Do The Miami Dolphins Really Have A Home Field Advantage In September?

Miami gets hot especially in September when the NFL season starts. 

Sometimes opposing teams can’t handle the non-stop blast of humidity that has a sauna-like feel to it. In a matchup earlier this season, the Buffalo Bills bench was exposed to the sun down at Hard Rock Stadium and quarterback Josh Allen looked like he was about to collapse after a 21-19 loss to the Dolphins.

But, does the heat and humidity really give the Miami Dolphins a home field advantage in September?

Home ScoreVisitor ScoreRecord 
September 12.732.02-7
Non-September 25.520.114-6

Figure 1: Average home score (Dolphins), visitor score, and record by the Miami Dolphins in September games between Week 1, 2019 through Week 5, 2022 

It turns out that the sweltering heat has negative effect on the Dolphins’ performance over the past three seasons. On average, the Dolphins were outscored by nearly 20 points in home September games and posted a mediocre 2-7 record. 

These September losses include 49 and 43 point drubbings to the Ravens and Patriots respectively. However, it should be noted that the Dolphins were the Vegas favorite in just one of these seven games (not expected to win).

On the flip side, the Dolphins record jumps to 14-6 in non-September home games, which is among the best in the NFL. In these games, the Dolphins outscored their opponents by an average of 5.4 points. 

For reference, Tom Brady’s Buccaneers posted a 3-3 record in home September games and went a fairly average 13-11 in non-September home games over the last three seasons. Vegas favored Tampa bay in 75% of these latter home matchups.

Team September Record (Home) Non-September Record (Home) 
Tampa bay3-313-11
Jacksonville 3-45-15
Carolina 3-44-17

Figure 2: September and non-September records for “southern” NFL teams (non-dome) for Week 1, 2019 through Week 5, 2022

Non-dome “southern” teams went a mediocre 11-18 in September home games over the last three seasons.

To be fair, two of these teams, the Jaguars and Panthers, posted 9 and 11 wins respectively between Week 1, 2019 through Week 5, 2022. However, they combined for 6 wins in September home games showing that the temperature and humidity in Jacksonville and Charlotte could have negatively impacted their opponents’ performance.

Who Flew To Japan This Summer? 

On October 11th (2022), Japan fully re-opened its borders to the world making it one of the last countries to lift Covid-19 travel restrictions. Before this announcement, tight travel regulations capped the number of foreign arrivals here.  

This past June, the most popular non-domestic arrivals came from cities like Manilla, Bangkok, and Los Angeles combining for 191 flights to Tokyo International Airport (RJTT).

However, nearly 60% of all arrivals to Tokyo International were domestic during the month. 

Japan 58.2

Figure 1: 15,270 arrivals to Tokyo International in June, 2022 (RJTT) 

The dark map below shows flight departures to Tokyo International. You can see a smattering of dots in Europe, North America, and other parts of Asia but you’ll notice that Japan shines the brightest. 

Airport# Flights 
Los Angeles (KLAX)60
New York (KJFK)56
Chicago (KORD)43
San Francisco (KSFO33
Atlanta (KATL) 16

Figure 2: The number of flights US flights departing to Tokyo International in June, 2022

Expect a spike in travel from the US and Europe to Japan this fall and winter with the lifted travel restrictions. 

How Can I Fly to Sapporo? 

Sapporo, located in northern Japan, is even more secluded. 

The best way to fly to Sapporo is by catching a flight from Hakodate Airport (6.7% flight departures) located in Hokkaido. You could try to book a flight from Tokyo but it’s much more difficult. 

Sapporo is known for skiing on the slopes of Mount Moiwa and is also a great place to find good crab and sushi. As shown below, the majority of flights are clustered in the north of Japan where Sapporo is located. 

Some are saying that the Covid-19 pandemic is over and that 2023 will bring a new normal return to domestic and international travel. But, in reality, a new variant could shut down travel again- so it might be best to book a flight to Japan now. 

Which Home Favorites Cover The Most Spreads In Football?

Sports betting is unpredictable.

