -4.3 -4.0 38
Houston San Francisco 6.9 7.2 6.7 45
Kansas City Oakland 5.6 5.5 6.3 46
Tampa Bay Detroit 0.4 -0.3 0.8 49
N. Y. Giants Dallas -3.5 -2.8 -3.7 42
Arizona Tennessee -0.1 0.2 0.0 46
Denver N. Y. Jets 0.0 0.4 -0.6 40
LA Chargers Washington 9.7 9.2 10.2 50
Jacksonville Seattle 0.9 1.0 1.3 41
LA Rams Philadelphia -1.1 -0.4 -1.7 47
Pittsburgh Baltimore 2.4 2.1 2.4 43
Miami New England -11.9 -11.6 -12.7 43

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 109.6 109.5 109.9 109.6 22 10-2
Buffalo 96.1 96.5 96.1 96.2 20 6-6
N. Y. Jets 96.2 95.8 96.4 96.2 20 5-7
Miami 94.7 94.9 94.1 94.6 21 5-7
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Baltimore 105.7 106.0 105.8 105.8 21 7-5
Pittsburgh 105.5 105.6 105.7 105.6 22 10-2
Cincinnati 98.8 99.4 98.6 99.0 17 5-7
Cleveland 91.0 91.7 90.9 91.2 17 0-12
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Jacksonville 102.1 102.1 102.1 102.1 21 8-4
Tennessee 98.1 98.0 97.8 98.0 23 8-4
Houston 96.6 96.7 96.3 96.5 22 4-8
Indianapolis 92.8 93.1 92.3 92.7 22 3-9
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Chargers 104.8 104.2 105.1 104.7 23 6-6
Kansas City 100.5 101.0 100.6 100.7 23 6-6
Oakland 98.0 98.5 97.3 97.9 23 6-6
Denver 93.2 93.2 92.9 93.1 20 3-9
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Philadelphia 109.2 107.9 110.5 109.2 24 10-2
Dallas 100.6 100.3 100.4 100.5 24 6-6
Washington 98.0 98.1 97.9 98.0 27 5-7
N.Y. Giants 94.6 95.0 94.2 94.6 18 2-10
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Minnesota 105.8 105.3 106.6 105.9 17 10-2
Detroit 100.2 100.7 99.9 100.3 27 6-6
Green Bay 98.0 98.4 97.3 97.9 21 6-6
Chicago 93.8 94.1 93.8 93.9 18 3-9
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 107.7 107.0 108.2 107.6 30 9-3
Atlanta 103.6 103.5 103.8 103.6 27 7-5
Carolina 103.0 102.3 103.4 102.9 26 8-4
Tampa Bay 97.6 97.4 97.8 97.6 22 4-8
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 105.1 104.5 105.8 105.1 23 9-3
Seattle 104.7 104.6 104.3 104.5 20 8-4
Arizona 95.1 95.2 94.8 95.0 23 5-7
San Francisco 92.7 92.6 92.6 92.6 23 2-10

This Week’s Playoff Projections

AFC Seeding
1 New England
2 Pittsburgh
3 Jacksonville
4 LA Chargers
5 Tennessee
6 Baltimore
   
NFC Seeding
1 Minnesota
2 Philadelphia
3 Los Angeles
4 New Orleans
5 Seattle
6 Carolina
Wildcard Round
Baltimore over Jacksonville
LA Chargers over Tennessee
LA Rams over Carolina
New Orleans over Seattle
 
Divisional Round
New England over Baltimore
LA Chargers over Pittsburgh
Minnesota over New Orleans
Philadelphia over LA Rams
 
Conference Championship
New England over LA Chargers
Minnesota over Philadelphia
 
Super Bowl 52
New England over Minnesota

 

September 14, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for September 14-18, 2017

Yuck!  You could say that about the weather in recent weeks.  You could say that about there not being enough “United” in the United States in recent months.  You could say that about being a Dodgers’ fan during the last fortnight or being a fan of a team that has a 4-game set with the Cleveland Indians.  You could say that about prime-time TV for the last 40+ years.  But, most of all, you can sum up our money line parlay selections through two weeks of the football season with that one word.

We usually start each season off a bit weak and then begin to succeed around the first week of October, culminating in a big couple of weeks in the second half that brings us a positive return on investment for the season.  We have to admit that so far this year, there seems to be just enough added parity in college football along with the usual uncertainty at the start of the NFL season to make this downright difficult to find parlays that return the type of odds we look for.  Sure, we could take Alabama at minus one zillion and win a dollar, and we could even put together a parlay of 10 favorites like Penn State over Georgia State and maybe get a parlay at -500, where for every 500 we put up we can win another 100.  But, that isn’t our style.  We are on the lookout only for parlays that give us +120 or higher odds.

We selected 5 parlays last week.  Each had excellent payout odds, and we were still alive in some of the really good ones with just one game left.  We selected Oklahoma to win at Ohio State and could have returned a nice chunk of cash playing that game as a singleton.  No, we had to add Stanford to that game to get +1010 odds, and when Stanford began the game looking like they could possibly win, we were pumped with the possibility that we could get far ahead on the plus side for the season.  Alas, USC started to look like the prognosticators believed they would look, and the Cardinal went back to Palo Alto with a huge loss on their slate.

So, for the week, we invested $500 of imaginary bankroll and received back $278 for a loss of $222 or -44% Return on Investment.  For the season, the numbers worsen to $600 invested and $278 returned for a -55.6% ROI.

As bad as the above sounds, it will sound even worse when we tell you that we didn’t really like 90% of the possible money lines this week.  We couldn’t find much value in this week’s college schedule, and the NFL still looks mysterious.  At this point of the season, and with two teams not even playing a game in week one, the NFL wars leave us trapped in a giant minefield.  Is there a new Dallas Cowboys team out there destined to go from last place in 2016 to the best record in the league?  What do we make of the LA Rams looking like the New England Patriots in week one, or the Patriots’ defense looking more like the 49ers defense?  What about the anemic offenses in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Houston, and New York (pick your poison with the Giants or Jets)?  What about the AFC West?  Could it be that four of the top 10 teams or at least three of the top five teams in the AFC come from that division?  The Chiefs and Raiders dominated in week one like it was 1966 through 1969 in the old AFL.

What we are trying to say is that we are only risking $200 of imaginary bankroll this week.  We are selecting one college and one NFL parlay, and we admit up front, we do not particularly like either selection, because they both required too many games to get the odds we like.  If we win one of the two, it will be a profitable week, but we are telling you before you see the two picks that we have little faith in either one this week.  As we said before, if you want a guaranteed winner to about 96% possibility, then you can come up with a parlay of about 10 sure things and still have to play them at ridiculous odds so that one upset would empty your account.

For instance, you could make a parlay of Penn State over Georgia State, Virginia Tech over East Carolina, Oklahoma over Tulane, Ohio State over Army, Alabama over Colorado State, Utah over San Jose State, Washington over Fresno State, and Michigan over Air Force.  All eight teams are prohibitive favorites, and it is an almost certain possibility that all eight favorites will win, making this almost a sure thing.  The problem is that for every $100 you put into a parlay like this, you can win a whopping $18.37 profit on your investment.  It is actually a sucker bet, because out of those eight sure things, at this point in the season, one of those games is not the sure thing it looks to be, and we don’t really know which one it is, but rest assured one of these sure thing games will turn out not to be that way.

