The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 1, 2018

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Wildcard Playoff Round: January 6-7, 2018

All times given are Eastern Standard Time

Saturday, January 6, 2018

4:20 PM on ESPN

Tennessee Titans (9-7-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-6-0)

PiRate: Kansas City by 8.1

Mean: Kansas City by 8.0

Bias: Kansas City by 8.7

Total: 45

Estimated Realistic Score: Kansas City 27  Tennessee 17


8:15 PM on NBC

Atlanta Falcons (10-6-0) at Los Angeles Rams (11-5-0)

PiRate: Los Angeles by 5.4

Mean: Los Angeles by 5.0

Bias: Los Angeles by 5.7

Total: 48

Estimated Realistic Score: Los Angeles 27  Atlanta 21


Sunday, January 7, 2018

1:05 PM on CBS

Buffalo Bills (9-7-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6-0)

PiRate: Jacksonville by 9.4

Mean: Jacksonville by 8.9

Bias: Jacksonville by 9.5

Total: 42

Estimated Realistic Score: Jacksonville 26  Buffalo 16


4:40 PM on Fox

Carolina Panthers (11-5-0) at New Orleans Saints (11-5-0)

PiRate: New Orleans by 5.8

Mean: New Orleans by 5.9

Bias: New Orleans by 6.0

Total: 53

Estimated Realistic Score: New Orleans 28  Carolina 24




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

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
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

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
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


November 28, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 13: November 30-December 4, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Total
Dallas Washington 2.8 3.0 2.4 51
Baltimore Detroit 5.3 5.4 5.3 45
Chicago San Francisco 6.2 6.4 6.5 43
Atlanta Minnesota 2.5 2.7 2.1 47
Buffalo New England -8.9 -8.5 -9.0 45
Miami Denver -0.4 -0.2 -0.6 41
Tennessee Houston 3.5 3.5 3.3 45
Jacksonville Indianapolis 10.5 10.4 10.8 43
Green Bay Tampa Bay 3.6 4.2 3.0 43
N. Y. Jets Kansas City -3.0 -3.9 -2.8 41
New Orleans Carolina 7.0 7.2 6.8 56
LA Chargers Cleveland 17.3 16.1 17.7 42
Arizona LA Rams -5.7 -4.9 -6.6 46
Oakland N. Y. Giants 6.1 6.5 5.7 41
Seattle Philadelphia -5.1 -3.3 -6.8 46
Cincinnati Pittsburgh -4.8 -4.3 -5.1 39

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New England 108.7 108.7 108.9 108.7 23 9-2
Buffalo 96.8 97.1 96.9 96.9 22 6-5
N. Y. Jets 95.5 95.1 95.7 95.5 20 4-7
Miami 92.4 92.6 91.8 92.3 21 4-7
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Pittsburgh 105.8 105.9 106.0 105.9 22 9-2
Baltimore 104.1 104.6 104.0 104.2 19 6-5
Cincinnati 98.5 99.1 98.3 98.7 17 5-6
Cleveland 90.6 91.3 90.5 90.8 19 0-11
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Jacksonville 101.3 101.4 101.2 101.3 21 7-4
Tennessee 97.6 97.6 97.2 97.5 23 7-4
Houston 97.1 97.1 96.9 97.0 22 4-7
Indianapolis 93.8 94.0 93.4 93.7 22 3-8
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Chargers 104.9 104.3 105.2 104.8 23 5-6
Kansas City 101.5 102.0 101.6 101.7 21 6-5
Oakland 97.9 98.5 97.1 97.8 23 5-6
Denver 95.8 95.8 95.5 95.7 20 3-8
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Philadelphia 111.0 109.4 112.3 110.9 25 10-1
Washington 99.5 99.4 99.6 99.5 27 5-6
Dallas 99.4 99.3 99.0 99.3 24 5-6
N.Y. Giants 94.7 95.0 94.4 94.7 18 2-9
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
Minnesota 104.8 104.4 105.5 104.9 18 9-2
Detroit 101.8 102.1 101.7 101.9 26 6-5
Green Bay 98.1 98.5 97.5 98.0 21 5-6
Chicago 94.6 94.8 94.7 94.7 19 3-8
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
New Orleans 107.2 106.6 107.6 107.1 30 8-3
Atlanta 104.3 104.1 104.6 104.3 29 7-4
Carolina 103.2 102.4 103.7 103.1 26 8-3
Tampa Bay 97.5 97.3 97.6 97.5 22 4-7
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals W-L
LA Rams 104.4 103.8 105.1 104.4 23 8-3
Seattle 102.9 103.1 102.5 102.8 21 7-4
Arizona 95.8 95.9 95.5 95.7 23 5-6
San Francisco 91.9 91.9 91.7 91.8 24 1-10

