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What Is Home Advantage? Part 1

No matter what sport you are betting on—European football, American football, basketball, hockey, or baseball—whether a team is playing a home or away game is something you always need to take into account when you are doing your handicapping.  Teams that are playing on their own home turf enjoy what is called the home advantage.

 

A team may be said to have the home advantage in a specific game, but the term may also be applied to playoffs.  You can look over the schedules of the team you are handicapping and their competing teams in “best-of” series.  If the team is going to be playing one more home game than an opposing team in the series, it is said that they have the home advantage over that team (leagues do their best to minimise this sort of advantage over the course of a season through smart scheduling).

 

Note that in some cases, a team may be considered the “home” team even when neither team is playing at home!  For example, say a baseball game is taking place on neutral turf.  Technically, both teams are visiting, but one team must be denoted as the “home” team, because that team will bat second in each inning.  The team which is denoted as the “visiting” team will bat first.

 

In most cases, however, the “home” team is always the team playing on their own turf.  That team is usually going to have a significant advantage over the competing team.  Whether that advantage is enough to give that team the upper hand or not depends on all the other contributing dynamics at work.  If they are significantly outmatched, the home advantage will probably not be enough to turn the tables in their favour.  If however the two teams are closely matched, the home advantage may be enough to give them the upper hand.

 

Why do home teams have the advantage?  There are a number of factors to consider.  I will break them down for you in my next article, What is Home Advantage Part 2.

 

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