The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 1, 2020

This Week’s College Football TV Schedule

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 12:48 pm

As usual in these times, this is an ever-changing schedule. Three games have already been scuttled from the schedule, and there are a few more games in danger of being cancelled. Additionally, we hear that one team is on the brink of closing up shop for the rest of the season due to too many player opt-outs.

Thursday, December 3
Time (ET)NetworkHomeVisitor
6:00 PMCBSSNNorth TexasLouisiana Tech
9:30 PMCBSSNUtah St.Air Force
Friday, December 4
Time (ET)NetworkHomeVisitor
7:00 PMESPN2Appalachian St.Louisiana
Saturday, December 5
Time (ET)NetworkHomeVisitor
12:00 PMABCMichigan St.Ohio St.
12:00 PMFOXKansas St.Texas
12:00 PMESPNAuburnTexas A&M
12:00 PMESPN2TCUOklahoma St.
12:00 PMFS1RutgersPenn St.
12:00 PMCBSSNMiami (O)Kent St.
12:00 PMSECNMissouriArkansas
12:00 PMBTNPurdueNebraska
12:00 PMACCNNorth CarolinaWestern Carolina
2:00 PMESPNUCoastal CarolinaLiberty
2:30 PMNBCNotre DameSyracuse
3:30 PMABCWisconsinIndiana
3:30 PMCBSTennesseeFlorida
3:30 PMESPNIowa St.West Virginia
3:30 PMESPN2NavyTulsa
3:30 PMFS1IllinoisIowa
3:30 PMCBSSNOhioBuffalo
3:30 PMFSNVirginiaBoston College
3:30 PMBTNMichiganMaryland
4:00 PMFOXWashingtonStanford
4:00 PMACCNNC St.Georgia Tech
4:00 PMSECNGeorgiaVanderbilt
5:30 PMESPNUCentral MichiganBall St.
7:00 PMESPNCaliforniaOregon
7:00 PMFS1ArizonaColorado
7:00 PMCBSSNSan Diego St.Colorado St.
7:30 PMABCVirginia TechClemson
7:30 PMSECNKentuckySouth Carolina
8:00 PMCBSLSUAlabama
8:00 PMFOXOklahomaBaylor
8:00 PMACCNDukeMiami (Fla.)
9:00 PMESPNUSMUHouston
10:30 PMESPNUtahOregon St.
10:30 PMFS1Arizona St.UCLA
10:30 PMCBSSNNew MexicoWyoming
5:30 PMESPNUCoastal CarolinaBYU (ADDED)
Sunday, December 6
Time (ET)NetworkHomeVisitor
2:30 PM???Middle Tenn.UAB
7:30 PMFS1USCWashington St.

Attention: Normally, we issue our imaginary wagering selections on Thursday mornings, but because we averaged five betting selections wiped out by game cancellations per week in November, and because we don’t have any plays on the two Thursday night games, we will delay our selections this week and publish them Friday afternoon to try to limit the number of games that cancel our selections.

January 14, 2019

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast for The Conference Championship Playoff Round: January 20, 2019

Sunday, January 20, 2019

NFC Championship Game

Los Angeles Rams 14-3-0 at New Orleans Saints 14-3-0

Time: 3:05 PM Eastern Standard Time

TV: Fox

Monday Line: New Orleans by 3 1/2

Total Line: 57

PiRate Ratings 

PiRate: New Orleans by 8.1

Mean: New Orleans by 7.8

Bias: New Orleans by 8.1

Total: 55 1/2

Expected Score: New Orleans 31  Los Angeles 24


AFC Championship Game

New England Patriots 12-5-0 at Kansas City Chiefs 13-4-0

Time: 6:40 PM Eastern Standard Time


Monday Line: Kansas City by 3

Total Line: 57

PiRate Ratings 

PiRate: Kansas City by 4.4

Mean: Kansas City by 4.4

Bias: Kansas City by 4.3

Total: 53

Expected Score:  Kansas City 28  New England 24


60 Seasons Ago

The NFL as we know it today owes its popularity to 60 years ago at the conclusion of the 1958 regular season.  This would be the first ever live nationally televised NFL Championship Game.  Before you wonder why other games before were not shown from coast to coast, just 10 years before only a handful of cities had television stations.  In some cities, only a test pattern was shown for most or all of the day, and people would turn their sets on to see it!  So, TV was still in its adolescence in 1958.

