Every team gets an edge playing in front of the home crowd, this is commonly known as home field or court advantage. Now in handicapping it doesn’t always mean talking about who wins most often at home. That’s part of it. But, what we really want to quantify is how much it influences the score.
But, do you know exactly how much home field is worth for each MLB team? If you simply look at the league average over the years, you’ll find playing in the friendly confines is worth about 0.15 runs. That’s almost nothing.
This is a little surprising. In baseball the home team always gets to bat last. That’s a distinct, strategic advantage. But, for some reason this doesn’t appear to translate for every team. As with any baseball betting strategy you have to dig deeper.
The best way to figure this out is to compare the home/road splits from comparable schedules. This gives us an idea of how many points teams “deserve” as their home field/court edge.
We put together a list of home scoring margins versus road scoring margins of each team. This gives us a true advantage for each team during the regular season only. The final number represents about how many runs per game playing at home is worth to each team.
This number doesn’t tell us who the best home teams are. It tells us which teams are better off playing at home than on the road. The Rockies, for example, aren’t the best scoring team at home. That honor goes to the NY Yankees. But, Colorado is significantly better in Denver than they are on the road. That is why playing in Coors is such a big advantage to them. Let’s briefly look at it for different sports.
In football, it is affected by many factors. The obvious factor people look at is stadium size and crowd noise. But, one thing a lot of people take for granted is travel distance. Teams usually have a bigger edge when opponents have to travel a long distance. This isn’t a direct correlation, but it’s a good rule of thumb. Surprisingly, many of the teams considered the “best” teams have weak home field edges. This is because it doesn’t matter where these teams play, they always perform at a high level. The information provided in the links below will explain this phenomenon in more detail. Plus, we have the exact edges we have calculated for every team.
The upper hand for playing at home in baseball is different. There is a strategic advantage to batting last. There are also a large number of games in each season. Teams play games in home and away series, which is much different than in any other sport. Travel affects baseball teams, but not as much because they are staying in the same city for several days in a row. You may be surprised which teams are better at home. The link below will go much deeper into what home fields help their teams more than others in Major League Baseball.
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