The Pi-Rate Ratings

October 20, 2022

PiRate Picks–October 20, 2022

A Fool’s Folly

As we always forewarn every week on this particular feature, do not use this entry as real money wagering reference material. This is purely for entertainment purposes, and this season has been a lot more entertaining to those that like comedies of errors. Last week’s picks went 3-3, which resulted in a minor loss. This week, we go with five selections, all against the spread, and a couple swimming against our normal current. Normally, we are more interested in the numbers than the names on our selections. This week, we are choosing five games where we think our pick has been undervalued. It is not our forte, but then our forte needs reinforcing.

Selection #1: Ball St. -2 1/2 over Eastern Michigan

This goes against everything we look for in making a selection. EMU has been playing hot and cold all season, and they are actually due to be hot this week. However, we think that Ball State is 7 to 10 points better, so we are taking the Cardinals as a short favorite. We considered bringing out the big 10-point teaser play with this game included to make it BSU +7 1/2, but there just weren’t two other games to combine it with to our liking.

Selection #2: Ohio +3 vs. Northern Illinois

We’d like this a lot more at +3 1/2, but we didn’t make the selection when it briefly was that number. Ohio has improved by 10 points since the start of the year, while NIU has been mediocre, and the Huskies are not playing up to their talent level. The MAC East is definitely up for grabs, and the Bobcats are in the mix. We believe Ohio will win this game outright.

Selection #3: Ole Miss + 1 1/2 vs. LSU

The Rebels have not had a lot of success in Baton Rouge, last winning there in 2008. Ole Miss has a chance to win the SEC West with Alabama coming to the Grove in November. LSU is coming off an impressive road win at Florida, and we believe the odds have been moved too many points in the Tigers’ favor based on these perceptions. Ole Miss has lapses in most of their games, but then they find their mark and go on big scoring runs, almost like a basketball team. Our belief here is that LSU might have the lead in the second half, before the Rebels score two or three times to win the game.

Selection #4: Purdue + 2 1/2 vs. Wisconsin

This was the game that had us wait to put our picks out, and it never went to 3 points during the time we isolated on it. This game may be a must-win game for the Badgers’ bowl hopes this year. Losing at Michigan State left UW with a thin margin in the hunt for a 6-6 record. On the other hand, Purdue is now squarely in the Big Ten West race with Illinois and can become bowl eligible with a win. As we said above, this game and pointspread goes against all we normally play, but maybe that’s a good thing in this strange year.

Selection #5: Penn St. -4 vs. Minnesota

Again, this is another against the current play. Normally, we would not consider a 4-point favorite coming off a deflating loss as a playable game. However, in this case, we believe the Nittany Lions might win this game by double digits. They had the third quarter lead at Michigan, and then the Wolverines proved too strong. Minnesota has not yet righted the ship after losing Tanner Morgan for the Purdue game. Morgan’s return didn’t propel the Gophers against surprising Illinois last week. Additionally, Morgan exited last week’s game with a blow to the head, and while we expect him to play this week, he won’t be 100% healthy. This looks like the perfect setting for a James Franklin-coached team to rebound with an impressive win to make next week’s very big game meaningful. Jimmy Frank will not led his team look ahead to the Buckeyes.

August 10, 2022

Mid-American Conference Preview

The MAC has been up and down for many years, rarely a middle of the pack conference among the non-elite. There was a time when Toledo and Miami of Ohio were regulars in the major polls. Miami actually beat Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina in three consecutive bowl games. The MAC has produced the New Year’s Day Bowl team that was guaranteed to the top Group of 5 team.

There have been years where this league was considerably weaker than the better Group of 5 conferences, and there have been a couple teams that have come and gone from the league. Over the Winter, the MAC appeared to be expanding to 14 teams with the additions of Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State. The two Conference USA schools and rivals chose to remain where they were.

Here is the official media poll for the Mid-American Conference

Mid-American Conference
#East1st PlaceOverall
1Miami (O)20139
2Kent St.3116
5Bowling Green171
#West1st PlaceOverall
1Northern Illinois11122
3Central Michigan4112
4Western Michigan056
5Eastern Michigan052
6Ball St.042
Northern Illinois9
Miami (O)5
Central Michigan4

Here are the preseason PiRate Ratings for the MAC.