This Week’s Playoff Projections

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



October 31, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 9: November 2-6, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Total
N.Y. Jets Buffalo -5.9 -6.5 -6.1 41
Carolina Atlanta 1.2 0.6 1.8 52
New Orleans Tampa Bay 8.9 8.5 9.6 54
Philadelphia Denver 8.3 7.2 9.5 43
Jacksonville Cincinnati 4.4 4.1 4.4 39
Tennessee Baltimore -1.1 -1.7 -1.5 42
Houston Indianapolis 13.1 12.9 13.4 50
N.Y. Giants LA Rams 4.0 4.5 3.2 37
Seattle Washington 8.6 8.8 8.3 48
San Francisco Arizona -1.1 -1.4 -1.1 48
Dallas Kansas City 3.2 2.3 2.9 49
Miami Oakland -1.4 -2.0 -1.2 43
Green Bay Detroit 1.8 1.7 1.6 46

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Buffalo 101.7 101.8 102.1 101.9 22
Miami 94.5 94.4 94.1 94.3 20
New England 105.1 105.5 104.9 105.1 22
N. Y. Jets 93.7 93.3 93.9 93.7 19
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Baltimore 102.6 103.1 102.5 102.7 19
Cincinnati 99.1 99.7 99.0 99.3 17
Cleveland 90.8 91.5 90.7 91.0 18
Pittsburgh 105.5 105.7 105.7 105.7 19
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Houston 101.6 101.6 101.4 101.5 27
Indianapolis 91.5 91.8 90.9 91.4 23
Jacksonville 100.6 100.8 100.4 100.6 22
Tennessee 98.4 98.4 98.0 98.3 23
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Denver 100.1 99.7 100.1 100.0 19
Kansas City 104.9 105.3 105.3 105.2 23
LA Chargers 101.7 101.4 101.7 101.6 22
Oakland 98.9 99.4 98.3 98.9 23
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Dallas 105.2 104.5 105.2 105.0 26
N.Y. Giants 99.4 99.5 99.1 99.4 15
Philadelphia 105.4 104.0 106.6 105.3 24
Washington 98.6 98.6 98.7 98.6 27
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Chicago 95.8 95.8 96.0 95.9 19
Detroit 101.4 101.8 101.2 101.5 24
Green Bay 100.7 101.0 100.3 100.7 22
Minnesota 100.8 100.8 101.1 100.9 18
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Atlanta 102.3 102.4 102.3 102.3 28
Carolina 101.1 100.5 101.5 101.0 24
New Orleans 104.1 103.4 104.7 104.1 30
Tampa Bay 98.2 97.9 98.1 98.1 24
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Arizona 94.9 95.0 94.6 94.8 23
LA Rams 98.9 98.5 99.4 98.9 22
San Francisco 91.2 91.2 91.0 91.1 25
Seattle 104.3 104.4 104.0 104.2 21

Playoff Projections

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

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.

December 8, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–December 9-12, 2016

This week, there is only one college game with Army and Navy facing off in Baltimore.  Thus, we must make our selections only from the NFL schedule.  We are throwing caution to the wind, as even though we have a small 6% profit for the season entering this week, we are not going to a stall to guarantee a winning season.  We want to make that Return on Investment top 10%, and thus we are going with three parlays this week.  Each parlay goes off at odds higher than +200, so winning just one of the three would add profit to our imaginary bankroll for the season.

1. NFL Parlay at +220
Indianapolis over Houston
Detroit over Chicago
Tampa Bay over New Orleans

Let us make sure you understand that we are aware of the Colts’ having to make major defensive changes after losing star D’Qwell Jackson for four games due to a suspension for Performance Enhancing substances.  Jackson was the key to the Indy defense, but his loss has made this parlay a better play for us.

The way we see the Colts-Texans game is that Indy will outscore Houston and not have to worry about Jackson missing on the stop side.  Houston has scored just 99 points in their last six games, while Indianapolis with Andrew Luck is a team capable of scoring 35 points in this game.


Detroit is ready to wrap up the NFC North Division, and this is a game the Lions should win handily.  The Bears are limping home and might decide to pull a NY Jets this weekend, or at least we hope they might.


