The Pi-Rate Ratings

June 20, 2017

The PiRate Ratings Are Hard At Work

Welcome back gridiron fans.  The PiRates are back at sea working hard on getting their treasure for the 2017-18 season.

There will be a few tweaks to the formulas this season as we refine our ratings to make them as accurate as possible, and we are excited about it.

Tweak #1: Our first tweak involves increasing the alteration of each college football teams’ rate of adjustment as it applies to depth concerns.  If a team is stacked two-deep with talent, they should be able to endure a long, hard season.  But, if the team is only good in their starting lineup, and they lack the depth, they will weaken as the season goes on.  Consider two teams, State and Tech.  State and Tech are about equal in talent in their starting lineups, and on August 25, they are exactly the same in power rating.  For the sake of argument, let’s say they both look like 9-3 teams in a power 5 conference and have identical ratings of 118.0.

In the month of September, State and Tech both go 4-0 over similar competition, and their statistics show that they are still basically the same in talent and results.  Both teams ratings go up, but State’s go up a tad more than Tech’s, due to the depth issue.  Through four games, it won’t be all that much, and now on the First Monday in October, State is now 122.5, and Tech is 121.8.

In October, State and Tech both go 3-1 to sit at 7-1 with four games to go.  Both teams have lost some key players by now, but State has plugged in able second-teamers to fill the spots, while Tech has been forced to go with talent not up to Power 5 conference standards.  State’s wins have been a little easier, and their loss was much closer than Tech’s wins and loss.  Now, State has a rating of 123.1, while Tech has fallen a bit to 119.5.

In November, State finishes strong, going 3-1 to finish the regular season at 10-2.  Tech falters going 1-3 to finish 8-4.

We see this every year.  We believe we can factor in this depth issue into our ratings before the season begins, and we can adjust the rate of adjustment during the season as a team sees key players leave the lineup.  It also works in reverse; a team may have a blessing of several new underclassmen beginning to contribute.

Look at Georgia in 1980.  Hershel Walker was a true freshman.  In the second half of the season opener against Tennessee, Coach Vince Dooley inserted Walker into the game with the Bulldogs trailing by double-digits, and Walker turned the game around in his first 10 carries.  Georgia won the game, and Walker led the Bulldogs to an undefeated National Championship.  Had this new twist of our ratings been in effect then, The Bulldogs might have improved by an unprecedented 10 points between game one and game two.  As it was then, it took several weeks until Georgia’s rating really reflected their power, all because of one freshman.

This can just as easily happen to an average team that loses a couple of key players.  There have been instances when a team has lost a dozen key players by the end of October.  If it is Alabama, the Crimson Tide might be five points weaker than they would have been with the dozen players still healthy.  But, if it is Iowa State, the Cyclones might be 15 points weaker with the loss of these dozen players.

Going back to the unexpected bonanza, what if a team has five or six redshirt freshmen that have displaced upperclassmen in the starting lineup?  Obviously, this team must now be better talent-wise if starters have been replaced  (unless the coach has thrown in the towel on the season and is looking to the future).  What started as a so-so season may continue as a better season because the surprising advancement of the freshmen has made this team a touchdown better than it was earlier in the season.

The PiRate Ratings will adjust for this during the season by increasing or decreasing the adjustment rate of the teams after each Saturday.  Because the PiRate Ratings always show a total average of 100.0, that means teams might lose ground in the ratings after a good game, because other teams now earn more bonus for their play on the field.  It will be a work in progress, but in the end, we believe it will lead to more accurate ratings.

 

Tweak #2: Our basketball ratings have always been Four Factors-based.  We have three different algorithms using the Four Factors Data.  Football also has its factors.  In fact, in football, there are five factors.  They are, in order of importance: Explosiveness, Efficiency, Field Position, Finishing Drives, and Turnovers.   You can find excellent content online about these factors–some explain in detail like a thesis, while others give you a quick outline.

For our purposes, we have changed how we use the box scores of the games in our updating formula.  We will look more at Explosiveness and Efficiency when we update the teams’ ratings every week.  Additionally, we will keep an unpublished running score on how consistent teams are in being able to move the ball and stop the movement of the other team.  Which leads us to our big breakthrough for 2017-18.

Big Breakthrough

Have you ever noticed that over the course of an era, a team may celebrate a national championship or conference championship when they appear to not be as good as prior teams or soon see future teams that look better but do not win the championship?  You have probably seen that a really good team goes 10-2 or 11-1 and demolishes most of their opponents but suffered a terrible upset.  Then, that team runs the table but wins most of their games by nice amounts but by no means blowouts.

Think of a team that wins 55-17 and 38-10 or something similar for most of the season and then falls 31-27 to a mediocre team.  This team leads the nation in total offense or scoring defense, but they always fall a game short of the accomplishment.  But, then along comes a season where this school wins 31-20, 27-14 or something similar and runs the table.  They finish well down in total offense and near the top in scoring defense, but they go undefeated.

We have seen this happen multiple times in the last 30 years.  The dominating team is not as consistent as the team that went undefeated, and in three out of 10 games, the less consistent power may be two touchdowns better than the undefeated champion.  However, 70% of the time, the undefeated champion will be better than the dominating team.

The PiRates have tried to assign value or lack of value to the consistency of a team, but this is something that takes a good sampling of games.  This adjustment will be used in November after all teams have played 2/3 of their regular season schedule.  By then, we should have a grasp of what teams are staying consistent, and what teams are all over the map.  We will not adjust their ratings, because you never know if your inconsistent team will deviate 14 points above their rating or 14 points below.  What we will do is search for consistency when we select our Money Line plays.  We might be crazy, because we are coming off two consecutive profitable Money Line seasons (just for fun and not real wagering), so we might be cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

Enjoy your summer.  Football season will be here before you know it.  The PiRates are actually ahead of schedule this year with their college football updates, and we should have enough time to expand our preseason coverage this year.

December 29, 2016

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For December 29, 2016

Welcome to the PiRate Ratings’ return to college basketball coverage.  There are changes in the numbers this season, and we are excited to debut our annual Red-White-and-Blue Ratings for the 2016-17 college basketball season.

First, we have tweaked our Blue formula algorithm this year by giving a little more emphasis to true shooting percentage and the complimentary defensive metric in limiting shooting percentage.  In recent seasons, turnover margin has begun to mean a little bit less than it did a decade ago, and there are fewer truly dominant rebounding teams out there.  So, the college game for the time being is all about making shots and preventing the other team from making shots.  It sounds silly, as that should be all that matters (hitting baskets and stopping the other team from making them), but turnovers and rebounds gives teams more opportunities to take shots and make shots, while reducing the number of opportunities teams give to their opponents.  Rebounding and turnover rates are still vital, as we merely reduced the percentage of the total contribution by a couple basis points.

Next up, we plan on totally revising our NCAA  Tournament Bracketology data this season.  Our old formula has been performing with mediocre results in recent years, and we have decided to go 80% Four Factors and 20% PiRate Criteria this season and see what happens.  The R+T factor will still be part of our presentation, as it is still very effective at weeding out pretenders from contenders.

Until the Big Dance, we will concentrate our efforts on conference games and big non-conference games between teams from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC.  Because we have to input the stats for every team for every game, it is not possible to do this for every Division I game.  But, because all we need for our ratings are the current updated stats, we can always rate any game, thus, if we want to rate a Missouri Valley Conference big game, we can add it to the slate.

Additionally, following the New Year’s, expect our chosen selections to run just one day a week, most likely Friday, and it will include that weekend’s games.  We will also provide commentary on the entire division, as we tend to receive a lot of readership when we report on the low-major and mid-major conferences.

Let’s get started with this week’s pre-New Year’s report.

PiRate Top 10

thru games of 12/28/16

  1. Villanova
  2. Virginia
  3. Duke
  4. West Virginia
  5. Kansas
  6. Baylor
  7. North Carolina
  8. Louisville
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Kentucky

ACC

  1. Virginia
  2. Duke
  3. North Carolina
  4. Louisville
  5. Florida St.
  6. Clemson
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Miami
  9. Virginia Tech
  10. Syracuse
  11. Wake Forest
  12. Pittsburgh
  13. North Carolina St.
  14. Georgia Tech
  15. Boston College

This league is so loaded this year that #13 North Carolina State is strong enough to compete for the SEC Championship.  Only the bottom two are considered out of the running for an NCAA  Tournament bid.

Big East

  1. Villanova
  2. Butler
  3. Xavier
  4. Creighton
  5. Marquette
  6. Seton Hall
  7. Georgetown
  8. Providence
  9. St. John’s
  10. DePaul

Until they lose, reigning national champion Villanova rules the roost in the league and nationally.  The Wildcats had a close one last night against the cellar dweller, but one game does not knock them off their perch, as long as it is a win.  As of today, it looks like five teams would make the Dance.

Big Ten

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Purdue
  3. Michigan
  4. Indiana
  5. Northwestern
  6. Ohio St.
  7. Maryland
  8. Minnesota
  9. Michigan St.
  10. Iowa
  11. Illinois
  12. Nebraska
  13. Penn St.
  14. Rutgers

It looks like Northwestern is in line to finally make it to the Big Dance.  A strong 12-2 start for the Wildcats needs only a winning conference record and one conference tournament win to get that elusive bid.

Big 12

  1. West Virginia
  2. Kansas
  3. Baylor
  4. Texas Tech
  5. Kansas St.
  6. Iowa St.
  7. TCU
  8. Oklahoma St.
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Texas

Yes, the Longhorns and Sooners bring up the rear as conference play is set to begin.  The other 8 teams look to be NCAA Tournament bound as of today with the top 3 teams the equal of the top three in the ACC.

Pac-12

  1. UCLA
  2. Arizona
  3. Oregon
  4. USC
  5. Colorado
  6. California
  7. Utah
  8. Stanford
  9. Washington
  10. Arizona St.
  11. Oregon St.
  12. Washington St.

Even with UCLA’s last second loss at Oregon, the Bruins stay atop the Pac-12 standings.  This league looks like a 4 or 5-bid league as of now.

SEC

  1. Kentucky
  2. Florida
  3. South Carolina
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Arkansas
  6. Georgia
  7. Ole Miss
  8. Alabama
  9. Tennessee
  10. Vanderbilt
  11. Auburn
  12. LSU
  13. Mississippi St.
  14. Missouri

Kentucky and Florida rank well ahead of the other dozen in this league this year.  South Carolina, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Georgia sit on a separate shelf above the remaining eight teams.  This could be as little as a two-bid league but no more than a four-bid league as of now.

Low and Mid-Major Teams in the mix for at-large bids

It is getting more difficult to label Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s as Mid-Major teams.  The two WCC powers are both in our top 25 teams this week.

Cincinnati out of the American Conference is really a power team, even though the AAC has lost some prestige.  SMU is in the same boat, but the Mustangs need to do a little more work to be a for sure at-large team this year.

Wichita State has earned the same privilege as Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.  The Shockers belong in the list of at-large possibles.

The only real low-major team in consideration for a possible at-large bid would be UNC-Wilmington from the Colonial Athletic Association.  UNCW has the talent to get to the Sweet 16, and they scared the daylights out of Duke in the NCAA Tournament last year.

This Week’s Selections

Normally, this would be a list for Saturday/Sunday games, but due to the New Year’s Holiday, we are beginning with a list of Thursday games.  Once again, we will concentrate only on the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC conference games, as well as any games among highly ranked teams.

Each Rating is derived from the Four Factors with separate algorithmic equations.  An explanation of the Four Factors follows below.

Games Scheduled for: Thursday, December 29, 2016
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Texas A&M Tennessee 8 11 9
Auburn Georgia 1 2 -3
Ole Miss Kentucky -12 -7 -8
LSU Vanderbilt 2 5 -3
Arkansas Florida -1 -4 -7
St. John’s Butler -6 -8 -11
Gonzaga Pepperdine 25 24 28
Loyola Marymount Saint Mary’s -10 -11 -14

The Four Factors in basketball are:

  1. Effective Field Goal Percentage
  2. Turnover Rate
  3. Offensive Rebounding Rate
  4. Free Throw Rate

These factors apply to both offense and defense, so in effect each team has Eight Factors.

Effective Field Goal Percentage

[FG +(0.5*3pt)]/FGA (expressed as a percentage)

Where FG is field goals made, 3pt is 3-point shots made, and FGA is field goal attempts

If a team makes 25 of 55 field goals and sinks 6 three-pointers, their EFG% is:

[25+(0.5*6)]/55 = 50.9% or 50.9

Turnover Rate

TOV/[FGA+(0.475*FTA)+TOV] (expressed as a percentage)

Where TOV is turnovers, FGA is Field Goal Attempts, and FTA is Free Throw Attempts

If a team commits 12 turnovers, takes 55 field goal attempts and 23 free throw attempts, their turnover rate is:

12/[55+(.475*23)+12]=15.4%

Offensive Rebounding %

OR/(OR+Opponents DR) (expressed as a percentage)

Where OR is offensive rebounds and DR is defensive rebounds

If a team gets 8 offensive rebounds, and their opponents get 26 defensive rebounds, their Offensive Rebounding % is:

8/(8+26) = 23.5%

Free Throw Rate

Basketball analytics gurus differ on how to rate this stat.  We align with those that favor free throws made per 100 possessions.

FT/[FGA+(0.475*FTA)+TOV-OR] (expressed as a percentage)

Where FT is Free throws made, FGA is field goal attempts, TOV is turnovers, and OR is offensive rebounds

If a team made 17 out of 23 free throw attempts with 55 field goal attempts, 12 turnovers, and 8 offensive rebounds, their FT Rate is:

17/[55+(0.475*23)+12-8] = 24.3%

The Red, White, and Blue Ratings use these statistics (both offensively and defensively) for the first 8 parts of the equation.  Part Number 9 is Strength of Schedule, and each rating adjusts a little differently for this.  Part Number 10 is Home Court Advantage (as well as occasional away from home disadvantage for teams that play much worse away from home than at home).

These 10 parts are then put through three separate algorithms to come up with three different ratings.  The difference in the ratings is the spread for the game.

 

December 11, 2016

College Football Ratings & Spreads For Bowl Season 2016-2017

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:25 am

The 2016 regular season is now in the books, and the PiRates have been busy the last 16 hours readying our bowl season ratings and predictions.

Here are the Final Regular Season PiRate Ratings, starting with the Predictive PiRate, Mean, and Bias.

