For the Bears, Nagging Doubts Persist

For the Bears, Nagging Doubts Persist

That was my attempt at a New York Post headline. My nickname, The Knish, is now on the site. The name originated as an homage to the movie Rounders. A friend pointed out that my NFL betting style mirrored that of Knish in Rounders. I am methodical—a grinder. I prefer to apply small edges over a large sample and take home my profit. In 24 years, I have never had a lock, nor have I ever seen one. 

In honor of the nickname, I will start this article about Matt Nagy with a quote from that movie, “If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half-hour at the table, then you are the sucker.” Yeah, Matt, you are the sucker. Or perhaps we are? You enthralled us with the way you misappropriated nerd culture in the NFL. You were supposed to call the game correctly. You were supposed to be metrics Matt, champion of nerd-ball. Now, I am not even certain you can count.

You failed. You do not seem to understand modern offense at all. Your offenses were predictable. It has been speculated that you crumbled under your self-doubt – you froze under the lights. I doubt that. Ali said it best, “[t]he fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” I suspect it was something far worse than self-doubt. 

I think you are a fraud, Matt. Rather than be exposed, you sent Mitch Trubisky into the lion’s den again and again. Then, miraculously, you got Justin Fields on your roster. That had to terrify you. You had bragged endlessly about your genius. Now you had the player to prove it. You knew you were going to be exposed. So, defying all comprehension, you hid behind Andy Dalton. 

What you did last week to Fields was despicable. Your game-plan was juvenile. And everyone knows it, that is not a secret. Everyone also knows it was purposeful so that you could hide behind Dalton a little longer. 

They are correct. And you are going to ruin Fields. I do not need to speculate. Numbers, the numbers you swore allegiance to, will prove my case beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Since you arrived in Chicago after coat-tailing Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, as a self-professed offensive guru, here is where your offenses ranked:

You let everybody blame Mitch. So you benched him for Nick Foles. That dude beat Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl. Yet, it did not improve your offense at all. It got so bad last season; your offense ranked in the bottom five in points and yards. 

You responded by taking play-calling duties away from yourself and letting Bill Lazor run the show. Over the final seven games, with Bill in charge, your team averaged 27.7 points per game. Mitch even quarterbacked the final six games. Before that, your offense, under your play calling, averaged 19.7. I want to remind you that last year produced record-setting scoring—the highest-scoring season in league history. And your offense, Matt, was subpar for a low-scoring season. Bill was eight points better than you with your scheme and your team. With Mitch. You made the playoffs. Damn, that had to sting. 

Then, in the offseason, you announce you are taking back play-calling duties. What Bill did worked, and you ended it. Why? Is this sabotage?

You also announced that you are starting Andy Dalton. In the preseason, Mitch Trubisky came to town. Sure, it was the preseason, but he smoked you. In his first four drives, the Bills’ first four drives, he led the team to a touchdown.

Here are his stats:

How come the Bills could figure out in one offseason how to use Mitch while you never could? You knew him inside and out. Why couldn’t you figure out how to stop him?

Through three games this season, your offense, under your control, is averaging 12.3 points. That is not a typo. I ask again, why did you take play-calling back, away from Bill? What he did, worked last season. What you do, has never worked. Last week your offense averaged 1.1 yards per play, and you got Fields sacked nine times. You averaged 1.1 yards per play. That is not a typo. You would only need 9.09 plays to get a single first down. Glaciers are more efficient. Typically, I would find this comical. But as horrible as I know that you are at coaching, you cannot be that bad. That had to be intentional. You can never come back from that, Nagy.

You refused to even scheme a back to chip Garrett. You let Fields take a beating. That was intentional. That was despicable. You are despicable. You offend me.

This is all on you, Nagy. You hid at first behind Reid but took credit for Mahomes acclimation. You wrecked Trubisky, then hid behind Dalton. Now you are trying to wreck Fields. You are really bad at coaching. You have been exposed. The Emporer wears no clothes. It would be best if you did the respectable thing, resign in disgrace.

It is all you have left.

As Papa Wallenda said, life is on the wire, the rest is just waiting. You seem perfectly content waiting, hiding.

What Does This Mean From a Betting Perspective

The Bears are hosting the Lions this week. On September 21, 2021, the line was Chicago -6. The line has been brought down to Chicago -3. This is not an insignificant move. The line moved off a key number, six, and down onto another key number, three. There is no resistance to this move – nobody is moving in and taking the Bears at the lower number. Bizarrely, backing the Bears at the lower number sets up as an excellent contrarian move on paper. The line move represents almost 30% of value off of the prior number. 

At this point, it is worth asking yourself what has changed since September 21, 2021, that impacts your view of the teams on the field. And is that worth three points? The move is also a reflection of the increased opinion of Detroit. It took an NFL record-smashing 66-yard field goal by Justin Tucker and a friendly crossbar bounce for Baltimore to beat the Lions last week. The Lions have also played better than expected in the first three games. They are getting knocked down but biting kneecaps on their way back up.  

The Lions are getting almost all of the action. My numbers suggest they have 80% of the tickets and 95% of the cash this week. The market has shunned Nagy and the Bears. 

This really could not have happened at a less opportune time for me. The model, aware that the Bears were awful last week but unaware of the storm surrounding Nagy, believes the Lions win outright. 

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears (-3, 42.5)

Typically, when my model predicts an underdog, it is an automatic spread and moneyline side. I have pause this week because I cannot remember another situation where the model is on a dog to win outright, and I am still getting the worst numbers available. This number will not drop below three. This is the most expensive price one can pay to back the Lions and the lowest price on the Bears. 

All of the math tells me to take the Lions moneyline. The logic tells me it was +195 a week ago, and I missed the value boat. I will have a final position on this game in my weekly projections for all games.

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