Discover more from MutStack
Friday Four-Pack 6.30.23
NFL gambling suspensions. A podcast recommendation. Power rankings!
The plan here today was deep dive into the sorry state of the Red Sox.
Swept by the Marlins. Puttering around .500 like a resident at Del Boca Vista - Phase II. Giving the fanbase little hope of turning this into some sort of special season.
Thanks for reading MutStack ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
From the best Sox follow on Twitter and fellow Substack author RedSoxStats.
The halfway point of the season, little Sox Talk makes some sense, right?
But…I would just be repeating what I’ve said on DraftKing and written here for the last three months.
This was always a bridge year.
Trevor Story and Chris Sale are not coming back to save the season.
The franchise and the baseball product are very easy to ignore right now.
The most interesting storyline is the future of Chaim Bloom. He’s botched back-to-back trade deadlines…are you going to let him do it again? This halfinhalfoutwereinitbutwerenotreallyinit thing is getting old.
Just tell Chaim this is not the year and trade guys like Adam Duvall for pieces for the future.
Sell, sell, sell.
Maybe they think a Wild Card appearance is a big deal to the fan base. It shouldn’t be. But the owners seem completely checked out, so who knows.
Maybe Bloom thinks a playoff appearance saves his job.
Maybe Bloom’s job is not even in jeopardy...but boy it should be.
Again, it’s tough to gauge ownership motivation at this point, since they never talk in public about the team. They leave that to Bloom and Sam Kennedy, whose public comments on the team usually make Bill Belichick seem insightful.
Yoshida is a nice story and a good find. Bello is emerging as a top-end starter. But the team as a whole? So, so mid.
The narrative that Red Sox ownership is “championship driven” has taken a major hit over the last few seasons. I’m not sure what they’re driven by right now.
So no deep dive. A lot of other things to get to in the holiday Four-Pack.
Thanks for reading MutStack ! Celebrate the Fourth of July holiday by subscribing for FREE to receive new posts and support my work.
On more NFL betting suspensions…
“GAMBLING IS AWFUL AND THE LEAGUE SHOULD SHUT DOWN FOR GOOD AFTER THESE SUSPENSIONS.”
- Mike Florio, probably.
I get that sports betting is still a relatively new idea, at least legally in the United States, but the reactions to these stories are pretty wild. And typical of the way people treat betting on sports.
Three players - Isiah Rodgers, Rashod Berry and Demetrius Taylor - bet on NFL games. They’re suspended for the 2023 season, at least.
The “worst” reported detail in there is that Rodgers, in addition to making relatively small bets of $25-$50, also bet a player prop on “a Colts running back” for $1000. From ESPN
Sources familiar with the activity on the online sportsbook account used by Rodgers told ESPN's David Purdum on Thursday that upwards of 100 bets were placed, including at least one wager on a game involving the Colts. A source told ESPN that friends of Rodgers, who were in Florida, encouraged him to place many of the wagers, the majority of which were in the $25-$50 range. Legal sports betting was not available in Florida this past football season. The largest wager placed through the account was a $1,000 prop bet on the over/under on rushing yards by a Colts running back, which won.
That player prop is problematic. Investigations didn’t find any evidence of game manipulation, but was that prop bet made knowing something about an injury or the depth chart that the public didn’t know? That’s a rough look. The sports betting version of insider trading.
But the rest of this is all pretty clear-cut, right? These guys knew they couldn't bet on games. They bet on games. They miss a year. Even if a majority of the bets were not on the teams these players play for, I understand the NFL’s stance here. Don’t bet on your league games, period.
The gray area here is the suspension of Nicholas Petit-Frere, who didn’t bet on the NFL but did place a bet or bets at the workplace, which is also an NFL no-no.
I have to admit, I don’t get this suspension or the rule in general. I can hear an old-ass sports talk radio caller in my head right now…
“BUT MUT THESE GUYS SHOULD HAVE THEIR HEADS IN THE PLAYBOOK AND STUDYING THE OPPONENT, NOT SOME THREE-TEAM NBA PARLAY…”
Are there rules against playing games on your phone at the facility? I’m sure guys are doing that. Or how about day trading? Wouldn’t that be just as big a distraction to a player as getting down some action on MLB player props?
I get it, it’s the INTEGRITY OF THE LEAGUE. Sure, a league that welcomed back guys like Greg Hardy.
Because the NFL
wants NEEDS you and me and everyone else to keep betting on these games and feel like they are on the level, they have to take strong stances when it comes to gambling.
But I could do without the theatrics from fans and media like this is the end of the world. Guys broke the rules, they got suspended.
Meanwhile, Patriots defensive back Jonathan Jones has this take.
Sounds great, Jonathan, but do we bet against the Patriots every time you don’t bet the Pats? I mean, if you’re not betting on your own team are you expecting to lose?
This is the Pete Rose defense. It was silly then and still is now.