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 138.7 132.5 138.7 136.6
2 Washington 133.0 125.8 132.4 130.4
3 Ohio St. 127.5 127.1 127.8 127.5
4 Clemson 129.5 123.5 128.7 127.2
5 Michigan 127.4 125.5 127.2 126.7
6 Oklahoma 125.2 123.3 125.1 124.5
7 LSU 124.9 120.4 124.4 123.2
8 USC 124.3 119.4 122.8 122.2
9 Florida St. 122.8 117.1 122.1 120.7
10 Louisville 121.9 118.4 121.7 120.7
11 Penn St. 119.9 119.7 120.0 119.9
12 Auburn 120.5 118.5 120.4 119.8
13 Wisconsin 118.7 116.7 119.1 118.2
14 Virginia Tech 118.7 116.9 118.8 118.1
15 Oklahoma St. 116.6 117.9 116.0 116.8
16 Miami 118.4 113.1 118.3 116.6
17 Pittsburgh 117.8 113.8 117.1 116.2
18 Colorado 117.1 112.7 117.0 115.6
19 Iowa 115.9 113.1 115.8 114.9
20 North Carolina 116.2 110.9 116.0 114.4
21 Washington St. 114.9 112.2 114.4 113.9
22 Western Michigan 113.2 113.0 114.9 113.7
23 Stanford 114.9 109.3 114.4 112.9
24 Kansas St. 111.9 113.7 111.9 112.5
25 Tennessee 113.3 110.9 112.4 112.2
26 Texas A&M 112.9 111.4 112.2 112.2
27 Florida 112.4 112.9 110.9 112.1
28 West Virginia 111.9 111.5 111.5 111.6
29 Temple 111.5 110.6 112.3 111.5
30 Notre Dame 112.3 109.5 111.4 111.1
31 Utah 112.7 107.8 111.4 110.6
32 Western Kentucky 110.7 108.8 112.1 110.5
33 Houston 110.0 108.8 111.1 110.0
34 South Florida 110.0 108.3 110.6 109.6
35 Arkansas 111.0 107.1 110.1 109.4
36 BYU 110.7 106.5 110.7 109.3
37 Georgia Tech 110.2 106.4 109.3 108.6
38 Mississippi St. 109.2 107.3 108.0 108.2
39 Georgia 108.3 107.7 107.6 107.9
40 TCU 107.4 109.1 106.4 107.6
41 North Carolina St. 108.8 105.2 108.5 107.5
42 Northwestern 108.8 105.4 107.8 107.3
43 Minnesota 107.4 105.8 107.1 106.8
44 Vanderbilt 107.5 104.3 106.4 106.1
45 Nebraska 106.5 104.3 106.1 105.6
46 Memphis 106.1 103.9 105.5 105.2
47 Boise St. 104.5 105.7 105.2 105.1
48 Tulsa 104.5 105.7 105.0 105.1
49 Navy 105.2 104.8 105.2 105.1
50 Michigan St. 105.1 104.3 103.9 104.4
51 Texas 104.1 105.7 103.0 104.3
52 UCLA 105.1 103.2 104.0 104.1
53 Kentucky 104.1 104.2 103.8 104.0
54 San Diego St. 103.8 102.6 105.6 104.0
55 Baylor 103.8 104.2 103.8 103.9
56 Indiana 103.5 104.6 102.9 103.7
57 Ole Miss 105.3 101.6 104.0 103.6
58 Toledo 102.5 103.2 103.4 103.0
59 Oregon 103.7 101.7 102.6 102.7
60 Texas Tech 102.2 101.6 101.3 101.7
61 California 103.9 97.7 101.7 101.1
62 Duke 101.3 100.3 100.7 100.8
63 Wake Forest 101.2 99.5 101.3 100.7
64 Appalachian St. 99.7 100.9 101.3 100.6
65 Iowa St. 100.6 100.6 99.6 100.3
66 Missouri 99.9 98.6 98.6 99.1
67 Oregon St. 100.6 96.2 99.5 98.8
68 Boston College 99.5 97.9 98.9 98.8
69 Virginia 99.9 97.3 98.9 98.7
70 Colorado St. 97.8 99.4 98.9 98.7
71 Central Florida 97.7 98.7 98.4 98.3
72 Air Force 97.6 99.2 97.8 98.2
73 South Carolina 98.3 97.8 97.8 98.0
74 Arizona St. 99.0 97.4 97.3 97.9
75 Louisiana Tech 96.5 98.7 98.2 97.8
76 Syracuse 98.9 95.6 97.2 97.3
77 New Mexico 95.2 96.9 96.0 96.1
78 Maryland 95.8 97.8 94.2 95.9
79 Northern Illinois 94.6 95.9 95.5 95.3
80 Arkansas St. 93.1 95.8 94.8 94.6
81 Arizona 95.3 93.0 93.8 94.0
82 Wyoming 93.5 94.1 94.5 94.0
83 Army 91.6 97.1 92.9 93.9
84 Ohio 91.4 97.1 92.0 93.5
85 Central Michigan 92.5 94.6 92.9 93.3
86 Troy 91.0 94.8 92.8 92.9
87 SMU 91.9 91.5 93.9 92.5
88 Cincinnati 92.0 92.8 91.7 92.2
89 Purdue 91.7 90.3 90.5 90.8
90 Old Dominion 89.4 92.4 90.6 90.8
91 Miami (O) 89.4 91.1 90.8 90.4
92 Illinois 91.6 88.8 90.4 90.3
93 UTSA 87.2 92.9 89.6 89.9
94 Utah St. 88.8 91.2 88.6 89.5
95 Middle Tennessee 88.5 90.3 89.0 89.3
96 Nevada 88.2 90.2 88.7 89.1
97 Southern Mississippi 88.4 88.6 88.7 88.6
98 Eastern Michigan 87.6 89.6 88.3 88.5
99 East Carolina 87.6 89.0 87.6 88.1
100 Tulane 86.8 89.9 87.4 88.0
101 Idaho 85.6 90.4 87.8 87.9
102 Kansas 87.0 91.0 85.1 87.7
103 Georgia Southern 86.3 87.4 87.9 87.2
104 Bowling Green 86.3 87.4 86.5 86.7
105 UL-Lafayette 84.8 88.6 86.4 86.6
106 Rutgers 86.8 85.3 85.1 85.8
107 Ball St. 84.7 86.7 85.6 85.7
108 Kent St. 84.0 85.5 84.9 84.8
109 Connecticut 84.9 84.6 84.3 84.6
110 South Alabama 81.8 88.0 82.5 84.1
111 San Jose St. 84.1 84.2 84.0 84.1
112 Akron 81.8 86.9 82.7 83.8
113 UNLV 82.5 85.4 83.1 83.7
114 Florida International 81.2 85.4 81.8 82.8
115 Massachusetts 79.8 85.0 80.6 81.8
116 Hawaii 80.9 80.8 80.7 80.8
117 Rice 77.8 83.3 78.3 79.8
118 Georgia St. 77.6 82.0 79.4 79.7
119 Marshall 77.9 81.4 78.4 79.2
120 Charlotte 76.3 81.9 76.9 78.4
121 North Texas 77.2 80.2 77.6 78.4
122 Fresno St. 77.3 80.6 77.0 78.3
123 Buffalo 76.1 81.9 76.7 78.3
124 Florida Atlantic 75.0 79.5 77.1 77.2
125 UTEP 74.4 79.1 75.7 76.4
126 New Mexico St. 74.2 77.2 75.3 75.6
127 UL-Monroe 68.8 74.1 69.8 70.9
128 Texas St. 62.3 64.9 63.3 63.5

Here are our Retrodictive Rankings.  See our explanation of these rankings at:

https://piratings.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/our-unique-way-of-compiling-our-college-retrodictive-ratings/

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Alabama
2 Ohio St.
3 Clemson
4 Michigan
5 Washington
6 Penn St.
7 Wisconsin
8 USC
9 Oklahoma
10 Florida St.
11 Western Michigan
12 Colorado
13 Stanford
14 LSU
15 Louisville
16 Auburn
17 West Virginia
18 Oklahoma St.
19 Washington St.
20 South Florida
21 Iowa
22 Boise St.
23 Florida
24 Houston
25 Temple
26 Virginia Tech
27 Pittsburgh
28 Nebraska
29 Miami (Fla)
30 Tennessee
31 Texas A&M
32 Utah
33 Western Kentucky
34 North Carolina
35 Tulsa
36 Minnesota
37 BYU
38 Kansas St.
39 Georgia Tech
40 Navy
41 Appalachian St.
42 Toledo
43 San Diego St.
44 Memphis
45 Georgia
46 Arkansas
47 Northwestern
48 Air Force
49 Kentucky
50 Colorado St.
51 Troy
52 Vanderbilt
53 North Carolina St.
54 Indiana
55 Ole Miss
56 TCU
57 Old Dominion
58 Wyoming
59 California
60 New Mexico
61 Mississippi St.
62 Central Florida
63 Louisiana Tech
64 Maryland
65 UCLA
66 South Carolina
67 Baylor
68 Oregon
69 Notre Dame
70 Idaho
71 Boston College
72 Texas
73 Arkansas St.
74 Wake Forest
75 Ohio
76 Arizona St.
77 Oregon St.
78 Eastern Michigan
79 Middle Tennessee
80 Texas Tech
81 Army
82 SMU
83 Missouri
84 Duke
85 Michigan St.
86 Syracuse
87 Central Michigan
88 UTSA
89 UL-Lafayette
90 Miami (O)
91 Northern Illinois
92 Iowa St.
93 Arizona
94 Southern Miss.
95 Georgia Southern
96 Hawaii
97 South Alabama
98 Illinois
99 Cincinnati
100 Tulane
101 Akron
102 Utah St.
103 Bowling Green
104 Purdue
105 East Carolina
106 Virginia
107 San Jose St.
108 Nevada
109 North Texas
110 UNLV
111 Ball St.
112 Rutgers
113 UL-Monroe
114 Kent St.
115 Kansas
116 Georgia St.
117 Connecticut
118 Charlotte
119 UTEP
120 New Mexico St.
121 Florida Int’l.
122 Marshall
123 Rice
124 Massachusetts
125 Florida Atlantic
126 Fresno St.
127 Texas St.
128 Buffalo

Here are the ratings by FBS Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Temple 111.5 110.6 112.3 111.5
South Florida 110.0 108.3 110.6 109.6
Central Florida 97.7 98.7 98.4 98.3
Cincinnati 92.0 92.8 91.7 92.2
East Carolina 87.6 89.0 87.6 88.1
Connecticut 84.9 84.6 84.3 84.6
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 110.0 108.8 111.1 110.0
Memphis 106.1 103.9 105.5 105.2
Navy 105.2 104.8 105.2 105.1
Tulsa 104.5 105.7 105.0 105.1
SMU 91.9 91.5 93.9 92.5
Tulane 86.8 89.9 87.4 88.0
         
AAC Averages 99.0 99.1 99.4 99.2
         
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 129.5 123.5 128.7 127.2
Florida St. 122.8 117.1 122.1 120.7
Louisville 121.9 118.4 121.7 120.7
North Carolina St. 108.8 105.2 108.5 107.5
Wake Forest 101.2 99.5 101.3 100.7
Boston College 99.5 97.9 98.9 98.8
Syracuse 98.9 95.6 97.2 97.3
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Virginia Tech 118.7 116.9 118.8 118.1
Miami 118.4 113.1 118.3 116.6
Pittsburgh 117.8 113.8 117.1 116.2
North Carolina 116.2 110.9 116.0 114.4
Georgia Tech 110.2 106.4 109.3 108.6
Duke 101.3 100.3 100.7 100.8
Virginia 99.9 97.3 98.9 98.7
         
ACC Averages 111.8 108.3 111.2 110.4
         
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 125.2 123.3 125.1 124.5
Oklahoma St. 116.6 117.9 116.0 116.8
Kansas St. 111.9 113.7 111.9 112.5
West Virginia 111.9 111.5 111.5 111.6
TCU 107.4 109.1 106.4 107.6
Texas 104.1 105.7 103.0 104.3
Baylor 103.8 104.2 103.8 103.9
Texas Tech 102.2 101.6 101.3 101.7
Iowa St. 100.6 100.6 99.6 100.3
Kansas 87.0 91.0 85.1 87.7
         
Big 12 Averages 107.1 107.9 106.4 107.1
         
Big Ten Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 127.5 127.1 127.8 127.5
Michigan 127.4 125.5 127.2 126.7
Penn St. 119.9 119.7 120.0 119.9
Michigan St. 105.1 104.3 103.9 104.4
Indiana 103.5 104.6 102.9 103.7
Maryland 95.8 97.8 94.2 95.9
Rutgers 86.8 85.3 85.1 85.8
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Wisconsin 118.7 116.7 119.1 118.2
Iowa 115.9 113.1 115.8 114.9
Northwestern 108.8 105.4 107.8 107.3
Minnesota 107.4 105.8 107.1 106.8
Nebraska 106.5 104.3 106.1 105.6
Purdue 91.7 90.3 90.5 90.8
Illinois 91.6 88.8 90.4 90.3
         
Big Ten Averages 107.6 106.4 107.0 107.0
         
Conference USA
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 110.7 108.8 112.1 110.5
Old Dominion 89.4 92.4 90.6 90.8
Middle Tennessee 88.5 90.3 89.0 89.3
Florida International 81.2 85.4 81.8 82.8
Marshall 77.9 81.4 78.4 79.2
Charlotte 76.3 81.9 76.9 78.4
Florida Atlantic 75.0 79.5 77.1 77.2
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisiana Tech 96.5 98.7 98.2 97.8
UTSA 87.2 92.9 89.6 89.9
Southern Mississippi 88.4 88.6 88.7 88.6
Rice 77.8 83.3 78.3 79.8
North Texas 77.2 80.2 77.6 78.4
UTEP 74.4 79.1 75.7 76.4
         
CUSA Averages 84.7 87.9 85.7 86.1
         
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 112.3 109.5 111.4 111.1
BYU 110.7 106.5 110.7 109.3
Army 91.6 97.1 92.9 93.9
Massachusetts 79.8 85.0 80.6 81.8
         
Independents Averages 98.6 99.5 98.9 99.0
         
Mid-American Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio 91.4 97.1 92.0 93.5
Miami (O) 89.4 91.1 90.8 90.4
Bowling Green 86.3 87.4 86.5 86.7
Kent St. 84.0 85.5 84.9 84.8
Akron 81.8 86.9 82.7 83.8
Buffalo 76.1 81.9 76.7 78.3
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 113.2 113.0 114.9 113.7
Toledo 102.5 103.2 103.4 103.0
Northern Illinois 94.6 95.9 95.5 95.3
Central Michigan 92.5 94.6 92.9 93.3
Eastern Michigan 87.6 89.6 88.3 88.5
Ball St. 84.7 86.7 85.6 85.7
         
MAC Averages 90.3 92.8 91.2 91.4
         
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 104.5 105.7 105.2 105.1
Colorado St. 97.8 99.4 98.9 98.7
Air Force 97.6 99.2 97.8 98.2
New Mexico 95.2 96.9 96.0 96.1
Wyoming 93.5 94.1 94.5 94.0
Utah St. 88.8 91.2 88.6 89.5
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 103.8 102.6 105.6 104.0
Nevada 88.2 90.2 88.7 89.1
San Jose St. 84.1 84.2 84.0 84.1
UNLV 82.5 85.4 83.1 83.7
Hawaii 80.9 80.8 80.7 80.8
Fresno St. 77.3 80.6 77.0 78.3
         
MWC Averages 91.2 92.6 91.7 91.8
         
Pac-12 Conference
North Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 133.0 125.8 132.4 130.4
Washington St. 114.9 112.2 114.4 113.9
Stanford 114.9 109.3 114.4 112.9
Oregon 103.7 101.7 102.6 102.7
California 103.9 97.7 101.7 101.1
Oregon St. 100.6 96.2 99.5 98.8
         
South Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 124.3 119.4 122.8 122.2
Colorado 117.1 112.7 117.0 115.6
Utah 112.7 107.8 111.4 110.6
UCLA 105.1 103.2 104.0 104.1
Arizona St. 99.0 97.4 97.3 97.9
Arizona 95.3 93.0 93.8 94.0
         