With that in mind, here are our two official selections for the week.

#1 @ +179  
Must Win Must Lose
Temple U Mass
South Carolina Kentucky
Duke Baylor
Wake Forest Utah St.
Oregon Wyoming

Having to go five games deep to get a decent potential ROI, we would expect to get better favorites than this quintet.  We went with Temple mainly because this is a selection against U Mass.  South Carolina and Kentucky look like it should be close to a tossup, but in Columbia, we believe the Gamecocks are a touchdown better, and they are coming off a semi-impressive win over Missouri, while the Wildcats have been close to clawless through two lackluster wins.  We are taking Duke over Baylor for the same reason we took Temple; Baylor has looked anemic in two games under Matt Rhule, and the transition to his style of play could be really tough.  Wake Forest looks to have something going this year under Dave Clawson,  The Demon Deacons took Boston College to the woodshed last week, and at home against a so-so Utah State team, they “appear” to be ready to start the season at 3-0.  Oregon looks like one of those sure things against Wyoming, but you never know what might happen in Laramie.  That is a subtle home field advantage for the Cowboys, and an improving Duck team may be walking into an ambush.

 

#2 @ +276  
Must Win Must Lose
Baltimore Cleveland
Carolina Buffalo
New England New Orleans
Kansas City Philadelphia
Oakland NY Jets

The Ravens looked more like the Baltimore teams of 4 to 5 years ago last week when they punished Andy Dalton and Cincinnati.  The Bengals score after 60 minutes was the same as their score before the game kicked off.  The Ravens now get Cleveland for their home-opener, but the Browns looked like they were a force to be reckoned with against Pittsburgh in week one.  It could be that “Money Ball” is about to start paying off near Lake Erie.  But, we believe the Ravens will be up to the task this Sunday.  Is Carolina going to look more like the 2015 team than the 2016 team?  Did Buffalo really look that bad against the 32nd best team in the NFL and really have to worry about beating the Jets?  If so, then the Panthers should win by double digits this week.  New England playing New Orleans should never be allowed to happen again.  No, we don’t mean the two teams should never be scheduled, but how do you give one team and extra three days off while making the other team have to play on the road on Monday Night?  4 extra days to prepare for a game, coming off the debacle in Foxboro on opening night against the Chiefs?  We’ll take the road team in this one.  In taking Kansas City and Oakland at home against the Eagles and Jets, we are going under the assumption that the two bitter rivals are possibly the two best teams in the NFL.

So, there you have it for this week.  Remember that the PiRates never wager real money on our selections.  It is just a mathematical exercise for fun.  Please do not wager real money on our just-for-fun selections.  That even goes for the five or six of you who are real professionals who claim that you have a unique way of playing our ratings that makes your weekends very profitable.  It reminds us of the football handicapper with a system that consistently won 26% of his single sides wagers and never realized that if he just took the other side every week, he’d be the most successful guy in Vegas.

September 7, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Selections For: September 7-11, 2017

Recent PiRate Ratings history has shown that our money line parlay selections have been rather mediocre in the month of September. It figures, since we only select parlays that produce returns of better than 100% if they win. It can be harder earlier in the season to get a solid grasp on teams that we feel are certain to win and not just should win.
Today, we are going to include two long shot parlays that we felt compelled to select, just for the fact that they offer crazy returns, while at the same time looking quite possible.
We hope you do not wager your hard-earned money based on our advice. We know there are many of you that do not heed that recommendation. If you want to lose, you should at least lose picking games from your heart and brain. We never lose, because all we wager is the little bit of time it takes to select our parlays. In our hearts and brains, this is always a lot of fun, so we are guaranteed winners every week.

As for the opening week of the pretend wagering season, we selected just one parlay. It was looking good for awhile, until the Cal Bears put a hurtin’ on North Carolina in Chapel Hill. We lost the 5-game parlay on that one game, as the other four went our way. Alas, as with parlays that return better than 100%, this happens.

This week, we are going with five different parlays. Two of these parlays are long shots, returning hefty profits if they should happen to miraculously win. One of these two could almost guarantee another winning season if it wins, and it incredibly allows us to go with two ranked teams, one in the top 5!

Looking at the official numbers, after one week, we are at $-100 on $100 invested. That is a 100% loss on investment to date.

Here are this week’s parlay selections

 

#1 @ +118  
Must Win Must Lose
Purdue Ohio
New Mexico New Mexico St.

Purdue’s new offense has not yet hit its stride, and it may not this season.  However, the Boilermakers have some athletes getting a chance to shine after being restrained prior to Jeff Brohm’s arrival.  After giving Louisville all it could handle last week, we believe the team believes in Brohm and will come out firing on all cylinders at Ross Ade Stadium.

As for the rivalry in the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico looks like the superior team on both sides of the ball, but the Aggies are not that far behind.  In most years, the Lobos would be stronger favorites.  We believe New Mexico’s running game will eventually control what happens on the scoreboard.

 

 

#2 @ +140  
Must Win Must Lose
UTEP Rice
Miss St. La. Tech

UTEP  looked a tad bit better against Oklahoma than Rice looked against Stanford, and this game is in El Paso.  Throw in the possibility that the Owls may be on the verge of quitting on David Bailiff, while the Miners still have faith in Sean Kugler.

Mississippi State does play Louisiana Tech in Rustin this week, but the Tech home field advantage should not affect the outcome of this game.  The Bulldogs never seem to get the respect they deserve under Dan Mullen.  They are better than any team in CUSA, and they should win this game by double digits.

 

#3 @ +1010  
Must Win Must Lose
Oklahoma Ohio St.
Stanford USC

This parlay intrigued us all week, so we just had to use it.  How frequently does one get a chance to return 10 times his investment while playing two ranked teams?  We are going with the Number 5 and Number 14 team to win, in other words, not really shocking upsets if they happen.  We know the chance that both underdogs win on the road is slim, but hey, this is for more than a thousand in winnings on just $100 invested.

 

 

#4 @ +178  
Must Win Must Lose
Atlanta Chicago
Pittsburgh Cleveland
Denver LA Chargers

This is more like our typical parlay plays.  We believe these three favorites have an excellent chance of starting the year 1-0, and at $178 profit for every $100 invested, it gives a generous reward if the three teams win.

 

 

#5 @ +478  
Must Win Must Lose
Baltimore Cincinnati
New Orleans Minnesota

Seldom is a +478 parlay our favorite selection of a week, but this one is.  It is our opinion that the wrong teams are favored in these two games.  The odds makers are giving the home teams much too much advantage for playing at home.  Cincinnati does not have the great home field advantage it had in the good ole days.  Minnesota’s advantage comes later in the season.  We will go with superior quarterbacks in these two games.

 

Once again, please do not wager your own money (or anybody else’s) on our recommendations.  We go a bit liberal with our selections, because we don’t have any financial stake at risk.

 

 

 

December 20, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 16: December 22-26, 2016

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:30 am

This Week’s Playoff Scenarios

There are still more than four billion playoff scenarios with just two weeks left in the season, so it is impossible to list every scenario left.  However, for most teams still in the race, their paths are for the most part clear.

