The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 6, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 14: December 8-12, 2016

Week 13 begins the final stretch in the NFL, as the 32 teams are all on the same closing schedule with 12 games played and four to go.  The Flex Scheduling has kicked in, and it becomes time to look at tiebreakers with competing teams.

If you want to take a look at the lengthy tiebreaker rules, you can find them at the NFL’s webpage at http://www.nfl.com/standings/tiebreakingprocedures.

Here is a look at who would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.

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

Of course, the season does not end today, and our new projections show some changes in the rankings above, especially in the AFC West, where Oakland faces a difficult closing stretch, and Kansas City has a somewhat easier road in the final four games.

Our Projected Playoffs

AFC Seeding
1 New England
2 Kansas City
3 Pittsburgh
4 Indianapolis
5 Oakland
6 Denver
   
NFC Seeding
1 Dallas
2 Seattle
3 Detroit
4 Tampa Bay
5 N.Y. Giants
6 Washington

And, our projected playoff outcomes for this week

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

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 109.1 107.9 110.0 109.0 67 42
Buffalo 102.1 102.3 102.4 102.3 63 39
Miami 97.0 97.4 97.1 97.1 59 38
N. Y. Jets 95.6 94.5 96.0 95.4 57 38
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 104.8 104.4 105.4 104.9 63 42
Cincinnati 101.5 101.2 101.7 101.5 60 42
Baltimore 100.8 101.8 100.6 101.1 61 40
Cleveland 87.7 88.6 87.4 87.9 55 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Indianapolis 98.4 99.9 98.0 98.8 62 37
Tennessee 97.8 98.9 97.5 98.1 61 37
Houston 97.0 97.8 96.3 97.0 61 36
Jacksonville 93.1 94.5 92.7 93.4 58 35
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 105.6 104.5 105.2 105.1 63 42
Kansas City 104.0 103.8 104.5 104.1 64 40
Oakland 102.3 102.8 103.1 102.7 67 36
San Diego 99.3 100.1 99.1 99.5 64 36
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Dallas 104.9 104.2 105.5 104.9 63 42
Washington 101.6 101.3 101.6 101.5 63 39
Philadelphia 100.0 98.8 99.5 99.4 60 39
N.Y. Giants 99.2 98.8 99.3 99.1 62 37
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 102.4 101.7 102.2 102.1 59 43
Detroit 101.4 101.1 101.3 101.3 62 39
Green Bay 99.8 99.6 99.7 99.7 64 36
Chicago 93.7 92.7 93.5 93.3 56 37
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 104.7 105.4 104.7 104.9 70 35
Tampa Bay 101.5 101.6 101.6 101.6 63 39
Carolina 101.1 101.1 101.1 101.1 60 41
New Orleans 100.1 100.9 100.3 100.4 67 33
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 108.3 106.1 108.8 107.7 63 45
Arizona 102.7 101.6 102.7 102.3 63 39
Los Angeles 96.5 97.3 96.1 96.7 55 42
San Francisco 88.5 89.5 87.9 88.6 54 35

This Week’s NBA Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Kansas City Oakland 4.7 4.0 4.4 57
Buffalo Pittsburgh -0.2 0.4 -0.5 46
Carolina San Diego 4.8 4.0 5.0 45
Cleveland Cincinnati -11.8 -10.6 -12.3 41
Detroit Chicago 10.2 10.9 10.3 40
Indianapolis Houston 4.4 5.1 4.7 51
Jacksonville Minnesota -6.3 -4.2 -6.5 38
Miami Arizona -2.7 -1.2 -2.6 47
Philadelphia Washington 0.4 -0.5 -0.1 47
Tampa Bay New Orleans 4.4 3.7 4.3 59
Tennessee Denver -4.8 -2.6 -4.7 47
San Francisco New York Jets -4.1 -2.0 -5.1 38
Green Bay Seattle -5.5 -3.5 -6.1 48
Los Angeles Atlanta -5.2 -5.1 -5.6 48
New York Giants Dallas -2.7 -2.4 -3.2 48
New England Baltimore 10.3 9.1 12.4 48

 

 

 

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November 30, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–December 2-5, 2016

Throughout this season, our college parlay picks have been our bread and butter until last week.  Last week, we made six parlay selections, four with college teams and two with NFL teams.  We won with one of the three college parlays but we won both the NFL Parlays to finish the week with a tidy profit.

For the week, we invested $600 imaginary dollars, and the three wins returned $755 for a profit of $155 and a return on investment of 26%.  For the year, that moved our total ROI of 7% on a profit of $407 on an investment of $5,500.

With the number of college games dwindling down, we will only issue three parlay selections this week.

December 2-5, 2016
1. College Parlay at +362
West Virginia over Baylor
W. Kentucky over La. Tech
Wyoming over San Diego St.
 
2. College Parlay at +269
South Alabama over N. Mexico St.
Troy over Georgia Southern
Oklahoma over Oklahoma St.
Idaho over Georgia St.
Clemson over Virgina Tech
 
3. NFL Parlay at +122
Denver over Jacksonville
Green Bay over Houston
New England over Los Angeles

November 29, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 13: December 1-5, 2016

 