Pac-12 Averages 110.4 106.4 109.3 108.7
         
Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Tennessee 113.3 110.9 112.4 112.2
Florida 112.4 112.9 110.9 112.1
Georgia 108.3 107.7 107.6 107.9
Vanderbilt 107.5 104.3 106.4 106.1
Kentucky 104.1 104.2 103.8 104.0
Missouri 99.9 98.6 98.6 99.1
South Carolina 98.3 97.8 97.8 98.0
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 138.7 132.5 138.7 136.6
LSU 124.9 120.4 124.4 123.2
Auburn 120.5 118.5 120.4 119.8
Texas A&M 112.9 111.4 112.2 112.2
Arkansas 111.0 107.1 110.1 109.4
Mississippi St. 109.2 107.3 108.0 108.2
Ole Miss 105.3 101.6 104.0 103.6
         
SEC Averages 111.9 109.7 111.1 110.9
         
Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 99.7 100.9 101.3 100.6
Arkansas St. 93.1 95.8 94.8 94.6
Troy 91.0 94.8 92.8 92.9
Idaho 85.6 90.4 87.8 87.9
Georgia Southern 86.3 87.4 87.9 87.2
UL-Lafayette 84.8 88.6 86.4 86.6
South Alabama 81.8 88.0 82.5 84.1
Georgia St. 77.6 82.0 79.4 79.7
New Mexico St. 74.2 77.2 75.3 75.6
UL-Monroe 68.8 74.1 69.8 70.9
Texas St. 62.3 64.9 63.3 63.5
         
Sun Belt Averages 82.3 85.8 83.8 84.0

 

# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 111.9 109.7 111.1 110.9
2 ACC 111.8 108.3 111.2 110.4
3 Pac-12 110.4 106.4 109.3 108.7
4 Big 12 107.1 107.9 106.4 107.1
5 Big Ten 107.6 106.4 107.0 107.0
6 AAC 99.0 99.1 99.4 99.2
7 Independents 98.6 99.5 98.9 99.0
8 MWC 91.2 92.6 91.7 91.8
9 MAC 90.3 92.8 91.2 91.4
10 CUSA 84.7 87.9 85.7 86.1
11 Sun Belt 82.3 85.8 83.8 84.0

 

The 2016-2017 College Bowls

All times Eastern Standard
Team Team PiRate Mean Bias Network
Sat Dec-17 New Mexico 2:00 PM ESPN
New Mexico UTSA 11.0 7.0 9.4    
Sat Dec-17 Las Vegas 3:30 PM ABC
San Diego St. Houston -6.2 -6.2 -5.5    
Sat Dec-17 Cure 5:30 PM CBSSN
Central Florida Arkansas St. 6.6 4.9 5.6    
Sat Dec-17 Camellia 5:30 PM ESPN
Toledo Appalachian St. 2.8 2.3 2.1    
Sat Dec-17 New Orleans 9:00 PM ESPN
Southern Miss. UL-Lafayette 2.6 -1.0 1.3    
Mon Dec-19 Miami Beach 2:30 PM ESPN
Tulsa Central Mich. 12.0 11.1 12.1    
Tue Dec-20 Boca Raton 7:00 PM ESPN
Memphis Western Ky. -4.6 -4.9 -6.6    
Wed Dec-21 Poinsettia 9:00 PM ESPN
BYU Wyoming 17.2 12.4 16.2    
Thu Dec-22 Idaho Potato 7:00 PM ESPN
Colorado St. Idaho 9.7 6.5 8.6    
Fri Dec-23 Bahamas 1:00 PM ESPN
Old Dominion Eastern Michigan 1.8 2.8 2.3    
Fri Dec-23 Armed Forces 4:30 PM ESPN
Navy Louisiana Tech 8.7 6.1 7.0    
Fri Dec-23 Dollar General 8:00 PM ESPN
Ohio U Troy 0.4 3.3 0.2    
Sat Dec-24 Hawaii 8:00 PM ESPN
Hawaii Middle Tenn. -3.6 -5.5 -4.3    
Mon Dec-26 St. Petersburg 11:00 AM ESPN
Miami (O) Mississippi St. -19.8 -16.2 -17.2    
Mon Dec-26 Quick Lane 2:30 PM ESPN
Boston College Maryland 3.7 0.1 4.7    
Mon Dec-26 Independence 5:00 PM ESPN2
N. Carolina St. Vanderbilt 1.3 0.9 2.1    
Tue Dec-27 Heart of Dallas 12:00 PM ESPN
Army North Texas 9.4 11.9 10.3    
Tue Dec-27 Military 3:30 PM ESPN
Temple Wake Forest 10.3 11.1 11.0    
Tue Dec-27 Holiday 7:00 PM ESPN
Minnesota Washington St. -7.5 -6.4 -7.3    
Tue Dec-27 Cactus 10:15 PM ESPN
Baylor Boise St. -0.7 -1.5 -1.4  
Wed Dec-28 Pinstripe 2:00 PM ESPN
Pittsburgh Northwestern 9.0 8.4 9.3    
Wed Dec-28 Russell Athletic 5:30 PM ESPN
Miami (Fla.) West Virginia 8.0 3.1 8.3    
Wed Dec-28 Foster Farms 8:30 PM Fox
Indiana Utah -9.2 -3.2 -8.5    
Wed Dec-28 Texas 9:00 PM ESPN
Kansas St. Texas A&M -2.0 1.3 -2.3    
Thu Dec-29 Birmingham 2:00 PM ESPN
South Florida South Carolina 11.7 10.5 12.8    
Thu Dec-29 Belk 5:30 PM ESPN
Virginia Tech Arkansas 7.7 -0.2 8.7    
Thu Dec-29 Alamo 9:30 PM ESPN
Oklahoma St. Colorado -0.5 5.2 -1.0    
Fri Dec-30 Liberty 12:00 PM ESPN
TCU Georgia -0.9 1.4 -1.2    
Fri Dec-30 Sun 2:00 PM CBS
North Carolina Stanford 1.3 1.6 1.6    
Fri Dec-30 Music City 3:30 PM ESPN
Nebraska Tennessee -9.3 -9.1 -8.8    
Fri Dec-30 Arizona 5:30 PM Campus Insiders
Air Force South Alabama 15.8 11.2 15.3    
Fri Dec-30 Orange 8:00 PM ESPN
Florida St. Michigan -3.1 -6.9 -3.6    
Sat Dec-31 Citrus 11:00 AM ABC
Louisville LSU -3.0 -2.0 -2.7    
Sat Dec-31 TaxSlayer 11:00 AM ESPN
Georgia Tech Kentucky 6.1 2.2 5.5    
Sat Dec-31 Peach 3:00 PM ESPN
Alabama Washington 7.2 8.2 7.8    
Sat Dec-31 Fiesta 7:00 PM ESPN
Clemson Ohio St. 2.0 -3.6 0.9    
Mon Jan-2 Outback 1:00 PM ABC
Florida Iowa -1.5 1.8 -2.9    
Mon Jan-2 Cotton 1:00 PM ESPN
Western Mich. Wisconsin -5.5 -3.7 -4.2    
Mon Jan-2 Rose 5:00 PM ESPN
Penn St. USC -6.9 -2.2 -5.3    
Mon Jan-2 Sugar 8:30 PM ESPN
Oklahoma Auburn 4.7 4.8 4.7    
Mon Jan-9 Championship 8:00 PM ESPN
Fiesta Winner Peach Winner Tampa, FL      

 

Note: Beginning the end of December, our Pirate College Basketball picks will return for the Saturday and Sunday major conferences and top teams.

 

 

 

 

 

November 10, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–November 10-14, 2016

Emulating Ted Williams
The members of the PiRate Ratings include a couple of baseball analytic specialists that work during the Major League baseball season as “Moneyball” scouts. You know the type we talk about–when you see a baseball defense shift on a pull hitter, and the hitter hits a sharp liner that bounces into the short outfield, but instead of this becoming a base hit, it is a simple ground out, and the fans all boo because they believe this ruins the game, you can thank some of us for giving the baseball team the data that tells the manager where to place that infielder in the short outfield.

There is a lot more to it. How likely is the player to hit a ground ball on a 2-strike pitch as opposed to when he has no strikes or one strike? How much does it hurt or possibly help the starting pitcher the second and third time through a lineup of opposing batters? Our metric specialists can tell you. Of course, the famous batters’ heat maps are part of the services provided. The opposing pitcher, catcher, and coaching staff know that Joe Lefty hits .150 on sliders on the outside corner at the knees and when he does hit the ball, 95.6% of the time it is a ground ball in the 56 hole (the area halfway between where the third baseman and shortstop normally align.

So, when we tell you we know for a fact how often a .299 hitter will play in game 162 as opposed to a .300 hitter, and how much that .299 hitter will be swinging away on the final game of the season, we know that the .299 hitter in Game 162 will only take a walk if it is intentional, and the .300 hitter will do just about anything to stay out of game 162. Even the .301 or .302 hitter will want to be taken out after a hitless at bat that drops his average to anything above .2995.

Ted Williams was an exception to this rule, and for that reason, we admire greatly the “Greatest Hitter That Ever Lived.” In 1941, with his average just a fraction above .400, he did not have to play on the final day of the season. His manager told him he would sit him to protect the .400 average. After a few expletives delivered to the manager, Teddy Ball Game played not just one game but both games of a meaningless doubleheader.

Williams was not one to sit out a game just to pad his stats. The fact that his average only rounded up to .400 from .39955 also motivated him to play. So, what happened that Sunday afternoon? He got a hit in his first at bat of game one, and that brought his average over .400, with no rounding needed. Manager Joe Cronin told him to sit, and Willliams cussed and said he was playing both games from start to finish. Williams continued to hit and hit the rest of the afternoon and finished the season at .407.

What does this have to do with picking football games in parlays, you may ask? It is very simple. Last week, we selected six parlays all at better than 12-10 odds, and we won all six games! The mythical payout for this 6-0 week was a return on investment of 151%. For the season, that brought our batting average into positive territory, and we now show a 12% return on investment for the season.

We could easily ask the manager to take us out of the lineup and be safe knowing that we beat Las Vegas for the year. A 12% ROI is 5% better than the Dow Jones Industrial Average year-to-date return, and we would feel safe in saying that the DJIA is not going to return 12% this year.

Call us the Ted Williams of parlay pickers. We have no intention of sitting out and guaranteeing a winning season. First and foremost, if we go 6-0 every week for the rest of the year or the rest of our existence, it won’t be any different from going 0-6 forever, because as we hope by now you can recite in your sleep, “We NEVER really place monetary bets on anything.” Okay, if you say options in the options market are bets, then maybe you can say this, but the options market is different because it is a legitimate profession that supplies an essential function to the workings of the American Corporate economy.

Second, what fun would it be if we did not issue our wacky picks every week. So, you get picks again today, and you will get them next week and every week there is a full schedule of games. We hope to stay on the plus side of 0, but the important thing is to just enjoy the picks and give our reasons for why we believe out math might help us earn an extra few percentage points.

Therefore, here are our selections for this week.

1. College Parlay at +140
Georgia Southern over Louisiana-Lafayette
Virginia Tech over Georgia Tech
Notre Dame over Army
Miami (Fla.) over Virginia

The key selection here is the Notre Dame game. In our opinion, the Irish should be about -900 against Army, but the numbers are heavily skewed in Army’s favor. Ponder this. Notre Dame played Navy last week and got to experience the multiple option schemes of the Midshipmen in live game action. You cannot ask for better defensive preparation to face this offense than getting to face it two weeks in a row. We are old enough to remember when one third of all college teams ran either the wishbone or split veer offense. There were many times where a defense faced this offense in consecutive weeks, and the second time around, the results were much better for the defense, especially when the second opponent was not as good as the first. The percentage chance of performing much better against the second option team was something like 85 to 90%.

As a case in point, let’s look at our hometown team in Nashville, Vanderbilt. The year was 1974, and Coach Steve Sloan was about to guide the Commodores to a 7-3-1 regular season, the best in 19 years. In September of that year, Vanderbilt faced number one Alabama, who ran the wishbone under Bear Bryant and would be on the way to their second consecutive 11-0 regular season.

Vanderbilt gave Alabama its toughest game of the regular season, actually stopping their wishbone attack in the second half, losing 23-10. The following week, the Commodores hosted a ranked Florida team that used the same wishbone offense under Coach Doug Dickey. The Gators were running over opponents, but on this day, they met a Vanderbilt defense that had stopped Alabama’s offense in the second half the week before. Florida tried running the fullback inside, and Vanderbilt stuffed the run. They tried the outside veer and regular option, and Vanderbilt repeatedly threw Gator backs for losses. Only a couple of costly turnovers prevented the Commodores from slaughtering the Gators that day, and the 24-10 Vandy win was not indicative with how well the Commodore defense controlled the game.

For this reason, we were almost ready to take Notre Dame -510 and put up all of our profit to date and call this our only pick for the week. We believe the Irish have a 97% chance of winning this game and that Army will struggle to top 15 points.

2. College Parlay at +149
Wyoming over UNLV
North Carolina over Duke
Charlotte over Rice
Colorado over Arizona

3. Colege Parlay at +141
Washington over USC
Miami (Ohio) over Buffalo
Central Florida over Cincinnati
Washington St. over California

4. NFL Parlay at +147
Baltimore over Cleveland
Washington over Minnesota
Arizona over San Francisco

October 11, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 5: October 13-17, 2016

Great Rivalry Week

Did the NFL purposely schedule week 6 of the NFL season in such a way as to create multiple long-time rivalry games?  If this was pure coincidence, it sure has created a reason to tune in this week.

Let’s take a look at the schedule and show you why a real NFL fan would want to take in the action this week.

San Diego & Denver: Thursday night’s game will have extra interest due to multiple factors.  First, we send our get-well wishes to Denver Coach Gary Kubiak, as we know that migraines can be a major headache.  Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis will take on the interim role this week.

This rivalry goes back to the beginning of the old American Football League, as these two teams have always been in the same division and thus have played home and home every year of their existence.  The Chargers were the Western behemoth throughout the first half of the 1960s, while the Broncos strived for mediocrity.  In the 1970s, both teams returned to prominence, with Denver featuring the “Orange Crush” defense and San Diego moving the ball via “Air Coryell.”  The two teams vied for the division championship and wildcard playoff berths.

The rivalry died down for a few years, but it came back in the 1990s with John Elway guiding a hot Broncos’ offense and Junior Seau leading Chargers’ improved defense.  In this century, the two teams have enjoyed moments of success, and their games between 2004 and 2008 were some of the best.

The 2013 season saw the rivals playing for a trip to the AFC Championship, with Peyton Manning outdueling Phillip Rivers.

There are multiple coaching ties between these clubs.  Current Chargers’ head coach Mike McCoy was the offensive coordinator of the Broncos before his hiring in San Diego.  Broncos Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips served as DC for the Chargers when San Diego repeatedly had the best defenses in the NFL.  Other assistant coaches in this game have been coaches for both rivals.

Detroit & Los Angeles: You might have to be a bit of a senior citizen to appreciate this rivalry, but there was a time when this game was like the Broncos and Patriots today.  Back in the early 1950s, these two teams dominated the West Division (or what at one time was called the National Division).  Between 1950 and 1957, one of these rivals played in the NFL Championship every year but 1956, when Chicago edged Detroit by a half game.

Both teams had celebrity quarterbacks generating headlines as much as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have done in recent years.