AFC East

New England has clinched the division title and a bye to the Divisional Round.  The Patriots would clinch home field advantage and the top seed by winning out (vs. NYJ, @Mia) or by winning one game while Oakland loses one game or if Oakland loses both games.

 

Miami clinches a wildcard berth by winning one of its remaining two games (@Buf, vs. NE).  The Dolphins cannot make the playoffs at 9-7.

 

Buffalo’s slight chance of earning the #6 seed require the Bills to win twice (vs. Mia, @NYJ), a lot of other things to occur.  The computer lists Buffalo with about a 3% chance of making the playoffs.  Here is one scenario that works.

This Week: Jacksonville must beat Tennessee, Oakland must beat Indianapolis, Cincinnati must beat Houston, and Pittsburgh must beat Baltimore

Next Week: Cincinnati must beat Baltimore, New England must beat Miami, and Oakland must beat Denver

AFC North

Pittsburgh wins the division if they beat Baltimore this week at Heinz Field.  They can still win the division if they lose to Baltimore this week, and then Baltimore loses at Cincinnati while the Steelers defeat Cleveland in the final week.  The Steelers have numerous opportunities of earning a wildcard if they lose this week and win next week to finish 10-6 and very limited opportunities of earning a wildcard if they lose both remaining games.

 

Baltimore can win the division title by winning out or by beating Pittsburgh this week and then both the Steelers and Ravens lose their season finales.  The Ravens have limited possibilities of earning a wildcard if they lose to Pittsburgh and beat Cincinnati to finish 9-7.

 

AFC South

This is an interesting scenario.  As far as the division title goes, it does not matter what Houston does this week against Cincinnati.  In theory, they could rest their starters and lose to the Bengals and then would become division champs if they beat Tennessee in Week 17.  The Texans still have a very slim (less than 1 in 300 chance) of earning a wildcard if they win this week and lose next week, but it is so infinitesimally small, that Houston would be best served by concentrating all their efforts on the Titans.  Then, there is the opportunity to clinch the division this week should Jacksonville upset Tennessee.  The Texans will know the outcome of the Titans’ game before they play Cincinnati.

Tennessee must win out to win the division, or they must beat Houston next week if the Texans and Titans both lose this week.  However, under this scenario, the Titans can only win the division at 9-7 if Indianapolis loses one of its final two games.  The Titans have a slim wildcard chance, but it is a little better than the Texans’ wildcard chance.

 

Indianapolis can still win the division by winning out with Houston losing both of its final two games and Tennessee losing to Jacksonville.   The Colts still have a tiny wildcard shot if they win out.  That chance is smaller than Buffalo’s.

 

AFC West

Oakland must finish a game ahead of Kansas City to win the division.  Two Raider wins, and one Patriot loss would give the Raiders home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.  One Oakland win guarantees a first round bye, but the Raiders can still clinch a bye with two losses if Pittsburgh loses a game.

Kansas City wins the division in any tie with Oakland.  The Chiefs would receive a first round bye if they finish with two wins, and Pittsburgh loses one game.  KC wins the wildcard unless they lose their final two games (vs. Den, @SD) and Baltimore wins out, while Pittsburgh and Miami both finish 10-6.

Denver has numerous possibilities in their route to the #6 seed.  The Broncos must win out (@KC, vs. Oak), and then need help from losses by Miami and Baltimore, or a monumental Cleveland upset of Pittsburgh.

NFC East

Dallas needs one win or one New York Giant loss to clinch the top seed and earn home field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs.  If the Cowboys lose twice (@Phi, @Was), and Dallas loses twice (vs. Det, @Phi), and the Giants win twice, the Giants earn home field advantage and the top seed.

New York can still be eliminated with two losses and multiple other scenarios including Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Atlanta, and Detroit finishing 10-6.

Washington is still alive and has a very good shot at a wildcard if they win out (@Chi, vs. NYG), and a very slim chance if they lose one of their last two.

 

NFC North

If Detroit beats Green Bay next week, the Lions win the division regardless of what happens in this weeks game at Dallas.  If Green Bay beats Detroit, then the Packers win the division if the two teams finished tied.  Both teams hold limited wildcard possibilities, with the Lions’ chances more than twice as strong.

 

Minnesota holds very slim wildcard hopes.  The Vikings must beat Green Bay and Chicago and then hope Tampa Bay loses out, Washington loses at least once, and Detroit beats Green Bay.

 

NFC South 

Atlanta and Tampa Bay are both looking good with the majority of scenarios placing both teams in the playoffs.  If Atlanta wins just one of its final two games, there are very few scenarios where the Falcons would be eliminated, and if Tampa Bay wins out, there are even fewer scenarios where they would be eliminated.  The Falcons can earn a bye by winning out to finish 11-5, if Seattle loses one of its final two games.

 

NFC West

Seattle has clinched the division and can clinch a first round bye if they win out.  They cannot clinch the number one seed, as only Dallas and the Giants are alive for the top spot.

 

If The Playoffs Began Today

AFC
1 New England
2 Oakland
3 Pittsburgh
4 Houston
5 Kansas City
6 Miami
   
NFC
1 Dallas
2 Seattle
3 Atlanta
4 Detroit
5 N.Y. Giants
6 Tampa Bay

PiRate Playoff Projections

AFC Seeding
1 Oakland
2 New England
3 Pittsburgh
4 Tennessee
5 Kansas City
6 Miami
   
NFC Seeding
1 Dallas
2 Seattle
3 Atlanta
4 Detroit
5 New York
6 Tampa Bay

PiRate Playoff Projections Played Out

Wildcard Round
Pittsburgh over Miami
Kansas City over Tennessee
Tampa Bay over Atlanta
N.Y. Giants over Detroit
 
Divisional Round
Oakland over Kansas City
New England over Pittsburgh
Dallas over Tampa Bay
N. Y. Giants over Seattle
 
Conference Championship
Oakland over New England
N. Y. Giants over Dallas
 
Super Bowl 51
N. Y. Giants over Oakland

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 109.7 108.4 110.6 109.6 67 43
Buffalo 101.9 102.1 102.2 102.1 63 39
Miami 99.0 98.8 99.4 99.0 60 39
N. Y. Jets 93.9 93.2 94.1 93.7 57 37
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 105.3 104.9 105.9 105.4 63 42
Cincinnati 101.4 101.1 101.5 101.4 59 42
Baltimore 100.9 101.8 100.7 101.1 61 40
Cleveland 87.5 88.4 87.3 87.7 55 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Indianapolis 100.2 101.5 99.9 100.5 64 37
Tennessee 98.8 99.4 98.8 99.0 61 38
Houston 97.3 98.0 96.7 97.3 60 37
Jacksonville 93.1 94.4 92.6 93.4 58 35
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Kansas City 103.8 103.8 104.2 103.9 64 40
Denver 104.3 103.6 103.7 103.8 62 42
Oakland 102.1 102.6 102.8 102.5 67 36
San Diego 98.9 99.8 98.6 99.1 63 36
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Dallas 104.5 103.9 104.9 104.4 62 42
Washington 100.8 100.5 100.7 100.7 62 39
N.Y. Giants 100.2 99.6 100.6 100.1 62 38
Philadelphia 99.7 98.7 99.2 99.2 60 39
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Green Bay 102.2 102.0 102.0 102.1 66 36
Detroit 100.5 100.3 100.3 100.4 61 39
Minnesota 100.3 100.0 100.0 100.1 57 43
Chicago 94.1 93.1 94.0 93.8 56 38
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 107.5 108.2 107.5 107.7 71 37
Carolina 102.6 102.4 102.9 102.6 60 43
Tampa Bay 101.5 101.6 101.6 101.6 63 39
New Orleans 100.9 101.4 101.3 101.2 68 33
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 106.1 104.0 106.7 105.6 63 43
Arizona 101.5 100.9 101.2 101.2 62 39
Los Angeles 93.7 94.4 93.2 93.8 54 40
San Francisco 88.3 89.3 87.7 88.4 54 34

