Football

Regardless of how great the 2019 Bears defense is supposed to be, the success of the team will ultimately rely on the play of third-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. This could be a problem if Trubisky’s advanced metrics from the 2018 season are any indication of future performance. To be clear, I am convinced #10 for the Bears will be markedly better this season, however, an advanced look into his stats for the 2018 season do not paint the prettiest picture for an organization that has never truly had an elite passer under center.

So, before you make your Super Bowl reservations, I took a deep dive inside some numbers from last season that go way beyond your layman QB stats:

Deep Ball Accuracy

  • Despite ranking #8 in all of the NFL in Deep Ball Attempts, Trubisky ranked #29 in Deep Ball Completion rate at 29.6%. This number shows Matt Nagy’s confidence in his QB and his own system, the problem is that the coaches’ confidence is not being rewarded by the signal caller. Deep balls are most often first read throws, which further makes this statistic problematic. I don’t anticipate the number on attempts changing much this season, so the accuracy on these throws must be better if the Bears are to return to the playoffs and make a deep run.

True Passer Rating

  • This rating is essentially a QBR without unpressured throwaways and dropped passes. Trubisky ranked #26 last season in True Passer Rating – ouch. The vast difference in Trubisky’s QBR (72.8) vs. True Passer Rating (84.3) is mostly related to the amount of passes dropped by his receivers, a number in which the Bear pass catching corps was the 5th best in the league. For years, people would blame Jay Cutler’s lack of success on his lack of talented pass catchers – which was a fair point – the same cannot be said for Mitch.

True Completion Percentage

  • The Bears QB was ranked 25th league-wide with a True Completion Percentage of 68.5%. Much like the True Passer Rating above, this advanced stat shows you just how good the Bears receivers were last year and just where Trubisky really ranked amongst the entire league.

Accuracy Rating

  • This stat grades a QB’s accuracy for each throw on a scale of 1-4. Mitch Trubisky ranked #17 overall in this category with a rating of 2.9. As a reference, a rating above 3.0 is considered highly accurate. As such, this is a very promising number; and one that I think will increase this year based not only on Mitch’s continued improvement, but also the health and improvement of the receiving unit and finally, the addition by subtraction of Jordan Howard.

Using the above mentioned advanced stats, as well as many, many more, two intriguing conclusions have been made:

  1. Mitch Trubisky’s career currently compares most favorably to…wait for it…Touchdown Teddy Bridgewater.
  2. Trubisky’s overall production, based on advanced metrics, places him as the equivalent of a late 4th round draft pick.

In sports, you are who your stats say you are, but I cannot believe there is any way I would want Bridgewater as the quarterback of this team instead of Trubisky. In fact, I wouldn’t even want a healthy 2015 version of Bridgewater over the Bears #10 right now.

Moreover, drafting Trubisky in the late 4th round would be the steal of the 2017 draft and probably most other drafts. Keep in mind that this projection is based only on the previous years’ stats and do not provide a career projection.

After digesting numerous advanced metrics and trying to make sense of it all, I am at the same place I was before I started, I’m just more certain now – Mitch Trubisky’s accuracy will be the key to a successful 2019 season for the Chicago Bears.

 

 

 

 

Football

As everyone knows, the nationwide attention given to the legalization of sports gaming in many states has provided yet another avenue for the NFL to increase its already robust popularity. Twitter is filled with as many “gambling gurus” as there are “models.” As a veteran gambler and former professional football player, I can tell you one thing: anyone who is charging for their gambling picks is a hack. There is no doubt that there a few guys out there who have been super successful over a long period of time. These types of guys don’t share their picks with anyone; much less whore them out on twitter. These guys have made more than enough money gambling that they certainly don’t need the “$85 Tuesday Night MAC-tion Play of the Year!!!”

During this year’s NCAA and NFL seasons, I will be giving out my picks for free. Of course, I can’t make any promises on winnings, and frankly, I don’t really care if you win or not, but I can share with you that I have never had a gambling season under 53%. I think I can help you make some money, but so does Eddie O with his horse(shit) picks and I think I’m roughly 1-73 when taking his advice on the ponies. But that’s neither here nor there.

In my previous life and a professional athlete, I learned a lot about what to expect from a team going into a game. My biggest gambling takeaways from my experiences are this:

  • Teams take on the personality of their coach.
  • Always pay attention to the previous game as well as the following week’s game.
  • If you are unsure on a pick, don’t bet it. But if you hell-bent on betting it, always take the NFL home dog.
  • If you are a trends guy, then only look at the current season. Previous years trends are for losers.
  • Never, ever bet on pre-season games.

Back in my Arena Football League playing days, I would never bet a game that I was playing in. Not because I couldn’t or didn’t want to, but because I had too much respect for my coach and my teammates. However, I would often give family and friends my insight on games and they were free to place a bet if they so choose.

Another gambling story from my playing days was when the University of North Carolina Tar Heels were playing in the Las Vegas Bowl. Our first day there, we were given a stern lecture by a Caesar’s Palace sportsbook manager about how gambling spreads are not a prediction of who was going to win the game, but a way to get two sides to bet evenly on a line. While this thinking is most likely true, the two statements are not mutually exclusive. I feel that an opening line is the truest indication of a final score. The movements in the line then account for the books to get equal action on each side.

Finally, as a gambling side note, here’s a quick story: The Las Vegas Bowl is the greatest bowl game around. You can have your Sugar and Fiesta Bowls; I’ll take playing the Las Vegas Bowl every time. I could fill pages and pages with stories from that week, but in the interest of time and to cater to our readers 2nd grade attention spans, I’ll only share one:

Every day after bowl practice, we were given per diem. This would amount to the value of all our meals and incidental expenses. Every day, without fail, you would have 100 guys take this brown per diem envelope and make a bee-line to the tables. As the entire, and mostly underage, UNC football team was playing blackjack, craps, and roulette, I saddle up to a good friend of mine (who will remain nameless) to play roulette. What I saw next is something I will never, ever forget. My man, who was an All-American and 2x Pro Bolwer, began betting on both red and black at the same time. I see this and I’m like “What the fuck are you doing? It is literally impossible for you to win!” What he said next was either the dumbest or smartest thing I’ve ever heard – to this day I’m still not sure. He looks at me with 1000% seriousness and says “Dawg, you don’t get free drinks if you’re not gambling and I’m not here to not get fucked up.”

Now, almost 20 years and 40 trips to Vegas later, I cannot walk past a roulette table and think to myself “I’m not here to not get fucked up.”