The Pi-Rate Ratings

December 24, 2020

PiRate Picks for December 24-28, 2020

All NFL This Week

A minor profit last week led us to a conclusion. In December, our NFL picks have been somewhat more successful than our college picks. The Virus has added an intangible to game outcomes at the college level, while only mildly affecting NFL games. Additionally, once students left schools and finished their semesters virtually at home, the college football players were left isolated on little islands. Rather than desire to play meaningless bowl games for a little compensation of bowl bling, many desired to spend the Holidays at home with family and friends. Other than the Fiesta Bowl, where all players will receive PS5’s, maybe a better prize in their eyes than anything the FBS Playoffs can offer.

The NFL is a totally different story. Week 16 is usually the most crucial week of the regular season. The best teams usually need one more win to secure the playoff spot they will secure or make the playoffs. The eliminated teams begin to experiment with roster changes. The worst teams may sabotage their chances to win meaningless games at the end of the season, especially when there is a generational superstar ready to become the next John Elway.

Before you read this and say, “this will be an easy week!” realize something else. Those clever folks in Nevada with all the positive revenue streams know this bit of information and have adequately padded the spreads to reflect this information.

So, in the end, the spreads are about as accurate in Week 16 as they are in Week 6. And, for our purposes, understanding that the numbers themselves are more important than the names attached to those numbers, we are issuing selections based on trying to “steal” an extra couple of percentage points in our favor. That small gain basically removes the vigorish that the books have. It still boils down to a 50-50 wager, so it is still highly speculative.

Our Christmas gift to you is knowledge. That knowledge is in our case an expert knowledge. Our expertise is knowing that we don’t know enough for you to take these selections and wager real money on the picks. This is an experiment in mathematics to be read for enjoyment and maybe to understand that without real inside information, none of us non-sharps can consistently pick winning selections.

As an FYI, the State of Tennessee legalized sports betting on November 1 of this year. According to Legal Sports Report, in the first 30 days, the citizens of the Volunteer State volunteered a record $131.4 million to the state’s four authorized sports books. Four more sports books, including the giant William Hill, will commence operations in Tennessee in 2021. These companies vacuum up money quickly, as a large majority of their customers get poor slowly. The state is very conservative, and the overwhelming majority disapprove of any tax, yet they willingly agree to pay the state exorbitant taxes in the way of gambling. Try showing this to an average sports bettor, and he or she will laugh at you, telling you that they can win money unlike when they pay taxes. Yet, if you look at their accounts, very few show a profit. We found one person willing to “experiment” for one calendar year. He usually allots himself $2,000 to play during the football season, and in most years, that two grand is gone by Thanksgiving. At the end of 2019, we convinced him to open an account with a broker and deposit the $2,000 and not bet for the 2020-2021 football season. When the Virus outbreak apparently doomed all sports for the year in March, he was able to stick to his convictions, thinking there would be no games to bet that money and lose. Simply reading a few periodicals on value investing, he quickly discovered an equal love for “wagering” on corporations in a sport where the bettor investor has the advantage.

He didn’t lose all his money by Thanksgiving. In fact, by the time he sat down to enjoy his moist and juicy turkey, his investment had already returned close to 18%. As 2020 limps to the finish line, his original $2,000 investment is now pushing $2,400. He doesn’t plan on withdrawing the money or placing the next $2,000 in one of the sports books. If you learn anything from this site, let it be this: If you have a couple decades or more remaining in your pre-retirement lives, or even if you have reached retirement age and figure on sticking around for another score or so, a buy and hold strategy in high-quality value stocks with a long history of positive earnings and dividends is going to make you a lot wealthier than betting on State to beat Tech by 7 1/2 points.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Here are our selections for the week.

1. NFL 6 1/2 Point Teaser+160
SelectionOpponentSpread
MiamiLas Vegas+6.5
BuffaloNew England-0.5
New OrleansMinnesota-0.5


2. NFL 7 Point Teaser-130
SelectionOpponentSpread
Tampa BayDetroit-2.5
ClevelandN.Y. Jets-2.5


3. 7 Point Teaser-130
SelectionOpponentSpread
HoustonCincinnati-0.5
ChicagoJacksonville-0.5


4. 10 Point Teaser-110
SelectionOpponentSpread
Kansas CityAtlanta-0.5
IndianapolisPittsburgh+8
BaltimoreN.Y. Giants-1


5. 10- Point Teaser-110
SelectionOpponentSpread
CarolinaWashington+12
LA RamsSeattle+11
DallasPhiladelphia+12.5

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