 

This Week’s PiRate Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Philadelphia New York Giants 1.5 1.1 0.6 47
Buffalo Miami 5.9 6.3 5.8 47
Carolina Atlanta -2.4 -3.3 -2.1 51
Chicago Washington -4.2 -4.9 -4.2 43
Cleveland San Diego -8.4 -8.4 -8.3 51
Green Bay Minnesota 4.4 4.5 4.5 45
Jacksonville Tennessee -2.7 -2.0 -3.2 47
New England New York Jets 18.8 18.2 19.5 45
New Orleans Tampa Bay 2.4 2.8 2.7 60
Oakland Indianapolis 4.9 4.1 5.9 60
Los Angeles San Francisco 7.9 7.6 8.0 33
Seattle Arizona 7.6 6.1 8.5 45
Houston Cincinnati -1.1 -0.1 -1.8 40
Pittsburgh Baltimore 6.9 5.6 7.7 43
Kansas City Denver 2.5 3.2 3.5 45
Dallas Detroit 7.0 6.6 7.6 43

 

 

 

December 15, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–December 16-19, 2016

NFL Hot Streak Continues

It has come to our attention by more than one of our readers that as of late, we are on fire with our NFL Money Line Parlay selections.  Looking back over the last several weeks, we find that we have won eight of the last ten NFL parlays we selected.

 

For the year, we are now sporting a profitable return of 11% on our investment of all picks, and that damage to the bottom line of the book comes from the NFL side.  To date, we have selected 20 NFL Parlays, all at better than even money odds.  We have won exactly half of these wagers at an average of +187 odds, for a return on investment of 43.55%.

 

Needless to say, we took a quick look at the college bowls offered up this weekend and chose to pass on selecting a college parlay.  Why take a chance on games between teams that have few common opponents when there appears to be a nice assortment of NFL games that look favorable to us.

 

Thus, we are selecting two NFL Parlays this week, both at better than +180 odds.  We will have a winning week if one of the pair wins, and we will have an outstanding week if they both win.  Even if they both lose, our yearly profit will still be there.

 

Once again, remember this important fact: The PiRates only issue these picks for fun and entertainment.  We do not encourage you to take our picks and wager actual money on them, even if it is legal to do so in your jurisdiction.  We only do this for fun, and we never actually wager anything on the picks other than our credibility.  If we thought they had real merit, we would be in Las Vegas trying to get rich quick, and to thaw out from the deep freeze.

 

So, enjoy these picks, but enjoy them without risking any of your hard-earned money.

December 16-19, 2016
1. NFL Parlay at +181
Kansas City over Tennessee
Atlanta over San Francisco
Oakland over San Diego
 
2. NFL Parlay at +186
Baltimore over Philadelphia
Green Bay over Chicago
Houston over Jacksonville

 

 

 

November 10, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–November 10-14, 2016

Emulating Ted Williams
The members of the PiRate Ratings include a couple of baseball analytic specialists that work during the Major League baseball season as “Moneyball” scouts. You know the type we talk about–when you see a baseball defense shift on a pull hitter, and the hitter hits a sharp liner that bounces into the short outfield, but instead of this becoming a base hit, it is a simple ground out, and the fans all boo because they believe this ruins the game, you can thank some of us for giving the baseball team the data that tells the manager where to place that infielder in the short outfield.

There is a lot more to it. How likely is the player to hit a ground ball on a 2-strike pitch as opposed to when he has no strikes or one strike? How much does it hurt or possibly help the starting pitcher the second and third time through a lineup of opposing batters? Our metric specialists can tell you. Of course, the famous batters’ heat maps are part of the services provided. The opposing pitcher, catcher, and coaching staff know that Joe Lefty hits .150 on sliders on the outside corner at the knees and when he does hit the ball, 95.6% of the time it is a ground ball in the 56 hole (the area halfway between where the third baseman and shortstop normally align.

So, when we tell you we know for a fact how often a .299 hitter will play in game 162 as opposed to a .300 hitter, and how much that .299 hitter will be swinging away on the final game of the season, we know that the .299 hitter in Game 162 will only take a walk if it is intentional, and the .300 hitter will do just about anything to stay out of game 162. Even the .301 or .302 hitter will want to be taken out after a hitless at bat that drops his average to anything above .2995.

Ted Williams was an exception to this rule, and for that reason, we admire greatly the “Greatest Hitter That Ever Lived.” In 1941, with his average just a fraction above .400, he did not have to play on the final day of the season. His manager told him he would sit him to protect the .400 average. After a few expletives delivered to the manager, Teddy Ball Game played not just one game but both games of a meaningless doubleheader.

Williams was not one to sit out a game just to pad his stats. The fact that his average only rounded up to .400 from .39955 also motivated him to play. So, what happened that Sunday afternoon? He got a hit in his first at bat of game one, and that brought his average over .400, with no rounding needed. Manager Joe Cronin told him to sit, and Willliams cussed and said he was playing both games from start to finish. Williams continued to hit and hit the rest of the afternoon and finished the season at .407.

What does this have to do with picking football games in parlays, you may ask? It is very simple. Last week, we selected six parlays all at better than 12-10 odds, and we won all six games! The mythical payout for this 6-0 week was a return on investment of 151%. For the season, that brought our batting average into positive territory, and we now show a 12% return on investment for the season.

We could easily ask the manager to take us out of the lineup and be safe knowing that we beat Las Vegas for the year. A 12% ROI is 5% better than the Dow Jones Industrial Average year-to-date return, and we would feel safe in saying that the DJIA is not going to return 12% this year.

Call us the Ted Williams of parlay pickers. We have no intention of sitting out and guaranteeing a winning season. First and foremost, if we go 6-0 every week for the rest of the year or the rest of our existence, it won’t be any different from going 0-6 forever, because as we hope by now you can recite in your sleep, “We NEVER really place monetary bets on anything.” Okay, if you say options in the options market are bets, then maybe you can say this, but the options market is different because it is a legitimate profession that supplies an essential function to the workings of the American Corporate economy.

Second, what fun would it be if we did not issue our wacky picks every week. So, you get picks again today, and you will get them next week and every week there is a full schedule of games. We hope to stay on the plus side of 0, but the important thing is to just enjoy the picks and give our reasons for why we believe out math might help us earn an extra few percentage points.

Therefore, here are our selections for this week.