The Rams had The Dutchman, Norm Van Brocklin.  Van Brocklin was the master at throwing the long pass.  Give him an option of a wide open receiver five yards down the field and one in man-to-man coverage 40 yards down the field, and The Dutchman would throw the 40-yard pass 90% of the time.  He led LA to the NFL title in 1950, and he won 70% of his starts with the Rams until he was sent to Philadelphia, where he won the Eagles’ last NFL Championship.  In this period in the early 1950’s, Van Brocklin averaged around nine yards per pass attempt, unheard of today even with Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger, or Rodgers.

Detroit had the inimitable Bobby Layne, aka The Blond Bomber.  Layne was a real gunslinger from Texas.  With him at the helm of the Lions’ signal-calling (in those days, the QB actually called his own plays, as it was illegal to signal them in from the sidelines), Detroit usually finished at or near the top in passing and scoring. If you think John Elway or Brett Favre cornered the market in fourth quarter comebacks, Layne invented the tension-filled final stanza of more contests than either modern day legend.  It was often said that Bobby Layne never lost a game as Detroit Lion QB; he just ran out of time before he finished the comeback.

The 1952 season National Conference race ended in a tie between the two teams, and Detroit won the playoff before knocking off Cleveland for the NFL title a week later.

 

Miami & Pittsburgh: This rivalry began in the early 1970s after the Steelers hiked from the NFL to the AFC and became a playoff regular, while Miami was enjoying its most successful years in pro football.  During the incredible 17-0 Super Bowl Champion season of 1972, the Dolphins ran into a pesky Steelers’ team in the AFC Championship Game.   The Steelers actually took the lead in the third quarter, before backup running back Jim Kiick scored a couple of rushing touchdowns to give the Fish a double-digit lead.  Still, Pittsburgh stormed back in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to four.

The following year, when the Dolphins were on the march to a second Super Bowl title in a row, they hosted the Steelers in a December game where a win would secure home field advantage for the playoffs.  After streaking to a quick 27-0 lead, Miami seemed to have this game securely in the win column, but Pittsburgh came back from a 30-3 halftime deficit to cut it to 30-26 with a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter.

The 1976 season saw the Steelers collapse to a 1-4 record at the start of the season, and it appeared that Coach Chuck Noll’s magic had worn off, as the Steel Curtain Defense seemed to be missing some metal.  The final nine games of the season showed the world that this team had more steel power than any modern day defense in NFL history, as the Steelers won their final nine regular season games and surrendered just 28 points in those nine games!

The Steelers finally topped the Dolphins during that streak, and they did it with Terry Bradshaw injured and out of the game.  Pittsburgh held the Dolphins to a field goal in a 14-3 win, in which the Steelers threw less than 10 passes all day.

New York Giants & Baltimore: This is the rivalry that made NFL Football a national pastime.  The Giants had become a dominant team in the 1950s, featuring a veritable who’s who of top talent including quarterback Charlie Conerly, running backs Frank Gifford and Alex Webster, end Kyle Rote, an incredible defensive line featuring Andy Robustelli, Dick Modzelewski, and Rosey Grier, and the middle linebacker that became a legend thanks to an NFL film in Sam Huff.  Having two future legends as assistant coaches (see below) made rooting for the Giants just like rooting for the Yankees in baseball.

The Lions and Rams dominated the West, up through 1957, and then along came Baltimore.  The Colts had been an afterthought entry into the NFL when the Dallas Texans folded after one season in 1952.  The acquisition of an unknown quarterback cut by Pittsburgh as a rookie in 1955 turned out to be an 18-year mistake for the Steelers.  One John Unitas made the Colts the dominant Western team until Lombardi joined the Packers, and then #19 fought Green Bay to a draw from the time Lombardi took over in Title Town.

The event that made the NFL into the big boy league was the 1958 Championship game played between the Giants and the Colts.  It has been tabbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” and it has evidence to back it up.  In all of Super Bowl history, no game has ever finished tied after 60 minutes, forcing an overtime.  Very few playoff games of any kind have needed an overtime, and it didn’t look like this one was going to need one, as the Giants held a 17-14 lead late in the fourth quarter, with the Colts pinned back at their own 14 yard line.

New York was one final defensive stand away from salting this game away and winning another championship, but it was not to be.  Unitas showed why he was one of the best ever to play the position.  He guided the Colts on a sustained drive going to his favorite target, receiver Raymond Berry, multiple times until Baltimore was in the Red Zone.    With time for just one more play, Steve Myhra was sent into the game to attempt a 20-yard field goal.  Forget for a moment that today a 20-yard field goal is successful more than 99% of the time.  It was anything but automatic in 1958 for one main reason–there were no kicking specialists in the NFL in those days, because rosters were capped at just 33 players.

Myhra was a two-way position player in 1958, playing guard on offense and linebacker on defense.  He was the kicker because he was the best they had from among the position players.  He had made just 4 of 10 field goal attempts during the season, and he had missed from less than 20; goalposts were at the goal line in those days, so a 20-yard field goal meant the line of scrimmage was the Giants’ 13.  Thus, even a 40% accurate field goal kicker was the choice over trying to score a touchdown on one play from the 13 yard line.  Myhra’s kick wasn’t a beauty, but it sailed over the crossbar to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Other NFL games and even a couple of Championship Games had been televised before, but few fans actually saw those games on the Dumont Television Network.  On this day before a full-house at Yankee Stadium millions watched on national television.  The viewership increased greatly as the Colts made that tying drive, and the game went to overtime, except a good amount of time was lost to the public when the signal was accidentally cut for several minutes.  Everything was swell again once the overtime period started.

New York got the ball first in overtime, but the Giants couldn’t do anything with it and had to quickly punt to the Colts.  Unitas must have thought it was a gift to start this drive at his own 20, and he never gave the New Yorkers a chance to get the ball back, guiding the Colts on an 80-yard, 13-play drive that culminated with Alan Ameche plunging across the goal for the game-winning touchdown.

The extra eight minutes and change made the NFL what it is today.

Green Bay & Dallas: This rivalry built on top of the building block created by the one just mentioned.  When Tom Landry built the Cowboys into “America’s Team” in the last half of the 1960’s, there was still one team Dallas could not defeat.  Vince Lombardi’s Packers were the best team ever over the course of eight years, winning the NFL title five times.  What made this rivalry even more intense was that Landry and Lombardi were the two coordinators on that Giants team that lost to Baltimore in 1958 (Lombardi-offense & Landry-defense).  The NFL Championship Games of 1966 and 1967 helped move the NFL past Major League Baseball in followers, especially since the New York Yankees went on the decline in 1965, and the Los Angeles Dodgers would follow suit two years later.

Even after Lombardi retired for a year in 1968, and the Packers became old and injured almost overnight, Landry’s arguably best Cowboys’ team could not beat Green Bay.  The rivalry is as strong as ever, and expect a hard-fought contest Sunday.

Oakland & Kansas City: The Colts and Giants made football what it is today, and the Packers and Cowboys built it even higher, but this rivalry belongs in a class by itself.  If you think the Yankees and Red Sox, Dodgers and Giants, Alabama and Auburn, Army and Navy, or North Carolina and Duke basketball rivalries are something, they pale in comparison to what this rivalry once was.  This was war in a pasture for many years, and it became a rivalry that made bitter enemies of the players, the coaches, the fans, the owners, and even the residents of the two cities.  It was Israel and Iran on the gridiron.

The Chiefs began as the second team to call itself the Dallas Texans when the AFL began in 1960.  Owner Lamar Hunt came from great wealth, as the Hunt family owned great oil interests among many other diversified investments.  Owning an NFL team was something of an adult toy for Hunt.

Hunt did not like his team being considered second-rate to the expansion Cowboys, who played in the same Cotton Bowl Stadium and seldom competed in their games, while the AFL team won the 1962 Championship.  Hunt decided he could much easier share a venue with the inept Kansas City Athletics of the American League, so he uprooted the AFL Champs to Kansas City Municipal Stadium in 1963.  With an eccentric head coach in Hank Stram, the Chiefs fit right in with the eccentric owner of the baseball team.

Oakland was never supposed to have a pro football team.  The spot had been awarded to Minneapolis, but the NFL powers that be stole the city for the senior league.  Another wealthy baron, one Barron Hilton, owned the Los Angeles Chargers and used his influence to force the fledgling league to locate a second team in the Golden State.  Oakland was chosen, even though there was no move to bring a team there.  There was no adequate place to play their games there, and most of the inhabitants of the east side of the Bay were San Francisco 49ers fans.

Ownership changed hands in the early days about as often as the Cleveland Browns change quarterbacks today.  None of  the owners had the wealth of a Hunt or Hilton, and the Raiders had to cut corners just to survive.  Finding a place to play was a burden, as they changed locales almost as often as the Browns change quarterbacks.  They played in a makeshift stadium built for less than half a million dollars with a seating capacity of just over 20,000.

Things started to change for the Raiders in the mid-1960s.  Al Davis, a former assistant coach of the Chargers, became head coach, part-owner, and after a stint as AFL Commissioner, the managing partner of the team.  Davis brought in better talent, and the Raiders moved into the new Oakland-Alameda Stadium in 1966.

Under new coach John Rauch, the Raiders gave the Chiefs a run for their money in 1966, finishing second in the West Division, but splitting the two games.  Kansas City won the AFL title and fizzled in the first Super Bowl.

The following year, Oakland picked up the Mad Bomber from Buffalo.  Daryle Lamonica guided the Raiders to the best mark in the history of the AFL, going 13-1 and sweeping the Chiefs, including an embarrassing 20+ point blowout on Thanksgiving Day in Kansas City.  The four games of 1966 and 1967 were hard-fought with several dirty blows emanating from both teams.  15-yard penalties were a dime a dozen, as were injuries and bloodshed.

1968 made this rivalry even fiercer.  First, the nation as a whole suffered through a year of violence, with two major assassinations, rioting in many major cities, a Presidential Election that experienced severe violence at one of its conventions, and the burning of Detroit following the assassination of Martin Luther King.

So, when that eccentric, cheapskate owner of the Athletics moved his baseball franchise, he chose Oakland.  That didn’t sit well with Kansas City sports fans.  The city of Oakland was no different than Hanoi to the residents of Middle America.

The Chiefs and Raiders met three times in 1968, and they would do so again in 1969.  In the first contest, Stram was strapped for talent.  None of his receivers were healthy enough to play, and there was no time to sign any free agents or acquire any in a trade.  Stram had three very fine running backs, so he had an idea.  Why not use the old-fashioned, moth-balled Power-T formation from the 1940s?  He could place his three backs in the backfield at the same time and go with his two healthy tight ends.

Can you imagine an NFL team using the wishbone offense today?  The Chiefs did the equivalent that day in October of 1968, and against the defending AFL Champion Raiders, it made the game a laugher.  No, it wasn’t what you might think.  Kansas City QB Len Dawson attempted three passes all day, two of them to backs, and one to a tight end.  He completed two, as one intended for a back was off target.  How bad did the Raiders blow the Chiefs out that day?  They didn’t, because with all the faking of multiple backs, two of whom could create their own holes and one with close to sprinters’ speed, Kansas City ran through the Oakland defense all day long.  Oakland had no answer for the power plays, inside traps, power sweeps, counters, and roll outs.  Kansas City won with ease to move into first place in the West.

Oakland got their revenge a month later, as the Chiefs were back to normal for this game.  The teams continued to win and finished with identical 12-2 records, forcing a playoff for the AFL West Division title.  It was never close.  Lamonica lived up to his moniker, as he completed three long touchdown passes in the first quarter alone.  Oakland led 21-0 after the end of the first quarter.  After Kansas City cut it to 21-6 on a couple of field goals. Lamonica went at it again with a touchdown bombs to Fred Biletnikoff and Warren Wells to put the game out of reach at 35-6, winning 41-6.

In 1969, the Raiders were the class of the league once again, and they were considered the equal of the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns of the other league.  The Jets had proven the year before that the AFL was on par with the NFL, and with Lamonica, Biletnikoff, and a wicked defense featuring Ben Davidson, it was thought that Oakland could punish any NFL team with their hoodlum style of play.

The Chiefs had become one-dimensional by then.  Their once great offense was not what it had been, but they had a terrific defense.  It wasn’t enough for Kansas City to stand toe-to-toe with Oakland that year.  The Raiders won a pre-season game over KC, and then they swept the Chiefs in the regular season in games that resembled pro wrestling as much as it did football.

However, the AFL had decided to add a week of playoffs in its final year, giving it four teams in the playoffs like the NFL.  The second place Chiefs played at East Division Champion New York, while the East runner-up, Houston at 6-6-2, played at Oakland.

Kansas City sent Broadway Joe Namath and the Jets packing by holding New York to a couple of field goals and picking off Namath three times.  In the second game of the day, Oakland dismissed Houston like Michigan recently beat Rutgers.  Lamonica’s six touchdown passes and the Raider defense’s six sacks paced Oakland to a 56-7 win that could have been much worse.  Oakland led 28-0 before the end of the first quarter.

The following week, the Raiders hosted the Chiefs in their fourth meeting of the season.  The winner would face the Purple People Eaters, the Minnesota Vikings, who had just defeated Cleveland for the NFL Championship.

Once again, an incredible Chiefs’ defense held an offensive juggernaut in check for 60 minutes.  Oakland moved the ball in the first quarter and took a 7-0 lead, but that was the end of the Raiders’ offensive success for the remainder of the game.  KC did very little with the ball all day, barely gaining 200 total yards, but the defense caught four Oakland passes and won the game 17-7.  Kansas City, and not Oakland, proved that the previous year was not a fluke, beating Minnesota on yet another fantastic defensive showing.

In 1970, the two rivals were no longer the behemoths of the AFL days.  Still, they fought tooth and nail for the new AFC West title, and their two games were nationally televised.  Oakland won the division by a game over Kansas City, but they stole this division title.  Kansas City would have won the division under today’s rules.  Early in the season, the Chiefs had basically secured a win over the Raiders, and Dawson only had to burn what was left on the clock to end the game.  He picked up the crucial first down that would allow KC to down the ball a couple of times and go home winners.

It was not to be.  When Dawson picked up the first down to apparently ice the game, the brute Davidson came in from behind and delivered a nasty cheap shot late hit, a very late hit.  All the frustrations of the numerous late hits in this game led to half of the Chiefs’ team jumping Davidson in one of the worst free-for-alls in sports history.  By the time the referees intervened (a couple of the refs were actually roughed up too), the call was for offsetting 15-yard penalties.

In 1970, any off-setting penalty, including those more than one second after the play like Davidson’s cheap shot, led to the scrimmage play being nullified.  So, Dawson’s game-clenching first down was erased.  Kansas City failed to convert the first down on the do-over.   The Chiefs had to punt, and Oakland moved the ball just across midfield where the old man, George Blanda, kicked the game-tying field goal from 48 yards out on the final play.

The next season, the NFL changed the rules so that had this play occurred in 1971, Kansas City would have kept their first down and could have run out the clock.  In 1970, it proved to be the difference in which team made the playoffs.

Back to the present: These two still bitter rivals should give the public a great game, but few will get that chance to see this game under today’s TV contract.  It won’t be the equal of any of those Chiefs-Raiders games of the late 1960’s, but it should still be a great one if you can watch it.