Tampa Bay is now a slight favorite to win the NFC South with second year quarterback Jameis Winston maturing into a potential star.  The Bucs’ defense is not to be confused with Carolina’s, but TB should be able to match Drew Brees point for point and come up with one or two big plays to win.


2. NFL Parlay at +248
Carolina over San Diego
Miami over Arizona

The Panthers and Chargers are now out of the playoff race, and the only reason we believe Carolina will win this game is that San Diego has been forced to do a lot of travelling this season and must go 2,500 miles and three time zones this week.  The game should be a fascinating close match.


Miami has a slim chance to earn a wildcard bid, but the Dolphins must win out and then get some help.  Arizona is going nowhere, and they too must travel across the country.


3. NFL Parlay at +211
N. Y. Jets over San Francisco
New England over Baltimore

The key to this parlay is whether the Jets will show that Monday night was a fluke.  Will the team show up for Todd Bowles and give him a chance to keep his job?  Just a normal effort would be enough to lead NY to victory over a 49ers team that may be weaker than Cleveland at the present time.


We are throwing the Patriots into this parlay to bring the odds up over +200.  Baltimore will not lay down in this game and allow New England to win going away, and the Pats will have to bring their A-game without Gronk.  However, we believe (hope) the Pats realize they are now in a dogfight for the #1 seed and understand that this is a must-win game.





September 14, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–September 15-19, 2016

Our second week of parlay picks performed little better than the first week.  We chose five parlays at better than even money odds, and we only hit on one of them at +131.  It was the Baltimore over Buffalo and Green Bay over Jacksonville parlay that won.

For the season, we have put $700 in imaginary bankroll up for money line parlay investment, and we have won just $131 while losing $600 for a net of $-469.  Ugh, but at least we still have the same amount of real $$$, since this is just for fun.

Because, it is just for fun, we have another $500 in imaginary dough ready to put on the non-existent line this week.  Once again, as we like to always play parlays with better than even money odds, all five picks will pay back more than the $100 investment if they win.

Before we get to this week’s picks, we have been asked by a handful of you where we get our odds.  This is a  multiple part response.  First, we do not use just one sports book to find our odds.  We shop for the best odds we can get on each parlay, so one parlay might be with one book, while another parlay might be with another one.  All of our fake selections come from easily playable online sports books, plus Las Vegas.  It appears that some of you from Vegas read our parlay selections every week, and we can only imagine how peeved you must be, even though we begged many times for readers here not to use these selections.

As for the actual odds, you can figure these out yourselves with an easy but time-consuming process, but why do this, when you can find parlay calculators online?

For those math geeks like us that must know how to do it, here goes:

Let’s look at a 3-team parlay of favorites at -150, -180, and -200.  First we find the decimal divider for figuring the multiplier.  So, we take each number (150, 180, and 200).  You divide your total payout of winning by the amount risked.  We are always risking $100 on every parlay, so this becomes easier.  at -150, we win 100 for every 150 or 1 for every .667.  The decimal multiplier would then be the reward (.667) + the risk (1), or 1.667

For -180, we win 100 for every 180 invested or one for every .556.  The decimal multiplier would then be (.556 + 1) 1.556

For -200, we win 100 for every 200 invested or one for every .5.  The decimal multiplier would then be (.5 + 1) 1.5

Now, multiply the three decimal multipliers (1.667, 1.556, and 1.5).  The answer to this is 3.89.

Now, we subtract 1 for the risk invested and we get 2.89.  If we wager $100 on this parlay, and it wins, we will be paid $289.


Let’s say you are feeling strong about two underdogs winning outright.  The Money Lines are listed at +120 and +150.  This is easier to calculate.  If you play at +120 you are putting up 100 to win 120, and the multiplier decimal is 2.2 (1+1.2).  The +150 multiplier decimal is 2.5 (1+1.5), and when you multiply 2.2 by 2.5, you get 5.5.  Subtract the 1 for the risk, and you get 4.5.  For every $100 you wager on this parlay, you would win $450 if the two underdogs won outright.

Once again, you can find a parlay calculator online that will do this for you.

Here are our parlays for this week

Parlay #1: +142

Rutgers over New Mexico

Texas over California

Nevada over Buffalo

We are playing some angles here.  New Mexico lost to rival New Mexico State and now must go on the road to a so-so Big Ten team that lost at a ranked Washington team and won a cakewalk game last week.

We feel that Texas can play smash mouth football against Cal and wear their weak defense down.  Even though the game is in Berkeley, Texas has more muscle and speed than San Diego State who beat the Golden Bears last week.