1. College Parlay at +140
Georgia Southern over Louisiana-Lafayette
Virginia Tech over Georgia Tech
Notre Dame over Army
Miami (Fla.) over Virginia

The key selection here is the Notre Dame game. In our opinion, the Irish should be about -900 against Army, but the numbers are heavily skewed in Army’s favor. Ponder this. Notre Dame played Navy last week and got to experience the multiple option schemes of the Midshipmen in live game action. You cannot ask for better defensive preparation to face this offense than getting to face it two weeks in a row. We are old enough to remember when one third of all college teams ran either the wishbone or split veer offense. There were many times where a defense faced this offense in consecutive weeks, and the second time around, the results were much better for the defense, especially when the second opponent was not as good as the first. The percentage chance of performing much better against the second option team was something like 85 to 90%.

As a case in point, let’s look at our hometown team in Nashville, Vanderbilt. The year was 1974, and Coach Steve Sloan was about to guide the Commodores to a 7-3-1 regular season, the best in 19 years. In September of that year, Vanderbilt faced number one Alabama, who ran the wishbone under Bear Bryant and would be on the way to their second consecutive 11-0 regular season.

Vanderbilt gave Alabama its toughest game of the regular season, actually stopping their wishbone attack in the second half, losing 23-10. The following week, the Commodores hosted a ranked Florida team that used the same wishbone offense under Coach Doug Dickey. The Gators were running over opponents, but on this day, they met a Vanderbilt defense that had stopped Alabama’s offense in the second half the week before. Florida tried running the fullback inside, and Vanderbilt stuffed the run. They tried the outside veer and regular option, and Vanderbilt repeatedly threw Gator backs for losses. Only a couple of costly turnovers prevented the Commodores from slaughtering the Gators that day, and the 24-10 Vandy win was not indicative with how well the Commodore defense controlled the game.

For this reason, we were almost ready to take Notre Dame -510 and put up all of our profit to date and call this our only pick for the week. We believe the Irish have a 97% chance of winning this game and that Army will struggle to top 15 points.

2. College Parlay at +149
Wyoming over UNLV
North Carolina over Duke
Charlotte over Rice
Colorado over Arizona

3. Colege Parlay at +141
Washington over USC
Miami (Ohio) over Buffalo
Central Florida over Cincinnati
Washington St. over California

4. NFL Parlay at +147
Baltimore over Cleveland
Washington over Minnesota
Arizona over San Francisco

October 11, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 5: October 13-17, 2016

Great Rivalry Week

Did the NFL purposely schedule week 6 of the NFL season in such a way as to create multiple long-time rivalry games?  If this was pure coincidence, it sure has created a reason to tune in this week.

Let’s take a look at the schedule and show you why a real NFL fan would want to take in the action this week.

San Diego & Denver: Thursday night’s game will have extra interest due to multiple factors.  First, we send our get-well wishes to Denver Coach Gary Kubiak, as we know that migraines can be a major headache.  Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis will take on the interim role this week.

This rivalry goes back to the beginning of the old American Football League, as these two teams have always been in the same division and thus have played home and home every year of their existence.  The Chargers were the Western behemoth throughout the first half of the 1960s, while the Broncos strived for mediocrity.  In the 1970s, both teams returned to prominence, with Denver featuring the “Orange Crush” defense and San Diego moving the ball via “Air Coryell.”  The two teams vied for the division championship and wildcard playoff berths.

The rivalry died down for a few years, but it came back in the 1990s with John Elway guiding a hot Broncos’ offense and Junior Seau leading Chargers’ improved defense.  In this century, the two teams have enjoyed moments of success, and their games between 2004 and 2008 were some of the best.

The 2013 season saw the rivals playing for a trip to the AFC Championship, with Peyton Manning outdueling Phillip Rivers.

There are multiple coaching ties between these clubs.  Current Chargers’ head coach Mike McCoy was the offensive coordinator of the Broncos before his hiring in San Diego.  Broncos Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips served as DC for the Chargers when San Diego repeatedly had the best defenses in the NFL.  Other assistant coaches in this game have been coaches for both rivals.

Detroit & Los Angeles: You might have to be a bit of a senior citizen to appreciate this rivalry, but there was a time when this game was like the Broncos and Patriots today.  Back in the early 1950s, these two teams dominated the West Division (or what at one time was called the National Division).  Between 1950 and 1957, one of these rivals played in the NFL Championship every year but 1956, when Chicago edged Detroit by a half game.

Both teams had celebrity quarterbacks generating headlines as much as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have done in recent years.

The Rams had The Dutchman, Norm Van Brocklin.  Van Brocklin was the master at throwing the long pass.  Give him an option of a wide open receiver five yards down the field and one in man-to-man coverage 40 yards down the field, and The Dutchman would throw the 40-yard pass 90% of the time.  He led LA to the NFL title in 1950, and he won 70% of his starts with the Rams until he was sent to Philadelphia, where he won the Eagles’ last NFL Championship.  In this period in the early 1950’s, Van Brocklin averaged around nine yards per pass attempt, unheard of today even with Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger, or Rodgers.

Detroit had the inimitable Bobby Layne, aka The Blond Bomber.  Layne was a real gunslinger from Texas.  With him at the helm of the Lions’ signal-calling (in those days, the QB actually called his own plays, as it was illegal to signal them in from the sidelines), Detroit usually finished at or near the top in passing and scoring. If you think John Elway or Brett Favre cornered the market in fourth quarter comebacks, Layne invented the tension-filled final stanza of more contests than either modern day legend.  It was often said that Bobby Layne never lost a game as Detroit Lion QB; he just ran out of time before he finished the comeback.

The 1952 season National Conference race ended in a tie between the two teams, and Detroit won the playoff before knocking off Cleveland for the NFL title a week later.

 

Miami & Pittsburgh: This rivalry began in the early 1970s after the Steelers hiked from the NFL to the AFC and became a playoff regular, while Miami was enjoying its most successful years in pro football.  During the incredible 17-0 Super Bowl Champion season of 1972, the Dolphins ran into a pesky Steelers’ team in the AFC Championship Game.   The Steelers actually took the lead in the third quarter, before backup running back Jim Kiick scored a couple of rushing touchdowns to give the Fish a double-digit lead.  Still, Pittsburgh stormed back in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to four.

The following year, when the Dolphins were on the march to a second Super Bowl title in a row, they hosted the Steelers in a December game where a win would secure home field advantage for the playoffs.  After streaking to a quick 27-0 lead, Miami seemed to have this game securely in the win column, but Pittsburgh came back from a 30-3 halftime deficit to cut it to 30-26 with a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter.

The 1976 season saw the Steelers collapse to a 1-4 record at the start of the season, and it appeared that Coach Chuck Noll’s magic had worn off, as the Steel Curtain Defense seemed to be missing some metal.  The final nine games of the season showed the world that this team had more steel power than any modern day defense in NFL history, as the Steelers won their final nine regular season games and surrendered just 28 points in those nine games!

The Steelers finally topped the Dolphins during that streak, and they did it with Terry Bradshaw injured and out of the game.  Pittsburgh held the Dolphins to a field goal in a 14-3 win, in which the Steelers threw less than 10 passes all day.

New York Giants & Baltimore: This is the rivalry that made NFL Football a national pastime.  The Giants had become a dominant team in the 1950s, featuring a veritable who’s who of top talent including quarterback Charlie Conerly, running backs Frank Gifford and Alex Webster, end Kyle Rote, an incredible defensive line featuring Andy Robustelli, Dick Modzelewski, and Rosey Grier, and the middle linebacker that became a legend thanks to an NFL film in Sam Huff.  Having two future legends as assistant coaches (see below) made rooting for the Giants just like rooting for the Yankees in baseball.