 

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 107.4 105.8 107.9 107.0 64 43
Buffalo 104.2 104.4 104.8 104.5 62 43
N. Y. Jets 101.1 99.3 102.1 100.8 60 41
Miami 93.1 94.2 92.5 93.2 56 37
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 107.0 106.2 108.4 107.2 66 41
Cincinnati 103.2 102.7 103.6 103.2 61 42
Baltimore 97.9 100.0 97.4 98.4 61 37
Cleveland 89.4 90.2 89.0 89.5 57 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Houston 98.5 99.6 98.4 98.8 62 37
Indianapolis 96.5 98.2 95.7 96.8 61 36
Tennessee 96.0 97.4 95.8 96.4 57 39
Jacksonville 95.3 97.0 94.6 95.6 59 37
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 107.6 105.4 107.7 106.9 63 44
Kansas City 101.3 100.9 101.9 101.4 63 38
Oakland 98.8 99.8 98.8 99.1 64 35
San Diego 98.9 100.1 98.3 99.1 64 35
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Philadelphia 104.1 101.3 103.6 103.0 64 39
Dallas 99.2 99.0 99.5 99.2 59 40
Washington 98.8 99.5 98.8 99.0 61 38
N.Y. Giants 98.1 97.7 97.9 97.9 62 36
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 107.6 106.3 108.1 107.3 62 45
Green Bay 104.3 103.6 104.2 104.0 64 40
Detroit 98.7 98.3 98.4 98.5 61 38
Chicago 93.5 92.0 93.1 92.9 55 38
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Atlanta 102.8 104.6 103.3 103.5 68 36
Carolina 102.3 102.1 102.3 102.2 60 42
New Orleans 97.2 99.5 96.6 97.8 64 34
Tampa Bay 95.2 95.7 94.6 95.2 59 36
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 107.7 104.4 108.6 106.9 63 44
Arizona 104.9 103.0 105.4 104.4 66 38
Los Angeles 98.8 100.0 98.6 99.2 57 42
San Francisco 92.7 93.5 92.5 92.9 55 38

This Week’s Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
San Diego Denver -5.7 -2.3 -6.4 48
Buffalo San Francisco 15.0 14.4 15.8 38
Chicago Jacksonville 1.2 -2.0 1.5 40
Detroit Los Angeles 2.9 1.3 2.8 40
Green Bay Dallas 8.1 7.6 7.7 44
Houston Indianapolis 5.0 4.4 5.7 52
Miami Pittsburgh -11.4 -9.5 -13.4 45
New England Cincinnati 7.2 6.1 7.3 42
New Orleans Carolina -2.1 0.4 -2.7 48
N. Y. Giants Baltimore 2.2 -0.3 2.5 52
Oakland Kansas City 0.5 1.9 -0.1 54
Seattle Atlanta 7.9 2.8 8.3 50
Tennessee Cleveland 9.6 10.2 9.8 43
Washington Philadelphia -3.3 0.2 -2.8 49
Arizona N. Y. Jets 6.8 6.7 6.3 48

 

 

 

October 4, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 5: October 6-10, 2016

He’s Baaaaaaaaaack

Our commentary this week could be reduced to just two words for the Twitterverse readers–Tom Brady.

In no uncertain terms, Brady would love to come back with such gusto, anger, wrath, and all other negative or evil emotions and force Commissioner Roger Goodell to hand a fully inflated trophy to him in February.  How will Brady play after having a month-long sabbatical?

He gets a breather to begin his return, as the Patriots play Cleveland.  The Patriots could name the score if they really wanted to punish the NFL, but running up the score on Cleveland is like Sonny  Liston beating a Bantam Weight boxer (for you Twitterkind, Google Sonny Liston).

Our guess is that a combination of rustiness and pressing will lead Brady and the Pats to an underachieving win, so be careful about believing New England’s players’ fantasy points and the Vegas Spread will present basement bargains for you.

Yet Another Rookie QB Star

Last week, we reported on the prowess of rookie quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, and Jacoby Brissett.  We referred to Cody Kessler in a previous report.  Now, you can add another rookie signal-caller to the fold of capable leaders.  Denver’s Paxton Lynch replaced the injured Trevor Siemian last week, and he directed the Broncos to an impressive victory over the Tampa Bay Bucs.

On his first full drive after coming in on third and long in the previous drive, Lynch led the Broncos’ two-minute drill (actually just 1:19 left in the first half) brilliantly. Starting at the Bronco 33-yard line, he connected with Jordan Norwood across the middle for four yards and then followed it up with a 16-yard strike to Emmanuel Sanders.

After a sack and incomplete pass, Lynch connected with Sanders again, this time for 18 yards and a first down inside the Tampa Bay 30.  Following a timeout and incomplete pass, Lynch once again found Sanders open for nine yards, just short of a first down.  The Broncos called their final time out with 15 seconds remaining in the half and facing third and one.  The Broncos kicked a field goal after an incomplete pass, to take a 17-7 lead into the locker.

Lynch directed the Broncos to 10 second-half points and finished the day with 170 passing yards and a touchdown on 14 of 24 passing.  The final drive for the fourth quarter touchdown was very Elwaysian, as Lynch operated the four-minute offense to perfection, as he took the Broncos on an 80-yard, nine-play drive that took more than four minutes off the clock and ended when he rolled out and connected on a touchdown pass with Sanders from the five yard line.

Who starts for Denver when Siemian is okay to play again?  Siemian did nothing wrong when he was in for the defending Super Bowl champions.  He was more of an excellent game manager.  Lynch is more like a gunslinger, part John Elway and part Kenny Stabler.  He marches to the beat of a different drummer, but he is also the Broncos first round pick.  Expect Lynch to eventually become the number one QB, and once he does, the Broncos might be Super Bowl worthy again.

This Week’s PiRate Ratings

A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
New England 106.9 105.2 107.4 106.5 64 43
Buffalo 103.3 103.6 103.9 103.6 61 43
N. Y. Jets 100.1 98.5 101.0 99.9 60 40
Miami 95.2 96.0 94.9 95.3 57 38
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Pittsburgh 106.3 105.7 107.6 106.5 66 41
Cincinnati 105.4 104.7 106.2 105.5 63 43
Baltimore 98.4 100.6 98.0 99.0 62 37
Cleveland 90.2 91.1 89.8 90.4 57 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Houston 99.1 100.2 99.0 99.4 62 37
Indianapolis 96.5 98.4 95.7 96.9 61 36
Jacksonville 95.3 97.0 94.6 95.6 59 37
Tennessee 93.6 95.3 93.1 94.0 55 39
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 109.4 106.6 109.7 108.5 64 45
Kansas City 101.3 100.9 101.9 101.4 63 38
Oakland 98.8 99.8 98.9 99.2 64 35
San Diego 98.9 100.1 98.2 99.1 64 35
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Philadelphia 104.5 101.5 104.2 103.4 64 39
Washington 98.0 98.6 97.9 98.2 61 37
N.Y. Giants 98.0 97.6 97.7 97.8 62 36
Dallas 96.7 96.7 96.6 96.7 57 40
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Minnesota 106.7 105.4 107.2 106.4 62 44
Green Bay 104.4 103.7 104.4 104.2 64 40
Detroit 98.3 98.1 97.8 98.1 61 37
Chicago 93.5 91.8 93.1 92.8 55 38
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Carolina 104.7 104.1 105.1 104.6 62 43
Atlanta 101.0 103.4 101.3 101.9 66 36
New Orleans 97.2 99.5 96.6 97.8 64 34
Tampa Bay 93.1 94.0 92.1 93.1 58 35
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Seattle 107.7 104.4 108.6 106.9 63 44
Arizona 104.7 102.6 105.2 104.2 66 38
Los Angeles 99.7 100.8 99.5 100.0 57 43
San Francisco 93.2 94.2 93.0 93.5 55 39

This Week’s PiRate Spreads & Totals

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Totals
San Francisco Arizona -8.5 -5.4 -9.2 46
Baltimore Washington 1.9 3.5 1.6 50
Cleveland New England -13.7 -11.1 -14.6 45
Detroit Philadelphia -3.7 -0.9 -4.9 50
Indianapolis Chicago 5.5 9.1 5.1 44
Miami Tennessee 4.6 3.7 4.8 37
Minnesota Houston 10.6 8.2 11.2 45
Pittsburgh New York Jets 9.2 10.2 9.6 47
Denver Atlanta 11.4 6.2 11.4 50
Dallas Cincinnati -5.7 -5.0 -6.6 39
Los Angeles Buffalo -0.6 0.2 -1.4 34
Oakland San Diego 2.9 2.7 3.7 59
Green Bay New York Giants 9.4 9.1 9.7 51
Carolina Tampa Bay 14.6 13.1 16.0 43

 

 

September 28, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–September 29-October 3, 2016

First Big Payday (even if it wasn’t real)

After failing miserably in the opening two weeks, and then failing minimally in week three, the PiRates reaped quite an imaginary booty of riches last week when our money line parlays returned 75% on investment. Thanks to winning big on the NFL Parlay of Indianapolis, Oakland, and Dallas, and to the nice college parlay of Arizona State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, and Memphis, our imaginary $400 wagered returned us $699 for a profit of $299 and ROI of 75%.
For the season, we are still in the hole to the tune of $193 on $1,600 wagered and an ROI of -12%. Let’s hope that like last year, once we began to win, we won consistently every week. On the other hand, one winning week out of four, even if it was big, is not enough to convince us that we are on to something again this year.

In fact, this week’s games do not excite us very much. We had to peruse the odds carefully multiple times just to come up with three parlays. At least, these parlays go off at such odds that winning just one of any of these three would make our week profitable. The glass half-empty types, which represents 95% of the players, might say that the odds on these three games are so stacked against us that there is no way any of them could win. Since our wagers are imaginary, we can see that our glass is half-full with liquids about to be poured to fill it up. In other words, we don’t feel any stress going with these three parlays this week.

1. College Parlay at +218
Ohio U over Miami of Ohio
Louisiana-Lafayette over New Mexico State
Iowa over Northwestern

You may notice that a high percentage of our college plays is made in games involving teams outside the Power Five. It is our opinion that the odds can be off more in these Group of Five games than in games where the nations’ sports eyes are more focused. Whereas games like Michigan and Wisconsin are perused carefully by the betting public, games from the MAC or Sun Belt don’t see the same amount of action, and thus we feel like the odds are a little bit off. UL-Lafayette is properly favored over New Mexico State, but we think they should be favored by more than what the line says. We feel the same way about Ohio over Miami. The Iowa-Northwestern line is about where we feel it should be, but in this case, we think the Hawkeyes have a strong chance of winning and completing the triplet parlay for a $318 return on $100 invested.

2. College Parlay at +273
Tennessee over Georgia
Akron over Kent St.
Old Dominion over Charlotte
Florida over Vanderbilt

This parlay presents us with three separate psychologies, as well as the belief that the favorites are just plain better than the underdogs and should win without any added psychologies. The public expects Tennessee to venture between the hedges and come out flat, while Georgia rebounds in a big way after losing to Ole Miss by more than 30. We feel that Georgia is just much weaker than normal this year, and the loss in Oxford was not an anamoly. The talent in Athens is just not what it normally has been in typical years. Thus, we believe that the Volunteers will win by up to two touchdowns in this game.

The Akron and Old Dominion games are further examples of Group of Five game odds being off. We believe the two favorites should be more heavily favored and choose to take advantage of the odds being favored in our direction for higher potential payouts.

The Florida-Vanderbilt game is the polar opposite of the Tennessee-Georgia game in one way, and the exact same thing in the other way. Florida had the Tennessee game secured by halftime and then saw an orange tornado vanquish their Gator bite in the second half. They can ill afford to lose two games in a row in the Volunteer State. Vanderbilt won a hard-fought overtime game at Western Kentucky last week after the Hilltoppers squandered opportunities to put the game away.

Last year, a shanked punt allowed Florida to kick a field goal and win a sloppy game 9-7 in the Swamp. The public is looking at this game and believes this one could be similar with a possible upset. However, this Vanderbilt team lacks the defense that last year’s team had. In fact, it is one of the weakest among the Power Five teams, and Florida should play four quarters similar to how they played the first two in Knoxville last week.

3. NFL Parlay at +331
Cincinnati over Miami
Houston over Tennessee
Baltimore over Oakland
Pittsburgh over Kansas City

The Dolphins had to go to overtime to beat a lowly Browns’ team using a third string quarterback. Now, they must face Cincinnati on Thursday night on national television after the Bengals dropped back-to-back games against two tough teams. Cinti should win by 10 or more.

Houston can take a commanding lead in the AFC South this week by winning this game and hoping Jacksonville can dispense of Indianapolis. The Texans had an extra three days to prepare for a team they have owned in recent years. Tennessee has a potentially potent offense hiding behind an ineffective smashmouth offense. When Marcus Mariota is forced into a quick score situation, he guides the Titans like he did at Oregon. But, the Titans refuse to use this gameplan until all hope is lost or close to lost. Expect Houston to shoot out to a double-digit lead, and then when the Titans have to play catch-up, they will make the game closer but not close enough.

Baltimore looks to begin the season at 4-0 as they host Oakland. The Raiders are having to make a 2,000-mile trip for the second week in a row, and the Raiders may show signs of fatigue after having to play last week in the oppressive heat with temperatures in the 90’s. We believe the Raiders will be just a tad slow to react on defense and not quite as explosive on offense, leading to a Ravens’ win.

The Steelers are in the same boat as the Texans this week. Following an embarrassing loss in which they were manhandled by Philly, look for Pittsburgh to bounce back with their best performance of the season.

September 20, 2016

NFL Ratings And Spreads For Week 3: September 22-26,2016

Quarterback Issues Abound

It is almost inevitable that in today’s philosophy of passing the ball more than running, and with a 16- game schedule, that quarterback injuries would increase from the prior generation of NFL Football.

Certain teams lack pass blockers sufficient to deter the superior pass rushers of today’s game, and all sorts of inventive disguising of pass rush have contributed as much if not more to the troubles.

Just two weeks into the 2016 NFL season, two teams are already on quarterback number three, and others have gone to quarterback number two.

In Cleveland, where the Browns were weak enough before losing Robert Griffin, III and Josh McCown, rookie Cody Kessler will get the start this week at Miami.  Adam Gase’s defense is not the issue in Dolphinland.  Expect Kessler to be running for his life early and often.

New England is down to quarterback number three only due to Tom Brady’d suspension.  If the Pats can sneak through two weeks with Jacoby Brissett, then the king can return.  And, if something should happen to Brissett Thursday night against Houston, we may see wide receiver Julian Edelman move to quarterback.  Edelman has beaten Buffalo and Miami while playing quarterback, but that was when he was at Kent State, and the two teams were the Buffalo Bulls and Miami of Ohio Redhawks.

Jay Cutler’s thumb injury could be reason for John Fox to go with Brian Hoyer.  The Bears, already struggling on offense, may have a difficult time matching the Rams for points in the near future.

Then there is the case of a possible Wally Pipp injury.  When Tony Romo went down in Dallas, rookie Dak Prescott entered and drew comparisons to Roger Staubach.  Staubach once came in as a replacement to Craig Morton.  It took a little shuffling, but Morton soon became a bench-warmer before becoming a New York Giant and Denver Bronco.  Staubach led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl Championships and two others, where Dallas came very close to winning.