The legalization of gambling in states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Colorado (and many others) open a new market for novice bettors. And, many of these bettors like to gamble on the favored team.

However, even when you think there is no way that the San Francisco 49ers don’t cover a 10.5 point spread against the Atlanta Falcons (December 15th, 2019) – stranger things can happen and often do in the NFL where the difference between a good and mediocre team is sometimes blurred.

Home TeamHome Wins CoverGamesHome Wins Cover %

Figure 1: Percentage of home wins covered (when favored) for NFL games between Week 1, 2019 through Week 5, 2022.

Until this season, Green Bay was a good bet when favored at home covering nearly 67% of spreads over 29 games. Other heavyweights like Buffalo, Philadelphia, and New England covered over 50% of spreads when favored at home in a combined 60 games.

On the flip side, other playoff contenders including Dallas, Seattle, and Tampa Bay were favored at home in a combined 67 games between Week 1, 2019 through Week 5, 2022 and on average covered less 50% of these games. 

There is no exact science to sports betting and whether to bet on the favorite or underdog. But, these numbers do suggest that taking favorite isn’t a sure bet.

In fact, the favored home team covered only 45.3% of point spreads in a sample of 369 games between Week 1, 2019 through Week 5, 2022. Even professional sports bettors struggle to find an edge with this unpredictability.

How American Defense Companies Benefit From War

In January, 2022, the Motley Fool, an investing website, recommended Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies as smart defense companies to buy in the coming year.

Keep in mind that this investing nugget pre-dated the Russian-Ukraine War. Anyone that took this advice at the beginning of the year and invested in these defense companies saw a high return in investment.

Before the war, Lockheed Martin was already supplying F-16 Vipers to Ukraine as early as June, 2021. The defense company is now supplying Ukraine with weapons like Javelin MANPADS and HIMARS MLRS.

And this past August, Raytheon won a $182 million contract to produce a medium range air defense system adding to existing weapons for Ukraine.  

Figure 1: Lockheed Martin’s closing stock price starting from October, 24 (2021) through October, 24 (2022).

The Ukraine-Russian War unofficially began on February, 24th (2022). As soon as CNN and other outlets broke the news, major American defense companies stock prices jumped significantly when the stock market reopened on Monday, February 28th.

Company February 24th, 2022 February 28th, 2022 
Raytheon $94.24$102.7
Lockheed Martin$395.7$433.8
Northrop Grumman$395.5$442.1
General Dynamics$218.5$234.5

Figure 2: Closing stock price (closing) of large American defense companies between February, 24th through February, 28th.

Even before the war started, the global defense industry had been forecast to rise 7% in 2022. The biggest risk to investors, as explained by Richard Aboulafia, managing director of US defense consultancy AeroDynamic Advisory, is that “the whole thing is revealed to be a Russian house of cards and the threat dissipates”.

With no signs of that happening, defense companies are benefiting in several ways. As well as directly selling arms to the warring sides and supplying other countries that are donating arms to Ukraine, they are going to see extra demand from nations such as Germany and Denmark who have said they will raise their defense spending.

With no indication of cease fire on the horizon, the US recently granted Ukraine a two-year freeze on $20 billion overseas debt.

But, the sad reality is that investing in defense stocks like Lockheed-Martin can raise ethical concerns. Military companies directly benefit from Russia’s attack and likely have the political sway to influence the US government’s military stance in Ukraine and other countries like Poland. 

Joe Burrow Is Still Taking A Beating

It’s no secret that Joe Burrow hasn’t had it easy in the NFL. He has been sacked 120 times in just 1257 pass attempts in his short career. 

One of his hardest hit games came agains the Tennessee Titans in the AFC divisional round when he was sacked 9 times- and yet still found a way to complete 28 of 37 passes in a 19-16 win. 

Figure 1: Pass attempts per sack. Regular season games played between Week 1, 2019 through Week 5, 2022 

*Minimum 400 pass attempts

This summer, the Sporting News ranked the Bengals offensive line 7th in the NFL after the free agent acquisitions of Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La’el Collins claiming that these burly bodies “would rebuild the right side of the Bengals’ line”, which was a massive problem for the team last year after Riley Reiff was injured. 