The Lions and Rams dominated the West, up through 1957, and then along came Baltimore.  The Colts had been an afterthought entry into the NFL when the Dallas Texans folded after one season in 1952.  The acquisition of an unknown quarterback cut by Pittsburgh as a rookie in 1955 turned out to be an 18-year mistake for the Steelers.  One John Unitas made the Colts the dominant Western team until Lombardi joined the Packers, and then #19 fought Green Bay to a draw from the time Lombardi took over in Title Town.

The event that made the NFL into the big boy league was the 1958 Championship game played between the Giants and the Colts.  It has been tabbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” and it has evidence to back it up.  In all of Super Bowl history, no game has ever finished tied after 60 minutes, forcing an overtime.  Very few playoff games of any kind have needed an overtime, and it didn’t look like this one was going to need one, as the Giants held a 17-14 lead late in the fourth quarter, with the Colts pinned back at their own 14 yard line.

New York was one final defensive stand away from salting this game away and winning another championship, but it was not to be.  Unitas showed why he was one of the best ever to play the position.  He guided the Colts on a sustained drive going to his favorite target, receiver Raymond Berry, multiple times until Baltimore was in the Red Zone.    With time for just one more play, Steve Myhra was sent into the game to attempt a 20-yard field goal.  Forget for a moment that today a 20-yard field goal is successful more than 99% of the time.  It was anything but automatic in 1958 for one main reason–there were no kicking specialists in the NFL in those days, because rosters were capped at just 33 players.

Myhra was a two-way position player in 1958, playing guard on offense and linebacker on defense.  He was the kicker because he was the best they had from among the position players.  He had made just 4 of 10 field goal attempts during the season, and he had missed from less than 20; goalposts were at the goal line in those days, so a 20-yard field goal meant the line of scrimmage was the Giants’ 13.  Thus, even a 40% accurate field goal kicker was the choice over trying to score a touchdown on one play from the 13 yard line.  Myhra’s kick wasn’t a beauty, but it sailed over the crossbar to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Other NFL games and even a couple of Championship Games had been televised before, but few fans actually saw those games on the Dumont Television Network.  On this day before a full-house at Yankee Stadium millions watched on national television.  The viewership increased greatly as the Colts made that tying drive, and the game went to overtime, except a good amount of time was lost to the public when the signal was accidentally cut for several minutes.  Everything was swell again once the overtime period started.

New York got the ball first in overtime, but the Giants couldn’t do anything with it and had to quickly punt to the Colts.  Unitas must have thought it was a gift to start this drive at his own 20, and he never gave the New Yorkers a chance to get the ball back, guiding the Colts on an 80-yard, 13-play drive that culminated with Alan Ameche plunging across the goal for the game-winning touchdown.

The extra eight minutes and change made the NFL what it is today.

Green Bay & Dallas: This rivalry built on top of the building block created by the one just mentioned.  When Tom Landry built the Cowboys into “America’s Team” in the last half of the 1960’s, there was still one team Dallas could not defeat.  Vince Lombardi’s Packers were the best team ever over the course of eight years, winning the NFL title five times.  What made this rivalry even more intense was that Landry and Lombardi were the two coordinators on that Giants team that lost to Baltimore in 1958 (Lombardi-offense & Landry-defense).  The NFL Championship Games of 1966 and 1967 helped move the NFL past Major League Baseball in followers, especially since the New York Yankees went on the decline in 1965, and the Los Angeles Dodgers would follow suit two years later.

Even after Lombardi retired for a year in 1968, and the Packers became old and injured almost overnight, Landry’s arguably best Cowboys’ team could not beat Green Bay.  The rivalry is as strong as ever, and expect a hard-fought contest Sunday.

Oakland & Kansas City: The Colts and Giants made football what it is today, and the Packers and Cowboys built it even higher, but this rivalry belongs in a class by itself.  If you think the Yankees and Red Sox, Dodgers and Giants, Alabama and Auburn, Army and Navy, or North Carolina and Duke basketball rivalries are something, they pale in comparison to what this rivalry once was.  This was war in a pasture for many years, and it became a rivalry that made bitter enemies of the players, the coaches, the fans, the owners, and even the residents of the two cities.  It was Israel and Iran on the gridiron.

The Chiefs began as the second team to call itself the Dallas Texans when the AFL began in 1960.  Owner Lamar Hunt came from great wealth, as the Hunt family owned great oil interests among many other diversified investments.  Owning an NFL team was something of an adult toy for Hunt.

Hunt did not like his team being considered second-rate to the expansion Cowboys, who played in the same Cotton Bowl Stadium and seldom competed in their games, while the AFL team won the 1962 Championship.  Hunt decided he could much easier share a venue with the inept Kansas City Athletics of the American League, so he uprooted the AFL Champs to Kansas City Municipal Stadium in 1963.  With an eccentric head coach in Hank Stram, the Chiefs fit right in with the eccentric owner of the baseball team.

Oakland was never supposed to have a pro football team.  The spot had been awarded to Minneapolis, but the NFL powers that be stole the city for the senior league.  Another wealthy baron, one Barron Hilton, owned the Los Angeles Chargers and used his influence to force the fledgling league to locate a second team in the Golden State.  Oakland was chosen, even though there was no move to bring a team there.  There was no adequate place to play their games there, and most of the inhabitants of the east side of the Bay were San Francisco 49ers fans.

Ownership changed hands in the early days about as often as the Cleveland Browns change quarterbacks today.  None of  the owners had the wealth of a Hunt or Hilton, and the Raiders had to cut corners just to survive.  Finding a place to play was a burden, as they changed locales almost as often as the Browns change quarterbacks.  They played in a makeshift stadium built for less than half a million dollars with a seating capacity of just over 20,000.

Things started to change for the Raiders in the mid-1960s.  Al Davis, a former assistant coach of the Chargers, became head coach, part-owner, and after a stint as AFL Commissioner, the managing partner of the team.  Davis brought in better talent, and the Raiders moved into the new Oakland-Alameda Stadium in 1966.

Under new coach John Rauch, the Raiders gave the Chiefs a run for their money in 1966, finishing second in the West Division, but splitting the two games.  Kansas City won the AFL title and fizzled in the first Super Bowl.

The following year, Oakland picked up the Mad Bomber from Buffalo.  Daryle Lamonica guided the Raiders to the best mark in the history of the AFL, going 13-1 and sweeping the Chiefs, including an embarrassing 20+ point blowout on Thanksgiving Day in Kansas City.  The four games of 1966 and 1967 were hard-fought with several dirty blows emanating from both teams.  15-yard penalties were a dime a dozen, as were injuries and bloodshed.

1968 made this rivalry even fiercer.  First, the nation as a whole suffered through a year of violence, with two major assassinations, rioting in many major cities, a Presidential Election that experienced severe violence at one of its conventions, and the burning of Detroit following the assassination of Martin Luther King.

So, when that eccentric, cheapskate owner of the Athletics moved his baseball franchise, he chose Oakland.  That didn’t sit well with Kansas City sports fans.  The city of Oakland was no different than Hanoi to the residents of Middle America.