Buffalo has to travel over 2,00o miles to Reno after beginning the season with a loss to an FCS opponent.  Nevada fared okay at Notre Dame last week, and the Wolfpack will have a bit of added confidence.  Going up against a slower offense and defense will do for the Nevada what two bats being swung does for a batter in the on-deck circle.


Parlay #2 +130

Virginia Tech over Boston College

Western Kentucky over Miami (O)

Oklahoma St. over Pittsburgh

Boston College really struggles to score points.  The Eagles’ defense is really good, but it will be on the field too much in Blacksburg.  The Hokies may be a little hungover this week following the big game, but their defense is almost as good as BC’s, and almost as good facing BC’s offense and playing on home turf is enough for VT to win.

Western Kentucky did a better job against Alabama at Bryant Denny Stadium than USC did against the Tide at AT&T Stadium.  Miami of Ohio is still a couple years of improvement away before the Red Hawks can think there is a chance to go to a bowl.  The Hilltoppers should win this game by at least 17 points.

I would not want to be the Alabama or Ohio State and have to play Oklahoma State in Stillwater this week.  The players are mad as hatters.  The coach is madder.  Add the obvious letdown by the Panthers after beating Penn State at home, and we would not be surprised if OSU wins by 20 or more points.


Parlay #3 +147

Utah St. over Arkansas St.

Central Michigan over UNLV

Texas Tech over Louisiana Tech

Alabama over Ole Miss

Arkansas State appears to be weaker than thought in the preseason, when the Sun Belt media gurus thought they would contend with Appy State for the conference crown.  They are 0-2, but it is a sneaky 0-2.  Losses to Auburn and Toledo doesn’t make ASU bad.  Playing at Utah St. gives the Aggies a greater than normal home field advantage.  USU never challenged USC last week, so this is a chance for the Aggies to rebound and bounce back.

Central Michigan must now be considered a contender for the NY6 Bowl bid.  A road win over a top 20 team, even if mistakes were made by the referees, is worth more than Houston’s win at hometown NRG Stadium over Oklahoma.  The Chippewas know they must win every week, and they have a tough conference schedule ahead with Western Michigan, Toledo, and Northern Illinois, plus the must-win game at Virginia next week.  CMU might be looking ahead to the Cavaliers next week, and that worries us a bit, because UNLV is not chopped liver like they have been in recent seasons.  The Rebels could end CMU’s quest for the Fiesta.  Still, we are going with CMU to win, maybe just by not as comfortable a margin as we would hope.

How many points will be scored in Lubbock this week?  How about 90 or more?  Texas Tech and Arizona State played to a basketball score last week, and the Red Raiders return home to face a somewhat weaker opponent.  It might be a nervous Nellie game, but we believe TTU wins 52-38.

Would you like to have a chance to beat Alabama three years in a row when the Tide was undefeated and ranked in the top 5?  Alabama has been ranked #2 and #3 the last two years when Ole Miss defeated the Tide.  The Tide will turn this week, and Alabama will get two years worth of revenge.  Nick Saban and staff has parsed every play of Florida State’e second half against the Rebels, and it would shock us less if ‘Bama wins by 35 or more than Ole Miss winning a third time in a row.


Parlay #4 +132

Penn St. over Temple

Marshall over Akron

Stanford over USC

Utah over San Jose St.

Must we say what happens if Temple goes into Happy Valley and tops Penn State after the Nittany Lions lost to Pitt last week?  The seat of James Franklin would become hot enough to make fried rice.  Temple is weaker than last year, but apparently so is Penn State, or at best they are on par with last year.  We believe the game could be ugly, but the big guys have to win, and they will.

Marshall looked fantastic as the Thundering Herd was the only FBS team to debut their season last week.  Akron had a tough week at Wisconsin, and the Badgers’ muscle guys probably left the Zips bumped and bruised.  We believe they won’t feel better after visiting Doc Holliday, as the Herd runs over the Zips.

Stanford had an extra week to prepare for USC, and teams tend to improve the most between game one and game two.  The Cardinal offense should put up about 25-30 points while holding the Trojans under 20.

Utah visits San Jose a little later in the evening than the Stanford game up the road, but you cannot go to both games and see them in full.  You might be able to see half of each one if you speed on down 280 or the Central Expressway.  The Spartans are one of those teams you worry about, but Utah is a solid team that plays well every week–never spectacular, but much like Wisconsin.  We’ll take the Utes.


