The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 29, 2022

PiRate Picks–September 29-October 1, 2022

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:38 am

If you follow this weekly feature, then you must realize at this point in the season that the picks made here have put us in an untenable position. Through four full weeks and one partial fifth week in the college football season, we have issued 21 selections. 16 of them have won, and five of them have been at odds exceeding even money. Our imaginary $1,000 starting account has ballooned to $1,906.19 after going 3-0 last week with two of those three wins bringing better than +130 parlay payouts. That 16-5 record is even more ridiculous when you consider that we had one week where we were 1-4. In all the other weeks, our pretend wagering selections are 15-1! Meanwhile, we made comments in two of those weeks that we did not particularly like the slate of games available for those weeks. All this should tell you that if a situation is obviously untenable, don’t make any large gambles on the situation continuing to be as successful or even successful at all in the future. If 76.2% winners were the norm, and the wagers were real, we would be banned from wagering at most of the books and definitely greatly limited in the amount we could wager at those that did not ban us. Only a small minority of the big-time players ever get limited or banned. That’s why in all honesty, the selections going forward are almost sure to disappoint until the percentages normalize. Think of our selections being like the Cleveland Indians beginning the 1966 baseball season at 14-1 and then 27-10 near the completion of the first quarter of the season. The Indians held a substantial lead over Baltimore, but Leon Wagner was not Frank Robinson. Robby would go on to win the Triple Crown, and the Orioles would pass Cleveland with ease and go on to win the AL pennant in a breeze. The PiRate Ratings are Cleveland. Maybe, our 1954 is out there some day, but there is no reason to believe that it is this year.

Now, that we have a clear conscience, here are our picks for this week. Remember: we never wager real money on these selections, and we suggest you follow this lead. If you are a professional wagering maven, then we know you only read this weekly feature as supplemental information for your other research.

Selection #1: Iowa +10 1/2 vs. Michigan

This play is all about the number. At 9 1/2, we wouldn’t play it. We probably wouldn’t play it at 13 1/2 either. Michigan is clearly better than Iowa, but can they win by double digits in Iowa City when the Hawkeyes’ offense is starting to show signs of respectability? Iowa might be able to control the ball for 32 or more minutes in this game, and Michigan has played one above average team at home with no road games. At 10 1/2, we get 39% of the spreads most likely for a game to have, including nine of the top 15 spreads in college football. Our internal (not the PiRate Ratings) quick compare system shows this game to be a maximum of 8 points in Michigan’s favor and only about a 65% chance that the Maize and Blue will win the game by any amount. We see this being a 27-20 game for the Wolverines, and it wouldn’t be a big shock if Iowa pulled off the upset.

Selection #2: Penn State & Northwestern Under 52 1/2

James Franklin has this team believing in itself, and we have little doubt that the Nittany Lions will win this game with relative ease, but we also believe the first quarter and some of the second quarter of this game will be played conservatively as Penn State tries some new wrinkles. Northwestern’s history of being good in even-numbered years and rebuilding in odd-numbered years may have come to an end, as the Wildcats look no better than they were last year, and their win over Nebraska isn’t worth much. The NU offense isn’t likely to keep the scoreboard operator busy. We think this could be a 34-10 game, maybe a 38-7 game.

Selection #3: UNLV and New Mexico Over 42 1/2

This was a late addition to our selections this week, as the total dropped by a full point on Wednesday, and we think it has been moved too much. There are some middling plays going on with this game. At 43 1/2, it was too close to our projection of 28-17 and 45 points. Usually, we like a game to differ by three points or more in the total, but when it’s this low, 2 1/2 points are enough to make a play. The only concern is that the Lobos are scoring points of fewer than normal total yards gained. However, UNLV’s offense is better than New Mexico’s defense, and we also think there is a chance that the Rebels could score more then 28 points in this game.

Selection #4: Minnesota & Purdue Over 51 1/2

If you follow this weekly feature for any amount of time, you will probably see a trend toward playing the Under on more totals than the Over, but this week, it is an even split. We respect Minnesota’s excellent start to the season, but their defense has yet to be tested by a Power 5 competent offense, as it will this week. This isn’t Drew Brees bringing the Spoilermakers to The Cities, but this also isn’t the Bobby Bell Gophers of 1960 and 1961. Our internal rating shows PU will top 24 points in this game, but their lack of a power running game might prevent the Boilermakers from scoring the one extra TD needed to win this game. Minnesota probably will top 30 points. At 34-27, that’s 9 1/2 more points than needed to satisfy this play.

Selection #5: Oklahoma & TCU Under 68 1/2

This was actually the one total that jumped off the page when we first saw it. Oklahoma is coming off an upset loss to Kansas State where they gave up more than 40 points. TCU is averaging 46.3 points per game but hasn’t played a real defense yet. We suspect that defensive-oriented Sooner coach Brent Venables will concentrate his efforts this week on giving his defense more confidence by playing this game a little more conservatively. Meanwhile, TCU will experience some difficulty trying to consistently move the ball with short passing plays. We think the total for this game will be 60 or less. A final score of 34-21 is expected.

Selection #6: Money Line Parlay @ +176.22

Kent State over Ohio U

Wyoming over San Jose St.

The key game for us this week is the Wyoming-San Jose State game in Laramie. We believe the wrong team is favored. The Cowboys have been a different team at home in altitude as opposed to the road, and San Jose State is coming into a weather situation they have not had a chance to prepare for in the Bay Area. This game could be played in a windy rainstorm, possibly a thunderstorm, with a chance that it could be delayed one or more times. Wyoming has an advantage if the running game must be used more in the quarters where the wind is in the face of the offense. We are looking for Wyoming to win this one outright by 5 to 10 points.