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 109.1 107.8 109.9 108.9 67 42
Buffalo 103.4 103.5 103.8 103.6 64 40
Miami 98.5 98.9 98.6 98.6 60 39
N. Y. Jets 98.1 97.0 98.5 97.9 58 40
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 104.5 104.1 105.1 104.6 63 42
Cincinnati 100.4 100.2 100.5 100.4 59 41
Baltimore 99.2 100.2 99.0 99.5 61 39
Cleveland 87.7 88.6 87.4 87.9 55 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Tennessee 97.8 98.9 97.5 98.1 61 37
Houston 97.5 98.3 96.9 97.6 61 37
Indianapolis 96.7 98.2 96.3 97.1 60 37
Jacksonville 93.2 94.7 92.7 93.5 59 35
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 105.4 104.2 105.1 104.9 63 42
Kansas City 103.6 103.4 104.0 103.7 64 40
Oakland 100.5 101.1 101.2 100.9 66 35
San Diego 100.3 101.0 100.2 100.5 65 36
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Dallas 104.1 103.4 104.7 104.1 63 41
Washington 101.9 101.6 102.0 101.8 63 39
Philadelphia 101.3 100.0 100.9 100.7 62 39
N.Y. Giants 99.4 99.0 99.5 99.3 62 37
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 102.6 101.9 102.4 102.3 59 43
Green Bay 99.5 99.3 99.3 99.4 64 35
Detroit 99.3 99.0 99.2 99.2 61 38
Chicago 93.0 92.0 92.6 92.6 56 37
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 105.0 105.7 105.1 105.2 70 35
Carolina 102.8 102.8 102.8 102.8 62 41
New Orleans 101.8 102.6 102.0 102.1 68 34
Tampa Bay 100.1 100.3 100.1 100.2 62 38
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 106.6 104.4 107.1 106.0 62 44
Arizona 102.4 101.3 102.3 102.0 63 39
Los Angeles 96.8 97.7 96.5 97.0 55 42
San Francisco 90.0 91.0 89.6 90.2 54 36

This Week’s Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Minnesota Dallas 1.5 1.5 0.7 40
Atlanta Kansas City 4.4 5.3 4.1 61
Baltimore Miami 3.7 4.3 3.4 45
Chicago San Francisco 6.0 4.0 6.0 39
Cincinnati Philadelphia 2.1 3.2 2.6 43
Green Bay Houston 5.0 4.0 5.4 55
Jacksonville Denver -9.2 -6.5 -9.4 47
New England Los Angeles 15.3 13.1 14.4 40
New Orleans Detroit 5.5 6.6 5.8 59
Oakland Buffalo 0.1 0.6 0.4 57
Arizona Washington 3.5 2.7 3.3 50
Pittsburgh New York Giants 7.6 7.6 8.1 48
San Diego Tampa Bay 3.2 3.7 3.1 55
Seattle Carolina 6.8 4.6 7.3 41
New York Jets Indianapolis 3.9 1.3 4.7 43

 

If The Playoffs Began Today

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

 

PiRate Playoff Projections

AFC Seeding
1 Oakland
2 New England
3 Pittsburgh
4 Indianapolis
5 Kansas City
6 Denver
   
NFC Seeding
1 Dallas
2 Seattle
3 Atlanta
4 Minnesota
5 N.Y. Giants
6 Washington

 

Wildcard Round
Kansas City over Indianapolis
Pittsburgh over Denver
Atlanta over Washington
N.Y. Giants over Minnesota
 
Divisional Round
Oakland over Kansas City
New England over Pittsburgh
Dallas over N.Y. Giants
Seattle over Atlanta
 
Conference Championship
Oakland over New England
Dallas over Seattle
 
Super Bowl 51
Oakland over Dallas

 

November 22, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 12: November 24-28, 2016

The Best Thanksgiving Day Football Season Ever

The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys have been Thanksgiving Day fixtures in the NFL annual scheduling, and there have been some mighty exciting turkey day games as well as some outright turkeys.

In all the years of Thanksgiving Day football, one year stands out as the best ever.  It was November 25, 1971, and on that day, the four NFL teams involved were all in tight races for playoff spots.

Detroit hosted Kansas City in the early game.  The Lions were 6-3-1, chasing Minnesota but ahead of Washington for the lone NFC Wildcard spot.  Kansas City was a game behind Oakland but the leader in the Wildcard race of the AFC.  The Lions won that day to move to 7-3-1, dropping the Chiefs to 7-3-1.  KC would win out to beat out Oakland, while Detroit would drop its final three to finish 7-6-1 and out of the playoffs.

In the afternoon game, Dallas hosted the Los Angeles Rams.  The 7-3 Cowboys had won three in a row once Coach Tom Landry inserted Roger Staubach as full-time starter.  The Rams were trying to keep pace with the division leading San Francisco 49ers, and the winner of this game would be in great shape to make the playoffs.  Dallas emerged victorious to run its winning streak to four and would keep winning every week until they had their first Super Bowl title.  The Rams would miss out on the playoffs by one game.

We have yet to provide the icing on the cake for why 11/25/71 was the best ever Thanksgiving Day for football fans.  It was the college game that made this date so special.  Undefeated and #1 Nebraska played undefeated and #2 Oklahoma with the winner almost assured of facing the winner of #3 Alabama and #4 Auburn in the Orange Bowl.  It has been called the greatest college football game ever, and you can find most or all of it online with a Youtube search.

This Week’s NFL PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 109.3 108.0 110.1 109.1 67 42
Buffalo 103.6 103.7 104.1 103.8 64 40
Miami 98.7 99.0 98.9 98.8 60 39
N. Y. Jets 97.9 96.8 98.3 97.7 58 40
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 102.9 102.8 103.4 103.0 62 41
Cincinnati 100.6 100.3 100.8 100.6 60 41
Baltimore 99.0 100.1 98.7 99.3 61 38
Cleveland 87.9 88.8 87.6 88.1 55 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Indianapolis 98.3 99.5 98.0 98.6 62 37
Houston 98.0 98.7 97.5 98.1 61 37
Tennessee 97.5 98.8 97.1 97.8 61 37
Jacksonville 93.0 94.5 92.4 93.3 58 35
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 105.8 104.5 105.5 105.2 63 42
Kansas City 103.2 103.1 103.6 103.3 63 40
Oakland 100.4 101.0 101.1 100.8 66 35
San Diego 99.8 100.6 99.6 100.0 65 35
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Dallas 104.1 103.4 104.7 104.1 63 41
Philadelphia 103.3 101.7 103.1 102.7 63 40
Washington 101.9 101.6 102.0 101.8 63 39
N.Y. Giants 99.2 98.8 99.3 99.1 62 37
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 102.8 102.0 102.7 102.5 60 43
Detroit 99.1 98.9 98.9 99.0 61 38
Green Bay 97.5 97.6 97.1 97.4 62 35
Chicago 93.3 92.1 93.0 92.8 56 37
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 103.7 104.7 103.7 104.0 69 35
Carolina 102.9 102.9 102.9 102.9 62 41
New Orleans 100.4 101.4 100.5 100.8 67 34
Tampa Bay 98.6 99.1 98.4 98.7 62 37
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 108.1 105.6 108.8 107.5 64 44
Arizona 103.7 102.3 103.7 103.2 64 39
Los Angeles 98.2 98.9 98.0 98.4 56 42
San Francisco 89.8 90.9 89.3 90.0 54 36