The upstart Baltimore Colts, led by the young and talented quarterback Johnny Unitas, fullback Alan Ameche, and two incredible pass catchers in Raymond Berry and Lenny Moore won the West Division Championship with a 9-3 record, 8-1 in the games Unitas started and played.  That one loss was to the New York Giants, a team with the greatest ever combination of offensive and defensive coordinators.  Vince Lombardi directed the Giants’ offense, and Tom Landry led the Giants’ defense.

Before the Giants could host this game in Yankee Stadium, they had to play an extra game to get to the NFL Championship Game.  The Giants finished tied with Cleveland at 9-3, and even though they had swept the Browns in the regular season, in those days if teams finished tied at the top of a division race, they played again for the division title, and the NFL Championship Game was re-scheduled for a week later.

New York stopped Cleveland for a third time that year, holding the great Jim Brown to just eight yards rushing in a 10-0 shutout.  The Giants were the favorites, and Jim Lee Howell and his coaching staff were more than prepared to contain Unitas and move the ball on offense with a conservative smash-mouth style of offense.

Like I said previously, it is because of this game that the NFL became what it is today.  Overnight, sports fans throughout the country stopped talking about the New York Yankees chances of repeating as World Series champions in 1959 (they would not), or whether the great two-year old thoroughbred Sword Dancer would break the 11-year string and win the Triple Crown (2nd in the Derby and Preakness and won the Belmont).

NFL Football was at best the number three sport in America before this game.  Major League baseball was still the number one sport and the real American Pastime.  There were still just 16 teams in the big leagues, even though two had left the number one market for the West Coast.  College football was number two, and the recent champion LSU Tigers with their famous Chinese Bandits had generated a lot of the headlines that Autumn.

If by chance you do not know how the NFL Championship Game turned out and why it “made” NFL Football into the number one spectator sport in the nation, take a look at this video from NFL Films.


January 17, 2017

NFL Ratings And Spreads For NFL Conference Championships: January 22, 2017


NFC Championship

Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers

Time: 3:05 PM EST

TV: Fox Sports Network

Radio: Westwood One  

Find Your Local Westwoon One Affiliate at:

Line: Atlanta by 4 1/2 or 5 (changing rapidly)

Total: 61

PiRate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: Atlanta by 7.4

Mean: Atlanta by 8.2

Bias: Atlanta by 7.7

PiRate Total: 67


100 Simulations

Atlanta wins: 56

Green Bay wins: 44

Average Score: Atlanta 34  Green Bay 32

Outlier A: Atlanta 45  Green Bay 23

Outlier B: Green Bay 48  Atlanta 27


AFC Championship

New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Time: 6:40 PM EST


Radio: Westwood One  

Find Your Local Westwood One Affiliate at:


Line: New England by 5 1/2 or 6 (changing rapidly)

Total: 51


PiRate Ratings Spreads

PiRate: New England by 9.4

Mean: New England by 8.4

Bias: New England by 9.6

Total: 47


100 Simulations

New England wins 48

Pittsburgh wins 52

Average Score: New England 26  Pittsburgh 26

Outlier A: New England 41  Pittsburgh 20

Outlier B: Pittsburgh 24  New England 7

February 1, 2011

The PiRate Ratings’ NFL Playoffs Edition–Super Bowl XLV

Super Bowl XLV



Sunday, February 6, 2011, at Arlington, TX

6:30 PM EST on Fox-TV

Green Bay Packers (13-6-0) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4-0)