Parlay #5 +120

Detroit Lions over Tennessee Titans

New England Patriots over Miami Dolphin

Carolina over San Francisco

Until Tennessee actually wins a game this year, we will select their opponents most weeks.  The Titans look to us to be even weaker than Cleveland without RG3.  Truth be told, if Josh McCown has anything left in his old legs, Cleveland may be a tad better.  The Titans have great difficulty spreading the field vertically with a bunch of distance horses and no speed horses.  Marcus Mariota is not good enough to make average receivers look like Peyton Manning made Dallas Clark.  The running game would be terrific if the passing game was even average, and the defense does not scare many people.  Matthew Stafford and company should have a fun Sunday.

New England is at home facing Miami.  Jimmy Garappolo wasn’t Tom Brady the Second, but he was at least as good as Matt Cassel 2008.  Miami’s defense may be considerably better than last year’s version, but can their offense keep up with the Patriots’ offense?  We say no way.

Carolina has everything in their favor for the last game in this parlay.  The Panthers played Thursday night, while the 49ers played four days later in a rivalry game that had been waiting for 22 years.  San Francisco must travel from one coast to another across three time zones, and they will face hot and humid conditions on Sunday with a chance of storms.  Unless Cam Newton suffers some ill effects from the illegal hits in the opener, we believe Carolina wins by double digits.


***** Warning *****

Remember, do not use these just for fun picks as real investment advice.  We are out nothing for the unsatisfactory results so far.  Don’t be a fool who is soon parted from his/her money.

Past results do not necessarily reflect future success.  Even if we finished 2015 with a 40% ROI, there is no legitimate reason to expect we will ever get on the plus side of 0 this year.

September 13, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 2: September 15-19,2016

Few Surprises In Week One

As NFL seasons go, week one was a rather tame beginning to the new season.  Because nothing is ever certain, there were a couple of eye-openers, but overall when compared to years past, this was a so-so beginning to the year.

The biggest news to come out of Week One was the across the board drop in TV ratings.  According to reports in Forbes Magazine, Thursday night’s Broncos-Panthers game on NBC was off 8%.  The Sunday afternoon games saw a ratings drop of 13%, and the Sunday night game was off 18% in the most important age group of 18-49 year olds.  We won’t pretend to have the answers, but we have heard many opinions about this today including:

  1. Protests of the National Anthem
  2. Americans have given up cable and satellite dish subscriptions in record numbers
  3. The 2016 Presidential Election is more entertaining to follow
  4. Americans are souring on the concussion issue
  5. The game has become a one-dimensional game where all 32 teams play the same way

Or, it could just be that this past weekend was a really nice one to be outside enjoying nature, shopping malls, visiting relatives, or anything else.  Maybe, the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers are contending for the Major League Playoffs in September, and more sports fans in the three largest markets were watching baseball.  The Cubs and Jake Arrieta were on ESPN Sunday night.

We’ll see if the ratings return to normalcy in Week Two.  There are some really interesting contests this week, so let’s take a look at a reason to watch if you can get these games.

Jets at Bills

One of these teams is going to be 0-2, facing a mountain to conquer to get into the playoffs.  The odds for finishing 9-7 or better after an 0-2 start since 2000 is something like 5-7%, and when you consider that the Patriots are going to win double digit games, we are talking about a Wildcard prospect.  The loser of this game can almost count itself out in the 2016 playoff race rather quickly, as both teams must still play New England twice.  If Buffalo loses, the Ryan brothers may wish to try going over Niagara Falls in a barrel made for two.


49ers at Panthers

The odds are overwhelmingly stacked against San Francisco this week.  They played a late Monday night game, while Carolina played last Thursday night.  They must travel all the way across the country to face a mad Panthers’ team that felt like they blew their opener on the road.  Carolina is a good touchdown better at home than they are on the road, while San Francisco is young and still learning Chip Kelly’s philosophy on the fly.  If the 49ers can pull off a monumental upset, or even if they continue to play top notch defense and lose a close game, the folks in Phoenix and Seattle will certainly take notice, and the folks in the Bay Area will become fanatical once again.  If Carolina loses, then the South race becomes wide open.


Titans at Lions

The way the Lions came back in the closing seconds to top the Colts further reinforces our preseason beliefs that this team is capable of challenging for a playoff spot.  Detroit has the easiest path to a 2-0 record as the Titans continue to bring up the rear in the NFL.  Their archaic offensive playing style does not win in the NFL in the 21st Century, as football metrics show the teams that pass the ball and defend the pass the best are the teams that win big.  Running games may look like the way to go, but in most instances, rushing statistics are inflated by teams running the ball to eat the clock once their passing game and pass defense has secured a winnable lead.  The Titans have issues against the pass as well, while Detroit can put up 300 passing yards against almost any team. Expect a lopsided win for the home team in Motown.