This Week’s PiRate Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Detroit Minnesota -0.7 -0.1 -0.8 42
Dallas Washington 5.2 4.8 5.7 48
Indianapolis Pittsburgh -1.6 -0.3 -2.4 48
Atlanta Arizona 3.5 5.9 3.5 51
Baltimore Cincinnati 0.9 2.3 0.4 44
Buffalo Jacksonville 13.6 12.2 14.7 49
Chicago Tennessee -1.2 -3.7 -1.1 45
Cleveland New York Giants -8.8 -7.5 -9.2 49
Houston San Diego 1.2 1.1 0.9 56
Miami San Francisco 12.4 11.6 13.1 41
New Orleans Los Angeles 5.2 5.5 5.5 48
Tampa Bay Seattle -6.0 -3.0 -6.9 47
Denver Kansas City 5.6 4.4 4.9 46
Oakland Carolina 0.5 1.1 1.2 54
New York Jets New England -8.9 -8.7 -9.3 45
Philadelphia Green Bay 8.8 7.1 9.0 52

If The Playoffs Began Today

AFC
1 Oakland
2 New England
3 Houston
4 Baltimore
5 Kansas City
6 Denver
   
NFC
1 Dallas
2 Seattle
3 Detroit
4 Atlanta
5 N.Y. Giants
6 Washington

PiRate Ratings Playoff Projections

AFC Seeding
1 New England
2 Oakland
3 Indianapolis
4 Baltimore
5 Denver
6 Kansas City
   
NFC Seeding
1 Dallas
2 Seattle
3 Detroit
4 Atlanta
5 Washington
6 N.Y. Giants

 

Wildcard Round
Kansas City over Indianapolis
Baltimore over Denver
New York Giants over Detroit
Washington over Atlanta
 
Divisional Round
New England over Kansas City
Oakland over Baltimore
Dallas over New York Giants
Seattle over Washington
 
Conference Championship
Oakland over New England
Seattle over Dallas
 
Super Bowl 51
Seattle over Oakland

 

 

 

November 8, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 10: November 10-14, 2016

Beginning today, we start posting playoff projections.  Our playoff projections look ahead to remaining schedules and use a combination of Pirate Ratings and home field advantage to estimate the remaining won-loss records of all the teams.  Even though the last place teams do not figure to make the playoffs, we have to project their records as well in order to break ties.

In the AFC, we are projecting that it will take a minimum record of 10-6 to earn a wildcard spot.  It is a tiny bit easier in the NFC as of this week, as we project a 9-6-1 record will qualify for the playoffs.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 110.7 109.2 111.8 110.6 67 44
Buffalo 103.2 103.3 103.7 103.4 63 40
N. Y. Jets 98.4 97.0 99.0 98.1 58 40
Miami 97.0 97.4 97.0 97.1 59 38
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 102.8 102.7 103.5 103.0 62 41
Cincinnati 102.0 101.7 102.2 102.0 61 41
Baltimore 98.5 99.9 98.1 98.8 61 38
Cleveland 88.9 89.6 88.6 89.0 56 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Houston 98.1 99.0 97.9 98.3 61 37
Indianapolis 97.6 98.8 97.2 97.9 62 36
Tennessee 96.0 97.5 95.6 96.4 58 38
Jacksonville 92.9 94.5 92.2 93.2 58 35
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 105.6 104.2 105.3 105.0 63 42
Kansas City 103.9 103.9 104.3 104.0 64 40
San Diego 100.5 101.2 100.4 100.7 65 36
Oakland 100.1 100.5 100.5 100.4 65 35
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Dallas 102.8 102.0 103.3 102.7 62 41
Philadelphia 103.2 101.5 102.7 102.5 63 40
Washington 100.3 100.1 100.3 100.2 62 38
N.Y. Giants 99.4 99.0 99.6 99.3 62 37
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 103.1 102.3 103.0 102.8 59 44
Green Bay 101.0 100.9 100.7 100.9 62 39
Detroit 99.0 98.7 98.9 98.9 61 38
Chicago 95.4 94.0 95.1 94.9 56 39
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 103.8 104.9 104.1 104.2 69 35
Carolina 103.5 103.3 103.6 103.5 62 42
New Orleans 100.2 101.4 100.3 100.6 67 34
Tampa Bay 95.3 96.0 94.9 95.4 59 36
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 106.5 104.1 107.1 105.9 62 44
Arizona 105.1 103.4 105.4 104.6 66 39
Los Angeles 98.4 99.4 98.1 98.7 57 42
San Francisco 88.9 90.3 88.0 89.1 53 36

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Baltimore Cleveland 12.1 12.8 12.0 48
Carolina Kansas City 2.6 2.4 2.3 45
Jacksonville Houston -2.7 -2.0 -3.2 49
New Orleans Denver -2.4 0.2 -2.0 54
New York Jets Los Angeles 3.0 0.6 3.9 35
Philadelphia Atlanta 2.4 -0.4 1.6 48
Tampa Bay Chicago 2.9 5.0 2.8 42
Tennessee Green Bay -2.0 -0.4 -2.1 45
Washington Minnesota 0.2 0.8 0.3 41
San Diego Miami 6.5 6.8 6.4 52
Arizona San Francisco 19.2 16.1 20.4 46
Pittsburgh Dallas 3.0 3.7 3.2 44
New England Seattle 7.2 8.1 7.7 43
New York Giants Cincinnati 0.4 0.3 0.4 47