Mid-American Conference
East Division
Miami (Ohio)91.594.594.393.4
Kent St.87.390.187.688.3
Bowling Green87.786.486.887.0
West Division
N. Illinois97.898.298.398.1
Central Mich.93.095.396.394.9
Western Mich.92.193.493.593.0
Eastern Mich.88.388.988.088.4
Ball St.84.685.984.785.0

The PiRate Ratings are predictive in nature. However, they are only designed to look forward one week. Nevertheless, here are the predicted won-loss records for the MAC.

Miami (O)7-18-5
Kent St.5-36-6
Bowling Green3-54-8
Northern Illinois8-011-2
Central Michigan6-28-4
Western Michigan5-37-5
Ball St.2-64-8
Eastern Michigan2-64-8

Northern Illinois picked to beat Miami (O) in the MAC Championship Game.

Coming Tomorrow: The Sun Belt Conference

March 21, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Monday, March 21, 2022

Monday, March 21, 2022
DrakeUNC Wilmington7.4
UNC AshevilleNorthern Colorado-0.8
MIddle TennesseeBoston5.6
Abilene ChristianOhio-0.9
Coastal CarolinaFlorida Gulf Coast4.4
South AlabamaUSC Upstate11.1

August 14, 2021

Mid-American Conference Preview

There wasn’t much MACtion in the Mid-American Conference in 2020.  Covid limited MAC play to a minimum number of games with two teams playing just three games, one other playing four times, one team playing eight games, and the rest playing five to seven times.

In the end, two teams emerged as the clear cut best in the league–Buffalo in the East and Ball State in the West.  Ball St. defeated the 5-0 Bulls in the MAC Championship Game, and then both teams won their bowl games, Buffalo over Marshall in the Camellia Bowl, and Ball St. over San Jose St. in the Arizona Bowl.

Buffalo faced a minor rebuild on the offensive end with four new starters needed to replace the best receiving corps in the league, but the Bulls were hit with a very late blow in the Spring.  Coach Lance Leipold had been a candidate for multiple Power 5 coaching gigs in December, but he came up short on all of them.  Then, after Kansas fired Les Miles, Leipold was offered and accepted the job in Lawrence.  Former Dallas Cowboys secondary coach and Michigan co-defensive coordinator Maurice “Mo” Linguist has developed a reputation for being an incredible recruiter, and he should bring some fine talent to The Queen City.

There’s an additional irony to the MAC East, as co-favorite Ohio U had a late head coaching change.  Legendary coach Frank Solich stepped down due to health concerns, and offensive coordinator Tim Albin takes over.  Albin has not been a head coach since 1999, but that Northwestern Oklahoma State team finished 13-0 and won the NAIA football championship.

Kent State and Miami of Ohio have the same head coaches they had last year.  Fans of Kent State are excited about Coach Sean Lewis’s up-tempo offense.  In their abbreviated season, The Golden Flashes averaged almost 50 points per game and more than 600 total yards per game.  Miami’s season ended after playing just three games, but the Redhawks penned the lone loss on the conference champs, topping Ball State by a touchdown. 

Akron and Bowling Green bring up the rear in the East.  Akron won the head-to-head matchup last year, but the two teams combined to go 1-10, both giving up more than 40 points per game.

The race in the MAC West should be one of the most competitive races of any FBS division.  A case could be made for five of the six teams to earn a piece of the first place this year, and only Northern Illinois figures not to challenge for supremacy.

Defending champs Ball State returns the bulk of its starting 22 players from last year, but the Cardinals won four of their five regular season games by seven points or less.  Rarely does a team repeat that feat from year to year.  Usually, if the team isn’t vastly better, they lose a couple of the types of games they won the year before.

Central Michigan and Toledo figure to be much improved in 2021.  Both schools return almost their entire starting lineups on both sides of the ball.  Keep an eye out for these very experienced and talented squads in September games against Power 5 opponents.  CMU plays Missouri, while Toledo takes on Notre Dame.  

Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan return a majority of their 2020 starters but with every player getting a free extra year, having 16 returning starters is almost below average.

Northern Illinois, once the best Group of 5 program in America, has fallen on hard times.  The Huskies went 0-6 last year and figure to be underdogs in almost every game against FBS competition this year.

Here is how the MAC media voted in the preseason poll:

2021 MAC Football Preseason Poll

(First Place Votes in Parentheses)

East Division

1. Kent State (11) – 112 points

2. Ohio (2) – 96 points

3. Miami (5) – 94 points

4. Buffalo (4) – 93 points

5. Akron – 39 points

6. Bowling Green – 28 points

West Division

1. Ball State (11) – 114 points

2. Toledo (7) – 104 points

3. Western Michigan (4) – 103 points

4. Central Michigan – 68 points

5. Eastern Michigan – 44 points

6. Northern Illinois – 29 points

MAC Football Championship Game Winner: Ball State (7), Toledo (5), Kent State (4), Western Michigan (3), Buffalo (2), Miami (1)

The preseason PiRate Ratings differ somewhat.