Chiefs at Texans

One of these two teams will be 2-0 on Sunday, but 2-0 teams are not as sure of a lock at making the playoffs than 0-2 teams are at not making it.  Still, 2-0 teams make the playoffs more than 60% of the time.  Houston might have closer to an 80% chance of making the playoffs if the Texans win this game and the Colts lose.  They could conceivably start the year with a two-game cushion on the entire division.  Kansas City eeked out an overtime comeback win in week one, and the Chiefs have been a slow-starter in recent years.  Should KC win this game, then watch out AFC fans–if the road to the Super Bowl runs through Arrowhead Stadium, the home field advantage in Kansas City in January is about as strong as the home field advantage at Bryant Denny Stadium in November.


Saints at Giants

Sean Payton’s magic may be going the way of former Giants head man Tom Coughlin.  The Saints can still move the ball and score points, but their defense has never been the same since Bountygate.  As long as Eli Manning has Odell Beckham, and now he has Victor Cruz, the Giants can put points on the board with anybody.  Because the Giants also have a halfway decent defense, a win this week makes the NFC East look very winnable.  The Saints need to win to keep even with Carolina and to possibly stay within a game of the surprising Bucs.


Bengals at Steelers

This may be the most important rivalry game between these teams since Terry Bradshaw and Ken Anderson faced off against each other back in the 1970’s, and Paul Brown played human chess against Chuck Noll.  Quite frankly, these two teams could be contending for the top won-loss record in the AFC, and the fans of both teams understand how a rivalry should be played.


Buccaneers at Cardinals

Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim was fully in his rights to lash out against the poor performance of his team Sunday night, but doing it in such a public manner might prove to be counterproductive in the 21st Century.  This isn’t 1978 when George Steinbrenner’s media monologues could light a fire under his team.  What’s Keim going to do next–fire Bruce Arians?  Who would be his Bob Lemon?  Tampa Bay meanwhile looked like a solid team in an opener against Atlanta.  The game should be interesting even if the extracurricular activities have no effect at all.


Seahawks at Rams

Los Angeles is not that inept; last night’s debacle cannot be the norm for the Rams.  Or could it?  We’re talking about a team of nomads with no real home just yet.  They have had to sojourn all over the LA area this summer, and they looked like a team that had been wandering in the desert for 40 years with no help from the Great Master.  Jeff Fisher is not Moses.  Pete Carroll was once treated like Moses in this town, and he will return to play a game in the great coliseum where he led the USC Trojans to victory almost every time in that venue.  This will be the first NFL regular season game in the LA Coliseum since December of 1979.  There’s even been a Dodgers game in this facility since the Rams last played here.


Falcons at Raiders

When is the last time Oakland began the year 2-0?  It was 2002, when the Raiders last played in the Super Bowl.  This is a team that is riding sky high after coming from behind to win in New Orleans Sunday afternoon.  Coach Jack Del Rio showed confidence in his team by going for two to either win or lose the game rather than take the almost automatic tie and go to overtime.  When Oakland converted, it boosted the morale and confidence in the Silver and Black.  It was probably worth an extra 3 to 5 points to their team for the near future.  Meanwhile, the Falcons began the season with the same belief, but that enthusiasm and confidence crash and burned after losing to Tampa Bay.  This could be another 0-2 team already looking at 2017 rather than 2016 if Atlanta loses this week.


Packers at Vikings

What better way to end Sunday night than to watch the great white north rivalry?  Unless your name is Ole, Lena, or Sven, you may not realize how great a rivalry this is.  Even when one team is down and the other is strong, this game tends to be quite worthwhile to view.  Because both teams currently are rather strong, this becomes the top game of the night, or maybe the co-top game with the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game.  This year, this game takes on more importance, because most likely the Lions will already be 2-0 when the rivals kick off.