If The Playoffs Began Today

AFC
1 New England
2 Oakland
3 Houston
4 Baltimore
5 Kansas City
6 Denver
   
NFC
1 Dallas
2 Atlanta
3 Seattle
4 Minnesota
5 New York Giants
6 Washington

 

PiRate Ratings Projected Playoffs 

AFC Seeding
1 New England
2 Oakland
3 Indianapolis
4 Pittsburgh
5 Denver
6 Kansas City
   
NFC Seeding
1 Dallas
2 Seattle
3 Atlanta
4 Detroit
5 New York Giants
6 Washington

Wildcard Round

Kansas City over Indianapolis

Pittsburgh over Denver

Atlanta over Washington

New York Giants over Detroit

 

Divisional Round

New England over Kansas City

Oakland over Pittsburgh

New York Giants over Dallas

Seattle over Atlanta

 

Conference Championships

New England over Oakland

New York Giants over Seattle

 

SUPER BOWL

New York Giants over New England

November 1, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 9: November 3-7, 2016

Our First Look At The Playoff Hunt
We like to wait for the first half of the season to come to its end before beginning our playoff projections, as it is virtually useless to start it earlier than the halfway point. With bye weeks, this is sort of the 7 1/2 game point and not the exact midway point, but then next week will be past halfway.

The playoff race is still wide open for most of the teams. In the AFC, Cleveland is the only team with zero chance to make the playoffs. In the NFC, San Francisco is the only team with virtually no chance. That means 30 teams are still alive.
At the other end of the perspective, New England is basically the only team that is close to 100% assured to make the playoffs. This creates a wide open second half race for 11 of the 12 spots among 29 teams.

Let’s start with the old proverbial “If the season ended today” look.

AFC
East: New England #1 Seed
North: Pittsburgh #4 Seed
South: Houston #3 Seed
West: Oakland #2 Seed
Wildcard: Kansas City #5 Seed
Wildcard: Denver #6 Seed

NFC
East: Dallas #1 Seed
North: Minnesota #2 Seed
South: Atlanta #4 Seed
West: Seattle #3 Seed
Wildcard: Green Bay #5 Seed
Wildcard: New York #6 Seed

In the AFC, the wildcard teams have just two losses, and no other competitor is within a game, as the 7th and 8th seeds this week are Tennessee and Buffalo, both at 4-4. The NFC is much closer, as the 4-3 Packers and Giants hold a precarious place on their wildcard spots. There are two other three-loss teams in Philadelphia and Washington, and there are four additional four-loss teams just one game back.

Here is our look at each division at this point in the year.

AFC
East
New England has this division wrapped up even if Tom Brady were to become injured. The Patriots are up three games, and they would have to go 2-6 in the second half to surrender this division to any division rival. Rex Ryan fired his offensive coordinator after a Monday Night game in which the Bills’ defense was embarrassed. The Bills’ defense keeps stubbing its toes week after week, and the offense cannot score enough points to win consistently. This has the look of an 8-8 team that will miss the playoffs. The Dolphins and Jets don’t have the talent to get to 9-7, and it will probably take a 10-6 or better record to become a wildcard this year.

North
Pittsburgh is a very weak 4-3 team with Ben Roethlisberger out. If he miraculously recovers from his knee surgery and plays in the next week or two, his already weak scrambling skills will be that much worse, and the Steelers don’t have an offensive line capable of sustaining the pass rush long enough for Big Ben to survey the field like he tends to do. Thus, we believe that 3-4-1 Cincinnati and 3-4 Baltimore are still very much in this race. This could be the year where it only takes eight wins to earn the division title, whether it be Pittsburgh or Baltimore at 8-8 or Cincinnati at 8-7-1.

South
Can Houston’s defense overcome its inconsistent offense and hang on to the division lead? Tennessee started 1-3 and is now 4-4, but the Titans need another wide receiver to become potent enough to storm past the Texans. Indianapolis and Jacksonville have not shown any tendency to play consecutive games like they deserve to make the playoffs, so for now, we believe Houston will be a weak 9-7 division winner.

West
We cannot find anything to fault the three top teams in this division. Oakland has the easiest schedule of the trio, but they also have the weakest defense of the three. We forecast that Denver will go 12-4, Kansas City will go 11-5, and Oakand will go 10-6, all three making the playoffs.

NFC
East
Dallas has the overall best record in the conference, so could Jason Garrett (Jerry Jones) be foolish enough to bring Tony Romo back to the starting quarterback job when he is healthy enough to play again? Actually, there is precedent, and one quarterback from the past can be used as an example.
Earl Morrall was the backup quarterback for the Baltimore Colts in 1968, when legendary great Johnny Unitas could not get healthy enough to play. Morrall earned the NFL MVP Award and guided the Colts to the NFL’s best record at 13-1 for Coach Don Shula, and then he led the team to back-to-back playoff wins to win the 1968 NFL Championship by beating the Vikings and Browns.
In the Super Bowl, Unitas was healthy enough to play again, but Shula went with the arm that got him there. Morrall performed poorly against the New York Jets’ quick defense, and by the time Shula inserted Unitas into the game, it was too late for Johnny U to bring the Colts back.
Four years later, Shula was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. His start quarterback Bob Griese went down to injury early in the season and was done until January. Once again, Shula turned to the backup, which just so happened to be Morrall again. Morrall repeated the 1968 performance, winning the league MVP award as he guided Miami to a perfect 14-0 record. By the time the playoffs started, Griese was healthy enough to play again. Using his past experience with the Colts, Shula placed Griese back in the starting slot, and Griese guided the Dolphins to the Super Bowl title.