Mid-American Conference
East Division

Miami (Ohio)101.999.298.199.7
Kent St.91.393.490.591.7
Bowling Green71.672.168.870.8

West Division

Central Michigan100.599.199.599.7
Ball St.98.498.395.597.4
Eastern Michigan93.191.289.891.4
Western Michigan91.291.690.191.0
Northern Illinois89.387.086.187.5

MAC Averages92.391.790.491.4

The PiRate Ratings are not designed to pick seasonal won-loss records, but we use them any way to make predictions just for fun.

MAC EastConf.Overall
Miami (Ohio)6-28-5*
Kent St.4-45-7
Bowling Green0-81-11

MAC WestConf.Overall
Central Michigan6-28-5
Ball St.6-28-4
Eastern Michigan5-38-4
Western Michigan2-63-9
Northern Illinois2-63-9
* Miami (Ohio) picked to win MAC Championship Game

October 10, 2019

PiRate Ratings Special Money Line Plays

We had an upset pick at +200 a couple nights ago, but since we isolated on this one, a bunch of Sharps obviously saw the same value we did.  So, our upset pick is only going off at +195 for now.  We have three Money Line plays to show you this week, two of which are parlays.

Money Line Play #1

Temple +195 vs. Memphis

It’s true that Temple doesn’t enjoy the best home field advantage, but Memphis has a considerable road team disadvantage.  The Tigers have not been tested on the road, and their stats on both sides of the ball are not Boise State worthy at the moment.

Temple dropped a game at Buffalo, but the Owls would beat the Bulls seven times out of 10.  TU’s defense should be just strong enough to hold the Tigers under 28 points, while the Owl offense has a good chance at 30+.  Thus we have strong feelings that Temple will win this game outright.  If you can find this game anywhere at +200, then play it as a gamble.  Our ratings show this a toss-up game, so +200 is quite a bargain if you can find it.


Money Line Play #2

Two-game Parlay at +138


Eastern Michigan over Ball St.

Central Michigan over New Mexico St.



Money Line Play #3

Three-game Parlay at +155

Wake Forest over Louisville

Ohio U over Northern Illinois

Baylor over Texas Tech


Remember–We do not charge for our selections, and you should consider this information worth what you pay for it.  Please do not lose your mortgage payment because of something you read on this site.  We NEVER wager real money on sporting events.

August 9, 2019

2019 Mid-American Conference Football Preview

The Mid-American Conference has been quite competitive in recent years with multiple teams competing in both divisions for their division title.  2019 should be no different in the West Division, but this could be a year where Ohio easily wins the East.  After the Bobcats, the other five teams have glaring weaknesses that can easily be exploited by a roster and coaching staff at Ohio, and the Western Division competitors.

The West Division is a four-team race.  Western Michigan returns more starters than any other team in the FBS Football.  The Broncos finished a game behind division winner Northern Illinois, and WMU is the team to beat in the West.  However, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois have enough talent to get a piece of the division flag, and all four teams could finish at 6-2 or 5-3 if they beat up on each other.

Here is the way the MAC Media representatives voted at the preseason media poll.


Mid-American Conference Media Poll


East Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Ohio 24 144
2 Miami (O) 0 107
3 Buffalo 0 100
4 Kent St. 0 62
5 Akron 0 54
6 Bowling Green 0 37


West Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Toledo 15 127
2 Western Michigan 5 112
3 Northern Illinois 3 103
4 Eastern Michigan 0 83
5 Ball St. 0 43
6 Central Michigan 1 36


Championship Game Winner
Ohio 13
Toledo 7
Western Michigan 2
Northern Illlinois 1
Central Michigan 1


Here are our preseason PiRate Ratings for the MAC.