Figure 2: Pass attempts per sack distribution. Regular season games played between Week 1, 2019 through Week 5, 2022 

On the field, these offensive line pickups have done little to protect Burrow. He has been sacked 24 times through October, 23rd, which among the highest in the NFL. 

Last night, Tom Brady set the record for most sacks in history (556 career sacks). And yet, he is among the best protected passers in the game. 

Let’s compare Tom Brady and Burrow’s pass protection. 

Since 2019, Burrow has been blitzed and hurried on every 3.8 and 12.4 pass attempts respectively. By comparison, Brady is getting blitzed at the same rate but was hurried on just every 17.4 pass attempts. 

Brady signed in Tampa Bay with the knowledge (and perhaps the contract stipulation) that his offensive line would buy him time to make throws. Burrow did not have this choice as the number one draft pick in the spring of 2020 drafted from LSU. 

Here is Brady using a play-action fake in the Super Bowl with no Chiefs defensive end within three feet of him. 

And here is Burrow scrambling out of a collapsed pocket early in the wildcard matchup against Las Vegas last season. 

Remarkably, Burrow is still posting a 15 to 5 touchdown to interception ratio through Week 7 and most recently played his best football in wins against the Saints and Falcons. 

James Harden Doesn’t Draw Fouls Like He Used To

The NBA is tired of explaining James Harden’s shooting fouls. In the fall of 2021, a new rule changed Harden’s (and other players) ability to draw “ticky-tacky” shooting fouls. 

Undoubtedly, Harden is a shooting foul creator- an artist at his craft like Greg Maddox, who mastered the art of the changeup in the 1990s. One of Harden’s favorite tactics is to “fish-hook” his defender by grabbing the arm thus tricking the referee into calling a shooting foul. Specially, the NBA league office (and referees) are targeting plays “where players use their leg or off-arm to initiate contact.” 

At his peak, Harden was an artist at ramming his arm and leg into his defender -and often the slightest contact resulted in a shooting foul. Harden complained that he was a “poster-boy” of this rule change. Last season, Harden drew 8.2 free throw attempts per game down over three attempts from his peak during the 2019-20 season. 

Trae Young, a point guard on Atlanta Hawks, has also been impacted by the rule change- attempting 1.5 fewer free throws per game last season compared to 2020-21. 

Is this rule change fair? In most cases, yes because simply “throwing yourself into a defender” shouldn’t be worthy of a call. It’s like spilling hot McDonald’s coffee on your blouse and claiming the coffee was brewed “too hot.” In the words of Bryce Harper, “That’s a clown question bro.” 

This isn’t the first time the NBA League office has manipulated the game. It’s known that former commissioner David Stern dictated how referees called the game- star players like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan got away with traveling and borderline fouls. Stern is linked to using a “frozen envelope” to land the Knicks Patrick Ewing in the 1985 NBA Draft. No other referee was suspended or barred from the league in 2007 after Tim Donaghy was linked to “fixing” games. ** 

Obviously, limiting Harden’s bizarre fish hooking antics aren’t the same as hiding evidence against other referees or manipulating the draft. Harden no longer has the golden ticket to the charity strip. Still, expect him to continue to refine his dribble, drive and jumper to create “natural” contact with the defender. 

The website FiveThirtyEight projects Harden to accumulate 8.5 wins above replacement in 2023 higher than Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard. But, even if he puts up MVP-lite numbers, will he have enough juice to spark the 76ers in playoffs? Harden’s playoff resume is weak. Performances like a 3 for 16 shooting performance against Golden State in the 2015 playoffs have occurred. 

He couldn’t drill a three-pointer in a critical game 7 four years later. After joining 76ers, Harden shot 32.6% from beyond the arc nearly 4% lower than his career average. Limited drives to the rim and instead his three-point game (injury). Per 100 possessions, Harden was +8.7 on court. *** 

Harden is evolving. He favors the midrange jumper, no longer getting foul calls on threes like he did in Houston. Right now, he might appear out of shape-winded at time running up and down the court. 