There is a big difference between that Dolphins’ team and this Dallas team. Miami only needed a signal caller that was competent at carrying out ball fakes while handing the ball to the league’s best fullback in Larry Csonka and one of the top halfbacks in Mercury Morris. Miami won by passing the ball about a dozen times per game, letting its league best defense carry the team. Dallas cannot get to the Super Bowl by riding its defense and handing the ball to Ezekiel Elliott 30 times a game. They need a pass rush, and Elliott needs a QB that is a threat to fake to him and run the ball in the opposite direction, which is not Romo.

The rest of the division can all come back and beat out Dallas if the Cowboys falter in the second half, or if Romo becomes the starter again. All four teams are good enough to win any of the other NFC divisions this year, but they will beat up on each other and be lucky to provide one wildcard member much less two. Washington looks to us to be the best of the other three, but the Redskins have a tough second half schedule. Philadelphia has the rookie quarterback, and the Giants have a defense that hasn’t gelled this year, but their offense can score enough points to get to 10-6 with a little luck.

North
There’s a twin personality in the Twin Cities, as Minnesota has seen the best of times for five weeks and the worst of times during the last two weeks. The Vikings’ offense looks easy to defend without Adrian Peterson, and Sam Bradford has shown he is closer to Marcia Brady than Tom Brady the last two weeks. Even if the Vikings go 9-7, they could still win the division, because Green Bay is uber-wounded, Detroit is mediocre on both sides of the ball, and Chicago is Chicago.

South
This division looked like Atlanta’s in a runaway a couple weeks ago, but the Saints and Panthers may not be dead just yet. With Drew Brees guiding New Orleans to 30 point games, the Saints can recover to a 10-6 record in the second half. Carolina is still a mystery team, but the Panthers looked like the 2015 NFC Champions last week and could easily go on a long winning streak. Tampa Bay is not yet there and needs another year at the minimum.

West
Seattle will win this by default. Arizona might fall to third place in this division, and the Rams match the personality of Mr. 8 and 8, Jeff Fisher. The 49ers could be pressed to win another game this year, as Chip Kelly does not have the pieces in place to run his system. Whereas just a couple players kneel before the game, the entire team finds itself on the ground for the next 60 minutes of action.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 110.7 109.2 111.8 110.6 67 44
Buffalo 103.2 103.4 103.7 103.4 63 40
N. Y. Jets 98.6 97.1 99.3 98.3 58 40
Miami 96.8 97.3 96.7 96.9 59 38
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 103.9 103.4 104.8 104.0 63 41
Cincinnati 102.0 101.7 102.2 102.0 61 41
Baltimore 97.4 99.2 96.8 97.8 61 37
Cleveland 90.3 90.8 90.2 90.4 57 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Houston 98.1 99.0 97.9 98.3 61 37
Indianapolis 96.3 97.8 95.7 96.6 62 35
Tennessee 96.1 97.6 95.7 96.5 58 39
Jacksonville 92.4 94.2 91.5 92.7 58 35
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 107.1 105.3 107.0 106.4 63 43
Kansas City 104.4 104.2 105.0 104.5 65 40
San Diego 100.4 101.1 100.3 100.6 65 36
Oakland 98.6 99.4 98.8 98.9 64 35
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Philadelphia 104.0 102.0 103.7 103.2 63 40
Dallas 101.4 100.8 101.7 101.3 61 40
Washington 100.3 100.1 100.3 100.2 62 38
N.Y. Giants 98.6 98.5 98.6 98.6 62 37
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 103.8 102.8 103.9 103.5 60 44
Green Bay 102.3 101.9 102.2 102.1 63 39
Detroit 98.3 98.2 98.0 98.2 61 37
Chicago 95.4 94.0 95.1 94.9 56 39
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Carolina 103.4 103.1 103.5 103.3 61 42
Atlanta 102.6 104.0 102.9 103.1 68 35
New Orleans 99.0 100.4 98.9 99.4 65 34
Tampa Bay 96.5 96.9 96.1 96.5 60 37
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 106.5 104.0 107.1 105.8 62 44
Arizona 105.1 103.4 105.4 104.6 66 39
Los Angeles 98.5 99.6 98.2 98.8 57 42
San Francisco 90.1 91.3 89.4 90.3 53 37

This Week’s Games

November 3-7, 2016
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Tampa Bay Atlanta -3.6 -4.6 -4.3 55
Baltimore Pittsburgh -4.0 -1.7 -5.5 46
Cleveland Dallas -8.6 -7.5 -9.0 47
Kansas City Jacksonville 15.0 13.0 16.5 49
Miami New York Jets 1.2 2.9 0.4 40
Minnesota Detroit 8.0 7.1 8.4 42
New York Giants Philadelphia -3.4 -1.5 -3.1 50
Los Angeles Carolina -1.4 0.1 -1.8 35
San Francisco New Orleans -5.4 -5.6 -6.0 48
Green Bay Indianapolis 9.0 7.1 9.5 53
San Diego Tennessee 7.3 6.5 7.8 50
Oakland Denver -5.5 -2.9 -5.2 51
Seattle Buffalo 6.8 4.1 6.7 42

 

 

 

October 20, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–October 20-24, 2016

Not So Good

Last weekend was not a great one for the parlay-pickers at PiRate Headquarters.  We selected four longshot parlays and returned one winner at +192, as upsets by Eastern Michigan and Vanderbilt prevented a potential major windfall.

For the season, this drops our mediocre results to just plain not-so-good.  As usual, our solace is that we are not out a penny, because we never actually invest real currency (or whatever you call those green notes in your wallet).

We’re not all that enthused with this week’s schedule either.  It took an extra afternoon to come up with four picks, and we included two underdogs to win outright in our four plays.  Good luck with that.

It may be a better weekend to hike in the forest with all the changing colors on the trees.