Pirate:       Green Bay 113.8           Pittsburgh 107.9

Mean:         Green Bay 110.9           Pittsburgh 109.8

Bias:           Green Bay 109.0           Pittsburgh 108.8


Vegas:        Green Bay by 2 ½

Totals:       44 ½

$-Line:       Green Bay -145            Pittsburgh +125

Halftime:   Green Bay by 1

Halftime Totals:       22 ½

 Our Ratings

PiRate:       Green Bay by 5.9

Mean:         Green Bay by 1.1

Bias:           Green Bay by 0.2


100 Computer Simulations:         Pittsburgh 51  Green Bay 49

Avg. Simulation Score:                    Green Bay 24.6  Pittsburgh 24.2

Simulation Outlier A:                      Pittsburgh 29  Green Bay 13

Simulation Outlier B:                      Green Bay 31  Pittsburgh 10


5 PiRates Pick vs. Spread:   Pittsburgh – 4        Green Bay – 1

5 PiRates Pick vs. Totals:    Over – 5       Under – 0

We do not have official picks during the Playoffs, but here is our Unofficial pick for this week: 

Make this an official edict: FORGET IT!  The Standard deviation on all our possibilities makes this a truly 50-50 proposition. 

 If you absolutely must place a legal wager somewhere, we advise going with this one.  If the game is as close as our computer data predicts, you might be able to play the extremes and win with this 4-part parlay:

 13-Point Teaser

Green Bay +12 ½

Pittsburgh +15 ½

Over 31 ½

Under 57 ½

For What it’s worth, our Conference Championship Unofficial picks merely went 5-0.  Here they are again:

1. Green Bay & Chicago Under 21 ½ (Halftime Line)

2. Green Bay -3 vs. Chicago

3. Pittsburgh & New York Jets Over 19 ½ (Halftime Line)

4. Pittsburgh & New York Jets Over 38 ½  

5. 10-point Teaser Parlay

          1 Green Bay & Chicago OVER 33 ½

          2 Green Bay +7 Chicago

          3 Pittsburgh & New York Jets OVER 28 ½  

Beginning Next Week: We look at the NCAA Basketball Tournament by perusing each conference and telling you where the candidates stand.  This will culminate in our annual can’t miss NCAA Bracket Breakdown and our special formula that has been amazingly accurate at picking the winner before the first tournament game is played.  It picked Duke to win last year when the Blue Devils were not among the favorites.  It predicted a fall by Kansas and Kentucky prior to the Final Four and it correctly tabbed Georgetown and Vanderbilt as the two most likely ranked teams to fall in first round upsets.  Check out our past posts in the “College Basketball” Category.

January 17, 2011

The PiRate Ratings’ NFL Playoffs Edition–Conference Championships

Sunday, January 23, 2011

3:00 PM EST on Fox-TV

Green Bay Packers (12-6-0) at Chicago Bears (12-5-0)


Pirate:       Green Bay 113.7           Chicago 104.1

Mean:        Green Bay 111.4           Chicago 103.8

Bias:           Green Bay 109.7          Chicago 104.5

HFA:                                                          Chicago     0.6


Vegas:        Green Bay by 3

Totals:       43 ½


PiRate:      GB by 9.0

Mean:        GB by 7.0

Bias:           GB by 4.6


100 Simulations:         GB 54  Chi 46

Avg. Sim Score              GB 20.2  Chi 17.9

Outlier A:                         GB 27  Chi 0

Outlier B:                         Chi 19  GB 3


5 PiRates Pick vs. Spread:   GB – 4         Chi – 1

5 PiRates Pick vs. Totals:    Und – 3      Ovr – 2

6:30 PM EST on CBS-TV

New York Jets (13-5-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4-0)



Pirate:       Pittsburgh 107.8         New York 106.1

Mean:        Pittsburgh 108.0        New York 106.8

Bias:           Pittsburgh 109.1         New York 106.7

HFA:          Pittsburgh     3.6


Vegas:        Pittsburgh by 3 ½

Totals:       38 ½


PiRate:       Pit by 5.3

Mean:         Pit by 4.8

Bias:            Pit by 6.0


100 Simulations:         Pit 51  NYJ 49

Avg. Sim Score              Pit 24.2  NYJ 23.7

Outlier A:                         Pit 31  NYJ 13

Outlier B:                         NYJ 34  Pit 12

Note:                             Seven games decided in OT, including one that was decided with 2:17 left in the

second overtime


5 PiRates Pick vs. Spread:   Pit – 3        NYJ – 2

5 PiRates Pick vs. Totals:    Ovr – 4       Und – 1


We do not have official picks during the Playoffs, but here is our Unofficial picks for this week:

1. Green Bay & Chicago Under 21 ½ (Halftime Line)

2. Green Bay -3 vs. Chicago

3. Pittsburgh & New York Jets Over 19 ½ (Halftime Line)

4. Pittsburgh & New York Jets Over 38 ½

5. 10-point Teaser Parlay

1 Green Bay & Chicago OVER 33 ½

2 Green Bay +7 Chicago

3 Pittsburgh & New York Jets OVER 28 ½

January 19, 2010

NFL Conference Championship Previews

And Then There Were Four

Okay, first let’s get the bad news out of the way.  Our picks straight up against the spread finished 2-2, which is mediocre, but great in comparison to the totals, which went 0-4.  That brings or NFL playoff record to 5-3 vs. the sides and 3-5 vs. the totals.  It gets much harder from here, as little things mean a lot.  Then again, missed chip-shot field goals and stupid mistakes shouldn’t be much of a factor when you get this far.  But then again, Vikings fans can remember Gary Anderson hitting every extra point and every field goal during the 1998 season, and then he shanked a simple 30-yarder that kept the purple and white out of the 1999 Super Bowl.

Sunday,  January 24

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

Time: 3:00 PM EST     Network: CBS

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate:  Colts by 6.5

Mean:  Colts by 2.9

Bias:  Colts by 0.8

100 Sims:  Indianapolis 52  New York 48

Avg. Sim Score: New York 18.1  Indianapolis 16.9  

Outlier Score A:  Indianapolis 20  New York 13 (6 others by 7 points)

Outlier Score B:  New York 24  Indianapolis 10

Vegas: Colts by 7 ½     Totals: 39   


The Colts have done it with timely Peyton Manning passes and just enough defense to get by.  Last week, the Ravens helped the Colts’ defense more than the Colts’ defense stopped the Ravens.  However, the Indy defense will face a considerably weaker Jets’ offense this week.  

The Jets cannot completely shut down Manning’s passing game unless they knock him out of the game.  Indianapolis cannot win running the ball, but they will get two yards on 3rd and 1.  That doesn’t show up in the statistics after the game, but it is successful when it accomplished that feat.

These two teams played in Week 16, when the Colts were 14-0 and the Jets were 7-7 and facing a must-win game.  Indianapolis led this game before removing the key starters, and then the Jets came from behind to win.  

All signs point to New Orleans becoming Peyton’s Place once again.  9-7 teams rarely beat 14-2 teams on the road, and there’s a reason the Jets lost seven times.  Passing and stopping the pass wins championships in the 21st Century.  The Jets cannot consistently stop the Colts’ passing game, while an average NFL defense can stop the Jets’ passing game.  Indianapolis has an above-average pass defense.

The spread is 7 ½ points, and we at the PiRate Ratings never recommend anybody giving up more than a touchdown in a playoff game.  We don’t necessarily like the Jets at +7 ½ either, but the logical choice is to take the Jets and hope they will lose by just a touchdown at the most.  We advise leaving this spread alone unless it drops below 7.

As for the Totals, we think New York will try their best to control the clock and make it a low-scoring game.  Miami tried that against Indy in September, and there were still 50 points scored in that game.  We believe Indianapolis will top 21 points in this game, but the Jets will be hard-pressed to get to 17.  If we have to choose, we’ll play the law of averages and take the OVER, but we aren’t in love with this pick either.  This is the week for a teaser play, and you’ll see it at the end of this feature.