We didn’t want to play Wyoming straight up for 11-10 odds, so we looked to a coupling game that would ramp it up to better than +130, and we found it in the Kent State-Ohio game. The Golden Flashes are at least 10 points better than the Bobcats, but the Money Line was only -450, and combining it with the underdog selection, it makes this parlay an attractive +176.22.

Selection #7: Money Line Parlay @ +157.22

Kansas State over Texas Tech

North Carolina over Virginia Tech

Western Kentucky over Troy

Both teams won big games last week in the Kansas State-Texas Tech match-up. But, the Red Raiders beat their most hated rival. TTU rarely gets the respect in the Lone Star State by the fans of the Longhorns. At the same time, Kansas State has used a big win over a ranked opponent to propel themselves to bigger and better things. Add in the factor that our internal rating shows the Wildcats to be nine points better, and this is an attractive part of a parlay for us.

Neither North Carolina nor Virginia Tech are going to go on big runs to finish with fat won-loss records this year. In fact, we think the Hokies are looking at 5-7 or even 4-8, while the Tar Heels are maybe looking at 7-5 and a minor bowl game. We are looking at a 35-28 win for Mack Brown’s squad.

In Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Hilltoppers have been known as a basketball school with a neat mascot, but their football team should not be overlooked this year. Following a 73-0 win over possibly the worst FBS team in Florida International, they step up to play another under-the-radar team in Troy. This used to be a fierce rivlary game when both were Sun Belt Conference members, and we expect a close, hard-fought game with a lot of offensive action. Our selection of WKU here comes about due to an old theorem of ours from the 1970s that states that when a team easily slaughters a weaker team in a home game one week and then plays at home again the following week, they tend to continue to play near the best of their abilities. We think WKU wins this close game, maybe by just a field goal to five points.

September 8, 2022

PiRate Picks For September 9-10, 2022

Last week, the most important part of our PiRate Picks publication was telling you that a broken clock is still correct twice a day. Please remember this, because we have experienced our broken clock accuracy up front this year. For the second week in a row, our selections went 3-0 to give us a 6-0 record to start the season. We know there are about 150-200 new visitors to this site since the 2021-22 College Football National Championship. Get this and get it good–we are not svengali’s. We are not Billy Walters. We aren’t even Brent Musberger and his incredible cast of handicappers. What are we? Really lucky and not much more than that.

Every week, we preface our selections by urging (begging) you not to wager real currency on the selections you read on this site. We know that there are a considerable number of professional speculators in the Nevada gold mines. We don’t have to tell you what to do with your occupation. It’s Joe Tackletrap in Wichita Falls, Texas, who makes $40,000 a year working himself silly that can ill afford to lose $500 that we have concerns about losing $500 because he wagered $100 each on five selections and lost them all, as he saw his mortgage payment money taken away.

Last week, we casually mentioned that there were some people in Nevada that we had information that they were following this site. Wow! We heard from six different people, two of whom represent a consortium of others, telling us they follow this site. And, they were not all from Las Vegas. We have to give some love to the biggest little city in America–Reno. There’s somebody there that sent us a little note.

For one paragraph, let’s pretend that we really did speculate these first two weeks of the football season, wagering $100 ($110) on margins and totals and $100 on the money line parlay. With the 6-0 record, including a parlay that paid back $241.77, our pretend starting bank account of $1,000 would now be worth $1,641.77. Making a 64% profit in two weeks in real life would quickly lead us to cash out and play no more games. That would be our Holiday Fund for this year.

What are the chances that our picks will be perfect again this week? The prior best first three week start we have ever had was a 9-3-1 start to the 2008 season. In most years, September is our worst month, with a big turnaround in October. Thus, we still do not have much confidence in our September picks. It’s merely the law of averages giving us a positive outlier.

Now that we have adequately warned you, we present our picks for this week. We are going with five selections.

Selection #1: Missouri and Kansas State UNDER 56 1/2

Our belief here is that the Wildcats will play a bit conservatively in the first half trying to keep the ball away from the Tiger offense, as Coach Chris Kleiman is a defense first leader. Missouri scored 52 points against a weak Louisiana Tech defense, and our belief is that the totals line might be a tad too high due to this. KSU’s defense pitched a shutout over FCS South Dakota. The Coyotes are not the top team in the Mount Rushmore state, but their offense is consistent. We see this game as a 28-20 win for the Wildcats. That gives us an extra touchdown to be wrong and still be right.

Selection #2: Iowa and Iowa State OVER 39 1/2

Iowa failed to reach the end zone against South Dakota State, winning 7-3 on a field goal and two safeties. The public looked at a Big Ten team’s offense failing to score on an FCS opponent and didn’t realize two important factors. First, South Dakota State is probably better than 60-75 FBS teams. Second, a college football team improves the most during a season in the practices between game one and game two. You can bet that this week in Iowa City, the offensive units in Hawkeye Land have had just about enough of hearing how lame they were in the opener. Over in Ames, Iowa State’s offense is far superior to its defense. Giving up 10 points to SEMO is nothing like Iowa’s holding SDSU to 3. SEMO is a mediocre Ohio Valley Conference team. Iowa will unleash its offense this week and top 20 points. Our hope is that Iowa State will respond in kind and make this a 24-21 game, topping 39 1/2 points.