Preseason PiRate Ratings–Mid-American Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio U 96.3 95.2 97.8 96.5
Miami (O) 90.5 89.0 90.9 90.1
Buffalo 88.0 89.0 89.0 88.6
Kent St. 84.8 85.5 85.0 85.1
Akron 83.1 83.4 83.3 83.2
Bowling Green 78.3 78.5 78.7 78.5


West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 99.4 98.2 99.7 99.1
Northern Illinois 94.3 93.2 94.4 94.0
Toledo 91.2 90.8 92.3 91.4
Eastern Michigan 88.8 89.2 89.6 89.2
Ball St. 85.6 85.4 85.1 85.4
Central Michigan 78.3 79.2 78.4 78.6


MAC Averages 88.2 88.1 88.7 88.3

Note:  These preseason ratings are accurate as of August 1, 2019, and subject to change before the first week of the season due to personnel changes prior to the first week of the season.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

The PiRate Ratings were not created to forecast won-loss records like other ratings might attempt.  Our ratings are valid for just the next game on the teams’ schedules, and we have pre-set adjustments built into our ratings on many teams.  For instance, if a team has exceptional starting talent but little depth, their rating has a pre-set reduction per week of the season, so that even if they win or lose a game by the exact expected margin, they will lose some of their power rating due to their depth issues.

If a team has exceptional, but inexperienced talent, their rating will have a pre-set addition per week of the season, and even if their performance may be exactly what was expected, their power rating will rise.

What you see in these predicted won-loss records are our opinion and not calculated from the ratings.  These are the estimated records based on a vote, with the Captain having 50% of the vote and the crew having the other 50%.  The Captain then rounded up or down those teams picked to have an average wins that were not whole numbers.


PiRate Members Predicted Won-Loss
East Division
Pos Team MAC Overall
1 Ohio 7-1 9-4
2 Miami (O) 5-3 6-6
3 Buffalo 5-3 6-6
4 Akron 3-5 4-8
5 Kent St. 3-5 4-8
6 Bowling Green 1-7 2-10


West Division
Pos Team MAC Overall
1 Western Michigan 7-1 10-3*
2 Toledo 6-2 8-4
3 Eastern Michigan 5-3 7-5
4 Northern Illlinois 5-3 6-6
5 Ball St. 1-7 2-10
6 Central Michigan 0-8 2-10



Western Michigan picked to win MAC Championship Game


Bowl Predictions
Bahamas Western Michigan
Boca Raton Ohio
Camellia Eastern Michigan
Dollar General Northern Illinois
Idaho Potato Toledo


Also Bowl Eligible
Miami (O)


Coaches That Could Move To FBS Power 5 Conferences

Lance Leipold, Buffalo

Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan

Jason Candle, Toledo

Tim Lester, Western Michigan


Coaches On The Hot Seat

Mike Neu, Ball St.


Top Quarterbacks

Nathan Rourke, Ohio

Jon Wassink, Western Michigan

Mitchell Guadagni, Toledo


Best Offense

Western Michigan



Best Defense

Northern Illinois




Coming Tomorrow: The Sun Belt Conference






August 12, 2018

2018 Mid-American Conference Preview

Note: The preseason ratings you see in the previews may not be the same as the ratings you see for the first game. We update every team’s rating based on player injuries, changes to the depth charts, and other factors that may change during preseason practice.

Some of our Group of 5 Conference won-loss predictions were figured before the beginning of August preseason practices. Thus, it could be that a player or players on some teams have already suffered season-ending or multiple game injuries or have left their teams, and these won-loss predictions no longer accurately reflect our ratings. We hope that by the time we preview the Power 5 conferences, we will know who is not going to be available (players and head coaches).

They call it “Maction.” The Mid-American Conference frequently produces teams capable of beating the lower half of the Big Ten and occasionally a weaker upper echelon team from their Big Brother rival conference. Additionally, the MAC has produced some star players that became NFL stars. It has also successfully placed its champion in the New Year’s 6 bowl that is reserved for a Group of 5 team.

2018 should be no different in these respects. The MAC has some strong teams, two or three of which are talented enough to make a run at the NY6 Bowl bid. On the other hand, these teams are good enough to beat each other and prevent the champion from running the table. Additionally, both divisions have more than one really good team, so it may be difficult to have either division champion go 8-0 in the league.

2018 could be another Year of the Quarterback in this league. Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson led the league in passing last year as a sophomore. Jackson missed four games, but when he was healthy, he was the top quarterback in the league. Against Bowling Green he topped 400 passing yards and three touchdowns versus no interceptions. He threw four TD passes the next week against Ball State, and he finished the year with 294 yards and two scores in a win over Ohio. If he stays healthy, Jackson could pass for 3,000 and run for 1,000 yards this year.

Another junior quarterback, Nathan Rourke makes Ohio’s offense potent. Rourke is also a dual-threat QB; his passing arm isn’t quite up to Jackson’s quality, but he is a little better runner and has a considerably better offensive line in Athens.

