Discover more from MutStack
Friday Four-Pack 7.13.23
It's Opening Day at Saratoga. No LIV Golf bets in MA. Betting MLB props. A sports dad take.
Snagged this picture back in 2018, the last time I made it to Opening Day.
The guy loves Saratoga so much that he made a tee shirt with Arial font on the back to celebrate. I should have asked to buy it off his back.
Instead, I’ll have to find something else to wear to Opening Day 2023. Probably a rain jacket based on the forecast. Might bring an ark.
We’ll be live from the Spa all day Thursday to kick off the meet, hence your Four-Pack delivered a day early.
You can find a preview of what we have planned for daily Saratoga coverage at the end of today’s newsletter/blog/post, including the very, very easy way to make sure you get it delivered to your inbox every day of Saratoga. But first things first.
Have some cool stuff planned with Brad, Zak and the great crew at the Mohegan Sun FanDuel Sportsbook this summer and hopefully into the fall. It starts Sunday.
If you’re not going to Saratoga, we better see you for the 1st Annual Race Players Appreciation Day featuring star jockey Chantal Sutherland.
Food specials, free drinks, and some very cool giveaways. I may even have some betting vouchers for MutStack readers. All of this with Chantal, handicapper Rich Eng, Saratoga on the MONSTER screens…and of course in the best sportsbook in New England.
This is going to be an awesome event.
Brad and Zak have gone above and beyond for the horse player. It is kind of unprecedented in 2023 - just look at their events for the Triple Crown and the Breeders Cup. Best on the East Coast and not really close. I’m very proud to be working with them.
So we’ll see you Sunday. Happy Opening Day. Let’s get to the rest of the Four-Pack.
On the MGC saying “no” to LIV golf betting…
On Tuesday, the Mass Gaming Commission voted unanimously (5-0) to deny a request from DraftKings to add LIV Golf to the betting menu in Massachusetts.
DraftKings had hoped to give customers the opportunity to bet on LIV before they merge with the PGA Tour sometime next year, a merger probed this week in Senate hearings.
LIV Golf is not widely available to bet on in the United States. Arizona, Ohio, Connecticut and Wyoming are among a handful of states that actually allow it, so the decision by Massachusetts is not an outlier.
It’s just…well here were some of the public comments from the MGC on why they denied the DraftKings request. From Robert Linnehan’s story on the issue:
“For a lot of the reasons in the press, in terms of the financial backing of the LIV league, to me I’d feel uncomfortable putting this in our catalogue. Even as a LIV freestanding market, not withstanding the DOJ investigation of the merger,” O’Brien said.
Commissioner Brad Hill said it would be wise to revisit this again if the merger is approved in 2024.
“I too am not comfortable putting this in our catalogue right now with all the controversy surrounding it,” he said.
This gets my head spinning.
Does this mean when and if a merger happens next year, and there will be a lot of Saudi money behind it based on reports, the MGC is not going to allow betting on the new PGA/LIV Tour? Will commissioners still feel uncomfortable?
I’m not someone getting up early to watch and bet on European soccer, but I have a lot of friends that do. And a quick check of some pretty popular teams shows ownership backed by PIF (Saudi Investment Group) money. Is the MGC looking to ban betting on the most popular sport in the world?
When the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB eventually have teams that are financially backed by questionable sources, are we blocking betting on them too?
And then there is this - in Massachusetts, you can’t bet on LIV, but you can play in DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf with…LIV players. And in LIV-only contests. For real money.
The attorney general sets the rules for DFS, not the MGC, according to a spokesman I talked to at DraftKings.
So, people are already actively taking part in games involving LIV in Massachusetts.
Saw this Tuesday from a friend of MutStack, Bill Speros.
That seems like a stretch: unless again we’re going to start going thru every sport that has PIF money attached and deciding if they’re good or bad.
And what changes if LIV is absorbed by the PGA Tour? Whatever the new golf product looks like, reports have the PIF investment at over $1 billion. Billion. With a B.