Selection #3: Florida and Kentucky OVER 52 1/2

Florida came through for us last week, winning as an underdog when we believed the wrong team was favored. Kentucky overcame a slow start and eventually slaughtered a decent but not spectacular Miami of Ohio team. We believe that the Florida team that almost beat Alabama in 2021 before the team quit on former coach Dan Mullen has returned. If they could score 29 on Alabama last year and 29 on a tough Utah defense in week one, the Gators should put the chomp on Kentucky’s defense for more than 35 points. Can Kentucky’s offense produce 17 points or more? We think they Wildcats will top 20 points, and thus we believe the total in this game will top 56.

Selection #4: Arizona +11 1/2 vs. Mississippi State

This game is a tad different from how we normally play home underdogs. We tend to like our home dogs to get 1 to 7 points. We are making an exception here because it is our belief that few too people saw how the Wildcats went to San Diego State on the Christening of their new stadium and spoiled the party for the home team. We have been keeping our eyes on Coach Jedd Fisch since his arrival in Tucson. It is our beliefe that ‘Zona may have found their football equivalent of Lute Olson. His pedigree is about as incredible as a long-time assistant coach can own. Going up against a Mike Leach-coached team, this late night desert dogfight is going to give us reason to brew an evening pot of coffee. This could be the most entertaining game of Week Two, and we expect the home team to be in it for the entire 60 minutes. What’s great about this selection is that the superior SEC is having to play at the Pac-12 opponent’s home field rather than watch the Pac-12 team make the 2,000+ mile trip to the Southeast. Mississippi State could win this game 31-21, 34-24, 38-28, 35-24, 38-27 and still not cover. We tend to believe that this game will be a 3 to 7 point game in either direction.

Selection #5: Money Line Parlay at +172.97

Central Florida over Louisville

Arkansas over South Carolina

Florida over Kentucky

Louisville looked terrible in a blowout loss at Syracuse and did not look ready to play. Coach Scott Satterfield is sitting on a scorching hot seat, as he has had UL detractors since his hiring. At the same time, Gus Malzahn has quickly become a favored coach in Orlando, and Central Florida looks like a real contender for the American Athletic Conference Championship. In addition, UCF has had this game circled on their schedule and calendar. UL won this game on a pick six last year. The Cardinals are headed to an ambush in Orlando.

The Arkansas-South Carolina game should be quite interesting as two very good SEC teams face off in Fayetteville. We were a bit concerned with Spencer Rattler’s performance against Georgia State, as it was a little too similar to the performances he turned in at Oklahoma, which cost him his starting spot. Arkansas has a much better pass rush and secondary than Georgia State, and their offense at times pushed Cincinnati’s defense around. We see Pig Sooey winning by 10-14 points if not more.

Kentucky has defeated Florida twice in four years, after going mutiple decades without a win over the Gators. Billy Napier has quickly become a favorite in the Swamp almost on par with Steve Spurrier. He probably is the most like former Gator coaches Ray Graves and Doug Dickey than Spurrier or any coaches since. The Gators will be prepared and ready to play every week. Napier is part of both the Nick Saben and Dabo Swinney coaching trees. He knows how to run a program, and his year at Louisiana proved it. Kentucky and coach Mark Stoops are not exactly chopped liver. The Wildcats have a potent team with an NFL prospect under center. Will Levis could be a top three pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Kentucky could be the second best team in the SEC East, but they could be the third or fourth best too. We believe that the Gators will come into this game not resting on their laurels after pulling off the biggest win of Week One. Napier won’t let them get swollen heads. We’re going with Florida in a thriller, and we see the Gators winning 38-28.

September 1, 2022

PiRate Picks–September 1-5, 2022

You know what they say about a broken clock being accurate twice a day? The PiRate Ratings happened to hit the right time on our broken clock in week one. We began the season with three totals’ plays in Week 0, and by luck, all three won. So, we start the season 3-0 against the spread, but are our picks a broken clock that happened to get lucky and be broken on the right time, or did we legitimately begin the season on a winning note?

In most years, our picks begin seasons on a somewhat mediocre beginning and then hit a hot spot in October and early November. What are we to make of a 3-0 start, where if we had begun with an imaginary bank account of $1,000 and wagered $100 on each of the three picks, we would have $1,300 in our account today? Maybe, if we were smart enough, we’d cash in our winning 30% profit and go away for the season. Not many people can make a 30% profit on an investment in one year.

Ah, but here’s the rub. In actuality a 30% profit on $0 is still $0. We could lose every pick we make the rest of the season, and we will have the same amount of real money we would have if we won every wager the rest of the year, because out real investment in this is $0. We never wager real money on these picks, and please don’t do so either.

Some of you do wager for real. We hope this site is merely an addendum to your process.

We have chosen three more selections in Week 1 of the College Football Season, and the three selections involve three different types of wagers. We are going with one side, one total, and one Money Line Parlay with a potential payoff of 141.77%.

Selection #1: Florida + 2 1/2 vs. Utah

Utah probably has three key games this year, where if the Utes go 3-0, they might be 13-0 when the College Football Playoff Committee chooses the four big teams. This is one of those three. I’d really like to see this game move to 3 1/2 points, because about 1 of every 11 college football games end with a 3-point spread. However, this one is a game where we believe the wrong team might be favored. Florida was much better than their record last year. The Gators basically mailed it in the second half of the year, and Dan Mullen was shown the door. New coach Billy Napier has restored the faith at the Swamp. While this Gator team has some vulnerable areas, maybe on the offensive side of the ball, the thought here is that the defense will be fired up and play above their heads in Napier’s first game. While the average of the three PiRate Ratings show Utah to be more than a 6-point favorite in this game, the thought here is that the Gators will be a touchdown better than their real worth, and that makes Florida a slight favorite. Getting 2 1/2 points when the underdog looks like a 55% outright winner is enough to work and make this a pick.