And, there is Sam Bradford in Minnesota.  This Vikings team may have to totally change the way it plays now with Adrian Peterson out for a lengthy time and maybe the season.  Bradford showed signs of returning to form in the Sunday night win over Green Bay.  The Vikings have been down this road before.  After the Joe Kapp, Dave Osborn, Bill Brown days of plodding offense, and the two-year babysitting of the job by Gary Cuozzo, Fran Tarkenton came back to Bloomington after a five-year sojourn in the Big Apple, and he teamed up with John Gilliam and Jim Lash, while the Purple People Eaters’ defense continued to dominate, leading the Vikings to the Super Bowl three times in four seasons.  Might this be the year the Vikings make it back?  The NFC looks like a wide-open race this year.

 

Two Weeks Are Not A Trend, But

Through two weeks of the season, the average score of an NFL game comes to less than 42 points per game, or less than 21 points per team.  The Los Angeles Rams have three field goals in two games.  The Seattle Seahawks have three field goals and a touchdown in two games, and that one TD came with 30 seconds remaining at home against Miami.  Is it because the Dolphins and Rams have great defenses that Seattle is averaging just 7.5 points per game?  Are the 49ers and Seahawks so strong defensively that LA averages just 4.5 points per game?

San Francisco gave up close to 50 to Carolina last week.  The problem at the L.A. Coliseum is an archaic offense that Jeff Fisher refuses to alter.  He is a Mike Ditka disciple, but he needs to realize that the 1985 Bears are not coming through the Coliseum locker room doors.  He does not have Eddie George in his backfield, even though Todd Gurley is talented.

Sports metric experts have shown that the key to winning in the NFL is being able to pass the ball and being able to stop the pass.  Running stats are padded by winning teams because they usually run the ball to eat the clock when they lead in the last 20 minutes of games, and the losing team abandons the run to try to catch up.  Fisher is basically the Gene Mauch of football.  Mauch took a lot of excellent baseball teams and guided them to respectable 90-win seasons, while the talent on hand was good enough to win 100 games.

Fisher isn’t alone.  Mike Mularkey and Rex Ryan think you can be the 1985 Bears or even 1963 Bears and win the Super Bowl.  It is true that Denver won last year without a dominating passing game, but they did not have a dominating running game.  They dominated by stopping the pass and by getting just enough passing yards to win.  Even a damaged Peyton Manning was good enough to accumulate necessary passing yards.  The Broncos did not run early and often.  They did not run on first down, run on second down and then pass conservatively on third down.  The metrics actually show that passing on first and second down and on third and less than five is the better percentage play, while running becomes the better option only on third and six to 12 yards.  And, for that matter, going for it on fourth down and less than 4 when outside your own 30 yard line is the  better statistical move (as is going for it on 4th and less than 4 when in field goal range).

Certainly, going against the traditional methods will occasionally cost a team a win, but in rebuttal, going against tradition will allow teams to win games they would have lost by using the old playbook tendencies.  And, the ignorant media will run a coach out of town on a rail for going against tradition and losing while never complimenting the coach that bucks the system and wins.  Hey, they are in the business, because they didn’t do so well in math class.

This Week’s Ratings

Current NFL PiRate Ratings
A F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
N. Y. Jets 103.9 101.6 105.1 103.5 62 42
New England 101.4 99.3 101.8 100.8 60 41
Buffalo 98.6 99.5 98.7 98.9 59 40
Miami 96.1 96.9 96.1 96.3 58 38
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Cincinnati 106.9 106.3 107.8 107.0 64 43
Pittsburgh 105.9 105.5 107.2 106.2 65 41
Baltimore 98.7 100.9 98.4 99.3 61 38
Cleveland 89.9 90.9 89.3 90.0 57 33
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Houston 101.8 103.0 102.1 102.3 64 38
Indianapolis 97.1 98.9 96.0 97.3 61 36
Jacksonville 95.1 96.9 94.4 95.5 58 38
Tennessee 93.9 95.9 93.4 94.4 54 40
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Denver 106.4 103.1 106.5 105.3 62 43
Kansas City 101.8 101.5 102.5 101.9 63 39
San Diego 99.9 100.9 99.7 100.2 64 36
Oakland 97.7 98.4 97.6 97.9 63 35
             
N F C
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Philadelphia 101.0 98.0 100.4 99.8 62 38
N.Y. Giants 99.0 98.3 98.7 98.7 62 37
Washington 97.3 98.1 97.0 97.5 61 37
Dallas 94.6 94.9 94.1 94.5 56 39
             
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Green Bay 104.4 103.7 104.4 104.2 64 40
Minnesota 102.9 101.9 103.4 102.7 60 43
Detroit 99.2 99.0 98.8 99.0 62 37
Chicago 95.4 93.3 95.1 94.6 56 39
             
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Carolina 109.4 108.2 110.3 109.3 65 44
New Orleans 99.1 101.5 98.4 99.7 64 36
Atlanta 96.9 99.8 96.8 97.8 62 36
Tampa Bay 95.9 96.8 95.1 95.9 59 37
             
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Off Def
Arizona 110.0 107.5 110.9 109.5 69 41
Seattle 106.4 103.3 107.1 105.6 63 43
Los Angeles 97.9 99.4 97.4 98.3 56 42
San Francisco 95.6 96.8 95.7 96.0 56 40

 

This Week’s PiRate Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Score
New England Houston 2.6 -0.7 2.7 23-21
Buffalo Arizona -7.9 -4.5 -8.7 20-27
Carolina Minnesota 9.5 9.3 9.9 24-14
Cincinnati Denver 3.5 6.2 4.3 21-16
Green Bay Detroit 7.7 7.2 8.1 28-20
Jacksonville Baltimore -0.6 -1.0 -1.0 20-21
Miami Cleveland 9.2 9.0 9.8 26-17
New York Giants Washington 4.2 2.7 4.5 27-23
Tennessee Oakland -0.8 0.5 -1.2 20-21
Seattle San Francisco 13.8 9.5 14.4 23-10
Tampa Bay Los Angeles 1.5 0.9 1.2 17-16
Indianapolis San Diego 0.2 1.0 -0.7 28-27
Kansas City New York Jets 0.9 2.9 0.4 24-23
Philadelphia Pittsburgh -2.9 -5.5 -4.8 23-27
Dallas Chicago 2.2 4.6 2.0 20-17
New Orleans Atlanta 5.2 4.7 4.6 31-26

 

September 19, 2016

College Football Ratings & Spreads For September 22-24, 2016

What an incredible college football week has just passed!  We told you last week that it could be the best September slate of college football games in years, and it lived up to the hype.

Guess what?  This weekend won’t exactly be chopped liver.  There are some excellent games on tap, and more conference games will be played this week.

First, some information about you guys and dolls.  We asked you to go to our sister site at http://www.piratings.webs.com and tell us who your favorite college and NFL teams happened to be.  We have received dozens of replies so far, and a pattern has developed.

Among the colleges mentioned, a large majority of you are Big Ten fans.  The number one school mentioned so far, and by quite a large margin, is Ohio State.  Number two surprised us, as we expected that an SEC school or six would be among the top ones you fine folks follow.  No SEC team received more than three votes, and that three belongs to Florida.  Number two behind the Buckeyes was their arch-rival Michigan, and in distant third place was the other Big Ten East biggie, Michigan State.

The NFL followed suit with upper Midwest fan support.  In a close race so far, Cleveland, Green Bay, and Chicago rank one-two-three.

It could be that the PiRate Ratings have a lot of upper Midwest support.  There are ties to Ohio State in a minor way, much less than the ties to Wisconsin, but it is there.  However, we expected a lot more SEC support, and it just didn’t come.  Wherefore art thou Alabama, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, and Aggie fans?

Okay, now to get down to business.  We will obviously comment on the 3 Big Ten schools first today, and then include other games of interest that you might want to follow this week.

Ohio St.

The Buckeyes get a well-timed week off after picking up the biggest win of the NCAA season against the Sooners in Norman.  Their next two games are home contests against Rutgers and Indiana, so Urban Meyer’s team will be 5-0 when they head up to Camp Randall Stadium on October 15.

The stats are intimidating to any future opponent: 56.7 points per game to 12.3 points allowed per game; 306 yards per game rushing to just 103 allowed per game; a total yards per game average of 545 to 279; the defense has intercepted nine passes in three games; and if that isn’t enough riches, the Buckeyes have the best kicking game in the nation so far with a 50+ yard punt average and a 47+ yard net punt average to go with perfect 100% accuracy on PATs and field goals.

Michigan

The Wolverines spotted improved Colorado a quick two touchdown lead before getting down to business and posting an impressive 17-point win at the Big House.  Penn State comes to Ann Arbor this week, after the Nittany Lions held off a pesky Temple team.  The Maize and Blue defense and special teams have scored or set up more points than they have allowed with interception returns, punt returns, and three blocked kicks so far.  At one time, in 1969, Penn State’s defense and special teams scored or set up more points than the defense allowed for the entire season.  That Penn State team finished undefeated, and if this Michigan team can continue to replicate that great 1969 Penn State team, there is no reason to think the Wolverines cannot run the table–at least head to the Giant Horseshoe at 11-0.  How much would another 11-0 vs. 11-0 matchup cost to purchase a ticket on the street this time?  Prices were highly inflated in 2006, when these two teams were undefeated and ranked 1-2.

As for this week, We don’t think James Franklin’s Nittany Lions will roar much.  They might hold Michigan under 40 points, but can they score more than 17?

 

Michigan St.

The Spartans looked like a different team between game one against Furman and game two against Notre Dame.  Now MSU hosts a Wisconsin team that must have overlooked Georgia State last week, but even overlooking the Panthers, UW should have won by 30.  Sparty’s defense held Notre Dame’s rushing game at bay all night, and a repeat performance against the Badgers will mean a double-digit win.  For the record, we do not believe they will stop the UW rush like they stopped the Notre Dame running game.

Tyler O’Connor looked like a pro prospect at times against the Irish secondary.  His one interception came on a deflection, and if you remove that deflection, he had a night Connor Cook would have been proud of.  Look for MSU to win another tight game by less than a touchdown.  The last three times these schools have played, the margins were all under a TD.

Other Games of Interest

Thursday Night:

Clemson at Georgia Tech

The CU win at Auburn does not look all that impressive after Texas A&M looked better in their win at Jordan-Hare.  The narrow win over Troy could not be erased by the slaughter over the FCS school that was so unprepared to play a Power 5 team, that their kick returner handed the Tigers a touchdown by tossing it to the back judge without downing the ball.  This Clemson team has started to resemble the Florida State team of 2014.  That FSU team was considerably weaker than the 2013 champion, but they still made it to the playoffs.  We are not sure this CU team is playoff worthy, but they have time to right the ship.

Georgia Tech is 3-0 and looks like a defensive juggernaut in the process.  However, a closer look shows their defensive performance has come against three teams that would have trouble scoring in 11 on 0 practice drills.  Tech’s next three games could see a reverse in defensive performance.  Still, the Yellow Jackets are mighty tough to prepare for, and when you take away two days of preparation, it could make this a rather interesting game to watch.

Saturday

Florida at Tennessee

Butch Jones’ legacy in Knoxville is like an almost finished book.  The one major chapter of his mystery novel is the one where you find out who did it.  If Florida did it, ole Butch may not get a chance to write the sequel.

Florida has won 11 straight games in this series.  The average score in this streak has been 29-16, although the last two have both been decided by a single point.  The Gators are going to have to make due with Austin Appleby at quarterback after starter Luke Del Rio injured his knee on a cheap shot tackle by North Texas.  Appleby would become the second former Purdue quarterback to start a game for an SEC team in the last two weeks (Danny Etling @ LSU).  After replacing Del Rio, Appleby completed passes of 11 and 19 yards against the Mean Green in his four attempts.  At Purdue, Appleby had a tendency to force throws where he should not have passed, and his interception rate was  4%, about 45% higher than the QB that sent him packing from West Lafayette.

Josh Dobbs has not been what he was expected to be this year.  It looks like the coaching staff has put a governor on his scrambling and is not calling for Dobbs to keep the ball on many designed running plays.  That might change this week, as the Vols need to pull out all the stops to move the ball against Geoff Collins’ defense.

Tennessee is not without major losses due to injury, and it affects a trio of excellent starting defensive players.  All-American punt returner and very good cornerback Cameron Sutton will be out for several weeks. All-SEC weakside linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin should be able to play, but he will be far from 100%, and the Vols are hurting depthwise here, as middle linebacker Darrin Kirkland and backup hybrid linebacker/safety Quarte Sapp will miss the game.

Expect a low-scoring, hard-fought game that comes down to the final few minutes.

Arkansas vs. Texas A&M in Arlington, TX (Dallas Cowboys Stadium)–The Southwest Classic

What can these two former Southwest Conference rivals do for a second encore after the last two games in Jerryworld went to overtime?  The Aggies won both games, and it would not surprise us again if the game was still to be decided late in the fourth quarter.  Arkansas has not beaten A&M since the Aggies joined the SEC.

Both teams have big wins already this year.  Arkansas won at TCU, while A&M topped UCLA, so they have been tested, and we expect a quality game from both sides.  It was hoped that Austin Allen would be able to approach his graduated brother Brandon’s stats at quarterback, but through three games, little brother has greatly surpassed expectations.  Add to this fact that running back Rawleigh Williams has done an admirable job replacing Alex Collins.  It has been the Razorback defense that has not quite lived up to expectations.

As for the Aggies, Kevin Sumlin has dealth with his critics in recent years since Johnny Manziel left College Station, and most of that criticism has come from subsequently weaker offenses year over year.  We may ask these critics why a 44-31 win is better than a 29-16 win?  This Aggie team can play defense, as most defenses led by legendary guru John Chavis tend to do.  Against Josh Rosen and UCLA, the Aggie defense produced five sacks and three interceptions.  Auburn tried to throw short, and A&M didn’t give up yards after the catch.

Arkansas will try to combine pounding the ball up the gut with vertical passes to Keon Hatcher combined with spreading the field and finding Drew Morgan, tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, and Dominique Reed.

Stanford at UCLA

The must-win games continue to allow Stanford a chance to stay in the playoff hunt.  A win over USC at home was just fine.  A win at UCLA and by a larger margin than the Bruins fell at Texas A&M, gives the Cardinal the much-needed ammunition to fight against the Clemson’s, Louisville’s, and Houston’s.  SU must run the table against a weaker Pac-12 slate, and a win at the Rose Bowl Saturday night pumps up their resume.  A loss, and it’s all up to Washington and Arizona State to carry the Pac-12 banner.

Boise St. at Oregon St.

The Broncos are now in a multi-team battle with South Florida, Houston, Memphis, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Toledo, and San Diego State for the NY6 Bowl Bid.  For that matter, throw in a surprising Army team into this mix and don’t eliminate the other two service academies just yet.

This game is Boise’s best resume builder for the rest of the season, even though the Beavers are at the bottom of the Pac-12.  It is almost required that BSU wins this game by at least 17 points, or they might have to be the last remaining undefeated team in December.