Here are this week’s NFL PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
N. Y. Jets 103.5 101.1 104.7 103.1 61 42
New England 102.0 99.4 102.5 101.3 61 40
Buffalo 98.9 99.9 99.0 99.3 58 41
Miami 95.9 97.2 95.8 96.3 58 38
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Cincinnati 107.5 106.8 108.4 107.6 65 43
Pittsburgh 105.2 104.9 106.5 105.5 65 41
Baltimore 98.9 101.1 98.6 99.5 62 38
Cleveland 90.7 91.7 90.1 90.8 58 33
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Houston 101.1 102.6 101.1 101.6 64 38
Indianapolis 97.3 99.4 96.1 97.6 62 36
Jacksonville 97.2 98.9 96.5 97.5 59 39
Tennessee 92.2 94.4 91.6 92.7 54 39
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 105.9 102.3 106.1 104.7 62 43
Kansas City 102.2 101.6 103.2 102.3 63 39
Oakland 98.9 99.5 99.0 99.1 63 36
San Diego 97.8 98.9 97.6 98.1 63 35
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Washington 98.5 99.3 98.3 98.7 61 38
N.Y. Giants 98.6 97.7 98.3 98.2 62 36
Philadelphia 99.4 96.3 98.7 98.1 61 37
Dallas 93.1 93.4 92.5 93.0 54 39
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Green Bay 104.7 104.0 104.7 104.5 65 40
Minnesota 102.6 101.6 103.1 102.4 60 42
Detroit 100.9 100.5 100.6 100.7 64 37
Chicago 97.0 95.0 96.8 96.3 56 40
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Carolina 109.2 107.9 110.2 109.1 65 44
New Orleans 99.2 101.8 98.5 99.8 64 36
Tampa Bay 97.5 98.7 96.6 97.6 60 38
Atlanta 95.4 98.4 95.1 96.3 61 35
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Arizona 108.4 105.6 109.4 107.8 68 40
Seattle 108.1 104.7 109.1 107.3 64 43
Los Angeles 96.5 98.3 95.7 96.9 56 41
San Francisco 95.8 97.1 95.8 96.2 56 40

Here are this week’s spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Score
Buffalo New York Jets -2.6 0.8 -3.7 17-19
Carolina San Francisco 17.4 14.8 18.4 27-10
Cleveland Baltimore -5.7 -6.9 -6.0 21-27
Detroit Tennessee 11.7 9.1 12.0 28-17
Houston Kansas City 1.9 4.0 0.9 27-24
New England Miami 9.1 5.2 9.7 24-16
New York Giants New Orleans 2.4 -1.1 2.8 28-27
Pittsburgh Cincinnati 0.2 0.6 0.6 24-23
Washington Dallas 8.4 8.9 8.8 23-14
Arizona Tampa Bay 13.9 9.9 15.8 33-20
Los Angeles Seattle -8.1 -2.9 -9.9 13-20
Denver Indianapolis 11.6 5.9 13.0 27-17
Oakland Atlanta 6.5 4.1 6.9 30-24
San Diego Jacksonville 3.6 3.0 4.1 27-24
Minnesota Green Bay -0.1 -0.4 0.4 22-23
Chicago Philadelphia 0.1 1.2 0.6 21-20





September 8, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–September 8-12, 2016

Did you heed our biggest piece of advice given here last week? If so, then you were smart and lost none of your hard-earned money by following our selections. Our two picks both lost in the opening week. Army did not upset Temple. The Black Knights won impressively enough to prove that their win was no fluke. It wasn’t Davis and Blanchard running over opponents, but this has the look of a bowl-bound team. The Cadets entertain Rice at Michie Stadium this week, and chances for a 2-0 start are strong.

The other loss came about when LSU got Lambeau Leapt by Wisconsin. One late fumble sent our mythological winning week down the tubes.

We start out the season down 200 imaginary dollars in our fake bankroll.

Oh well, a new week brings new fun only picks, and with the NFL season beginning in a matter of hours from the time this is written, we have more opportunities to wager our fake bankroll. These days, a fake bankroll is what so many of us tend to have.

We are going with five parlay picks this week, two with college games, and three with NFL games. Usually, we like to be overly conservative at the start of the NFL season, because there is enough parity that a 4-12 team from the year before could become a playoff team this year, while a playoff team last year could swoon to 4-12 this year. However, we are going with three NFL parlays because we were able to get better than even money odds by parlaying just two teams in each selection.

Our two college parlays both contain rivalry games within each selection. It is not the norm for rivals to play so soon in the season, but it happens when said rivals are not members of the same conference. Thus, in week two, New Mexico plays New Mexico State, and Iowa plays Iowa State. We believe these are almost free games, as the favorites are overwhelmingly superior to their rival. Of course, this can bite us on the fanny, because weaker rivals can play well over their heads, especially early in the year before injury and other attrition has decimated their already thin-talented rosters.