Selection #2: Michigan and Colorado St. UNDER 61 1/2

The question here to us is, “Can Michigan score over 50 points in this game?” The reason we ask this is that Colorado State is likely to score 10 points or less trying to break in a new offense with a new coach and without the necessary players to make it work? Michigan figures to win this game by more than 4 touchdowns, more likely 5 touchdowns. A score of 45-10 looks about right here, and that’s 6 1/2 points less than the total for this game.

Selection #3: Money Line Parlay–3 games at +141.77

Pittsburgh over West Virginia

TCU over Colorado

Houston over UTSA

The Backyard Brawl to start the season is an incredible first game rivalry. Pittsburgh lost a lot of talent off last year’s team, but the Panthers had a good bit of depth. Meanwhile, West Virginia is slowly building up their talent level, but the Mountaineers have a long way to go. In fact, this could be the year where the game with Kansas determines which team finishes last in the Big 12. Pittsburgh looks 10-13 points better to start the season.

TCU starts a new era in Fort Worth for the first time since 2000. Sonny Dykes tries to give the Horned Frogs a little more offense and brings more of a passing game, air-raid style. After surprising some people in the 2020 Covid year and guiding the Buffs to four consecutive wins to start his tenure in Boulder, Colorado has since gone 4-10. This game looks like a 10-14 point win for TCU.

Houston figures to contend along with Central Florida as Cincinnati’s top competitors in the American Athletic Conference. While UTSA is a top of the food chain team in CUSA, they are not ready to stake a claim to second best team in the Lonestar State after Texas A&M. Even playing in San Antonio, the Cougars are at least a touchdown better than the Roadrunners.

Season to Date

Beginning Bankroll (not real): $1,000

Imaginary Investment Last Week: $300

Outcome 3-0

Imaginary return $600

New Bank Account: $1,300

November 11, 2021

PiRate Picks–November 11-13, 2021

We almost made it, but a small miss is as good as a long mile. Last week, with a fourth consecutive winning week looking promising, a couple of fourth quarters went against us, and alas we suffered a tiny loss of 0.9%, or less than $5 on $500 invested in imaginary currency.

For the year, our net profit is now 4.88%, so we are still in the black, just barely. This week, we delayed by a day putting this feature online. The reason is that we did not like the overall numbers and wanted the betting public to help us out by moving the money lines just enough for our program to show the parlays to have an edge by finding the best lines. After looking at 11 different books, we still could only find three wagers to play. Four more were monitored closely and might have eventually moved to make them playable, but we like to publish this before Noon on Thursday, and the movements aren’t moving this morning (Thursday at 9:30 AM EST).

These next two weeks historically have seen monumental upsets in college football when teams that appear to be superior to the opponents they are playing have hidden depth issues. It’s not just players that don’t dress out. By this point in the schedule most college teams have 10-20 players that are playing with minor injuries and are not the same as they were four weeks ago. We look for teams that win consistently through the first week in November but tend to lose power ratings while winning, because instead of producing a statistics box that looks like a 20-point win, they produce a statistics box of 15-17 points, and then 10-14 points. We do not update our ratings by final score. We look at the statistics and make a score adjustment based on the domination or lack thereof and then update. A team that wins by 28 points and is out-gained by 50 yards where the opponent lost fumbles in the Red Zone may actually receive credit for a 14-point “effective win.” A team that wins by 11 points but ends the game at the opponent’s five yard line and chooses to take a knee may receive credit for an 18-point effective win.

You will also notice that since early in the season, we have stopped playing NFL parlays in this feature. The variance in the games is making it impossible for our method to isolate on enough games to make a favorable parlay. We think there are two reasons for this. First, even though there are lousy teams like Detroit, there are no dominant teams that can be counted on to win when they are favored by less than a touchdown. Second, now that many millions more people can legally wager, the odds no longer move by large enough amounts to create favorable odds. There are 60+ college games to find favorable numbers, and the public may not find a Mountain West Conference game worth much, while we do. There are 13-16 NFL games per week, and even Detroit, San Francisco, and Miami get heavy action. We’d like to play three underdogs this week, but the numbers are not favorable according to our program.

Here are our three selections for this week. Remember, we never wager real money on these picks. If we don’t, do you think you should?

Odds:+185
Must WinOpponent
East CarolinaMemphis

Odds:+205.47
Must WinOpponent
Kansas St.West Virginia
Air ForceColorado St.
Oklahoma St.TCU

Odds:+152.71
Must WinOpponent
LouisianaTroy
OklahomaBaylor
OregonWashington St.

September 8, 2021

PiRate Picks For September 9-13, 2021

Last week’s opening picks missed, as Virginia Tech made Sam Howell look like Thurston Howell. Duke then failed to show up against Charlotte, and poof, our two picks were destroyed. Such is life when you wager on parlays that return the odds we look for when we place our imaginary wagers.

We have two more picks returning some fat odds this week, and maybe we’ll get lucky and hit on one. We will also tell you a week 1 tip for the NFL. Although we are here just for Money Line Parlays this year, it doesn’t mean we cannot give out a little interesting information.

Here are our two Money Line Parlays for Week two of the college season. We will eventually pick some NFL games, but Week one is not the time and place for that.