1. College Parlay @ +209
California over Oregon
North Carolina over Virginia
West Virginia over TCU
 
2.College Parlay @ +234
Colorado over Stanford
Oklahoma over Texas Tech
Alabama over Texas A&M
Tulsa over Tulane
 
3. College Singleton @ +275
Arizona St. over Washington St.
 
4. NFL Parlay @ +208
Green Bay over Chicago
Cincinnati over Cleveland
Atlanta over San Diego
Denver over Houston

October 18, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 7: October 20-24, 2016

A Strange Season So Far

It may not mean all that much to you, but as far as our ratings go, this has been one of the strangest NFL seasons in a long time. Our three ratings usually begin to look close to identical by the midway point of the season, because certain constants exist in football. After factoring strength of schedule, when one team consistently gains 350 total yards and gives up 280 total yards, and this team scores one point for every 12 yards gained and gives up one point for every 13 yards gained, then on a neutral field against a perfectly average NFL opponent, that team is one touchdown better, and in 100 games, that team should be expected to beat the perfectly average team about 75 times.

The above stated paragraph has been consistently accurate for a long time, basically since the NFL featured 12 teams in the 1950’s. Other parts of the game, like turnovers, special teams, and penalties affect the game to an extent, but on the whole, when a team out-gains its opponents by an average of 350 to 280 yards per game and scores a point for every 12 yards while giving up a point for every 13 yards given up, over the long haul, all the teams with these stats and that played an average schedule should average 7 points more per game than they give up. Averaging 7 points more per game than your opponents usually makes you a playoff team in any era.

This season, has been an anomaly. There are always cases where one team out-gains another by 200 yards and loses the game due to a turnover margin of -3, or some big special teams play, or even a large discrepancy in penalty yardage (think pass interference on a long pass). Then, there is a frequent case where the eventual winning team runs for 200 yards and controls possession of the game for 38 minutes while moving to a 28-point lead. Then, the eventual losing team passes for 200 yards in the last 22 minutes and loses by 14 points.

It is just six weeks, but the norms are all messed up this season. Teams that move the ball well all day are losing too many times to teams that look inept for half the game and win on data that usually does not contribute as much to the outcome as it has been contributing this year.

There is a second factor this year. Consistency has been thrown out the window. The Cincinnati Bengals look like Super Bowl contenders one week and like an expansion franchise the next. Miami gets embarrassed at home by Tennessee one week and then dominates Pittsburgh the next and sends Ben Roethlisberger to the operating table. One week, Oakland looks like the Raiders of Daryle Lamonica and Ben Davidson, and the next week they look like the Raiders of most of the last 15 years.

You have New England, Dallas, Minnesota, and Seattle as the most consistently good teams this year. Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington have been up and down or down and up, and any of these teams could prove to be as consistent as the first four. However, the other 24 teams are like dice-rollers. One week, they roll an 8 and then hit 8 the hard way; the next week, they roll an 8 and then crap out with a 7.

This is where computer ratings are useless. Computer ratings cannot factor inconsistency. If a team is supposed to win by 10 but loses by 10, and then in the next game, they are supposed to lose by 10 and wins by 10, their rating is not going to differ much from a team that is supposed to win by 10 and does so and then loses by 10 when they are supposed to lose by 10.

You would almost need to have two different ratings for the teams–one when they are going to lay a golden egg, and one when they lay a rotten egg. An algorithm would then have to be constructed to determine whether the team would be golden or rotten. Good luck with that. There is only one way to try to make use of this knowledge–don’t invest any money on these games!

Okay, there are some very astute computer specialists and mathematical geniuses that can devise such an algorithm based on enough data to fill a small library. They can determine the chance that a team will be golden or rotten about 60 percent of the time. By further using this information to play more underdogs than favorites, they can win 5 out of 8 times (62.5%).

Believe it or not, 62.5% is enough to be banned from every respectable sports book in the world. The big-time winners must compensate others to place bets for them, because they are persona non grata with the books when they basically win 5 out of 8 times. If they bet through their confidential couriers at 6 different books for a total of $150,000 a game, and they bet on 16 games per weekend (college and pro), they are going to win 10 of the 16 games and pocket a profit near a half million dollars by the time they pay their commissions, while the books will be out more than a half million. After a quarter of a season, that’s more than two million bucks lost by the books, and they cannot have that.

We know that there are many other ways the wise guys exploit that you and us cannot use, such as playing both sides against the middle in games with wide swings in the spreads between the opening line and the lines just before kickoff.

What do the books want from you? Believe it or not, they want you to win four times out of nine and no less. If you can consistently win four times and lose five times every week, they have you hooked. You will slowly lose money every week, but you will be so close to winning that you can taste it, and you will get even next week. If you consistently win just 1 to 3 times a week, they cannot count on your betting next week unless you really have some screws loose.

They don’t even want you to go 4-5 every week. They hope that in 17 weeks of football, you will go 5-4 every third or fourth week and pocket a little profit, and that you will then go 4-5 all the other weeks. You and millions other giving them a couple hundred dollars every week make them very wealthy.

You can also make them wealthy by following our advice. So, please, lose on your own account and do not blame us. We just do this for fun. Unfortunately, we have had some moderate success in the past, and more than a few dozen of you with URLs from the State of Nevada read our Money Line articles every week believing that past success can be used to predict future results.

