From the 1995 City to Surf fun run, Australia’s premiere foot race, a 14 kilometer trek through Hyde Park in Central Sydney into the Pacific Ocean, a 19-year-old guy suffered a cardiac arrest to the finishing line and later died. 600 people were treated for minor issues and 200 were treated by physiotherapists.
“The people who get into trouble are the highly motivated amateurs who train at the cool of the day and are not ready for competition”
Dr. Rowley Richards
It surely doesn’t require a doctor to point out the pains of physical activity in extreme heat. I’m sure, at some point in time each and every one of us has over-exerted ourselves in the warmth, even if this means a frantic sprint to the evaporating ice cream truck. In actuality, it’s no secret that soccer players are the best conditioned athletes in the world — because they must be. Consider running for 60 minutes in an open air arena on the equator, or the deserts of northern Africa. Even better, try it with full helmet and pads at a pre-season NFL experience in Phoenix, Arizona in August. It’s no wonder that the Arizona Cardinals get three of the first four matches of each season on the road.
After this simple human reality, it would follow football, as in marathons or any other athletic event, that better conditioned athletes will fare better in extreme heat than diminished conditioned athletes. While oddsmakers take several factors into consideration when determining pointspreads, it’s reasonable to say that better teams are better, at least in part, due to superior physical conditioning.
The most successful training camp at the 1998 season, (our evaluation season), concerning attendance and commitment from the players, was the Denver Broncos. Fresh off their 1997 Superbowl win, where physical conditioning was the deciding factor in the pit, as Denver’s lightweight but well conditioned O-Line simply dominated Green Bay’s big but relatively out-of-shape D-Line, the Broncos went back into the key well that had given them the extra edge when it mattered most, and it paid off again.
We’re not surprised when a stronger and better conditioned athlete dominates in the ring, or in a foot race, so why should we be surprised when greater softball soccer players win on the soccer field, particularly when the elements demand a superior work. In actuality, that’s precisely the reality in the modern NFL, as league parity reduces the gap in talent, it’s intangibles, like physical conditioning, which give some teams an edge on a few days.
In actuality, of both up fav losses, one was Carolina dropping as a house favorite to Atlanta in week 1, but bear in mind, the Falcons went on to play at the Super Bowl that year. Another event, was a 13-7 loss, Tennessee their Nashville debut at Vanderbilt Stadium in week two against The Chargers, which appears to be the only true exception to the rule.
What’s more, the hotter it got, the more widespread the phenomenon became. There were six games in 1998 in which the temperature hit as large as 90 degrees at game time. They were;
Now, there are amazing similarities between all six of the above hotties, besides they hit 90 degrees or greater at match time. Most assuredly, all six matches saw the favorite manage the heat a lot better than the lesser team of the day and win handily over the underdog. The favorites had a 6-0 ATS mark over the underdogs once the heat was on. In actuality, the underdogs in those 6 matches had difficulties catching more than simply their breath, as none of the underdogs in one of these games enrolled over 16 points. In actuality, combined, the underdogs in those 6 competitions scored just 57 points, or, 9.5 per game average. The favorites in those 6 matches could benefit from fatigued defenses, as the favorites combined for a whopping 161 points in those 6 games, compared to only 57 allowed.
Another interesting property of warmth is its debilitating effects with time. This is a really intriguing question, and one, which could unlock the door to untold opportunities. Consider the outcomes of the next graph, which is a breakdown of scoring by quarter by both the favorite, underdog and cumulative scoring at the six sexy games combined.
Quarter . 1st 2nd . 1st Half . 3rd 4th . Total .
Favorite . 30 41 . 71 .
Underdog . 3 7 . 10 . 21 26 . 57 .
TOTAL . 33 48 . 81 . 55 82 . 218 .
I don’t have to tell you the startling implications of the above graph, and what it might mean to half-time lines and totals. But should we be surprised? I guess it really is not rocket science to conclude that a hot game could have a predictable impact on both teams defenses as the match wore on, but sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. The favorite has been dominate a sexy game from cable to cable, but even the superior defense starts to weaken as the match progresses, and points become more plentiful.
It’s also not surprising that things are tough to find in these matches, as groups prefer to pound the line and wear down the defense in favor of sending their receivers on deep jaunts. Under the Total played in 67 percent of our 90 level higher or games, which was consistent with hot games overall, as Under the Total was the outcome in 67 percent of games where the game time temperature was 86 degrees or higher.