Parlay 1

Odds:+224
Must WinOpponent
VirginiaIllinois
RutgersSyracuse
MichiganWashington

Parlay 2

Odds:+180.56
Must WinOpponent
Mississippi St.North Carolina St.
TCUCalifornia

Here’s our tip for Week 1 of the NFL season. Underdogs of 1 to 3 points tend to win outright 50% of the time, but they also lose by less than 3 points another 8-10% of the time. That’s 58-60% success for wagering on 3-point Underdogs.

There are seven games as of this writing with a 3-point spread. The Dogs are:

Houston against Jacksonville

Arizona against Tennessee

Philadelphia against Atlanta

Indianapolis against Seattle

Cincinnati against Minnesota

Miami against New England

N.Y. Giants against Denver

September 1, 2021

PiRate Picks For September 1-6, 2021

Last week, we explained what our PiRate Picks are all about. We even gave you a sample Money Line Parlay that included Illinois beating Nebraska, UTEP beating New Mexico St., and UCLA beating Hawaii. This parlay had payout odds of +341, which meant if you wagered $100, and the teams all won, you would receive $441 in return. But, we made sure you understood that this was a sample and not official.

As of Monday afternoon, three people had notified us that they had played a little real currency on this parlay and were quite happy with their return.

How many times can we state this? Please do not bet real money on our just for fun selections! Okay, so one of you wagered $20, one of you wagered $50, and one of you wagered $100 on this parlay and won money. These same people could just as easily have lost this wager, and there is no guarantee that this week’s two selections have a snowball’s chance in Hades of winning.

We strongly urge you to look at these selections as mathematical entertainment and nothing else. If you are going to wager real money on sports, please do your research. Don’t rely on this site as your substitute for research. We use mathematical factors and not actual research to make these selections.

That said, we have two actual Money Line parlays this week, involving five games. If you did not read last week’s tutorial, or if you are a long-time follower of this site and need a refresher course, our expertise is the Money Line Parlay. The Money Line is a number, plus or minus. If the number is a minus, then you must wager this number of dollars against the book’s offering $100. So, a -145 means you the bettor must put up $145 to win $100 from the book. If you bet $145 on this game and won, you would receive $245 from the book ($100 + your investment money). If the number is positive, for every $100 you wager, the book offers the amount of the the positive numbers in dollars. So, a +170 means that if you wager $100 and win, the book will give you $270 ($170 + your investment).

When you wager on the money line, all that matters is that your selection wins. They can win by one point or 100 points; it doesn’t make a difference.

Obviously, if you want to wager on Alabama against Louisiana-Monroe, expect the Money Line to be about -100,000. You would have to wager $100,000 to win $100. If you wagered $100 on this parlay, when Alabama wins, you would receive one dime in profit, and the book would possibly not accept this one wager.

Obviously, it is much easier to bet a favorite to win, but you will receive less than even money odds. A -240 favorite equates to the team having a 70% chance of winning the game. If you believe that team has a better than 70% chance of winning, it might be worth your while to wager on it. If you win 75% of the time you wager on a -240 money line, you will turn a small profit.

The problem with wagering on favorites is that it is quite difficult to maintain the percentage needed to make a profit. Betting on 20 different teams at -240 and winning 13 of 20 means a loss of $380.

If you wager on a bunch of underdogs, there is also little chance that in the long run you will come out ahead. The answer to this is to bundle a group of favorites into a parlay that returns better than even money odds. For our purposes, we look for parlays of +120 and higher. At +150, we break even if the teams we wager on to win all win more than 40% of the time. At +200, if the parlay has a better than 33.3% chance on winning, we turn a profit.

It looks easy. Try it yourself without wagering. Look at the Money Line odds and make a parlay. There are free parlay calculators online to show you your odds. Try it with 10 parlays and see if you can win enough to make it work. You will find that the books know what they are doing. They build billion dollar mega-structures in the desert, because they know how to vacuum your money into their accounts.

Here are our two selections for Week 1 of the College Football Season. Remember, these are just for fun. We have a bottomless pretend bank account to repeatedly wager $100 on every selection.

Odds:+125
Must WinOpponent
Central FloridaBoise St.
DukeCharlotte


Odds:+265.98
Must WinOpponent
North CarolinaVirginia Tech
Kansas St.Stanford
PurdueOregon St.

August 26, 2021

PiRate Picks For August 28, 2021

Welcome to all the newcomers to the PiRate Ratings site for the 2021-2022 football season. Saturday, we have the fortune of having a dress rehearsal for the college football season. Nine FBS teams will be in action, as one FBS team plays an FCS opponent.

The PiRate Ratings enjoy issuing picks against the spread or money line on Thursdays each week until January. Because we are most concerned with Money Line Parlays, there are only five options to combine games this week, and many of the books do not issue a line for FBS vs. FCS games. So, in a quest to obtain the best odds, there really are just four games.

This presents multiple issues that basically make it close to impossible to issue a real wager, because the options don’t fit our paradigm. Let’s take a look.

First, before we get started, you must know and understand one thing. We offer these selections purely for the fun of it. It is math and not gambling to us. We NEVER bet on sports. We play with a pretend bankroll that never runs out. We wager the same amount of fake currency on every selection–$100. It could just as easily be $5, $10, $1000, $5000, whatever, but $100 is an easy number and typical of many wagers in real life.

Second, we urge you with everything we can say about it to NOT use this weekly feature as betting advice, unless you have legitimate advice or are a professional, and then this becomes a secondary reference.

Third, we hunt around for the best possible odds on our pretend wagers. You may or may not be able to find the same odds we do, because you would have to search at the exact same time we do. Because, we are not limited to just the legal books available to us in our state of Tennessee, where betting is legal, we might pick a parlay based on a sports book that is only for people in Nevada, or New Jersey, or even off shore.