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 108.4 106.8 109.1 108.1 65 43
Buffalo 105.4 105.4 106.3 105.7 63 43
N. Y. Jets 98.8 97.2 99.7 98.6 58 41
Miami 95.7 96.5 95.4 95.8 58 38
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 104.4 103.9 105.5 104.6 64 41
Cincinnati 102.2 101.7 102.4 102.1 61 41
Baltimore 97.7 99.5 97.1 98.1 61 37
Cleveland 90.1 90.8 89.8 90.2 57 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Houston 98.3 99.4 98.1 98.6 62 37
Indianapolis 96.7 98.4 96.0 97.0 61 36
Jacksonville 95.5 97.0 94.9 95.8 59 37
Tennessee 95.3 96.8 95.0 95.7 57 39
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 106.4 104.5 106.2 105.7 63 43
Kansas City 103.0 102.5 103.6 103.0 64 39
San Diego 100.1 101.0 99.8 100.3 64 36
Oakland 97.1 98.2 97.1 97.5 63 35
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Philadelphia 102.7 100.7 102.1 101.8 63 39
Dallas 101.4 100.9 101.8 101.4 61 40
Washington 100.2 100.1 100.3 100.2 62 38
N.Y. Giants 98.3 98.2 98.2 98.2 62 36
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 107.8 106.5 108.3 107.5 63 45
Green Bay 102.1 101.7 101.9 101.9 63 39
Detroit 98.7 98.4 98.4 98.5 61 38
Chicago 93.3 92.0 92.8 92.7 55 38
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 103.2 104.6 103.8 103.8 68 36
Carolina 101.9 102.0 101.8 101.9 60 42
New Orleans 97.6 99.6 97.1 98.1 64 34
Tampa Bay 95.4 95.9 94.8 95.4 59 36
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 107.3 104.4 108.1 106.6 63 44
Arizona 106.8 104.7 107.4 106.3 67 39
Los Angeles 98.8 99.9 98.6 99.1 57 42
San Francisco 91.5 92.5 91.0 91.7 54 38

 

This Week’s Games
Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
Green Bay Chicago 11.8 12.7 12.1 44
Los Angeles (L) New York Giants 0.5 1.7 0.4 41
Cincinnati Cleveland 14.1 12.9 14.6 45
Detroit Washington 0.5 1.3 1.1 48
Jacksonville Oakland 1.4 1.8 0.8 51
Kansas City New Orleans 8.4 5.9 9.5 56
Miami Buffalo -6.7 -5.9 -7.9 41
New York Jets Baltimore 3.6 0.2 5.1 41
Philadelphia Minnesota -2.1 -2.8 -3.2 43
Tennessee Indianapolis 1.6 1.4 2.0 44
Atlanta San Diego 6.1 6.6 7.0 61
San Francisco Tampa Bay -0.9 -0.4 -0.8 39
Pittsburgh New England -4.0 -2.9 -3.6 46
Arizona Seattle 2.5 3.3 2.3 48
Denver Houston 11.1 8.1 11.1 46
(L) Game to be played in London

 

 

 

 

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

September 5, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 1: September 8-12,2016

The 2016-17 NFL season kicks off with a lot of changes from last year.  Some were expected in advance, while some were not expected until the last fortnight.  Take a look at some of the key changes.

Peyton Manning retired, and Brock Osweiler left Super Bowl Champion Denver.  The Broncos added Mark Sanchez and then released him, leaving Trevor Siemian as the opening night starter. Siemian suffered a torn ACL in 2015.  He comes from the Spread Formation at Northwestern, and he has never taken a snap in a regular season NFL game.  Normally, when a team goes with a raw talent, they have a graybeard in reserve, but the number two man will be rookie Paxton Lynch from the University of Memphis.

Tom Brady will be a spectator for four weeks, leaving the New England Patriots about a touchdown to 10 points weaker for their first four games.  Our ratings reflect this deduction, and in week five, New England’s rating will rise by several points.

Philadelphia begins anew with a new coach in Doug Pederson, and a new quarterback.  Carson Wentz, a rookie from FCS North Dakota State, will eventually become the starter when he is healthy, so for now the Eagles must get by with Chase Daniel.

The Rams have returned to Los Angeles, and until their new palace is constructed, they will be playing once again at the venerable, archaic Los Angeles Coliseum, where they once ruled the West Coast with stars like Roman Gabriel, Dick Bass, Jack Snow, and the renowned Fearsome Foursome defensive line that led the universe in quarterback sacks.  When the Rams last played a real game at the Coliseum, they won the NFC Championship and lost the Super Bowl to Pittsburgh.  That was the 1979 season, 37 years ago.  According to Pro Football Reference, The Rams are 143-77-8 in the old stadium, one of the best home field advantages in NFL history.

There are four new head coaches in the league this year.  Besides the previously mentioned Pederson with Philadelphia, Dirk Koetter takes over at Tampa Bay, Adam Gase assumed command in Miami, and Ben McAdoo inherits the perpetual hot seat with the New York Giants.  Koetter has a nice track record as a college head coach and long time offensive coordinator at both the collegiate and professional levels.  Gase brings the utmost endorsement of Peyton Manning, after his offense led the Broncos to all sorts of records in 2013.  McAdoo is another offensive guru and has the endorsement of Eli Manning.  Pederson also comes from the attack side of the ball, where he was Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator at Kansas City.

Now for the two major late developments.  Injuries to Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota and Tony Romo in Dallas, have led to us adjusting our ratings at the 11th hour.  The Vikings plucked Sam Bradford from Philly, and thus their rating does not suffer much.  However, combining Romo’s injury with numerous other injuries and suspensions, the Cowboys saw their rating drop by almost as many points as the Pats without Brady.  The late signing of Sanchez does not swing the pendulum much, since rookie Dak Prescott will be the starter.

The opening ratings for this season indicate to us that this will be a season with a lot more parity than in recent years.  We could foresee many teams still in the playoff hunt in Mid-December with a lengthy list of playoff possibilities heading into the final week.  In seasons like this, a last place or third place team from the previous year could take advantage of the weak schedule and sneak into the playoffs as a wild card team with an 8-8 or 9-7 record.

The sexy pick this year is Oakland, where the Raiders have a powerful offense and improving defense, but the AFC West is really competitive this year.  Denver’s offense will backslide, and we see a pattern in the defenses led by Wade Phillips, where the teams he has led in the past do not sustain the same defensive strength the year after they dominated.  San Diego is capable of challenging in this division, so all four teams could be in a two or three win window at the end.

The Giants went 6-10 last year, and in a weaker division, it is not impossible for Eli and Company to go 9-7 this year and make the playoffs.  Tampa Bay and New Orleans both have just enough talent to eke out a possible 9-7 season, but Atlanta is also capable of going 10-6 or better and even challenge Carolina for the NFC South.