I’m on record that because of the exhibition style of LIV play and the format and the guaranteed money, I’m not betting on it. But that shouldn’t stop you from firing off on Brooks Koepka if you want to. Or my man Cam Smith. Have at it!
Just in Massachusetts, you’ll have to do it through legalized fantasy sports and not legalized sports betting because, well, you’ll have to ask the Mass Gaming Commission.
On betting MLB Props…
I have a love/hate relationship with gambling Twitter. The hate part comes mostly from the pretend and borderline predatory “I never lose” bullshit and the over-the-top touting of things in the aftermath that magically won but were not mentioned beforehand. Or the gambling “brands” that fire off 720 same-game parlays and when 719 of them lose and one of them gets home, the one winner is promoted like the only bet that was made.
Make no mistake, there is some shady stuff that goes on with gambling and social media. I suspect at some point, there will be some 60 Minutes expose’ on how fake much of it is.
Betting on sports can/should be a lot of fun, but winning long-term is hard.
So when I see something I think is good or worth following, this seems like a good place to highlight it.
I met Adam Rosenberg through The Action Network last year, as he was trying to make sure people knew about the cool stuff they had going on.
Fast-forward to 2023, he’s at a new real-world job but is pretty active at FTN Bets and on Twitter (@HeyRosenberg and @Babieswhobet) posting most recently MLB props. Picks and ideas virtually every day. And doing very well.
With the second half of the baseball season starting tomorrow, I asked him to give us a peek into his process and what kind of things he’s looking at to come up with good bets. In quotes below from the man himself.
“For baseball, I'm most concerned about Hard Hit Rate (both on the batter side and pitcher side). This is essentially what it sounds like - how hard the batter is hitting the ball and how hard the pitcher's pitches are getting hit. It tells you the full story about how someone is pitching or hitting if you repeated their matchup over and over.
The next thing I look at is barrel rate for hitters (how often are they hitting on the sweet spot of the bat) and for pitchers I am really into z-contact (how often balls in the strike zone are hit).
General equation for me is
High Hard Hit Rate (100%) + No HRs the day before = BOOM BOOM SOON SOON
All of these metrics are available for free on FanGraphs.”
I mentioned he also posts pics from a parody account @BabiesWhoBet. And since I wasn’t sure why, I asked him about it too.
“Babies Who Bet - It's a fun way to make a parody tout account. Anyone can say they're a Twitter capper, but how many can say they're 2 years old and doing it? Plus the babies are on fire and very easy to blame if a bet loses.”
You should be following both of his accounts if you’re betting on baseball props. Or want to follow sharp people in general.
Also, babies are bad when they are teething, but THE WORST when they miss on their props two or three days in a row. It’s science.
Thanks to Adam for the insight. Go follow his stuff
If there’s someone in the sports betting space that needs to be highlighted, comments are open below, or reach out to me here. I read all the emails.
On coaching your kids in sports…
It had to be five years ago at this point, but I distinctly remember my former WEEI co-host Gerry Callahan giving me shit for not coaching my oldest son in tee ball. It was during a break as a third man in for Kirk and Callahan.
I think at the time my excuse was something like “I didn’t have time.” And Gerry got that Gerry scowl on his face and explained why I should be coaching my son and how great of an experience it was.
After a long Gerry rant, it ended with something along the lines of “he’ll remember it the rest of his life.”
I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t even know if that conversation is why I ended up doing it (much later than I should have), but I’m glad I did.
Because, and I wish I knew this five years ago, you don’t have to be Joe Torre or Phil Jackson. Just be there for the kids, teach them the basics, have fun and hopefully leave them with an enjoyment of whatever sport you’re coaching. That’s pretty much it.
I mean at some age you have to really know what you’re doing, right? In AAU or high-level travel, you have to have some skills. But I’m talking youth basketball, soccer, flag football, and the aforementioned tee ball. Just being there is like 90% of it. Town sports when the kids are young. Just be there!