The MAC-East is rich with quality quarterbacks. Miami of Ohio’s Gus Ragland is the senior statesman of the division. Ragland became a star in the second half of the 2016 season, when he orchestrated a 6-0 finish after the Red Hawks began the season 0-6. He’s more of a move the pocket passer than Jackson or Rourke and will not beat opponents with his legs. Miami’s much improved offensive line should give Ragland a chance to compete for top passer in the MAC.

The West Division will have the best defensive team this year. Northern Illinois should have the best pass defense in the entire league, as their pass rush and pass coverage both rank as the tops in the MAC. NIU will face competition from Toledo, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, and even Eastern Michigan. The Huskies probably have the best chance at going 8-0 in the league, because the West is a little down compared to recent years.

One reason why no MAC team may qualify for the NY6 Bowl this year is a much tougher slate of non-conference schedules. Every team faces a tough Power 5 opponent, and the ratings call for the MAC to lose all of these games.  Northern Illinois could easily lose all four non-conference games having to play at Iowa, Florida State, and BYU and host Utah. Of course, our ratings cannot select upsets out of a hat, and usually there is always an upset or two, which is why we only rely on our ratings for picking the next game on the schedule for each team.

Here is how the MAC media voted in the preseason poll.

Team Votes
East Division 1st Place Total
1. Ohio 21 140
2. Buffalo 1 112
3. Miami (Ohio) 2 95
4. Akron 0 74
5. Bowling Green 0 58
6. Kent State 0 25
West Division 1st Place Total
1. Northern Illinois 15 133
2. Toledo 7 125
3. Western Michigan 1 87
4. Eastern Michigan 0 67
5. Central Michigan 1 58
6. Ball State 0 34

Picked to win 2018 MAC Championship Game
Ohio 13
Toledo 5
Northern Illinois 4
Miami 1
Central Michigan 1

The PiRate Ratings differ minimally from the media’s preseason opinions.

Mid-American Conference
East Division
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio U 0-0 0-0 95.1 96.5 96.4 96.0
Buffalo 0-0 0-0 94.3 96.7 95.4 95.5
Miami (O) 0-0 0-0 91.5 93.9 93.4 92.9
Akron 0-0 0-0 90.5 92.1 90.7 91.1
Bowling Green 0-0 0-0 85.1 85.4 85.7 85.4
Kent St. 0-0 0-0 80.2 81.6 79.5 80.4
West Division
Team MAC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Toledo 0-0 0-0 96.3 98.4 96.4 97.0
Northern Illinois 0-0 0-0 96.3 97.9 96.6 96.9
Western Michigan 0-0 0-0 91.5 93.8 92.9 92.8
Eastern Michigan 0-0 0-0 89.1 90.5 89.8 89.8
Central Michigan 0-0 0-0 84.8 88.5 85.2 86.2
Ball St. 0-0 0-0 77.7 80.4 77.4 78.5
MAC Averages 89.4 91.3 90.0 90.2


New Coaches

Kent State: Sean Lewis has some history in the MAC.  He was the offensive coordinator for Dino Babers at Bowling Green, when the Falcons torched MAC defenses for 45.6 points per game in 2015.  Lewis followed Babers to Syracuse, where he helped lead the Orangemen to new passing heights.  He played for Brett Bielema at Wisconsin, so he could incorporate some of his alma mater’s power game with the Baylor-style spread offense.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Team Conference Overall
Ohio 7-1 10-3
Buffalo 6-2 8-4
Akron 4-4 5-7
Miami (O) 4-4 4-8
Bowling Green 1-7 3-9
Kent St. 0-8 1-11
Team Conference Overall
Northern Illinois 8-0 9-4 *
Toledo 7-1 9-3
Western Michigan 4-4 6-6
Eastern Michigan 4-4 5-7
Central Michigan 2-6 3-9
Ball St. 1-7 2-10
* Northern Illinois picked to win MAC Championship Game

Bowl Tie-ins
The MAC does not have a set bowl pecking order. They send teams to bowls to create the best overall games. These are the bowls tie-ins for 2018.

Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, FL
Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, AL
Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, AL
Frisco Bowl in Frisco, TX
Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, ID

There is a secondary bowl agreement with the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit if it needs an at-large alternate.

Coming Tomorrow–The Mountain West Conference

August 15, 2017

2017 Mid-American Conference Preview

Today, the PiRate Ratings kicks off its annual college football conference previews with the Mid-American Conference.  Last year, the MAC was a sneaky little league.  Very few so-called experts picked this league to produce the automatic New Year’s 6 Bowl participant, but when Western Michigan ran the table in the regular season, and then the Broncos beat Ohio in the MAC title game, it was WMU that ventured down to Jerry World to play in the Cotton Bowl.