But, he is an expert at reading the floor and putting himself between the defender and the basket-fish hook or no fish hook. Daryl Morey, the GM of the Philadelphia 76ers, is just hoping that Harden is healthy and brings positive vibes before Joel Embiid’s championship window closes. 

*This shooting foul rule change isn’t nefarious 

** Donaghy received ~$30,000 for fixing games (but he definitely received more payout)

***The Philadelphia 76ers were +7.6 when Harden was off-court in 2022 (post-trade deadline) 

Everybody Flies To Atlanta 

Quietly (or perhaps not), Atlanta is the cultural hub of America. And, it’s also the domestic flight capital of America. 

It’s a city of celebrities, rap icons, and athletes. 

From Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, you can fly to 210 different destinations-big or small. Regular flights exist to small cities like Greenville, Savanah-Hilton Head, and Birmingham.  

Flights regularly depart to LaGuardia, Fort Lauderdale, and Philadelphia. Nearly 5% of flights are international- a high percentage but not the same International traffic as Miami (KMIA). 

The world is open from Atlanta. Take a flight to Luxembourg or Dublin or Sao Paulo or Barcelona or Athens…in total 52 international destinations * 

On the East Coast, the longest flight from Atlanta is to Montreal (130 minutes).***

Figure 1: Median flight time (minutes) for flights departing from Atlanta (Eastern Time Zone cities).

Delta controls over 60% of all departures from Atlanta trailed by Southwest Airlines (9.3%), Endeavor Air (6.1), and Spirit Airlines (2.7%). In July, Spirit was bought by Jet Blue making the US airline industry into more of a monopoly. * 

Figure 2: Popular departure destinations from Atlanta in late August, 2022

The Atlanta based airline flies to pretty much any US hub- Los Angeles, LaGuardia, Boston, Denver, Charlotte… The now defunct Spirit Airlines hub is Fort Lauderdale. 

Compared to other domestic airlines, Delta ranks number one according to the Wall Street Journal and J.D. Power. 

This is high praise for Delta. Then again, the airline industry is a monopoly-fliers pay for extra leg room, olive oil potato chips, and can’t get direct flights from smaller hubs like Pittsburgh or Jacksonville. 

But, in terms of travel flexibility and destinations, Atlanta is one of the best cities to fly in or out, making airports like LaGuardia and Chicago O’Hare feel like hell. 

* The number of International destinations varies by season 

**51 unique airlines fly to and from Atlanta 

*** Median flight time 

You Need Workhorses For October Baseball 

The end of the MLB season is near. 

Contending playoff teams have experienced their share of injuries. Which makes quality starts (6+ innings pitched) so valuable. 

Stretching out an outing into the 6th or 7th inning is no easy feat- and could make the difference between having fresh, springy postseason arms or dead ones. 

Framer Valdez is a sinker and curveball artist. He gets hitters to chase at around 30% pitches outside of the strike zone.* And, he is among the MLB leaders in quality starts this season. **

His sinker induces many ground balls, which plays perfect at homerun friendly Minute Maid Park- especially the Crawford Boxes.* 

Figure 1: MLB leaders in quality starts through 8/31/22 

In 2022, Max Fried, Yu Darvish, and Valdez are among the best at working deep into games. All three happen to pitch on playoff contenders. 

Quality start pitchers defy modern pitch count limits imposed by managers in baseball.  Managers trust their bullpens and why not- an amped-up reliever throwing 95+ mph on the black is almost impossible to hit. 

But, to preserve these bullpen arms for October, you also need Justin Verlander and Valdez to pitch 6+ innings. This puts teams like the Astros at an advantage in the playoffs. 

*Signed on a cheap $3m deal. He is posting a 2.64 ERA over 164 innings through the end of August 

**Valdez plays on the Houston Astros 

Why the Greek Economy Is Always Evergreen 

Talking about Greece-the politics, economy, tourism… never gets old. 

It’s known that the ancient Greeks sailed to different islands, hoped-up on strong wine and a love for adventure before the stormy (and salty) seas capsized the boat. 

