ROAD/NEUTRAL FIELD PERFORMANCE IN COLLEGE & PRO FOOTBALL

By Steve Makinen  () 

Last week in Point Spread Weekly, I explained my process for determining TRUE HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE in college and pro football and how much variance there can be for each team, theoretically and from an actual performance perspective. From my analysis of the last three-plus years, I uncovered a range of 9.9 points to - 4.4 points in True Home Field Advantage for each college team and a range of 7.2

to -1.8 for pro teams. The simple truth is that bookmakers generally assign from 2.5 to 4 points on average for any team’s home field advantage. That is quite a difference from the TRUE numbers I just mentioned, and this difference should be used to find wagering opportunities for the rest of the season. In this piece, I will look at the TRUE ROAD/NEUTRAL FIELD PERFORMANCE of each team, and you will see once again that huge variances exist.

To determine which teams have had the best TRUE ROAD/NEUTRAL FIELD PERFORMANCE in college and pro football, I did the same thing I did last week. I took their game logs away from home since the start of the 2016 season, or the last 3 1/2 seasons. I compared their average power rating from my own records in those games

with their opponents’ average power rating. This margin would be considered the amount they should have won or lost by when meeting on a neutral field, or the expected margin.

I then compared this amount with the actual point differential

in those games. Obviously, the teams that had a greater actual differential than expected differential played the “best” away from home. This time around, the margins went as high as 8.1

(for Army) to -11.6 (for East Carolina) in college and as high as 2.5 (for New Orleans) to -7.9 (for Miami). A rating of 2.5 in the NFL is actually the average home field advantage, so in essence, the Saints have performed as well on the road in recent years as the average NFL team has fared at home, an interesting trend to consider.

I take these performance levels and incorporate them into my own ratings for oddsmaking

and other projections. I don’t take the exact numbers, as there is no way you could give Army 8.1 points for playing on the road, but I do shade their road rating to reflect their prowess. In fact, in the ratings you see in Point Spread Weekly each issue, my own home and road ratings are built into the Strength Indicators.

Let’s take a quick look at each conference in college and the divisions in pro football and analyze the TRUE ROAD/NEUTRAL FIELD PERFORMANCE I have uncovered. These games were pulled as of Oct. 10 and do not include last weekend’s results.

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