There is a slight chance that this league could produce the special Group of 5 team again this season, but we won’t expect it this time around.  Not only is there no overpowering team in this league. the schedule for the best team just won’t allow for an undefeated season and most likely not a one-loss season.

2017 looks to be the year where college football begins to look more and more like the NFL, and the teams with experienced and talented quarterbacks, quick receivers, quick defensive backs, and above-average linemen in that order will dominate the land.  It is certainly true in this league, where the top two QBs belong to the two teams we are picking to win the divisional races–Logan Woodside at Toledo and Gus Ragland at Miami of Ohio.

Because the Poinsettia Bowl went bust, there is one less bowl game this season.  The MAC figures to be the league that suffers the most from this cancellation.  We believe there will be two bowl eligible teams in the league that do not receive bowl bids.  At least, we do not foresee a 5-7 team having to fill in as an at-large, at least until another bowl replaces the defunct Poinsettia.  There could be one set for Wrigley Field in Chicago in the future, and that most assuredly would be good news for this league.

Here is how the MAC Media picked the teams to finish the season.

MAC East Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Ohio U 11 131 0
2 Miami (O) 12 129 1
3 Bowling Green 1 88 1
4 Akron 0 79 0
5 Buffalo 0 41 0
6 Kent St. 0 36 0
MAC West Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Toledo 22 142 21
2 Western Michigan 1 107 1
3 Northern Illinois 1 89 0
4 Eastern Michigan 0 74 0
5 Central Michigan 0 62 0
6 Ball St. 0 30 0

The PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings differ slightly, but not all that much.  Remember that the PiRate Ratings are really only predictive for the next week’s schedule, and they cannot be used to look forward past that week.  Because, we set certain factors into each teams’ future to account for depth or lack thereof, these ratings can change even if a team wins by the exact amount predicted.

Here are the PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings for the pre-season

Mid-American Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami (O) 94.3 96.6 96.8 95.9
Ohio U 90.3 92.0 91.2 91.2
Akron 84.3 88.5 84.5 85.8
Kent St. 83.7 85.3 84.9 84.6
Bowling Green 82.4 82.6 83.7 82.9
Buffalo 79.7 83.7 81.6 81.7
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 102.1 98.4 103.8 101.4
Toledo 99.3 99.1 100.9 99.8
Eastern Michigan 93.5 93.1 93.6 93.4
Central Michigan 90.4 90.6 90.8 90.6
Northern Illinois 85.7 85.8 85.9 85.8
Ball St. 78.2 80.5 79.7 79.5
MAC Averages 88.7 89.7 89.8 89.4

This is our not so scientific attempt to predict the won-loss records and bowl projections.  As we stated above, our ratings do not look past the next week’s schedule.

Mid-American Conference Projected Standings
Team Conference Overall Bowl
East Division      
Miami (O) 6-2 9-4 Camellia
Ohio U 5-3 8-4 Idaho Potato
Akron 4-4 5-7  
Kent St. 2-6 3-9  
Bowling Green 2-6 3-9  
Buffalo 2-6 3-9  
West Division      
Toledo 8-0 11-2 Bahamas
Western Michigan 6-2 8-4 Dollar General
Eastern Michigan 5-3 6-6 eligible
Central Michigan 5-3 6-6 eligible
Northern Illinois 2-6 4-8  
Ball St. 1-7 3-9  
Toledo to win MAC Title Game

Coming tomorrow–Conference USA






October 27, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–October 27-31, 2016

The Hook
We talked about this in a previous posting, but we now have real data to show you why you should not wager real money on our picks. Last week, we hit a small bonanza, and we came within a few seconds of a major, albeit imaginary, windfall profit.

We issued four long shot money line parlays, each returning better than 2 to 1 odds. We won on two of the four and came within seconds of winning the third one. As it is, our profit from last week was 61% return on the investment. Had that third game that we lost in the last seconds been a winner as well, our profit would have exceeded 100% on the investment.

It’s the “last-second”, “one play,” “fluke play” stuff that hooks the investor to make him or her return the next week to wager more. We have no problem with this. We can wager “$500,000,” and it is the same as if we wagered “$1.” It’s just a fun exercise for a half dozen math geeks, four of whom are members of the fairer sex by the way.