Okay, now that you know the ground rules, here is our specialty–Money Line Parlays. The money line is different from the spread of a game, but the number is the equivalent of a spread. If a team is favored by 7 points, their money line is going to be roughly -330, and if a team is a 7-point underdog, their money line is going to be roughly +250.

How does a Money Line work? If the line is a negative number, if you wager the amount of the negative number and win, you will receive $100 plus the amount you wagered. So, if you wager on a team at -300, and you bet $300, if the bet wins, you will get back $400 (your investment money plus $100). If you lose, you are out the $300. On the other hand, if the line is a positive number, you can win that amount of money with a $100 wager. So, if the line on a team is +300, you can wager $100, and if the team wins, you receive $400 (your investment money plus $300).

In Money Line wagers, all that matters is that the team you picked wins the game, be it by 1 point or 63 points. Obviously, if Alabama is playing Mercer, the odds are going to be such that to win $100, you will have to put up maybe $100,000. So, if you bet $100 on Alabama at -100000, when Alabama wins, you receive $100.01. Would you risk $100,000 to win one penny?

When you wager on more than one money line to win as one bet, this is called a parlay. Let’s say that you like Mississippi State to beat Arkansas and Oklahoma State to beat Texas Tech. Mississippi State’s money line number is -275. Oklahoma State’s money line number is -250. By combining these two wagers into one bet, with $100 riding on the outcome, instead of attempting to win a little more than $36 on MSU and $40 on OSU, by combining the two games into a parlay, you stand to win almost $91 if both teams win. If you bet them individually, you would only win $76, so by combining the two, you win $15 more. Of course, if one team wins and the other loses, your losses would be less by playing the games separately.

The question you most likely wanted to ask while reading the above paragraph is, “Why risk playing two separate games that both teams you selected must win and still not get even money?” Did you ask it? The answer to that question is, “You are correct; why wager $100 to just win $91 and then have to be right twice to cash it?” You can bet a regular game against the spread and get 11-10 odds, just a fraction better than the odds of the parlay above.

The ultimate answer is that we are only looking for parlays that pay better than even money. We really don’t want to play any parlays at less than +120 odds, where we would win $6 for every $5 wagered.

The next question you might have is, “Isn’t finding two teams to win and pay off at +120 going to require me to bet an underdog to win outright?”

Our answer to you is, “Yes, but we don’t look for many two-team money line parlays. Let’s take a look at another example with three teams.

Let’s say that we believe that Washington will beat Oregon State, and the money line is -260.

We also believe that Army will beat Temple, and the money line is -240.

And, we believe that Wisconsin will beat Purdue, and the money line is -250.

If you wager $100 on these three teams to win, and all three teams win, your payout is just under $175 plus the $100 you wagered for almost $275 ($274.62 to be exact.)

Let’s take a look at 5 wagers, where we win two and lose three at these odds

We bet $500 at $100 for 5 wagers.

On the two winning wagers, we receive $275 * 2 or $550.

Invest $500 and win $550 by being right 40% of the time. In one week, we have made a 10% return on an investment. What investment on the Stock Market makes a 10% gain in one week after you have paid the commissions on the trip?

Ah, but here’s the rub: how often can you wager on 5 money line parlays that average +175 and win 40% of the parlays? Most people fall into this trap and only win about one of five of these parlays. At 20% success, you lose $225 a week for a 45% loss. Now, where can you loses 45% in the stock market in one week? We put our real money in high-cap value stocks with durable competitive advantages, long histories of consistent increases in earnings, and long histories of consistent dividend payouts. The pretend money is just fine for football wagering.

By now, you want to know who we are picking in Week 0 of the college football season. Maybe, you have figured it out already. We don’t have any official picks this week, because there are not enough games to come up with a parlay better than +120.

Here is a practice parlay that is not an official pick, but shown here to show you what we mean.

The three games involved are: Nebraska versus Illinois, UCLA versus Hawaii, and UTEP versus New Mexico St.

Let’s say that we think Illinois will upset the Cornhuskers, UCLA will take care of Hawaii, and UTEP will win the big rivalry game.

Here are the three Money Lines for these three games.

Illinois +215 vs. Nebraska

UCLA -875 vs. Hawaii

UTEP -390 vs. New Mexico St.

This parlay calculates to +341. If we wager $100 on this game, and Illinois, UCLA, and UTEP all win, we receive $441 in our account (The $100 we wagered plus the $341 on the win).

Why isn’t this an official pick? We believe that Illinois might have been an excellent pick against the spread when the Illinois-Nebraska game spread opened at -9 1/2. But, it has come down to -6 1/2 as of this writing. Sharp money was wagers on Illinois +9 1/2, and also on Nebraska -6 1/2. A three-point middling is too good to be true. Playing both sides, the Sharps only need to have the game win both sides one out of every 19 times (5.26%) to make a profit. The spreads of 7, 8, and 9 account for 10.8% of all FBS college football games. That’s double the amount needed to make a profit. The key is the Sharps can find these spreads when they open. Also, playing the opening lines is the most effective way to win for a Sharp.

The UTEP-New Mexico State game is the biggest issue in this parlay. One axiom that older Sharps believe in is not to rely on a losing program to have to win for you to win. The Miners are probably a 3-9 team, which is almost a good year for this program. The Aggies are really weak and should be an underdog in every game, but this is their big rival, maybe bigger than playing New Mexico. The I-10 rivalry frequently is a tossup game.

