Friday Four-Pack 11.24.23
Another Pats coaching take. It's okay to boo. NFL Picks! Thank you!
The fine folks at Substack send me one of these every week. I’m guessing they send them to all their publishers. And I’m sure the goal is to help create a positive “habit” in the author so that they keep writing. That stuff works. Read Atomic Habits by James Clear. Great book.
But this week it acted as a reminder to thank you.
As we close in on 3,000 subscribers, a big thank you to all of you. The MutStack reader and hopefully MutStack subscriber. Everyone who has told someone else to subscribe. The crew that ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ every week. Our great sponsors like NYRA Bets and Mad Props, most recently. All of it means a lot.
It’s Friday morning, post-Thanksgiving, and my wife is currently out battling the shopping crowds. She left the house just before 6 AM. She lives for this shopping morning. Insanity.
Hopefully, you had a great Thanksgiving. You slept in and did no shopping. And have plans to be on the couch for an afternoon of Celtics/Jets-Dolphins. I have a prop idea for that football game below.
Along with the rest of your holiday Friday Four-Pack.
TODAY’S FOUR-PACK IS PRESENTED BY MAD PROPS
FREE NFL PICK’EM!
By now you know our friends at Mad Props have launched their official NFL Pick'em game! It's FREE to play and this week's top prize is a $250 Amazon Gift Card!
Make your picks against the spread right here. Hit “Pick’ Em” in the lower-right corner to start. Easy! The first game is Sunday at 1 PM so plenty of time to get locked in!
And while you're on Mad Props, send NFL, NBA and CFB bets to your friends, too. Good luck!
On the next Patriots coach…yes again
The default reaction from many Patriots fans when you bring up the idea of the team moving on from Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick is some form of “WELL WHO ARE YOU GOING TO GET THAT’S BETTER THAN BELICHICK???”
It’s a weak response, meant to make you feel bad for suggesting that the best coach of all time should no longer coach your football team. Don’t take the bait.
This version of Bill Belichick is not one that took that intentional safety in Denver. Or drew up game plans to shut down Peyton Manning in his prime.
No, this version of Bill Belichick hires Matt Patricia to run the offense. He fails to call timeouts that then allow the opponent a free field goal attempt (Colts game, Germany). He points to past success when asked about the future. He keeps players like Jack Jones around too long.
It’s not going to happen in-season, but it’s okay to want to move on from this Bill Belichick.
And my answer to the ‘next coach’ question recently on The Kirk Minihane Show, was Ben Johnson. He’s the young offensive mind behind the Lions’ resurgence. Not a great showing on Thanksgiving, but someone is going to hire him this offseason. If it’s the Patriots, awesome.
But it hit me watching 49ers/Seahawks on Thursday night. In general, I want a coach who is in charge of drawing up plays like this on offense.
I would not pretend to be some football coach, but this is the stuff Belichick used to do on defense. He had plays and schemes that made you feel like you had the greatest football mind ever running your team. He was a genius and everyone else was dumb. This play is so simple and so effective in getting a walk-in TD.
I don’t think you’re getting Kyle Shanahan. But is Ben Johnson the next Kyle Shanahan? If not, who is? Find that guy. With the league’s constant push for offense, it seems imperative to get a coach on that side of the ball.
Of course, this is all complicated by a defensive guy, Jerod Mayo, who looks like a potential coach-in-waiting already on the staff. Can you pair him with that young offensive mind? Does Mayo/Bill O’Brien really work?
Meanwhile, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio speculates weekly on what team Belichick is getting traded to in the off-season. The media seems okay with the team moving on.
And as a fan, you are allowed to be okay with it, too. Without feeling guilty.
Comments are open on this post to pick your next Pats coach.
On Gregg Popovich telling fans not to boo….
Speaking of fans….this happened Wednesday night, so maybe it came up around your Thanksgiving table.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich grabbing the PA mic mid-game and imploring Spurs fans not to boo former Spur Kawhi Leonard.
So, so weak.
First, it came across as Popovich making the moment about himself. He’s not shied away from
the any microphone in the last decade, opining on everything from basketball to politics.
Second, like, I get that sports are changing. Fandom is evolving. Stats and analytics are not just for the nerds now. Being a fan involves more than just rooting for the local team. But there has to be some room for that basic fandom.
You pay $200/seat and a former player who left is now back in town, you get to boo.
If you pay $200/seat to go watch your team and they suck, you get to boo. That’s just how it goes.
