After improving a bit last week and losing only $23 of our imaginary bank roll, we have decided to expand our plays to include a couple of underdogs we believe can win outright. Thus, two of our four chosen plays this week will return big payoffs of imaginary cash should they come through with winners.
First, we must take care of official business. Last week, we played five parlays, winning $277 and losing $300. For the year, we have now wagered $1,200 in imaginary money, and have a loss of $442 to date, meaning still no return on our unreal investment. We warned you that Money Line Parlays can be really tough, but we love to play them, especially since it costs us nothing.
Here are our picks for this week. Remember, don’t actually wager on these. This is just for fun, and we would never put a dime of real money on these plays, even if it returned over 40% on investment last year. It’s doing squat so far this year.
1. College Parlay at +450
Army over Buffalo
Tulane over Louisiana-Lafayette
Arkansas over Texas A&M
Arkansas is the underdog in this parlay and the reason it offers a return of 4.5 times the amount invested. The Razorbacks have been slowly developing a balanced offense with an improving defense. Winning at TCU is enough to show us that the Hogs are on the way back to great things. Texas A&M has struggled in their two wins over quality opposition, and we believe the Aggies are due for continued struggles.
Army is off to a great start, and the Black Knights now face a Buffalo team that has already lost to a FCS opponent. This could be the type of game that allows the Cadets to play their plebes. Coach Jeff Monken learned well from his mentor Paul Johnson, and the Army rushing attack looks like it could move the ball on most FBS teams this year. They should light up the scoreboard against Buffalo.
Tulane is also running the option under first year coach Willie Fritz. Fritz does not have all the pieces in place yet in New Orleans, but with his Texas ties, it is only a matter of time until the Green Wave are winning once again. For now, TU has an exceptional defense with a clock-consuming offense that allows that defense to stay fresh and strong enough to hold ULL to 10 points, which is few enough that we see the olive green and blue winning this week.
2. College Parlay at +126
Arizona St. over California
Cincinnati over Miami (O)
Minnesota over Colorado St.
Memphis over Bowling Green
Arizona State had to rally in the fourth quarter to win at UTSA, while Cal pulled off a nice home upset of Texas. With the Golden Bears playing in the heat in Tempe, and with ASU’s players more focused, we believe Todd Graham’s Sun Devils will play their best game of the season to date, while Cal has trouble with the heat and the speed of the ASU receivers.
Cincinnati should beat Miami of Ohio by 3 touchdowns, but even if the in-state rival underdogs play their best possible and the Bearcats stink up the joint, Cinti should win by at least 10.
Minnesota is a team flying under the radar. They win, but they don’t win convincingly and don’t win with flashy play. The offense is better than most think, and the defense is not shabby. This Gophers team is not yet the equivalent of the Sandy Stephens’ teams of the early 1960’s, but it could be as good as any in Minneapolis since Laurence Maroney and Bryan Capito were moving the pigskin.
This year’s Memphis team has not really been challenged yet, and Bowling Green is not the team to bring that challenge. The Tigers should have little problem disposing of the Falcons, as this is a different BGU team without Dino Babers at the controls.
3. NFL Parlay at +373
Indianapolis over San Diego
Oakland over Tennessee
Dallas over Chicago
Oakland is the second underdog we will use in our parlays this week. The Raiders’ starting offensive and defensive lines manhandled the Titans starting offensive and defensive lines in the preseason game. Preseason games don’t reveal a lot, but when you see one front consistently moving the opposing front in the same direction, it is a good bet that they will do so no matter the importance of the game. We believe the Raiders will score more points than the Titans are capable of scoring, and thus we go with the underdog.
Indianapolis faces a must-win scenario at home. Even with a sore Andrew Luck, we believe the Colts will find a way to eke out a small win. If not, then the AFC West is going to be one incredible 4-team race.
Dallas should handle the Bears with relative ease. Without Jay Cutler, Chicago will have to play conservatively and hope they can rattle Dak Prescott. We believe that the nifty rookie will continue to play brilliantly week after week and could be the odds-on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award.
4. NFL Parlay at +143
Miami over Cleveland
New York Giants over Washington
Carolina over Minnesota
If Cleveland couldn’t win with RGIII and John McCown at quarterback, then how can they win with Cody Kessler, who wasn’t good enough to make the active roster when all the QBs were healthy. Miami is not playoff worthy at this point, but Adam Gase can design a game plan that will make Kessler’s debut a nightmare.
The Giants look like the Giants of old when Eli Manning had multiple quality receivers to throw to, and the defense came up with big stops. Well, Manning has multiple quality receivers again, and the defense is coming up with big stops. NY could be looking at a season where they are playing at home in January.
The Carolina-Minnesota match worried us for hours today. The Vikings will have to go without Adrian Peterson, but their defense looks as strong as it has looked since the days of Eller, Page, and company. Meanwhile, there is unrest in Charlotte, and it could carry over to the team. We decided that in the end, we would go with the home team to capitalize on the weakened running game and thus to slow down Sam Bradford.