The Chiefs and Raiders met three times in 1968, and they would do so again in 1969.  In the first contest, Stram was strapped for talent.  None of his receivers were healthy enough to play, and there was no time to sign any free agents or acquire any in a trade.  Stram had three very fine running backs, so he had an idea.  Why not use the old-fashioned, moth-balled Power-T formation from the 1940s?  He could place his three backs in the backfield at the same time and go with his two healthy tight ends.

Can you imagine an NFL team using the wishbone offense today?  The Chiefs did the equivalent that day in October of 1968, and against the defending AFL Champion Raiders, it made the game a laugher.  No, it wasn’t what you might think.  Kansas City QB Len Dawson attempted three passes all day, two of them to backs, and one to a tight end.  He completed two, as one intended for a back was off target.  How bad did the Raiders blow the Chiefs out that day?  They didn’t, because with all the faking of multiple backs, two of whom could create their own holes and one with close to sprinters’ speed, Kansas City ran through the Oakland defense all day long.  Oakland had no answer for the power plays, inside traps, power sweeps, counters, and roll outs.  Kansas City won with ease to move into first place in the West.

Oakland got their revenge a month later, as the Chiefs were back to normal for this game.  The teams continued to win and finished with identical 12-2 records, forcing a playoff for the AFL West Division title.  It was never close.  Lamonica lived up to his moniker, as he completed three long touchdown passes in the first quarter alone.  Oakland led 21-0 after the end of the first quarter.  After Kansas City cut it to 21-6 on a couple of field goals. Lamonica went at it again with a touchdown bombs to Fred Biletnikoff and Warren Wells to put the game out of reach at 35-6, winning 41-6.

In 1969, the Raiders were the class of the league once again, and they were considered the equal of the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns of the other league.  The Jets had proven the year before that the AFL was on par with the NFL, and with Lamonica, Biletnikoff, and a wicked defense featuring Ben Davidson, it was thought that Oakland could punish any NFL team with their hoodlum style of play.

The Chiefs had become one-dimensional by then.  Their once great offense was not what it had been, but they had a terrific defense.  It wasn’t enough for Kansas City to stand toe-to-toe with Oakland that year.  The Raiders won a pre-season game over KC, and then they swept the Chiefs in the regular season in games that resembled pro wrestling as much as it did football.

However, the AFL had decided to add a week of playoffs in its final year, giving it four teams in the playoffs like the NFL.  The second place Chiefs played at East Division Champion New York, while the East runner-up, Houston at 6-6-2, played at Oakland.

Kansas City sent Broadway Joe Namath and the Jets packing by holding New York to a couple of field goals and picking off Namath three times.  In the second game of the day, Oakland dismissed Houston like Michigan recently beat Rutgers.  Lamonica’s six touchdown passes and the Raider defense’s six sacks paced Oakland to a 56-7 win that could have been much worse.  Oakland led 28-0 before the end of the first quarter.

The following week, the Raiders hosted the Chiefs in their fourth meeting of the season.  The winner would face the Purple People Eaters, the Minnesota Vikings, who had just defeated Cleveland for the NFL Championship.

Once again, an incredible Chiefs’ defense held an offensive juggernaut in check for 60 minutes.  Oakland moved the ball in the first quarter and took a 7-0 lead, but that was the end of the Raiders’ offensive success for the remainder of the game.  KC did very little with the ball all day, barely gaining 200 total yards, but the defense caught four Oakland passes and won the game 17-7.  Kansas City, and not Oakland, proved that the previous year was not a fluke, beating Minnesota on yet another fantastic defensive showing.

In 1970, the two rivals were no longer the behemoths of the AFL days.  Still, they fought tooth and nail for the new AFC West title, and their two games were nationally televised.  Oakland won the division by a game over Kansas City, but they stole this division title.  Kansas City would have won the division under today’s rules.  Early in the season, the Chiefs had basically secured a win over the Raiders, and Dawson only had to burn what was left on the clock to end the game.  He picked up the crucial first down that would allow KC to down the ball a couple of times and go home winners.

It was not to be.  When Dawson picked up the first down to apparently ice the game, the brute Davidson came in from behind and delivered a nasty cheap shot late hit, a very late hit.  All the frustrations of the numerous late hits in this game led to half of the Chiefs’ team jumping Davidson in one of the worst free-for-alls in sports history.  By the time the referees intervened (a couple of the refs were actually roughed up too), the call was for offsetting 15-yard penalties.

In 1970, any off-setting penalty, including those more than one second after the play like Davidson’s cheap shot, led to the scrimmage play being nullified.  So, Dawson’s game-clenching first down was erased.  Kansas City failed to convert the first down on the do-over.   The Chiefs had to punt, and Oakland moved the ball just across midfield where the old man, George Blanda, kicked the game-tying field goal from 48 yards out on the final play.

The next season, the NFL changed the rules so that had this play occurred in 1971, Kansas City would have kept their first down and could have run out the clock.  In 1970, it proved to be the difference in which team made the playoffs.

Back to the present: These two still bitter rivals should give the public a great game, but few will get that chance to see this game under today’s TV contract.  It won’t be the equal of any of those Chiefs-Raiders games of the late 1960’s, but it should still be a great one if you can watch it.

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 107.4 105.8 107.9 107.0 64 43
Buffalo 104.2 104.4 104.8 104.5 62 43
N. Y. Jets 101.1 99.3 102.1 100.8 60 41
Miami 93.1 94.2 92.5 93.2 56 37
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 107.0 106.2 108.4 107.2 66 41
Cincinnati 103.2 102.7 103.6 103.2 61 42
Baltimore 97.9 100.0 97.4 98.4 61 37
Cleveland 89.4 90.2 89.0 89.5 57 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Houston 98.5 99.6 98.4 98.8 62 37
Indianapolis 96.5 98.2 95.7 96.8 61 36
Tennessee 96.0 97.4 95.8 96.4 57 39
Jacksonville 95.3 97.0 94.6 95.6 59 37
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 107.6 105.4 107.7 106.9 63 44
Kansas City 101.3 100.9 101.9 101.4 63 38
Oakland 98.8 99.8 98.8 99.1 64 35
San Diego 98.9 100.1 98.3 99.1 64 35
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Philadelphia 104.1 101.3 103.6 103.0 64 39
Dallas 99.2 99.0 99.5 99.2 59 40
Washington 98.8 99.5 98.8 99.0 61 38
N.Y. Giants 98.1 97.7 97.9 97.9 62 36
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 107.6 106.3 108.1 107.3 62 45
Green Bay 104.3 103.6 104.2 104.0 64 40
Detroit 98.7 98.3 98.4 98.5 61 38
Chicago 93.5 92.0 93.1 92.9 55 38
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 102.8 104.6 103.3 103.5 68 36
Carolina 102.3 102.1 102.3 102.2 60 42
New Orleans 97.2 99.5 96.6 97.8 64 34
Tampa Bay 95.2 95.7 94.6 95.2 59 36
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 107.7 104.4 108.6 106.9 63 44
Arizona 104.9 103.0 105.4 104.4 66 38
Los Angeles 98.8 100.0 98.6 99.2 57 42
San Francisco 92.7 93.5 92.5 92.9 55 38

This Week’s Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
San Diego Denver -5.7 -2.3 -6.4 48
Buffalo San Francisco 15.0 14.4 15.8 38
Chicago Jacksonville 1.2 -2.0 1.5 40
Detroit Los Angeles 2.9 1.3 2.8 40
Green Bay Dallas 8.1 7.6 7.7 44
Houston Indianapolis 5.0 4.4 5.7 52
Miami Pittsburgh -11.4 -9.5 -13.4 45
New England Cincinnati 7.2 6.1 7.3 42
New Orleans Carolina -2.1 0.4 -2.7 48
N. Y. Giants Baltimore 2.2 -0.3 2.5 52
Oakland Kansas City 0.5 1.9 -0.1 54
Seattle Atlanta 7.9 2.8 8.3 50
Tennessee Cleveland 9.6 10.2 9.8 43
Washington Philadelphia -3.3 0.2 -2.8 49
Arizona N. Y. Jets 6.8 6.7 6.3 48

 

 

 

October 5, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–October 6-10, 2016

As Mr. Whipple might have said had he worked in our little firm, “Please don’t squeeze the PiRate Picks!”

