Does a Home Ground Advantage Really Exist?

Home Ground Advantage in sports

Kiwi bettors will often find that online sportsbooks have certain odds favouring home teams over the visiting teams. This is most certainly due to the home ground advantage which absolutely does exist.

There are many theories as to the reason behind the home ground advantage and almost all of them make a major contribution to the advantage teams have of playing at home. Some of the major sporting events held throughout New Zealand and those that Kiwi bettors like to bet on around the world all have some sort of home ground advantage.

Common Home Ground Advantage Theories

Many tend to believe that the home teams have the upper hand based on the fact that they have the comfort of home. This includes everything from home teams sleeping in their own beds, enjoying home cooked meals and not having to travel too far or too much.

There are also theories based on their knowledge and familiarity with the field and weather conditions. Home teams may practice on the field but they will have definitely played on it more than any visiting team which allows them the advantage as they will know all the ins and outs of it.

The home advantage can be due to climate as some areas have thinner air than others, may be hotter than others, have wetter weather than others and stronger winds than others. These factors can hamper a visiting teams play just enough to give value to the home teams advantage as they are more familiar with the extreme weather conditions.

The Advantage of Crowd Support

Crowd support is a major influence in the home ground advantage and the crowd is often considered to be an additional team player. Crowds tend to cheer louder for home teams and boo louder for visiting teams. The stadiums will mostly be filled with supporters for the home teams which can be quite intimidating for the visitors. In order to liven the crowds there are light shows, cheerleaders, sound effects and more and the commentators will typically emphasize the home teams play to get the crowds excited.

Crowds tend to lend a helping hand to certain games by making as much noise as they possibly can when the visiting teams need to hear any play changes or remain quiet for the home teams to hear their opponents running play. Crowds may even aim for distracting visiting players when focus is needed.

Officials as a Contributing Factor

One of the major contributing factors to the home ground advantage that Kiwi bettors can be sure of when considering the odds at an online sports betting book is the officials and referees of a game.

It has been proven that home teams will almost always be given preference by the officials or referees. This is due to psychological reasons more than bias as it is not a conscious decision to give preferential treatment to the home teams. They typically adapt to the emotions of the supporting crowds and occasionally make decisions that cause the crowds to be happy and cheer louder.

This theory states that the home ground advantage is much greater in stadiums where the supporters are seated closer to the field than in stadiums that may have a running track surrounding the field.