There is also an issue with taking a slow-starting team against a quick-starting team, because sometimes, the quick-starting underdog might score so many points early that the slow-starting favorite cannot come back from the deficit. However, we are still going with two slow-starting Sunshine State schools. South Florida, and their smashmouth style of play, hosts Northern Illinois, and the Bulls were a bit sluggish on the defensive side in their season opening win over FCS member Towson State. However, NIU lost at Wyoming last week, and USF is considerably more talented than the Cowboys. Also, playing in muggy Tampa might give the Bulls an extra couple points of home field advantage.

Florida has not been the offensive juggernaut under Coach Jim McElwain that they were under Steve Spurrier or Urban Meyer, but the Gators won the SEC East Division by taking care of business with strong defense. The Gators gave up just 73 points in their seven SEC wins last year. Meanwhile, Kentucky scored 35 points quickly against Southern Miss last week, before watching like a deer in the headlights as the Eagles stormed back and scored on the porous Wildcat defense like it was just a skeleton unit. We believe the Gators will win this game by 7-17 points, as McElwain knows that he only needs his offense to play it safe and avoid turnovers, while the defense and special teams sets up the offense for low-risk scoring drives.

Now to the NFL. We begin tonight by taking the Super Bowl loser from last year. You no doubt are familiar with the recent trend of Super Bowl losers performing considerably worse the following year. However, this on the surface looks like a gift tonight. Both teams lost some key talent since the last time they played, but Denver clearly lost more. Even though Peyton Manning was like Babe Ruth with the Boston Braves in 1935, the Broncos will have a totally untested quarterback and rookie backup trying to face the NFC’s best defense. Peyton might have guided Denver to 17 points. Trevor and/or Paxton will be lucky to score 17 and might give the Panthers a score with costly mistakes. Also, we have seen Wade Phillips’ defenses regress the year after they dominate, and we feel that Cam Newton is going to play this game like it is the Super Bowl again. We believe Carolina wins an ugly game tonight.

Miami could be a surprise team this year, but they still have a lot to prove. New Coach Adam Gase is already considered to be the top new coach in the league, and he has been tagged as a potential superstar in the business. However, even superstar coaches must have decent talent to succeed, and the Dolphins still have a lot of questions. Having to travel as far away as they can without playing at a neutral site, and having that game come against the team with the best home field advantage in the NFL makes us believe that Seattle is a gift choice. Of course, we could be wrong, but when there are just 16 NFL games, you have to isolate the couple that look the most promising and offer a good rate of return on your investment, even if said investment is as real as the Man in the Moon.

The second game of the Monday Night doubleheader looks to us to be a gift as well, but what do we know? The Los Angeles Rams (doesn’t that sound so wonderful again) go up the coast to take on their former and future arch-rival San Francisco 49ers, and the 49ers look like a train wreck. However, Chip Kelly can coach offense, and Jeff Fisher-coached teams have a history of starting out slow. In this game featuring recycled quarterbacks, we believe that Case Keenum has more weapons at his disposal than Blaine Gabbert, and the Rams’ defense is worth an extra touchdown saved over the 49ers’ defense, so in our possibly deluded mind, we think the Rams at low odds offer us an excellent base for a parlay.

Now to the turnaround game in our minds. We think that Baltimore is ready to rebound to at least a better than mediocre season, while Buffalo takes a small step backward this year. The Ravens have enough offense to score on Rob Ryan’s defense, while brother Rex’s offense does not offer very much.

Once again, when you see the odds, you will notice that all 5 games present better than even money.

When you see that money line at +X, add $100 to the X, and this would show you how much money you would receive if the parlay wins, and you invested $100, because when you win, you get back your initial investment plus your winnings, just like with paramutuel wagering at the horse track.

For instance, if you play a money line game or money line parlay at +120, and you invest $100 in this selection, if you win, you will receive $220 ($120 profit plus your $100 investment). If you lose, you are out your $100 investment.

Here are our parlays for the week.

#1–College Parlay at +118
Navy over Connecticut
New Mexico over New Mexico State
Florida over Kentucky

#2–College Parlay at +134
Duke over Wake Forest
Louisville over Syracuse
South Florida over Northern Illinois
Iowa over Iowa State

#3–NFL Parlay at +106
Los Angeles Rams over San Francisco
Seattle over Miami

#4–NFL Parlay at +121
Carolina over Denver
Kansas City over San Diego

#5–NFL Parlay at +131
Baltimore over Buffalo
Green Bay over Jacksonville

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