Home Field Advantage By Sport

Home field advantage is usually perceived to be a major factor that plays a significant role in the outcomes of games. In general, teams usually post a bettor winning percentage at home compared to on the road. However, when it comes to sports betting, home field advantage must be analyzed to determine how much quantifiable impact it will have on the outcome of a game. Additionally, the extent of home field advantage differs drastically between the various professional sports leagues in North America. In this article, we will look at the home field advantage by sport.

Football – NFL and NCAAF

In football, home field advantage often presents itself in the form of the noise from the crowd, the size of the stadium, and the weather. Playing at game tends to provide an edge for the home team due to the added adrenaline and energy boost from the home crowd, the relative feeling of comfort within the friendly confines of the home stadium, and the familiarity with the weather surrounding the home city. For away teams playing on the road, the most significant factor is the amount of travel required, which can result in added wear-and-tear on the bodies of players. Additionally, if an away team is used to playing in warm weather in its home city, travelling and playing in a city with extremely cold weather on game day could result in a major handicap for the away team.

Baseball – MLB

In baseball, having home field advantage is not nearly as big an advantage as football or basketball. The major advantage of home field is that the home team bats last, which may convey a strategic advantage. Additionally, teams in baseball tend to construct their roster based on the advantages that may come about as a result of the ballpark. If the ballpark is large and spacious with lots of room in the outfield, a team may be inclined to sign flyball starting pitchers and focus on having strong defensive outfielders. On the other hand, is the ballpark has a short porch in right field, the team may look for strong left-handed hitters who will be able to take advantage of the short porch. Travel does not impact away teams as much since teams often stay for two or three nights during road games.

Basketball – NBA and NCAAB

In basketball, home court advantage is the greatest among the sports discussed in this article. First off, travel has a huge negative impact on road teams due to the short turnaround time between games. Additionally, having back-to-back road games or three games in four nights could seriously wear out a team in the second legs of these trips. Home teams also have the backing of their crowds behind them. However, this must be analyzed specifically for each team. Is the home court advantage conveyed by fans for the Golden State Warriors really similar to the one provided by fans of the Phoenix Suns? Lastly, the home crowd may infer an unconscious bias on the part of basketball officials. When you’re constantly being heckled due to the fact that fans are able to sit extremely close to courtside, referees, especially ones with less experience, may be affected by this and end up making close calls for the home team’s side.

Hockey – NFL

Out of the four sports discussed, home field “advantage” is the least for hockey. Although the noise from the home crowd along with the travel times for the road team may provide the home team with a slight advantage, the advantage is relatively small compared to other sports. It is not uncommon to witness teams in the playoffs being down 3–0 and subsequently storming back to win the series 4–3. In basketball, this is completely unheard of. Similarly, the ice itself and the layout of the arena is relatively similar from team to team, since the ice and temperature inside the arena are both controlled.