Two out of three of these games are iffy. The chances that Illinois pulls off the upset of Nebraska are not good enough to have faith in this parlay winning. Scott Frost is in deep cow poo if the Cornhuskers don’t win at least six games and earn a bowl bid, and losing to the weakest Big Ten team will turn the heater on in his heated seat. This will be Bret Bielema’s first game as Illinois head coach, and he brought in an offensive coordinator that runs a system totally different from what the Illini ran under Lovie Smith. Expect growing pains.

We hope this gets you pumped for next week, when there will be more than enough games to play some parlays.

December 4, 2020

PiRate Picks for December 4-7, 2020

Filed under: PiRate Picks_College & Pro — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:22 am

A Day Late — Hopefully Not A Dollar Short

We are publishing our most popular weekly feature at the PiRate Ratings a day later than normal. Four weeks of issuing some interesting parlays that we had a lot of faith in as winners only to see the games cancel the day that we published them forced us to take an extra 24 hours to try to eliminate the chances that we would see five parlays become void just after putting them out on this forum. Additionally, we tried to avoid games that involved teams that have forewarned that even as late as Friday afternoon, they could decide not to play. Also, there is the case of one team that is in danger of not having enough scholarship players remaining. Their choices would be to fold up operations for the year or play under the 53-man (or in this case 53-man and woman) limit.

Last week, we broke even, which is no fun. Our winning week was just a minute from being guaranteed, until the Baltimore Ravens scored at the end to make that game a push. It happens.

This week, we are stressing money line parlays paying off at better than even money odds. November was very kind to us in these plays, as we made a big fat profit on these better than +100 odds games. We are only going with one NFL selection, but in our statistical minds, it is our best parlay of the entire season–kiss of death!

Before looking at our selections for the week, please remember, that we have lost no money this year or any past year when issuing these selections, because we NEVER wager a penny on them. All of our picks are made with imaginary money at an imaginary book. We do know from your feedback that many of you actually use this site for wagering advice, but we don’t understand why. If you want to throw away hard-earned money because of something you read here, why not just donate that amount to a worthy charity. Our favorite charity with the five lasses that help me here on the PiRate ship is “Save A Fox” in Faribault, Minnesota: https://www.saveafox.org/.

Enjoy the selections, and the way to enjoy them is by keeping your money in your wallet.

College Money Line Parlays
1. 2-teams at +107.96
Must WinOpponentOdds
Miami (Fla.)Duke+107.96
MissouriArkansas

2. 3-teams at +145.28
Must WinOpponentOdds
Western Mich.Eastern Mich.
WashingtonStanford;+145.28
CincinnatiTulsa

3. 2-teams at +173.41
Must WinOpponentOdds
Texas A&MAuburn+173.41
Central Mich.Ball St.

4. 3-teams at +124.20 CANCELLED!
Must WinOpponentOdds
KentuckyS. Carolina
Buffalo (BU was en route to Ohio)Ohio+124.20
Iowa St.West Va.

5. 3-teams at +153.92
Must WinOpponentOdds
ToledoN. Illinois
San Diego St.Colorado St.+153.92
NC St.Georgia Tech

6. College 10-point Teaser at -110
SelectionOpponentSpread
TCUOklahoma St.+11
NebraskaPurdue+11
MemphisTulane+11.5

7. College 10-point Teaser at -110
SelectionOpponentSpread
Fla. AtlanticGa. Southern+12.5
San Jose St.Hawaii+11
OklahomaBaylor-11.5

8. College 10-point Teaser at -110
SelectionOpponentSpread
NevadaFresno St.+3.5
Oregon St.Utah+21.5
USCWashington St.-2.5

9. NFL 10-point Teaser at -110
SelectionOpponentSpread
MinnesotaJacksonvillePk
MiamiCincinnati-1.5
SeattleN.Y. Giants-0.5

November 19, 2020

PiRate Picks for November 19-23, 2020

Another Winning Week But Disappointment At The End

The PiRate Rating selections for last week came with a caveat that we were not as confident about them in the bigger picture compared to the week before when we had a bonanza profitable week. And, with just the Monday Night game to go, we had already guaranteed ourselves another profitable weekend. Monday Night Football left one leg of a parlay alive. New Orleans and Cleveland had already won to set up a potential +162.57 win if the Ravens took care of New England. Alas, Baltimore laid a major egg, and the Patriots pulled the upset that looked everything like the wrong team was favored. So, instead of a major cleaning of the books, we had to settle with a 22.1% profit on our imaginary investments for the week.

If this is your first time, or you come here every week and see this message, make note that the PiRates NEVER wager real money on these, or any other, selections. We are math nerds that know how to pinch our pennies. This is just for fun and all wagers are pretend only. If you feel compelled to donate a large sum of money to the very wealthy sportsbooks, please reconsider and instead send a bit to our favorite charity–The Old PiRates on Rickety Ships Taking On Water Fund.

Because that nasty little virus has wiped out a bunch of our picks the last few weeks, we limited using the same teams in multiple strategies this week, even though three or four games appeared in every possible wagering situation that we like.

Enjoy–You will enjoy much more if you don’t wager these selections.