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints

Time: 6:30 PM EST     Network: Fox

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate: Saints by 1.9

Mean:  Saints by 3.0

Bias:  Vikings by 0.8

100 Sims:  New Orleans 61  Minnesota 39

Avg. Sim Score:  New Orleans 33.2  Minnesota 25.4

Outlier Score A:  New Orleans 37  Minnesota 17

Outlier Score B:  Minnesota 31  New Orleans 23

Vegas: Saints by 3 ½     Totals: 52  


This is the game most fans have wanted to see since early October.  The two best teams in the NFC face off in an emotional contest.  The Saints have never gotten this close to the Super Bowl, and they are one win away from hosting the big game in their own stadium.  As for the Vikings, they share the dubious distinction with the Buffalo Bills for being 0-4 in Super Bowls (at least the Bills have two AFL Championships to their credit).  

The key to this game will be defense.  It is a given that both teams can move the football on anybody’s defense.  It will be the defense that comes up with the big play at the opportune time that decides which way this game should turn.

New Orleans’ defense rose to the challenge against Kurt Warner last week, while the Vikings looked like the old Purple People Eaters of Alan Page, Carl, Eller, and company when they humiliated Dallas.

The Vikings’ defense has consistently shown they are capable of coming up with great efforts every week, while the Saints’ defense has had a tendency to follow up a good showing with a mediocre one.  

That’s where we think this game is headed.  It’s hard to select the enemy of the Packers with our former quarterback piloting the team, but that’s what we must do this week.  We believe Favre will get to close out his career with one final attempt to win a ring.  We’ll go with the Vikings to win a close one.  So, that means we take Minnesota and the points.

As far as the Totals go, 52 is an awful lot for a conference championship game.  Take the UNDER.

13-point Teaser


There are six different selections that can be made to satisfy the four picks in a 13-point Teaser.  They are: Jets +20 ½, Colts +5 ½, OVER 26, and UNDER 52 for the AFC game; and: Vikings +16 ½, Saints +9 ½, OVER 39, and UNDER 65.  Here are the four we’d take for our teaser:

Colts +5 ½, Jets & Colts UNDER 52, Vikings +16 ½, and Vikings & Saints UNDER 65.  That’s our one true recommended play this week.

January 12, 2010


We’re down to just eight teams left in the road to Miami and Super Bowl 44.  As luck would have it, one team from each of the eight divisions remains.

Due to a weather problem preventing us from gaining access to the computer simulator until late Friday last week, we refunded the purchases of everybody who purchased our playoff package.  For those who still had time to play our picks, we went 3-1 against the spread, losing only the Packers-Cardinals Game.  We were also 3-1 in totals, missing only on the Ravens-Patriots.

Because we had to refund the payment of all those who played, we are going to go ahead and give everybody the rest of the playoffs free here.

Satruday, January 16

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints

Time: 4:30 PM EST     Network: Fox

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate: Saints by 7.3

Mean: Saints by 7.1

Bias: Saints by 6.8

100 Sims: New Orleans 79  Arizona 21

Avg. Sim Score: New Orleans 32.9  Arizona 23.3

Outlier Score A: New Orleans 45  Arizona 17

Outlier Score B: Arizona 37  New Orleans 27

Vegas: New Orleans by 7   Totals: 56 1/2


The Saints lost their final three games after beginning the season 13-0.  In 1969, the Los Angeles Rams won their first 11 games and clinched the NFC Coastal Division title, and then proceeded to lose their final three games.  Quarterback Roman Gabriel looked like the league MVP in the 11-0 stretch.  The Rams faced a tough first round foe in the 12-2 Minnesota Vikings, possibly the greatest defensive team in a 20-year period.  The Purple People Eaters got the best of the Fearsome Foursome that day, as the Vikings’ defense outshone the Rams’ that day.

40 years later, it’s all about the offense in this game.  Drew Brees against Kurt Warner in a shootout.  Can a team that has not won in five weeks beat a team that is fresh and playing unbelievable football on the attack side?  The Saints’ defense did not shine in several games, and Warner will find holes all day long.

The problem for the Cardinals is they could not stop Aaron Rodgers when they had to.  Sure, the sack and fumble recovery was the winning play, but the Cards cannot be counted on to get to Brees five or six times to stop drives. 