There are a couple of teams that appear to have all the pieces in place to go far this year.  In the AFC, after Brady’s return, the Patriots could go 10-2 or better and enter the playoffs as the team to beat in the conference.  Cincinnati is looking at a do or die season to make hay.  A team cannot stay consistently good for that many years without a Manning or Brady.  The Bengals were much closer to winning a playoff game last year than they have since they played in the Super Bowl in 1989.  This should be the year where Cinti finally advances to the next round of the playoffs, if the Bengals stay healthy.

The AFC South appears to be the weakest division in the NFL.  Houston will be a bit weaker this year, even if Osweiler puts up good numbers.  The Texans have a lot of issues on the defensive side, especially if J.J. Watt cannot play at full speed.  Indianapolis has a lot of holes, but the Colts have the return of Andrew Luck.  Jacksonville is all enthused over a great draft class and an improved roster, but the Jaguars are still at least a year away.  As for Tennessee, the Titans could possibly be looking at the top pick in the draft for the second year in a row.

The NFC’s stength lies in the West, where Arizona and Seattle both have Super Bowl caliber squads, and Los Angeles has the material to challenge for an 8-8 or 9-7 record.  San Francisco should challenge Tennessee and Cleveland for the worst overall record.

In the North, the Vikings still have a lot of talent, but we doubt Adrian Peterson will have the same or even similar season on the ground as he did last year.  The mobile Bridgewater had to be accounted for as a possible bootleg runner when Peterson was the lone back in the backfield.  Bradford is not a threat to run a counter away from the expected flow.  We expect the Vikings to settle around the .500 mark.  Green Bay should waltz to the division title, but keep an eye on Detroit.  The Lions were 6-2 in the second half of the season after a horrendous 1-7 start, and we believe they are closer to a 10-6 team than a 6-10 team.  As for the Bears, if things don’t go well in September, then the Midway Monsters may be more like mice and fall into the 10-12 loss area, where the next coach will choose a new quarterback.

We will debut our playoff projections in October.  Here are our beginning PiRate Ratings for 2016. Remember, these ratings reflect Brady, Romo, and Bridgewater not playing.  They also reflect Watt playing at about 70% effectiveness, as our ratings have algorithms for starting players not playing or playing at less than full strength.

You will also notice that we have added an offense and defense rating this year, and we will issue both predicted spreads and predicted totals.  And, unlike many other ratings, our home field advantages vary by the game.  Seattle’s advantage can be a couple points different when they host Miami as opposed to San Francisco.  Distance, weather, and playing field play an important part, as well as things like consecutive road games and playing on a Thursday or Saturday as opposed to Sunday or Monday.

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
N. Y. Jets 103.5 101.0 104.7 103.1 61 42
New England 100.5 98.1 100.8 99.8 61 39
Buffalo 99.2 100.1 99.4 99.6 59 41
Miami 94.7 96.3 94.3 95.1 59 36
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Cincinnati 107.5 106.9 108.4 107.6 65 43
Pittsburgh 103.7 103.2 104.8 103.9 64 40
Baltimore 98.6 100.9 98.2 99.2 62 37
Cleveland 91.3 92.9 90.8 91.7 58 34
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Houston 101.0 102.7 101.0 101.6 64 38
Indianapolis 97.5 100.0 96.4 98.0 61 37
Jacksonville 97.2 99.1 96.4 97.6 58 40
Tennessee 92.4 94.9 91.7 93.0 54 39
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 105.8 102.0 105.9 104.5 62 43
Kansas City 102.8 102.1 104.1 103.0 63 40
Oakland 98.6 98.8 98.6 98.7 62 37
San Diego 97.2 98.4 96.7 97.4 62 35
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Washington 100.0 101.0 100.0 100.3 61 39
N.Y. Giants 98.7 97.7 98.4 98.3 62 36
Philadelphia 98.8 95.1 98.0 97.3 60 37
Dallas 93.0 93.4 92.4 92.9 54 39
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Green Bay 104.7 103.8 104.8 104.4 65 39
Minnesota 102.4 101.1 103.0 102.2 60 42
Detroit 100.7 99.9 100.3 100.3 63 37
Chicago 97.1 94.9 96.9 96.3 56 40
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Carolina 109.3 108.2 110.4 109.3 65 44
New Orleans 99.5 102.5 98.9 100.3 63 37
Atlanta 96.7 99.8 96.6 97.7 61 37
Tampa Bay 96.2 97.3 95.1 96.2 59 37
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Arizona 109.9 106.9 111.1 109.3 68 41
Seattle 109.3 105.6 110.6 108.5 66 43
Los Angeles 99.0 100.6 98.9 99.5 59 41
San Francisco 93.3 94.8 92.6 93.6 56 38

Spreads for Week 1

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Score
Denver Carolina -0.1 -2.7 -1.0 20-21
Atlanta Tampa Bay 2.5 4.5 3.5 24-20
Baltimore Buffalo 1.9 3.3 1.3 23-21
Houston Chicago 6.9 10.8 7.1 24-16
Jacksonville Green Bay -4.5 -1.7 -5.4 20-24
Kansas City San Diego 8.6 6.7 10.4 30-21
New Orleans Oakland 3.9 6.7 3.3 28-23
N. Y. Jets Cincinnati -1.0 -2.9 -0.7 19-22
Philadelphia Cleveland 10.5 5.2 10.2 30-21
Tennessee Minnesota -7.5 -3.7 -8.8 14-21
Seattle Miami 18.6 13.3 20.3 31-14
Dallas N. Y. Giants -2.7 -1.3 -3.0 19-21
Indianapolis Detroit -0.7 2.6 -1.4 24-23
Arizona New England 12.4 11.8 13.3 30-17
Washington Pittsburgh -1.2 0.3 -2.3 23-24
San Francisco Los Angeles -2.7 -2.8 -3.3 17-20

 

 

 

 

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