What we have noticed so far this season is that our college picks are winning, while the NFL picks are not doing well at all. The 2016 NFL season has been too tipsy-turvy to hit on parlays. Sure, you can pick New England to win at -300, but that won’t help you much, because at -300, the Patriots basically have to win out to keep you from losing money. If they go 12-4, and you bet on them to win every week at a -300 average, you will invest $300 every week and win $100 12 times, while losing $300 four times. This would allow you to break even in theory, but New England doesn’t go off at -300 each week. They might lose at -450. They might win at -600 over a lousy team. Your invested amount won’t get you the profit to buy that new pearl necklace for that special lady in your life, or that new cell phone with the 16 megapixel camera to replace that camera that is best used to start a campfire.

Until otherwise determined to be safe, we are going to limit our money line parlays to college games only. The upset tendencies this time of year tend to be more conservative than the NFL.

For the season, our “just for fun only” picks have wagered on 31 money line parlay games, all at better than even money odds. We have won 10 of the 31 at an average of $283.25 (on $100 wagered) and lost the other 21 ($-100). This brings us a return of $-130 for the season, which is still a negative 4% return on investment. For what it’s worth, the college selections are responsible for 80% of the winnings, and those picks alone have a positive return on investment, which is why we are going only with college picks this week.

We are going to issue just three selections this week. All three are very long shots such that winning just any one of these three games will make our week an imaginary profitable one. One of the parlays combines two underdogs that we believe can win outright and return an incredible 6+ times what we are pretending to invest.

Look carefully at all three parlays. There is a reason they call them “long shots.” Chances are high that all three will lose, so be forewarned all you reading this with a URL from Las Vegas as well as all you that have figured out which two online books you can find to plug the numbers into a calculator and discover which book we used for each parlay. Remember this: just since we started this feature 15 minutes ago, three of the games that make up the parlays have changed the money line odds.

This Week’s Games

October 27-31,2016
1. College Parlay @ +295
Temple over Cincinnati
Indiana over Maryland
Memphis over Tulsa
Central Michigan over Kent St.
N. C. St. over Boston College
2. College Parlay @ +324
Toledo over Ohio
Wake Forest over Army
Southern Miss. over Marshall
Florida over Georgia
Tennessee over South Carolina
Penn St. over Purdue
Washington St. over Oregon St.
3. College Parlay @ +607
North Texas over UTSA
Kentucky over Missouri



October 5, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–October 6-10, 2016

As Mr. Whipple might have said had he worked in our little firm, “Please don’t squeeze the PiRate Picks!”

Okay, so we have enjoyed two very successful weeks in a row with these money line parlay selections.  We followed up a 75% return on investment two weeks ago with a 24% return last week.  It only took one winning parlay to pull off the profit.  BUT, we only one thanks to a Hail Mary, and we didn’t even go to confession.

Yes, the Tennessee game appeared to doom us to total defeat last week, but the incredible finish did as much for us as it did for Butch Jones–it brought us to our knees.  Aside from Tennessee, the rest of the parlay included wins by Akron, Old Dominion, and Florida, giving us a return of $373 on our $100 investment.  Remember this, our bankroll and investments are entirely mere illusion; we do not ever wager any real currency on our selections, and we highly recommend that you do not either.  We know from our site statistics that some of you reading this weekly entry do so from Las Vegas.  We don’t think Billy Walters, or any of his “friends” are reading this, because Mr. Walters is intelligent and knows how to win.  What we fear is that Billy Doe has his rent money at the betting window with his iPhone in hand looking at our picks, while Mrs. Doe and brood cannot find food in their refrigerator back home.

For the season, our total picks now show a minor loss of 6%, which is about where we were this time last year, before we went on a six-week winning streak that took us north of +50%.

There are two reasons why this week’s picks were very difficult for us.  First, the number of NFL teams getting byes moves from two to four teams.  Second, Hurricane Matthew is causing a lot of logistic issues as teams in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina scramble to re-schedule games–some to later dates; some moving up a day; and some moving the location of the game.  If we like a home team at a certain line, and then the game moves to another state or does not play at all, it wrecks the selection.  So, we had to greatly limit the pool this week and barely scraped together three selections.  Because we would have to go 2-1 to make a profit, it would not be worth going with three long shot parlays when we can make a profit by going 1-1.  This then presented an additional problem; which parlay would we eliminate?

