Burke: The value of home-field advantage in the NFL

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

December 20, 2021 11:08 AM
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We’ll have plenty of time after the football season to recap and review, but a tweet from Jeff Fogle stood out to me on Monday morning and I wanted to share it in today’s Blurb.

In terms of NFL results at the end of regulation, we’ve had:

101 wins for the road team

98 wins for the home team

18 games that went to overtime

By Jeff’s math, home teams have outscored road teams by 126 points through 217 games, even though we’ve had basically an even distribution of wins. Jeff puts the average home-field advantage at 0.58 points.

It is not priced as 0.58 points in the betting markets. Most oddsmakers are probably using somewhere around 2 points, which is down from the traditional 3 that we’ve always seen. Travel is easier and more comfortable than ever before, especially for teams of pro athletes. Nutrition is better. Teams employ sleep experts to optimize player rest. Teams have made alterations to travel schedules and players aren’t going out the night before to the degree that they used to. Crowd noise isn’t as impactful with improved means of communication with the sideline.

If you set your own numbers in any sport, hopefully you’ve lowered the weight put on being at home. If you don’t, hopefully you aren’t overrating or overvaluing home advantages in your handicapping. In other sports, rest factors and scheduling spots do still have an impact and will be affected by travel, but not really in the NFL.

With more time after the respective seasons, hopefully we can expand on this more, but with just three weeks left of the NFL regular season, it felt like a message to get out there sooner rather than later.

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