It’s not an exact science but home field advantage has been a popular theme for both fans and gamblers alike. Teams from any sport seem to enjoy a slightly better chance at winning when at home and in the NFL it’s no different. In sports, this concept describes the alleged benefit home teams get over the opposition. There have been no hard scientific evidence as to why home teams seem to perform better but this popular theory has been a staple amongst sports fans and gamblers.
Home Field Advantage: Myth or Fact?
The home field advantage concept has been accepted as a near fact among sports fans and analysts everywhere. In fact, the Football Freakonomics study in 2011 released numbers for the five major North American professional sports leagues and about 59% of teams win at home. For the NFL, 57.3% of home teams win. Yet there really isn’t any hard science behind this. The conventional knowledge dictates that football teams enjoy advantages at home for the following reasons:
- The fans and noise level greatly benefit them especially in stadiums like Seattle’s CenturyLink Field or Kansas City’s Arrohead Stadium, which are designed to amplify fan noise
- Visiting teams may be more fatigued from the travel and time zone changes
- Referee bias: officials may make more favourable calls for the home team
- Psychology: players may play better at the safe confines of home
But there really is no hard data to back up any of these reasons except for one: officiating. A study by Moscowitz and Wertheim found officials slightly give preferential treatment for the home team. And a little help from the refs can go a long way.
Using Home Field to your Advantage
Since we now know home teams have a higher success ratio playing at home, we’ve covered the first step to using this to our advantage. The next steps all depend on your betting style but keep these in mind:
Bet the home dogs
Betting on underdogs in the NFL can be profitable since they return above a 1:1 ratio and only nailing around 40% of the bets leads to positive returns long-term. With extra research on how well the team plays at home (and how their opponent plays on the road), you can bet underdogs more effectively.
Not all home fields are made equal
Not all home stadiums are as beneficial to their hosts as others. Like earlier examples, the Seahawks and Chiefs get the biggest help because their crowd makes it hellacious for the opponent to communicate but other teams whose fan base may not be as loud won’t be able to give the same advantage.
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