 

Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings

PiRate Ratings–Predictive
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 131.1 123.6 130.9 128.5
2 Louisville 127.9 121.7 128.1 125.9
3 Ohio St. 122.9 122.2 124.4 123.2
4 LSU 124.0 118.3 123.0 121.8
5 Michigan 121.9 119.8 122.5 121.4
6 Tennessee 121.8 117.1 121.8 120.2
7 Oklahoma 120.0 117.3 119.9 119.1
8 Clemson 122.2 113.9 120.7 118.9
9 Stanford 121.4 114.2 120.3 118.6
10 Washington 121.0 113.2 121.1 118.4
11 Miami 120.1 112.8 120.0 117.6
12 Houston 115.5 113.6 117.7 115.6
13 Oklahoma St. 115.3 116.3 115.1 115.6
14 Florida St. 117.9 110.6 116.8 115.1
15 North Carolina 117.2 110.5 116.9 114.9
16 Virginia Tech 114.5 114.1 114.8 114.5
17 Texas A&M 114.8 113.8 114.8 114.5
18 Pittsburgh 115.9 111.4 115.0 114.1
19 Iowa 115.1 112.0 114.8 114.0
20 Auburn 113.9 112.4 113.8 113.4
21 Mississippi St. 114.4 111.7 113.7 113.3
22 Notre Dame 114.9 111.2 113.6 113.2
23 Florida 112.6 116.3 110.8 113.2
24 Michigan St. 113.5 112.5 111.7 112.6
25 Texas 112.1 113.6 111.2 112.3
26 TCU 111.9 113.5 111.5 112.3
27 USC 114.3 109.9 111.6 111.9
28 Oregon 112.3 111.0 111.5 111.6
29 Arkansas 113.7 108.8 111.0 111.2
30 South Florida 111.6 109.0 112.8 111.1
31 Ole Miss 113.6 107.1 112.4 111.0
32 Georgia 111.0 111.1 110.9 111.0
33 UCLA 111.4 110.4 111.0 110.9
34 Baylor 110.4 110.5 111.5 110.8
35 Nebraska 111.8 108.4 111.9 110.7
36 Wisconsin 111.1 109.0 111.7 110.6
37 Georgia Tech 111.0 107.2 110.4 109.5
38 Boise St. 108.0 109.4 110.3 109.2
39 Colorado 110.1 105.6 110.6 108.8
40 Utah 110.8 105.1 108.7 108.2
41 Kansas St. 107.2 110.2 107.1 108.2
42 BYU 110.3 103.6 109.7 107.9
43 Penn St. 107.2 109.0 105.9 107.4
44 Arizona St. 107.5 108.1 106.3 107.3
45 West Virginia 107.2 106.6 106.8 106.9
46 Western Michigan 106.8 104.8 108.6 106.7
47 Washington St. 107.6 104.8 107.5 106.7
48 North Carolina St. 106.9 104.7 106.3 106.0
49 San Diego St. 105.8 102.9 108.2 105.7
50 Minnesota 105.1 103.1 104.8 104.3
51 Central Michigan 103.0 105.7 104.2 104.3
52 Northwestern 106.4 101.2 104.8 104.1
53 Texas Tech 105.5 103.3 103.4 104.1
54 Toledo 104.2 102.8 105.2 104.1
55 Missouri 104.1 103.3 103.9 103.8
56 Indiana 101.8 106.3 101.4 103.2
57 Arizona 104.3 102.0 103.1 103.1
58 Cincinnati 101.9 102.5 102.6 102.4
59 Maryland 101.4 105.0 99.2 101.9
60 Memphis 103.7 99.6 102.0 101.8
61 California 105.0 96.6 102.7 101.4
62 Air Force 100.9 101.3 101.4 101.2
63 Wake Forest 101.8 99.5 100.9 100.8
64 Tulsa 99.7 102.0 100.4 100.7
65 Vanderbilt 102.5 98.3 101.0 100.6
66 South Carolina 100.9 99.9 100.4 100.4
67 Boston College 100.5 99.5 100.0 100.0
68 Temple 99.9 99.6 100.3 100.0
69 Western Kentucky 100.8 96.4 102.0 99.7
70 Syracuse 101.4 97.6 99.2 99.4
71 Virginia 100.4 97.4 99.7 99.2
72 Duke 99.0 99.8 97.3 98.7
73 Navy 98.8 98.7 98.3 98.6
74 Appalachian St. 97.7 96.4 99.8 98.0
75 Army 93.8 102.0 97.1 97.6
76 Connecticut 97.5 95.3 97.7 96.9
77 Rutgers 98.0 95.5 96.4 96.7
78 Purdue 97.6 95.2 96.6 96.5
79 Illinois 97.6 94.3 96.6 96.2
80 East Carolina 95.1 97.2 95.5 95.9
81 Oregon St. 98.4 93.6 95.8 95.9
82 Kentucky 94.9 97.5 93.6 95.3
83 Ohio 91.5 100.1 92.5 94.7
84 Utah St. 93.9 96.7 93.5 94.7
85 Middle Tennessee 94.0 95.3 94.5 94.6
86 Iowa St. 95.0 94.7 93.8 94.5
87 Northern Illinois 93.7 94.9 94.4 94.3
88 Southern Mississippi 93.8 93.7 94.8 94.1
89 New Mexico 92.2 95.2 93.0 93.5
90 Nevada 91.6 95.1 92.8 93.2
91 SMU 92.6 91.8 91.9 92.1
92 Georgia Southern 91.3 91.3 93.6 92.1
93 UNLV 89.8 94.2 89.9 91.3
94 Troy 88.6 93.6 90.5 90.9
95 Louisiana Tech 89.8 92.0 90.9 90.9
96 Marshall 88.7 93.1 90.5 90.8
97 Arkansas St. 88.7 90.7 90.2 89.9
98 San Jose St. 89.8 89.8 90.0 89.9
99 Akron 86.7 93.1 88.1 89.3
100 Bowling Green 89.7 88.5 89.1 89.1
101 Central Florida 88.2 90.6 88.2 89.0
102 Colorado St. 86.0 88.7 86.5 87.1
103 Ball St. 85.9 87.9 86.8 86.9
104 Kansas 85.0 92.5 82.3 86.6
105 Tulane 85.5 88.6 85.7 86.6
106 Old Dominion 85.4 88.3 85.7 86.5
107 Kent St. 84.1 85.8 84.3 84.8
108 Rice 81.8 89.6 81.8 84.4
109 Miami (O) 83.6 84.4 84.7 84.2
110 Wyoming 83.9 83.6 84.1 83.9
111 Georgia St. 81.5 86.6 83.2 83.8
112 Florida Atlantic 81.7 85.1 83.3 83.4
113 UTSA 79.6 87.5 82.1 83.1
114 South Alabama 80.0 87.6 81.4 83.0
115 Florida International 80.2 87.1 80.9 82.7
116 Massachusetts 79.5 87.5 81.0 82.7
117 Eastern Michigan 79.9 85.1 80.8 81.9
118 Fresno St. 80.5 84.6 80.1 81.7
119 Buffalo 77.8 86.6 79.0 81.2
120 UL-Lafayette 75.8 84.4 77.7 79.3
121 Idaho 76.0 81.8 77.3 78.4
122 New Mexico St. 75.4 78.0 76.2 76.5
123 Hawaii 77.1 75.8 76.2 76.4
124 North Texas 74.6 77.0 74.6 75.4
125 UTEP 72.3 76.7 73.8 74.3
126 Charlotte 70.5 77.7 71.6 73.3
127 Texas St. 71.6 72.7 72.8 72.4
128 UL-Monroe 70.1 75.2 70.7 72.0

 

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Alabama
2 Ohio St.
3 Clemson
4 Houston
5 Michigan
6 Tennessee
7 Stanford
8 Washington
9 Louisville
10 Arkansas
11 Texas A&M
12 Wisconsin
13 Baylor
14 LSU
15 Florida St.
16 Georgia
17 Michigan St.
18 Utah
19 Florida
20 Oklahoma
21 Nebraska
22 Miami (Fla)
23 San Diego St.
24 Ole Miss
25 South Florida
26 Toledo
27 Western Michigan
28 North Carolina
29 Iowa
30 Oregon
31 Boise St.
32 West Virginia
33 TCU
34 Navy
35 UCLA
36 Central Michigan
37 Notre Dame
38 Arizona St.
39 Oklahoma St.
40 Virginia Tech
41 Memphis
42 California
43 USC
44 Georgia Tech
45 Western Kentucky
46 Auburn
47 Pittsburgh
48 Georgia Southern
49 Texas
50 Minnesota
51 Texas Tech
52 Colorado
53 Penn St.
54 BYU
55 Kansas St.
56 Air Force
57 Indiana
58 Washington St.
59 Mississippi St.
60 Maryland
61 Wake Forest
62 North Carolina St.
63 Cincinnati
64 Army
65 South Carolina
66 Arizona
67 Tulsa
68 Akron
69 Missouri
70 Utah St.
71 Appalachian St.
72 Northwestern
73 East Carolina
74 Troy
75 Southern Miss.
76 Temple
77 Marshall
78 Louisiana Tech
79 Nevada
80 Colorado St.
81 Vanderbilt
82 Middle Tennessee
83 Rutgers
84 Connecticut
85 Ohio
86 Duke
87 Bowling Green
88 Ball St.
89 SMU
90 Kentucky
91 Arkansas St.
92 Boston College
93 Syracuse
94 Illinois
95 Texas St.
96 Purdue
97 Oregon St.
98 San Jose St.
99 Wyoming
100 UL-Lafayette
101 Virginia
102 UTEP
103 Idaho
104 South Alabama
105 Northern Illinois
106 Tulane
107 New Mexico
108 Central Florida
109 Fresno St.
110 Iowa St.
111 UNLV
112 Old Dominion
113 Florida Atlantic
114 Rice
115 New Mexico St.
116 Kansas
117 Georgia St.
118 Massachusetts
119 UTSA
120 Eastern Michigan
121 Kent St.
122 Hawaii
123 UL-Monroe
124 Miami (O)
125 Buffalo
126 Florida Int’l.
127 Charlotte
128 North Texas

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 111.6 109.0 112.8 111.1
Cincinnati 101.9 102.5 102.6 102.4
Temple 99.9 99.6 100.3 100.0
Connecticut 97.5 95.3 97.7 96.9
East Carolina 95.1 97.2 95.5 95.9
Central Florida 88.2 90.6 88.2 89.0
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 115.5 113.6 117.7 115.6
Memphis 103.7 99.6 102.0 101.8
Tulsa 99.7 102.0 100.4 100.7
Navy 98.8 98.7 98.3 98.6
SMU 92.6 91.8 91.9 92.1
Tulane 85.5 88.6 85.7 86.6
         
AAC Averages 99.2 99.1 99.4 99.2
         
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisville 127.9 121.7 128.1 125.9
Clemson 122.2 113.9 120.7 118.9
Florida St. 117.9 110.6 116.8 115.1
North Carolina St. 106.9 104.7 106.3 106.0
Wake Forest 101.8 99.5 100.9 100.8
Boston College 100.5 99.5 100.0 100.0
Syracuse 101.4 97.6 99.2 99.4
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami 120.1 112.8 120.0 117.6
North Carolina 117.2 110.5 116.9 114.9
Virginia Tech 114.5 114.1 114.8 114.5
Pittsburgh 115.9 111.4 115.0 114.1
Georgia Tech 111.0 107.2 110.4 109.5
Virginia 100.4 97.4 99.7 99.2
Duke 99.0 99.8 97.3 98.7
         
ACC Averages 111.2 107.2 110.4 109.6
         
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 120.0 117.3 119.9 119.1
Oklahoma St. 115.3 116.3 115.1 115.6
Texas 112.1 113.6 111.2 112.3
TCU 111.9 113.5 111.5 112.3
Baylor 110.4 110.5 111.5 110.8
Kansas St. 107.2 110.2 107.1 108.2
West Virginia 107.2 106.6 106.8 106.9
Texas Tech 105.5 103.3 103.4 104.1
Iowa St. 95.0 94.7 93.8 94.5
Kansas 85.0 92.5 82.3 86.6
         
Big 12 Averages 107.0 107.9 106.3 107.0
         
Big Ten Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio St. 122.9 122.2 124.4 123.2
Michigan 121.9 119.8 122.5 121.4
Michigan St. 113.5 112.5 111.7 112.6
Penn St. 107.2 109.0 105.9 107.4
Indiana 101.8 106.3 101.4 103.2
Maryland 101.4 105.0 99.2 101.9
Rutgers 98.0 95.5 96.4 96.7
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Iowa 115.1 112.0 114.8 114.0
Nebraska 111.8 108.4 111.9 110.7
Wisconsin 111.1 109.0 111.7 110.6
Minnesota 105.1 103.1 104.8 104.3
Northwestern 106.4 101.2 104.8 104.1
Purdue 97.6 95.2 96.6 96.5
Illinois 97.6 94.3 96.6 96.2
         
Big Ten Averages 108.0 106.7 107.3 107.3
         
Conference USA
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 100.8 96.4 102.0 99.7
Middle Tennessee 94.0 95.3 94.5 94.6
Marshall 88.7 93.1 90.5 90.8
Old Dominion 85.4 88.3 85.7 86.5
Florida Atlantic 81.7 85.1 83.3 83.4
Florida International 80.2 87.1 80.9 82.7
Charlotte 70.5 77.7 71.6 73.3
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Southern Mississippi 93.8 93.7 94.8 94.1
Louisiana Tech 89.8 92.0 90.9 90.9
Rice 81.8 89.6 81.8 84.4
UTSA 79.6 87.5 82.1 83.1
North Texas 74.6 77.0 74.6 75.4
UTEP 72.3 76.7 73.8 74.3
         
CUSA Averages 84.1 87.7 85.1 85.6
         
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 114.9 111.2 113.6 113.2
BYU 110.3 103.6 109.7 107.9
Army 93.8 102.0 97.1 97.6
Massachusetts 79.5 87.5 81.0 82.7
         
Independents Averages 99.6 101.1 100.4 100.4
         
Mid-American Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio 91.5 100.1 92.5 94.7
Akron 86.7 93.1 88.1 89.3
Bowling Green 89.7 88.5 89.1 89.1
Kent St. 84.1 85.8 84.3 84.8
Miami (O) 83.6 84.4 84.7 84.2
Buffalo 77.8 86.6 79.0 81.2
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 106.8 104.8 108.6 106.7
Central Michigan 103.0 105.7 104.2 104.3
Toledo 104.2 102.8 105.2 104.1
Northern Illinois 93.7 94.9 94.4 94.3
Ball St. 85.9 87.9 86.8 86.9
Eastern Michigan 79.9 85.1 80.8 81.9
         
MAC Averages 90.6 93.3 91.5 91.8
         
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 108.0 109.4 110.3 109.2
Air Force 100.9 101.3 101.4 101.2
Utah St. 93.9 96.7 93.5 94.7
New Mexico 92.2 95.2 93.0 93.5
Colorado St. 86.0 88.7 86.5 87.1
Wyoming 83.9 83.6 84.1 83.9
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 105.8 102.9 108.2 105.7
Nevada 91.6 95.1 92.8 93.2
UNLV 89.8 94.2 89.9 91.3
San Jose St. 89.8 89.8 90.0 89.9
Fresno St. 80.5 84.6 80.1 81.7
Hawaii 77.1 75.8 76.2 76.4
         
MWC Averages 91.6 93.2 92.2 92.3
         
Pac-12 Conference
North Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Stanford 121.4 114.2 120.3 118.6
Washington 121.0 113.2 121.1 118.4
Oregon 112.3 111.0 111.5 111.6
Washington St. 107.6 104.8 107.5 106.7
California 105.0 96.6 102.7 101.4
Oregon St. 98.4 93.6 95.8 95.9
         
South Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 114.3 109.9 111.6 111.9
UCLA 111.4 110.4 111.0 110.9
Colorado 110.1 105.6 110.6 108.8
Utah 110.8 105.1 108.7 108.2
Arizona St. 107.5 108.1 106.3 107.3
Arizona 104.3 102.0 103.1 103.1
         
Pac-12 Averages 110.3 106.2 109.2 108.6
         
Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Tennessee 121.8 117.1 121.8 120.2
Florida 112.6 116.3 110.8 113.2
Georgia 111.0 111.1 110.9 111.0
Missouri 104.1 103.3 103.9 103.8
Vanderbilt 102.5 98.3 101.0 100.6
South Carolina 100.9 99.9 100.4 100.4
Kentucky 94.9 97.5 93.6 95.3
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 131.1 123.6 130.9 128.5
LSU 124.0 118.3 123.0 121.8
Texas A&M 114.8 113.8 114.8 114.5
Auburn 113.9 112.4 113.8 113.4
Mississippi St. 114.4 111.7 113.7 113.3
Arkansas 113.7 108.8 111.0 111.2
Ole Miss 113.6 107.1 112.4 111.0
         
SEC Averages 112.4 110.0 111.6 111.3
         
Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 97.7 96.4 99.8 98.0
Georgia Southern 91.3 91.3 93.6 92.1
Troy 88.6 93.6 90.5 90.9
Arkansas St. 88.7 90.7 90.2 89.9
Georgia St. 81.5 86.6 83.2 83.8
South Alabama 80.0 87.6 81.4 83.0
UL-Lafayette 75.8 84.4 77.7 79.3
Idaho 76.0 81.8 77.3 78.4
New Mexico St. 75.4 78.0 76.2 76.5
Texas St. 71.6 72.7 72.8 72.4
UL-Monroe 70.1 75.2 70.7 72.0
         
Sun Belt Averages 81.5 85.3 83.0 83.3

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 112.4 110.0 111.6 111.3
2 ACC 111.2 107.2 110.4 109.6
3 Pac-12 110.3 106.2 109.2 108.6
4 Big Ten 108.0 106.7 107.3 107.3
5 Big 12 107.0 107.9 106.3 107.0
6 Independents 99.6 101.1 100.4 100.4
7 AAC 99.2 99.1 99.4 99.2
8 MWC 91.6 93.2 92.2 92.3
9 MAC 90.6 93.3 91.5 91.8
10 CUSA 84.1 87.7 85.1 85.6
11 Sun Belt 81.5 85.3 83.0 83.3

This Week’s Spreads

Thursday, September 22  PiRate Mean  Bias 
Georgia Tech Clemson -8.2 -3.7 -7.3
         
Friday, September 23  PiRate  Mean  Bias 
Eastern Michigan Wyoming -1.0 4.5 -0.3
Utah USC -0.5 -1.8 0.1
         
         
Saturday, September 24  PiRate  Mean  Bias 
Akron Appalachian St. -8.0 -0.3 -8.7
Buffalo Army -14.0 -13.4 -16.1
Cincinnati Miami (O) 20.8 20.6 20.4
Connecticut Syracuse -1.9 -0.3 0.5
Indiana Wake Forest 3.0 9.8 3.5
Kentucky South Carolina -3.0 0.6 -3.8
Michigan Penn St. 17.7 13.8 19.6
Michigan St. Wisconsin 5.4 6.5 3.0
North Carolina Pittsburgh 4.3 2.1 4.9
Purdue Nevada 9.0 3.1 6.8
South Florida Florida St. -3.8 0.9 -1.5
Temple Charlotte 31.9 24.4 31.2
Tennessee Florida 12.2 3.8 14.0
Virginia Central Michigan 0.4 -5.3 -1.5
Virginia Tech East Carolina 22.4 19.9 22.3
West Virginia (N) BYU -0.1 6.0 0.1
Western Michigan Georgia Southern 18.5 16.5 18.0
Iowa St. San Jose St. 8.2 7.9 6.8
Old Dominion UTSA 8.3 3.3 6.1
Rutgers Iowa -14.1 -13.5 -15.4
Alabama Kent St. 50.0 40.8 49.6
Auburn LSU -7.1 -2.9 -6.2
Baylor Oklahoma St. -1.9 -2.8 -0.6
Minnesota Colorado St. 22.1 17.4 21.3
Ole Miss Georgia 5.6 -1.0 4.5
Texas A&M (N) Arkansas 1.1 5.0 3.8
Tulane UL-Lafayette 11.7 6.2 10.0
Memphis Bowling Green 17.0 14.1 15.9
Troy New Mexico St. 16.2 18.6 17.3
Utah St. Air Force -4.0 -1.6 -4.9
Arizona Washington -13.7 -8.2 -15.0
Arizona St. California 5.5 14.5 6.6
Oregon Colorado 5.2 8.4 3.9
Oregon St. Boise St. -6.6 -12.8 -11.5
UCLA Stanford -7.0 -0.8 -6.3
Massachusetts Mississippi St. -32.4 -21.7 -30.2
Notre Dame Duke 18.9 14.4 19.3
Western Kentucky Vanderbilt 1.3 1.1 4.0
Fresno St. Tulsa -16.2 -14.4 -17.3
Florida Atlantic Ball St. -1.2 0.2 -0.5
Rice North Texas 9.7 15.1 9.7
Texas St. Houston -41.9 -38.9 -42.9
Florida Int’l. Central Florida -6.0 -1.5 -5.3
Middle Tennessee Louisiana Tech 6.7 5.8 6.1
Northwestern Nebraska -2.4 -4.2 -4.1
Marshall Louisville -36.4 -26.1 -35.1
SMU TCU -17.3 -19.7 -17.6
UTEP Southern Miss. -18.5 -14.0 -18.0
UNLV Idaho 16.8 15.4 15.6
FBS vs. FCS Week 4  
Home Visitor PiRate
Boston College Wagner 36
Ohio Gardner-Webb 30
Missouri Delaware St. 45
South Alabama Nicholls St. 19
Arkansas St. Central Arkansas 21
Northern Illinois Western Illinois 13
Kansas St. Missouri St. 42

 

 

 

September 14, 2016

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlay Picks–September 15-19, 2016

Our second week of parlay picks performed little better than the first week.  We chose five parlays at better than even money odds, and we only hit on one of them at +131.  It was the Baltimore over Buffalo and Green Bay over Jacksonville parlay that won.

For the season, we have put $700 in imaginary bankroll up for money line parlay investment, and we have won just $131 while losing $600 for a net of $-469.  Ugh, but at least we still have the same amount of real $$$, since this is just for fun.

Because, it is just for fun, we have another $500 in imaginary dough ready to put on the non-existent line this week.  Once again, as we like to always play parlays with better than even money odds, all five picks will pay back more than the $100 investment if they win.

Before we get to this week’s picks, we have been asked by a handful of you where we get our odds.  This is a  multiple part response.  First, we do not use just one sports book to find our odds.  We shop for the best odds we can get on each parlay, so one parlay might be with one book, while another parlay might be with another one.  All of our fake selections come from easily playable online sports books, plus Las Vegas.  It appears that some of you from Vegas read our parlay selections every week, and we can only imagine how peeved you must be, even though we begged many times for readers here not to use these selections.

As for the actual odds, you can figure these out yourselves with an easy but time-consuming process, but why do this, when you can find parlay calculators online?

For those math geeks like us that must know how to do it, here goes:

Let’s look at a 3-team parlay of favorites at -150, -180, and -200.  First we find the decimal divider for figuring the multiplier.  So, we take each number (150, 180, and 200).  You divide your total payout of winning by the amount risked.  We are always risking $100 on every parlay, so this becomes easier.  at -150, we win 100 for every 150 or 1 for every .667.  The decimal multiplier would then be the reward (.667) + the risk (1), or 1.667

For -180, we win 100 for every 180 invested or one for every .556.  The decimal multiplier would then be (.556 + 1) 1.556

For -200, we win 100 for every 200 invested or one for every .5.  The decimal multiplier would then be (.5 + 1) 1.5

Now, multiply the three decimal multipliers (1.667, 1.556, and 1.5).  The answer to this is 3.89.

Now, we subtract 1 for the risk invested and we get 2.89.  If we wager $100 on this parlay, and it wins, we will be paid $289.

 

Let’s say you are feeling strong about two underdogs winning outright.  The Money Lines are listed at +120 and +150.  This is easier to calculate.  If you play at +120 you are putting up 100 to win 120, and the multiplier decimal is 2.2 (1+1.2).  The +150 multiplier decimal is 2.5 (1+1.5), and when you multiply 2.2 by 2.5, you get 5.5.  Subtract the 1 for the risk, and you get 4.5.  For every $100 you wager on this parlay, you would win $450 if the two underdogs won outright.

Once again, you can find a parlay calculator online that will do this for you.

Here are our parlays for this week

Parlay #1: +142

Rutgers over New Mexico

Texas over California

Nevada over Buffalo

We are playing some angles here.  New Mexico lost to rival New Mexico State and now must go on the road to a so-so Big Ten team that lost at a ranked Washington team and won a cakewalk game last week.

We feel that Texas can play smash mouth football against Cal and wear their weak defense down.  Even though the game is in Berkeley, Texas has more muscle and speed than San Diego State who beat the Golden Bears last week.

Buffalo has to travel over 2,00o miles to Reno after beginning the season with a loss to an FCS opponent.  Nevada fared okay at Notre Dame last week, and the Wolfpack will have a bit of added confidence.  Going up against a slower offense and defense will do for the Nevada what two bats being swung does for a batter in the on-deck circle.

 

Parlay #2 +130

Virginia Tech over Boston College

Western Kentucky over Miami (O)

Oklahoma St. over Pittsburgh

Boston College really struggles to score points.  The Eagles’ defense is really good, but it will be on the field too much in Blacksburg.  The Hokies may be a little hungover this week following the big game, but their defense is almost as good as BC’s, and almost as good facing BC’s offense and playing on home turf is enough for VT to win.

Western Kentucky did a better job against Alabama at Bryant Denny Stadium than USC did against the Tide at AT&T Stadium.  Miami of Ohio is still a couple years of improvement away before the Red Hawks can think there is a chance to go to a bowl.  The Hilltoppers should win this game by at least 17 points.

I would not want to be the Alabama or Ohio State and have to play Oklahoma State in Stillwater this week.  The players are mad as hatters.  The coach is madder.  Add the obvious letdown by the Panthers after beating Penn State at home, and we would not be surprised if OSU wins by 20 or more points.

 

Parlay #3 +147

Utah St. over Arkansas St.

Central Michigan over UNLV

Texas Tech over Louisiana Tech

Alabama over Ole Miss

Arkansas State appears to be weaker than thought in the preseason, when the Sun Belt media gurus thought they would contend with Appy State for the conference crown.  They are 0-2, but it is a sneaky 0-2.  Losses to Auburn and Toledo doesn’t make ASU bad.  Playing at Utah St. gives the Aggies a greater than normal home field advantage.  USU never challenged USC last week, so this is a chance for the Aggies to rebound and bounce back.

Central Michigan must now be considered a contender for the NY6 Bowl bid.  A road win over a top 20 team, even if mistakes were made by the referees, is worth more than Houston’s win at hometown NRG Stadium over Oklahoma.  The Chippewas know they must win every week, and they have a tough conference schedule ahead with Western Michigan, Toledo, and Northern Illinois, plus the must-win game at Virginia next week.  CMU might be looking ahead to the Cavaliers next week, and that worries us a bit, because UNLV is not chopped liver like they have been in recent seasons.  The Rebels could end CMU’s quest for the Fiesta.  Still, we are going with CMU to win, maybe just by not as comfortable a margin as we would hope.

How many points will be scored in Lubbock this week?  How about 90 or more?  Texas Tech and Arizona State played to a basketball score last week, and the Red Raiders return home to face a somewhat weaker opponent.  It might be a nervous Nellie game, but we believe TTU wins 52-38.

Would you like to have a chance to beat Alabama three years in a row when the Tide was undefeated and ranked in the top 5?  Alabama has been ranked #2 and #3 the last two years when Ole Miss defeated the Tide.  The Tide will turn this week, and Alabama will get two years worth of revenge.  Nick Saban and staff has parsed every play of Florida State’e second half against the Rebels, and it would shock us less if ‘Bama wins by 35 or more than Ole Miss winning a third time in a row.

 

Parlay #4 +132

Penn St. over Temple

Marshall over Akron

Stanford over USC

Utah over San Jose St.

Must we say what happens if Temple goes into Happy Valley and tops Penn State after the Nittany Lions lost to Pitt last week?  The seat of James Franklin would become hot enough to make fried rice.  Temple is weaker than last year, but apparently so is Penn State, or at best they are on par with last year.  We believe the game could be ugly, but the big guys have to win, and they will.

Marshall looked fantastic as the Thundering Herd was the only FBS team to debut their season last week.  Akron had a tough week at Wisconsin, and the Badgers’ muscle guys probably left the Zips bumped and bruised.  We believe they won’t feel better after visiting Doc Holliday, as the Herd runs over the Zips.

Stanford had an extra week to prepare for USC, and teams tend to improve the most between game one and game two.  The Cardinal offense should put up about 25-30 points while holding the Trojans under 20.

Utah visits San Jose a little later in the evening than the Stanford game up the road, but you cannot go to both games and see them in full.  You might be able to see half of each one if you speed on down 280 or the Central Expressway.  The Spartans are one of those teams you worry about, but Utah is a solid team that plays well every week–never spectacular, but much like Wisconsin.  We’ll take the Utes.

 

Parlay #5 +120

Detroit Lions over Tennessee Titans

New England Patriots over Miami Dolphin

Carolina over San Francisco

Until Tennessee actually wins a game this year, we will select their opponents most weeks.  The Titans look to us to be even weaker than Cleveland without RG3.  Truth be told, if Josh McCown has anything left in his old legs, Cleveland may be a tad better.  The Titans have great difficulty spreading the field vertically with a bunch of distance horses and no speed horses.  Marcus Mariota is not good enough to make average receivers look like Peyton Manning made Dallas Clark.  The running game would be terrific if the passing game was even average, and the defense does not scare many people.  Matthew Stafford and company should have a fun Sunday.

New England is at home facing Miami.  Jimmy Garappolo wasn’t Tom Brady the Second, but he was at least as good as Matt Cassel 2008.  Miami’s defense may be considerably better than last year’s version, but can their offense keep up with the Patriots’ offense?  We say no way.

Carolina has everything in their favor for the last game in this parlay.  The Panthers played Thursday night, while the 49ers played four days later in a rivalry game that had been waiting for 22 years.  San Francisco must travel from one coast to another across three time zones, and they will face hot and humid conditions on Sunday with a chance of storms.  Unless Cam Newton suffers some ill effects from the illegal hits in the opener, we believe Carolina wins by double digits.

 

***** Warning *****

Remember, do not use these just for fun picks as real investment advice.  We are out nothing for the unsatisfactory results so far.  Don’t be a fool who is soon parted from his/her money.

Past results do not necessarily reflect future success.  Even if we finished 2015 with a 40% ROI, there is no legitimate reason to expect we will ever get on the plus side of 0 this year.

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