The Power of Home-Field Advantage in Sports Betting
It’s a well-known concept in sports, but it’s often overlooked in sports betting.
If you want to really understand how the advantage works, where it plays a role in the odds, and how it can give you an edge in your betting, we’ve got you covered.
Understanding Home Field Advantage
Most sports bettors get it. They understand what home-field advantage is and why it’s important. But let’s just say that you’re new to the game and need to know what we mean by home-field advantage.
It’s the advantage that a team has when playing on their home turf, in front of their home fans. They’re not on the road like the away team; no, they’re playing in their own backyard.
As for why this is advantageous for any team — the familiarity of playing on a particular field or court, the comfort of being in familiar surroundings, the support of the hometown crowd, and the impact of traveling, to name a few.
Across sports and leagues, home-field advantage typically ranges from around 54% to 65%. That’s a sizeable margin that can have a significant impact on the outcome of a game. Why do you think playoffs are often structured so that the team with the better regular season record gets home-field advantage?
What Teams Take the Cake?
If you’re just looking to place a bet on a home team and wondering who has the best advantage, we’ve put together this chart of the best home teams over the past 10 years in each of the professional leagues. We’ll cover why this matters and how it affects the odds shortly.
|NFL||Kansas City Chiefs||60-21||.741|
|MLB||Los Angeles Dodgers||503-257||.662|
|NHL||Tampa Bay Lightning||263-93-32||.719|
|NBA||Golden State Warriors||297-102||.744|
Impact on Betting Odds
Not only does this advantage affect the team playing the game, but home-field advantage can have a significant impact on betting odds.
When a team is playing at home, they are often given a small point spread advantage. This means that even if the two teams are evenly matched on paper, the home team is still seen as having a slightly better chance of winning.
In some cases, the home-field advantage can be enough to swing the betting odds significantly in favor of the home team. For example, an NFL team that’s favored by 3 points on the road might be favored by 6 points at home.
Of course, lots of statistical analysis goes into determining home-field advantage and betting odds, but it’s important for bettors to understand that these factors go hand in hand.
So, when you’re staring at the odds chart, keep in mind that the slight advantage is already factored into the odds. It’s nothing you have to add on yourself.
Impact on Betting Strategy
Knowing about home-field advantage should also influence your betting strategy, that is, if you know what to look for. Sometimes, the bookmakers get it wrong in their odds calculations.
Some sports bettors might be inclined to always bet on the home team, assuming that they have an automatic edge. This is statistically true, but remember, the odds are already adjusted for this advantage.
As with any betting strategy, it’s important to do your research and consider all factors before deciding on a bet.
In many cases, the home-field advantage might be outweighed by other factors like injuries, recent performance, or head-to-head matchups. As we mentioned, the real advantage comes in when the teams are fairly equal in terms of talent and other factors. Then, home-field advantage can be the deciding factor in a bet.
Take a look at the Philadelphia Phillies. Since 2004, their playoff record at home is 28-12, which is a .700 win rate. That is insane and well above the MLB average. This might be a team you bet on when they’re at home in the playoffs, considering the teams would most likely be equally matched at that point.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are exceptions to every rule when it comes to sports betting, and the home-field advantage is no exception (yes, I had to do that).
It’s worth noting that not all home-field advantages are created equal. Some stadiums or arenas might have a particularly strong effect on the home team, while others might not matter as much.
And in some sports, like baseball or basketball, the home-field advantage might not be as significant as it is in football or soccer.
Just look at the Seattle Seahawks — they call the home crowd the “12th man” because of the noise they bring. The timing of that noise has seriously disrupted some offensive drives of opponents. Then you look at Oakland A’s. In 2023, they posted a measly .321 home win rate. The team wasn’t all that good, to begin with, but it won them the worst home record in MLB.
So, the impact of home-field advantage can vary depending on the size and enthusiasm of the crowd, the weather conditions, and other external factors. There’s more to it than simply being the home team.
Do You Bet on the Home Team?
Home-field advantage is just one of many factors to consider when placing a sports bet.
It’s not a guarantee of a win, and it’s not something to rely on blindly. Sure, you might take a few trophies here and there, but not without some forethought.
It’s simply a valuable concept to keep in mind and can sometimes be the deciding factor in a close matchup.
By taking into account the home-field advantage, doing your research, and keeping a level head, you can improve your chances of success as a sports bettor.
Head of Sports Betting and DFS
Matt’s love for sports betting and daily fantasy sports, coupled with a deep understanding of football, hockey, and baseball, shapes his innovative thoughts on Hello Rookie. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and a M.S. in Project Management.