You get to see your kids interact up close with their friends. You meet their friends’ parents. You have something to bond over, hopefully, something they really enjoy. Something to bond over that doesn't involve the latest YouTube video they're watching.
This all may seem like simple stuff, but I feel like really I missed out by not being more involved in the coaching earlier. And having this dumb idea that you have to be some perfect coach - you don’t.
And I’m mentioning it here today in case you're on the fence about being a coach, assistant coach, team helper, GameChanger scorekeeper (what a great app), whatever. You will not regret it. In fact, you’ll avoid the regret I have about not coaching earlier.
On our Saratoga content for the summer…
A quick but important programming note: In an effort to separate the Friday Four-Pack and just strictly Saratoga content, we’ve created StackCapping. You’ll see that tab now live at the top of MutStack.com. It will act as its own newsletter for daily Saratoga content, picks, shows, etc for the summer. And like your subscription here, it is free for the summer. After Saratoga, it will act as the place to do more sports-betting-specific content. At least, that's the plan.
You can expect a daily Two Minute Picks video with a pick or an idea for that day’s card at Saratoga, posted and emailed out around noon each day of racing at Saratoga. You’ll get that emailed to you from StackCapping. That video will include a few other thoughts on the card and a recap of the day prior.
I’m not a public handicapper and will not be posting full-card picks every day, but big Saturdays for sure, along with other summer racing-centric content and picks outside of the daily videos. Hopefully with some good guests. And some other cool stuff.
It’s 40 days of racing and I understand you might not be interested in a daily Saratoga or racing email. And some of you might be here just for that!
So, beginning on Saturday
IF YOU WANT TO SUBSCRIBE TO STACKCAPPING AND GET DAILY SARATOGA COVERAGE - It’s simple…well as simple as I can make it without subscribing everyone to a new newsletter. Here it goes.
1. Not subscribed at all? Subscribe now to MutStack. This will get you both the Friday Four-Pack and StackCapping going forward. Here ya go.
That’s it. Just enter your email and you're subscribed for free! You get it all!
2. Now, if you're already subscribed to Mutstack - Click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email or any Friday Four Pack. I know, sounds insane for me to type that but trust me. That will take you to this page
Just click the little button next to StackCapping and make it turn green. Now you're subscribed. Simple. You can always use that link in the email to change your subscription preferences.
You can do it from mobile, desktop, the Substack app. Easy.
Full disclosure, I hope you'll subscribe to both, but wanted to lay that out for you and make it as easy as possible. Not sure if I did, but that is the goal.
So, what will our Two Minute Picks videos look like? Well here’s today’s for Opening Day 2023
It’s a tough card even without the wet weather looming, but I’ll tweet out some ideas during the day as we get a better read on the weather @MikeMutnansky.
Okay fine, a few ideas here.
In the opener, I have to lose a few bucks on #7 Ocean Gateway. 7-1-6. You don’t have to bet a lot, but you do have to bet the first race of the meet.
In the 4th if they stay on the turf, I’ll trust Mike Maker keeping #4 Star Devine going long. Could go gate-to-wire at a price.
Race 7 Dick Dutrow is back baby! Irad jumps on #5 Sa Fordada and 4-1 is a fair price for me.
We’ll see about the turf late...BUT…if they stay on with just the usual sort of rain, I’ll be happy to be single ‘A” to #7 Arisema in the finale. Backups would be #4 and #10. But it’s like 5:45AM lets see how the weather plays today.
We’ll recap opening day and have some Friday thoughts around noon tomorrow. See above to make sure you’re subscribed to the StackCapping feed.
And if you’re looking for my spicy takes on the 2023 New England Patriots, I was a guest on Andrew Callahan’s Pats Interference Podcast. Some good inside stuff from Andrew. Listen here or find it, well, wherever you listen to podcasts.
Thanks for reading. Good luck if you’re playing today.
Here’s Tom Durkin walking you through Saratoga. Because.