We believe this will be an ugly game with a lot of offense and more than average mistakes (penalties, fumbles, dropped passes, etc.).  We’re contrarians here, so we think the key play in this game is UNDER 56 1/2.  At seven points, we’ll take Arizona +7, but we aren’t in love with this line.  We think New Orleans will win by about four or five.

Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts

Time: 8:15 PM EST     Network: CBS

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate: Ravens by 1.5

Mean: Colts by 1.8

Bias: Colts by 1.0

100 Sims: Baltimore 56  Indianapolis 44

Avg. Sim Score: Baltimore 22.6  Indianapolis 20.4

Outlier Score A: Baltimore 34  Indianapolis 17

Outlier Score B: Indianapolis 31  Baltimore 10

Vegas: Indianapolis 6 1/2   Totals: 44


Here’s a game where the computer simulator believes it has found a big play.  The simulator uses a combination of least squares and absolute value regression, and it appears that the Colts not only have no homefield advantage, they play better on the road than at home.  The Ravens tend to perform just as competently on the road than at home.  Throw in the fact that Indianapolis rested its starters for two weeks, and the possibility of rust comes into play.  Could this be a big upset in the making?

The Ravens have twice knocked off the AFC team with the best record in this same situation (both times the Titans).  They will try to force Peyton Manning to throw short and then try to contain the receiver and limit yards after catch.  They should shut down the Colt running game.  The Ravens’ offense will try to hold onto the ball and keep Manning off the field, but don’t be surprised to see Joe Flacco throw long on play-action when the Colts least expect it (like 3rd and 1 at midfield).

We’re going to side with the computers.  We’re taking the Ravens to beat the spread at +6 1/2, and we think they have a 50-50 shot at winning outright.  As for the totals, we like the OVER here, but not by much.  We wouldn’t be surprised to see the total come within three of what Vegas says (44).

Sunday, January 17

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings

Time: 1:00 PM EST     Network: Fox

Forecast–Dome Stadium, No Weather

PiRate: Cowboys by 0.2

Mean: Vikings by 1.3

Bias: Vikings by 1.1

100 Sims: Minnesota 61  Dallas 39

Avg. Sim Score: Minnesota 24.4  Dallas 20.1

Outlier Score A: Minnesota 37  Dallas 17

Outlier Score B: Dallas 35  Minnesota 16

Vegas: Minnesota by 3   Totals: 45 1/2


Everybody is jumping on the Cowboys’ bandwagon, already proclaiming them to be certain Super Bowl Champions.  Their defense is being compared to the best of the Tom Landry years, when Lee Roy Jordan, Chuck Howley, Mel Renfro, and company put a big hurt on opponents.

One of those great Cowboy teams back then, a Super Bowl participant at that, faced a Viking team not as good as this current edition, and Minnesota beat them at the old Metropolitan Stadium 54-13!

Favre knows this is more than likely his last chance to get another ring.  He has the tools to make it to Miami.  Remember all those years where John Elway couldn’t take Denver all the way?  In the playoffs, it’s almost impossible to take a team on your shoulders and knock off three great teams.  Once Elway had a great running game backing him up, the Broncos won two titles in a row.  Favre has one of the three best running attacks in the NFL, and the Viking defense is highly underrated for a division champion.  We see the purple and white advancing to the NFC Championship Game.

Minnesota is a 3-point pick.  It’s hard to win by less than three, especially when you know there cannot be a tie.  We’ll take the Vikings as a short favorite.  If the line moves to 3 1/2, things might change, and if the line moves down to 2 1/2, we will love this spread.  As for the totals, at 45 1/2 points, this is right on the mark we agree with.  We don’t like playing the totals in this game, but if we have to pick, we’ll take the OVER.  Dallas’s defense has possibly caused this number to be a point or two too low.