You play in the NFL, don’t bet on NFL games. It doesn’t seem that hard.
On a new policy from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission…
Hate to say I told you so…but we have to talk about this new policy and why it is concerning as a Massachusetts sports bettor in the long term.
On a strong podcast recommendation…
There are a lot of sports betting and gambling-centric podcasts out there. I did a daily one for about a year. For free. It was okay, at best. In fact, I’d put a lot of the sports betting podcasts I listen to in that same bucket. They’re okay.
One that stands out as much better than okay, in fact very good, is Risk of Ruin.
This is not a sports betting podcast in the sense you’re getting three picks and a LOCK OF THE WEEK. And that’s probably why it stands out.
The host, John Reeder, gets guests on the podcast that have some tie to gambling and then tells their stories. It’s not a straight interview, it’s more storytelling with really interesting people about a wide variety of topics.
Guests like Jeff Ma, a member of the MIT Blackjack team made famous in “21.” Rufus Peabody, one of the most respected sports bettors in the world. Jim and Dan Pasko, father and son sports bettors. Some really interesting people are given a long-form platform to expand on topics.
There’s also a lot of reference to and time spent on “advantage playing,” which is players trying to take advantage of loopholes or mathematical advantages of any sort in every corner of betting. Whether that’s modeling the best way to utilize sportsbook marketing bonuses (there is a right way and a wrong way for sure). Or trying to figure out if you can physically beat the casino at craps by perfecting the way that you throw the dice. I love those types of stories.
Admittedly, there is high-level math and investing terms in some of the 33 episodes that are WAY over my head. But it’s led me down a road of trying to learn more. The show notes have links to stuff that end up turning into 90-minute dives down an internet rabbit hole.
I think the best thing I can say about Risk of Ruin is the most recent episode, “A Healthy Disrespect,” featuring Driveline baseball founder Kyle Boddy, I actually listened to it twice. I can count on one hand the number of podcast episodes I’ve done that with.
If you’re looking for picks, this is not for you. But if you’ve read this Substack for the last 20-plus weeks and have any interest in sports gambling and betting in general, I would subscribe and start listening over the holiday weekend.
dominance retirement of Two Phil’s…
This was scheduled to be a note about the dominance of Kentucky Derby runner-up Two Phil’s this past weekend. After skipping the Preakness and the Belmont, Two Phil’s returned in the Ohio Derby. Soft spot, easy money…I don’t love it. I mean I get it. But I would have rather seen him in either of the final two Triple Crown Races. Thankfully, when I own a horse worth millions, I’ll get to call the shots.
But he ran Saturday in a weaker spot. And he ran big.
A visually impressive effort from Two Phil’s, blowing by a talented 3-year-old in Bishop’s Bay. The numbers came back big too - 105 Beyer and 122 TFUS speed figure. Both numbers put him at the head of the class for this year’s crop. His 105-105-101 Beyer trio his last three races stands out in this group.
And this was going to be about how I had him Ranked No. 1 in the “MutStack Rest of Season 3-year-old Power Rankings.” A very important metric in the world of horse racing.
But then the news came this week that Two Phil’s was injured and going to have to be retired. Surprising based on the Ohio Derby romp and how good he looked. I mean, the jockey never moved and he was geared down! Less surprising when you factor in how fragile these 1000lb animals are. It’s the right call, the only call, the connections can make in this case.
It was shaping up to be a monster summer of good 3-year-olds knocking heads in some big races…The Haskell, The Jim Dandy, The Travers, The Pennsylvania Derby. Not to mention the Curlin Stakes, Indiana Derby, West Virginia Derby and Oklahoma Derby as potential undercard showdowns.
Then in the fall start facing older horses in races like the Woodward, with the eventual endgame of the Breeders Cup Classic for the best in the group.
It still should be a fun watch this summer, but Two Phil’s injury takes some starch out of it. As does the loss of trainer Larry Rivelli from the whole thing. I mean, he greenlit this commercial!
So no Two Phil’s. But the show must go on.
Our rankings use a mix of metrics, analytics and special sauce all so advanced we can’t discuss them here. The rankings really try and project the best 3-year-olds over the summer and into the fall, not just rank what they have done so far.
Here’s the 113th Annual MutStack.com Rest of Season 3-year-old Power Rankings.
Angel of Empire
Arabian Lion and Blazing Sevens feel like they’ll be staying at a mile or shorter so they don’t make the list based on the very advanced models.
With Saratoga now just 13 days away, it’s a great time to be a horseplayer.
We’ll celebrate being a horseplayer Sunday, July 16 in the beautiful FanDuel Sportsbook at Mohegan Sun. Hope you’ll join us.
And hopefully, you’re able to celebrate the holiday this weekend. Happy Fourth! Win some money! Belmont card Saturday looks great. Really all weekend. I’ll be involved for sure.
Thanks for reading and listening.