Okay, so we have enjoyed two very successful weeks in a row with these money line parlay selections.  We followed up a 75% return on investment two weeks ago with a 24% return last week.  It only took one winning parlay to pull off the profit.  BUT, we only one thanks to a Hail Mary, and we didn’t even go to confession.

Yes, the Tennessee game appeared to doom us to total defeat last week, but the incredible finish did as much for us as it did for Butch Jones–it brought us to our knees.  Aside from Tennessee, the rest of the parlay included wins by Akron, Old Dominion, and Florida, giving us a return of $373 on our $100 investment.  Remember this, our bankroll and investments are entirely mere illusion; we do not ever wager any real currency on our selections, and we highly recommend that you do not either.  We know from our site statistics that some of you reading this weekly entry do so from Las Vegas.  We don’t think Billy Walters, or any of his “friends” are reading this, because Mr. Walters is intelligent and knows how to win.  What we fear is that Billy Doe has his rent money at the betting window with his iPhone in hand looking at our picks, while Mrs. Doe and brood cannot find food in their refrigerator back home.

For the season, our total picks now show a minor loss of 6%, which is about where we were this time last year, before we went on a six-week winning streak that took us north of +50%.

There are two reasons why this week’s picks were very difficult for us.  First, the number of NFL teams getting byes moves from two to four teams.  Second, Hurricane Matthew is causing a lot of logistic issues as teams in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina scramble to re-schedule games–some to later dates; some moving up a day; and some moving the location of the game.  If we like a home team at a certain line, and then the game moves to another state or does not play at all, it wrecks the selection.  So, we had to greatly limit the pool this week and barely scraped together three selections.  Because we would have to go 2-1 to make a profit, it would not be worth going with three long shot parlays when we can make a profit by going 1-1.  This then presented an additional problem; which parlay would we eliminate?

Four hours later, we realized that our choosing to eliminate what we liked was like playing Tic-Tac-Toe with a computer that always knows the correct response.  Infinite draws lead to a lot of head-banging, and we already have too many concussions between us.  So, we did what we thought best and added a fourth game that will allow us to go 2-2 and make a profit.  However, the fourth game is not a parlay at all; it is a straight wager on the underdog to win outright.

Selection #1: College Parlay at +155

Memphis over Temple

Alabama over Arkansas

Auburn over Mississippi St.

Memphis looked like an SEC team playing at Ole Miss last week.  The Tigers don’t have Paxton Lynch, but the rest of the team looks a little better than last year’s edition.  Temple has regressed a bit this year, and we think the home team from the Bluff City will win the game.

Until somebody actually pins a loss on the defending champs, we are not going to select against Alabama.  To date in 2016, the Crimson Tide have looked like they could score 70 points per game if the offense needed to.  And, the defense is still among the best in the nation.  This team reminds us some of the 1966 Tide team, which went undefeated.

Auburn is slightly favored in Starkville against the Bulldogs.  Mississippi State is 10-14 points weaker this year without Dak Prescott.  Prescott hid some liabilities in last year’s Maroon and White.

 

Selection #2: College Parlay at +189 

Tulsa over SMU

Oklahoma St. over Iowa St.

Utah over Arizona

Michigan St. over BYU

Ohio U over Bowling Green

Tulsa had an extra week to prepare for their game against SMU, while the Mustangs faced Temple on the road after playing TCU the week before.  Now, SMU has to play at Skelly Stadium, and it has the makings of a 20 or more point win for TU.

Iowa State had a tough and emotional loss at home to Baylor last week and now goes on the road to play an Oklahoma State team that has a little added confidence after shredding Texas.

Utah rarely loses at home, and when the Utes’ do lose in Salt Lake City, it is usually against a powerhouse team.  Arizona is no powerhouse; they are more like a wind-up dynamo for an emergency radio.  In other words, Utah should win by double digits this week.

Michigan State is in a must-win situation this week with non-conference foe BYU coming to East Lansing.  A loss puts the Spartans in danger of finishing under .500 for the season, and we cannot see a Mark Dantonio team go 5-7.  BYU is having a rough re-adjustment under new management, and Bronco Mendenhall’s recent success in his first year at Virginia shows us that he was worth a lot more points as a coach than his average peer.

The Ohio U-Bowling Green line is a bit odd to us.  We feel it should be much more in favor of the Bobcats, but we will gladly take what we feel is some extra juice.  What Coach Mendenhall was to BYU, current Syracuse coach Dino Babers was to BGU.  This brings us to the next contest.

 

Selection #3: College Money Line Game @ +130

Syracuse over Wake Forest

This is not a parlay; it is a straight pick of the underdog to pull off the upset.  There is a tiny bit of concern here, because weather could be a factor in Winston-Salem.  The Demon Deacons’ athletic department has no plans to change the time or place of this game, but still, it could be wet and windy.  Wet doesn’t bother us, and in fact, we like passing teams playing on wet surfaces.  Wind does bother us.  A gentle breeze is not that much of a factor, but a 25 mile per hour gust can adjust a thrown football by enough to turn a completion into an incomplete or even intercepted pass.

Nevertheless, we like the Orangemen in this game.  Wake Forest is a close-to-the-vest conservative team.  They own a win over a more wide open Indiana team two weeks ago, but the Hoosiers wrapped that game up as a gift to the Deacs.

Meanwhile, Syracuse has looked better and better offensively every week under the Babers version of the spread passing game.  We believe SU will outscore Wake and pull off the upset.

 

Selection #4: NFL Parlay @ +199

Pittsburgh over N.Y. Jets

Baltimore over Washington

Indianapolis over Chicago

Honestly, we did not love any of the NFL picks this week.  These are the only three games that we could combine into a parlay worth playing.  Our selections were more about the losing team than the predicted winner.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has reverted back to his old Pickpatrick days.  He has thrown nine intereceptions the last two weeks, and the Jets have begun to look like the Browns during that time.  Meanwhile, the Steelers had the look of an AFC Champion contender last week, and they host this game this week.

Baltimore needs to win to keep pace with the Steelers and stay ahead of the Bengals, while the Redskins look to us to be a paper tiger at 2-2.

Indianapolis is now facing a must-win situation at home against the lowly Bears.  Already two games in back of Houston, the Colts cannot afford to lose a home game to a probable double-digit loss team.  With Houston having to face Minnesota, it gives the Colts a chance to get back to within a game of the Texans in a division that is almost assured to produce just one playoff team.

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