New York Jets at San Diego Chargers

Time: 4:40 PM EST     Network: CBS

Forecast–Low 60’s with a 30% chance of rain showers

PiRate: Chargers by 8.4

Mean: Chargers by 3.4

Bias: Chargers by 7.5

100 Sims: San Diego 51  New York 49

Avg. Sim Score: New York 21.5  San Diego 21.4

Outlier Score A: New York 23  San Diego 10

Outlier Score B: San Diego 17  New York 0

Vegas: San Diego by 7.5   Totals: 42


This one surprised all five of us.  We admit that we repeated the 100 game simulation several more times to make sure it wasn’t a mistake.  Every time, it came out basically a push, but the Jets continued to hold a small edge in average sim score. 

It’s hard to determine how the computer justified these results.  The Chargers appear to have a major advantage when you compare their passing game to the Jets’ pass defense versus the Jets’ passing game to the Chargers’ pass defense.

The Jets definitely have the advantage when comparing their running game to the Chargers’ run defense as opposed to the Chargers’ running game against the Jets’ run defense.

Here is a caveat:  weather is not a variable in the simulations.  If it indeed rains Sunday afternoon, the passing game could either be helped or hurt by the surface.  If it’s just wet enough to cause slippery conditions, then the receivers get a big advantage over the defenders (they know when they will change speeds or directions and the defense has to guess).  If it rains hard and affects visibility and makes it impossible to keep the ball dry, then the passing game will suffer.

The big part of this game is the spread.  It isn’t often that a playoff team with a playoff win already under its belt finds itself a 7.5 point dog.  The Chargers didn’t fold up at the end of the year like the Colts and Saints.  They kept playing to win and ended the season on an 11-game winning streak.  On paper, they look to us to have the entire package.  We think they are the favorite to go all the way, but we aren’t about to pick them to win by more than a touchdown.  Our selection is to take the Jets at +7 1/2 and to play the OVER at 42.

Playing A 13-point Teaser

For those of you who are not familiar with teasers, here is a brief explanation.   A teaser allows you to move the pointspread or totals of a game in either direction by the number of points in your teaser (A 13-point teaser would allow you to move the pointspread or total by 13 points in either direction).  Now, before you say you want to play one of these teasers, you can’t pick one team and move the spread by 13 points.  No, in a 13-point teaser, you must pick four games and win all four after you’ve moved the points by 13 in your favor.

We like 13-point teasers in the playoffs, but only when we use it to make a favorite into an underdog or an underdog into a huge underdog.  This week, we find some good possibilities.  The problem with teasers, and thus it’s why they get their name, is that it looked really easy when you move a line by 13 points.  However, one in four games typically deviates from the pointspread by 13 or more points.  So, it isn’t easy.  We picked 52 13-point teasers during the 2009 NFL regular season.  We won 32 of them and lost 20.  Of those 20 losses, we were correct on three of the four games in each teaser 16 times.  In four of those cases, we lost when one game hit the exact pointspread (unlike straight sides wagers, you lose if one team pushes).

Here are the teasers possibilities for you this week with our grade on their playability.  If you’re lucky, you can pick four choices from among this group and find yourself a winner.  Caution:  Teasers become addictive quickly.

New Orleans +6 vs. Arizona  Grade: B+

Arizona +20 vs. New Orleans  Grade: A-

New Orleans & Arizona OVER 43 1/2  Grade: A-

New Orleans & Arizona UNDER 69 1/2  Grade: B

Baltimore +19 1/2 vs. Indianapolis  Grade: A

Indianapolis +6 1/2 vs. Baltimore  Grade: C+

Baltimore & Indianapolis OVER 31  Grade: A-

Baltimore & Indianapolis UNDER 57  Grade: B+

Minnesota +10 vs. Dallas  Grade: A-

Dallas +16 vs. Minnesota  Grade: A-

Minnesota & Dallas OVER 32 1/2  Grade: A

Minnesota & Dallas UNDER 58 1/2  Grade: A

San Diego +5 1/2 vs. New York  Grade: C

New York +20 1/2 vs. San Diego  Grade: A+

San Diego & New York OVER 29  Grade: A

San Diego & New York UNDER 55 Grade: B-

Create a free website or blog at