To his credit, Leanord didn’t seem to have a problem with it.
"If I don't have a Spurs jersey on, they are probably going to boo me for the rest of my career. It is what it is. They are one of the best fans in the league and they are very competitive. Once I stand on this basketball court out here, they are going to show that they are going for the other side. When I'm on the streets or going into a restaurant, they show love. It is what it is."
A good old-fashioned booing is an essential part of sports.
Save your venom for the real morons - the guys who get on social media and complaint directly to athletes when their bet loses. Because their player prop over didn’t get home. Those guys need to be booed. Maybe kicked off social media for good.
On our Week 12 NFL Picks…
Week 8: 0-3
Week 9: 3-0
Week 10: 0-3
Week 11: 3-0
A season of yo-yoing, mediocre picks rolls on. Calling the under on DJ Chark last week and having him airball was nice. Let’s try and sweep the board again.
Pumped for Friday afternoon football.
BILLS +3.5 AT EAGLES. (-110, everywhere). The Bills were my pick to win the Super Bowl and I admit that bias may be skewing my view of this game. BUT…did the Eagles really look all that good in beating the Chiefs Monday? I didn’t think so. They benefitted from Kansas City drops and fumbles. And the rain for sure helped the Eagles more than K.C. Now on a short week, Eagles are suddenly five spots back of the Bills in Team DVOA (5th and 10th). They’ve also fallen to 19th in pass defense. Add in a 26th ranking against tight ends this year (Dalton Kincaid SZN) and you have a path for the Bills to put up some major yards in the air. Sprinkle on the ML too. Sprinkle.
Note: Wow, the 3.5s are gone. Best line I saw this morning is now +3/Even at ESPN Bet. Can still play it at that.
COLTS V. BUCS OVER 44.5 (-110, ESPN Bet). I was surprised not only to land here but to see the public on board too - 74% of the bets and 99% of the money tracked on this via the Action Network has come in on the over. But I get it. The Bucs have one of the best Run D units in football - you basically have to throw against them. So that can speed up the game and increase the chance for points. And the Colts play pretty quick- #2 DVOA Secs/Play. Bucs are dealing with multiple injuries on defense. And while Tampa is only 18th in pace, they’re #1 when the game is tied. Fast pace, injuries and a pass funnel defense….enough for me to take the over here. As an added push, the aforementioned Action Network shows this as both “big” and “sharp” money on the over. I’m fine following the money here.
The Prop (Friday play)
TYLER CONKLIN OVER 20.5 REC YARDS. (-130, FANATICS). Yes, this is juiced up more than I like. But it’s also much lower here than any other book I could find. You can lay -125 for over 23.5 at ESPN Bet or -115 for over 24.5 at Bet MGM. But no one else is this low as of Friday morning. Miami is 29th DVOA covering tight ends this year. They allow the 11th most yards per game to the position. And with zero evidence to back this up, it just feels like backup QBs tend to dump it down to tight ends and running backs. With former UConn Husky and Xavier Falcon Tim Boyle in for the Jets Friday, I expect plenty of checkdowns. And against a bad tight end defense, I’ll lay the -130. Will also use Conklin in sure-to-lose same-game parlays.
On some Thanksgiving leftovers…
I thought his clip from Tom Brady on the Stephen A Smith show was a glimmer of hope that the greatest NFL player of all time might actually be good on TV.
He’s talking passionately about the sport. Not afraid to criticize. And while the whole “Back in MY day” act is tired in sports, for the first time in a while Brady sounded like a guy who could do this in the booth on a weekly basis. He has a deal with Fox and is supposed to replace Greg Olson as soon as next year. Olson is pretty good, too.
Nothing to report on a landing spot for former 98.5 The Sports Hub Toucher and Rich co-host Rich Shertenlieb. Some chatter that his former station is looking to add to their on-air staff outside of his replacement, maybe signaling they’re planning to move Rob “Hardy” Poole into mornings as we wrote about last week.
Loved the Celtics fans groaning in unison when the Bucks covered at the buzzer Wednesday night. Legal sports betting baby!
I was food-shamed and borderline bullied this week on social media for pushing a family recipe for potatoes that includes Idahoan boxed potatoes. I will not apologize. They crushed. As usual.
Another tradition today - getting the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.
We’ll see if that’s as controversial.
Thanks for reading. Hope you hit all your bets. Comments are open below.