Four hours later, we realized that our choosing to eliminate what we liked was like playing Tic-Tac-Toe with a computer that always knows the correct response.  Infinite draws lead to a lot of head-banging, and we already have too many concussions between us.  So, we did what we thought best and added a fourth game that will allow us to go 2-2 and make a profit.  However, the fourth game is not a parlay at all; it is a straight wager on the underdog to win outright.

Selection #1: College Parlay at +155

Memphis over Temple

Alabama over Arkansas

Auburn over Mississippi St.

Memphis looked like an SEC team playing at Ole Miss last week.  The Tigers don’t have Paxton Lynch, but the rest of the team looks a little better than last year’s edition.  Temple has regressed a bit this year, and we think the home team from the Bluff City will win the game.

Until somebody actually pins a loss on the defending champs, we are not going to select against Alabama.  To date in 2016, the Crimson Tide have looked like they could score 70 points per game if the offense needed to.  And, the defense is still among the best in the nation.  This team reminds us some of the 1966 Tide team, which went undefeated.

Auburn is slightly favored in Starkville against the Bulldogs.  Mississippi State is 10-14 points weaker this year without Dak Prescott.  Prescott hid some liabilities in last year’s Maroon and White.


Selection #2: College Parlay at +189 

Tulsa over SMU

Oklahoma St. over Iowa St.

Utah over Arizona

Michigan St. over BYU

Ohio U over Bowling Green

Tulsa had an extra week to prepare for their game against SMU, while the Mustangs faced Temple on the road after playing TCU the week before.  Now, SMU has to play at Skelly Stadium, and it has the makings of a 20 or more point win for TU.

Iowa State had a tough and emotional loss at home to Baylor last week and now goes on the road to play an Oklahoma State team that has a little added confidence after shredding Texas.

Utah rarely loses at home, and when the Utes’ do lose in Salt Lake City, it is usually against a powerhouse team.  Arizona is no powerhouse; they are more like a wind-up dynamo for an emergency radio.  In other words, Utah should win by double digits this week.

Michigan State is in a must-win situation this week with non-conference foe BYU coming to East Lansing.  A loss puts the Spartans in danger of finishing under .500 for the season, and we cannot see a Mark Dantonio team go 5-7.  BYU is having a rough re-adjustment under new management, and Bronco Mendenhall’s recent success in his first year at Virginia shows us that he was worth a lot more points as a coach than his average peer.

The Ohio U-Bowling Green line is a bit odd to us.  We feel it should be much more in favor of the Bobcats, but we will gladly take what we feel is some extra juice.  What Coach Mendenhall was to BYU, current Syracuse coach Dino Babers was to BGU.  This brings us to the next contest.


Selection #3: College Money Line Game @ +130

Syracuse over Wake Forest

This is not a parlay; it is a straight pick of the underdog to pull off the upset.  There is a tiny bit of concern here, because weather could be a factor in Winston-Salem.  The Demon Deacons’ athletic department has no plans to change the time or place of this game, but still, it could be wet and windy.  Wet doesn’t bother us, and in fact, we like passing teams playing on wet surfaces.  Wind does bother us.  A gentle breeze is not that much of a factor, but a 25 mile per hour gust can adjust a thrown football by enough to turn a completion into an incomplete or even intercepted pass.

Nevertheless, we like the Orangemen in this game.  Wake Forest is a close-to-the-vest conservative team.  They own a win over a more wide open Indiana team two weeks ago, but the Hoosiers wrapped that game up as a gift to the Deacs.

Meanwhile, Syracuse has looked better and better offensively every week under the Babers version of the spread passing game.  We believe SU will outscore Wake and pull off the upset.


Selection #4: NFL Parlay @ +199

Pittsburgh over N.Y. Jets

Baltimore over Washington

Indianapolis over Chicago

Honestly, we did not love any of the NFL picks this week.  These are the only three games that we could combine into a parlay worth playing.  Our selections were more about the losing team than the predicted winner.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has reverted back to his old Pickpatrick days.  He has thrown nine intereceptions the last two weeks, and the Jets have begun to look like the Browns during that time.  Meanwhile, the Steelers had the look of an AFC Champion contender last week, and they host this game this week.

Baltimore needs to win to keep pace with the Steelers and stay ahead of the Bengals, while the Redskins look to us to be a paper tiger at 2-2.

Indianapolis is now facing a must-win situation at home against the lowly Bears.  Already two games in back of Houston, the Colts cannot afford to lose a home game to a probable double-digit loss team.  With Houston having to face Minnesota, it gives the Colts a chance to get back to within a game of the Texans in a division that is almost assured to produce just one playoff team.

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