Date:Nov. 19-23
1. College 6-point Teaser -110
SelectionOpponentOdds
TulsaTulane-1/2
ArkansasLSU+8 1/2

2. College 6-point Teaser -110
SelectionOpponentOdds
Appy St.Coastal Car.+11 1/2
Arkansas St.Texas St.Pk

3. College 6 1/2 -point Teaser -120
SelectionOpponentOdds
Air ForceNew Mexico-1/2
UTSASouthern Miss.-2 1/2

4. College 7-point Teaser -130
SelectionOpponentOdds
OregonUCLA-6 1/2
NC St.Liberty+3 1/2

5. College 10-point Teaser -110
Selection *CANCELLED*OpponentOdds
PurdueMinnesota+7 1/2
MarylandMich. St.+4 1/2
NebraskaIllinois-5

6. College 10-point Teaser -110
SelectionOpponentOdds
RiceNorth Texas+9
Oregon St.California+13 1/2
AlabamaKentucky-20

7. College 10-point Teaser -110 CANCELLED
SelectionOpponentOdds
San Jose St.Fresno St.+7 1/2
AuburnTennessee-1
WashingtonArizona-1 1/2

8. College Money Line Parlay +168.15
Must WinOpponentOdds
OklahomaOklahoma St.+168.15
RiceNorth Texas

9. College Money Line Parlay +139.47
Must WinOpponentOdds
MissouriS. Carolina+139.47
USCUtah

10. College Money Line +152
Must WinOpponentOdds
Oregon St.California+152

11. College Money Line +147
Must WinOpponentOdds
PittsburghVa. Tech+147

12. NFL 6 1/2 point Teaser -120
SelectionOpponentOdds
Kansas CityLas Vegas-1/2
LA RamsTampa Bay+10 1/2

13. NFL 7-point Teaser -130
SelectionOpponentOdds
LA ChargersN.Y. Jets+8 1/2
Green BayIndianapolis-1/2

14. NFL 10-point Teaser -110
SelectionOpponentOdds
AtlantaNew Orleans+15
PittsburghJacksonvillePk
CincinnatiWashington+11 1/2

15. NFL 10-point Teaser -110
TeamTeamTotal
DetroitCarolinaO 39
PhiladelphiaClevelandO 37
BaltimoreTennesseeO 39

16. NFL 10-point Teaser -110
TeamTeamTotal
PittsburghJacksonvilleO 36 1/2
MiamiDenverO 35
LA RamsTampa BayO 38 1/2

November 12, 2020

PiRate Picks for November 12-16, 2020

A Week In The Penthouse Doesn’t Mean To Open The Vault

Last week, when we posted the weekly selections, we hinted that we really liked a lot of picks that seemed to tilt the numbers slightly in our favor, or to be more precise, to overcome the percentage vigorish that the selections had on the other side.

We were correct much more often than incorrect last week, and it resulted in a little fake bonanza in imaginary Vegas Book. We hit on three Money Line Parlays at better than +100 odds, and we hit on three of five 10-point teasers to parlay the selections into a better than 30% profit for the week.

There were other selections that became void after last week’s post was published, as games were called off late due to Covid. Eight games are already off the boards this week as this post publishes, and there is a chance that one or more of this week’s choices will be taken off the board as well. We tried to anticipate which games have the greater chances of being cancelled and left them off this week’s consideration list.

Additionally, we eliminated some teams from consideration due to prior Covid concerns that have left these teams with too many weeks off and too many recovering key players. We only really went with one selection where a college team has played just one game so far–Wisconsin.

Our sentiment is that this week is considerably more difficult to isolate favorable selections. We rely more on the numbers than the actual teams in most of our selections, as Nevada rarely misses on lines this late in the season, even in this dysfunctional 2020 season.

What we have favored this week are the lines that help us move through the highest percentage of key numbers, both in spreads and totals for the teasers. We also used our in-house formula for maximizing money line parlay spreads with our own personal ratings and predicted win percentages.

As usual, please read our disclosure: The PiRates NEVER wager real money on these selections. This is strictly a fun exercise with numbers performed by a bunch of numbers’ nerds that just happened to have all played football, but on the other hand, we have all had concussions from playing football, and sometimes we appear to be a bit punch drunk. So, DON’T blow your Christmas Fund on selections you will see below.

That goes for you, Ms. Buckeye in Florida, who didn’t listen to the warning after reading it a zillion times and went and bet big on the Gators at +150 to beat Georgia outright last week. You won last week, so you are very likely to lose this week if you choose one selection from our list.

Date:Nov. 12-16
College 10-point Teasers @-110

1. SelectionOpponentLine
PurdueNorthwestern+12 1/2
Ole MissS. Carolina-1
OregonWash. St.Pk

2. Selection (CANCELLED)OpponentLine
Coastal Car.Troy– 1/2
Fresno St.Utah St.Pk
Ga. SouthernTexas St.Pk

College Money Line Parlays

3. Must WinOpponentOdds
WisconsinMichigan+118.99
RutgersIllinois

4. Must WinOpponentOdds
W. VirginiaTCU
Ga. SouthernTroy+178.70
Ole MissS. Carolina

5. Must Win CANCELLEDOpponentOdds
UtahUCLA+132.03
IndianaMichigan St.

6. Must Win CANCELLEDOpponentOdds
Arizona St.California+106.90
OregonWash. St.

NFL 10-point Teasers @ -110

7. TeamTeamTotal
TennesseeIndianapolisO38 1/2
ClevelandHoustonO39
New OrleansSan FranciscoO39

8. TeamTeamTotal
DetroitWashingtonO 36 1/2
N.Y. GiantsPhiladelphiaO 34 1/2
MiamiLA ChargersO 38 1/2

NFL Money Line Parlays

9. Must WinOpponentOdds
Tampa BayCarolina+155.57
MiamiLA Chargers

10. Must WinOpponentOdds
PhiladelphiaN.Y. Giants+138.24
Las VegasDenver

11. Must WinOpponentOdds
New OrleansSan Francisco
BaltimoreNew England+162.57
ClevelandHouston
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