Greece owns over 6,000 islands scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Tourists pay good money to eat dorado and sip on raki or a local wine on an island like Santorini or Corfu. 

Long lines form at a ATM machine (60 euro max withdraw) in the summer of 2015 after the economy crashed again

The economy crashed in July, 2015. Greek citizens voted against additional EU austerity measures- the economy improved a bit over time before crashing with Covid 19. 

The tourism sector still provides more opportunities than college. Lawyers, architects migrate to the north in search of work creating a “brain drain.”

Some escaped to the countryside to cities like Rafina, Mandras on the Petalioi Gulf. Others to Larissa, Kakavia- pressing grapes growing olives, oranges, and lemons sold to international food suppliers.

Banks, like EuroBank, quickly ran out of cash. Long-lines formed at the ATM machines. 

Greeks were hoarding Euros at home. In a 2015 New Yorker article, former Greece finance minister Yanis Varoufakis recalls setting in motion what he called a “tragic mechanism” to restrict withdrawals – shutting down the banks and creating a sixty euros ATM withdraw limit. 

Cryptocurrency advocates thought Bitcoin investment would spike in Greece. Some did invest in it. But, it turns out that Greece, like the rest the world, isn’t built for micro Bitcoin transactions. 

Like Italy, Greece did not qualify for the 2022 Fifa World Cup. Two classic teams with brilliant blues will be missed later this year in the desert. 

Greece wins the 2004 Euros

A post-Covid world brought in a boom of tourists despite heat waves that made hotel pools into afternoon chill pads. 

Speedos. Grilled octopus with a lemon, olive oil marinade. A cold Eza Beer*. Life slows down in Greece as the afternoon fades into the early evening.

*Eza Beer is produced is Atalani, which is a town in central Greece

An International World Awaits From Toronto

Toronto (CYYZ) is considered Canada’s international flight hub. 

With a passport, you can take a flight to the Caribbean or to Zurich, Switzerland from Toronto. In late August, it is possible to book flights to 142 unique destinations across the world. 

It was only last September when foreign flights from countries like India were barred entry to Toronto (and Canada). Even though Covid-19 remains, it is much easier to travel to Canada if you are vaccinated this year.

Airline Percentage
Air Canada 25.3
Jazz Airline 17.9
WestJet 13.1
AirCanada Rouge6.5
WestJet Encore 4.2

Figure 1: Percentage of flights departing from Toronto (CYYZ) between Sunday 4:12 PM to Sat 2:56 PM local time (542 total flights)  

Air Canada is considered Canada’s primary airline with regular flights to Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.* From Toronto, the airline flies to 52 different destinations. 

Looking to go abroad? Air Canada transports you to international hubs including London, Seoul, and Frankfurt. 

Jazz Aviation is another airline that flies regularly from Toronto. The airline, commonly shortened to Jazz, is a Canadian regional airline based at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. 

Another popular airline is WestJet- primarily a Canadian carrier flying to Vancouver and Calgary. But, it’s also possible to take trips to Disney (Orlando) and Punta Cana via WestJet. 

From Toronto, you can easily** fly down the east coast corridor. If you don’t have a car or a driver license, it typically takes less than an hour to land at Washington (KIAD), Montreal (CYUL), and Detroit (KDTW).

AirportFlight Time (Minutes) 
Orlando (KMCO)142
Atlanta (KATL)104
Charlotte (KCLT)102
Boston (KBOS)96
LaGuardia (KLGA)68

Figure 2: Median flight time in minutes to popular East Coast destinations from Toronto  (542 flights) 

Figure 3: Popular destinations from Toronto (542 flights) 

Time Zone%

Figure 4: Departures By Time Zone (542 flights) 

* AirCanada Rouge is a low-cost airline like the now defunct Spirit Airlines. Despite its international connections, Air Canada placed outside of CNN Traveler’s Annual 2021 Airline rankings. 

** It seems like there is never an “easy” way to book and fly to another city in a “post-Covid-19” world where delays, cancellations, and pilot walkouts strike down the best planned vacations.