Picking a winner in a football match isn’t as simple as selecting the team with the best players. There is a host of factors which can have an impact on the final result of a football match such as form, weather conditions, injuries, formation, tactics as well as which team is playing at home.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the home advantage in football and covering the following topics:
Many people believe that the home team has an advantage but is this true or is it a myth?
To determine whether playing at home gives teams an advantage, we simply need to look at the stats in a football league table.
Below is the Premier League table as it is at the time of writing.
|West Ham Utd||14||4||3||7||23||26||-3||15|
|14||West Ham Utd||14||3||3||8||12||23||-11||12|
Taking a look at the stats from the home 7 away tables above, we can see that all teams with the exception of Chelsea and Southampton have collected more points in their home games than games played away from home.
Teams are more likely to score goals at home also with a total of 418 home goals scored so far this season and 347 goals scored by teams playing away from home. This also proves the fact that teams are less likely to concede goals when playing at home.
Now that we’ve determined that a home advantage is real, let’s take a look at why teams are more likely to win when playing at home.
The first factor which contributes to a home advantage is the fans. Motivation is a big factor in how well players perform and the fans help motivate players through cheering and support. Teams playing at home allocate more seats to their own fans than to away fans. There can be tens of thousands more home fans in a stadium than away fans who are able to make more noise and support their team vocally and visually in a bigger way. Players on the pitch react to this support and the result generally is that they play better. Also, home fans can intimidate the away team which can have a negative result on their performances.
Another factor in a home advantage is the familiarity of the pitch and the stadium. Not all football pitches are the same size and design elements such as the space between the pitch and the fans differs between grounds. Home players play on their pitch more often than the visiting team and so will be more familiar with the elements. For example, a home player will have taken dozens of corners at their ground and will know the distance whereas an away player may be taking a corner at that ground for the first time and so will be unfamiliar with the distance resulting in a poorer cross. The same goes for passes and shots on goal.
Away teams may have to travel long distances to get to the destination of the game and while this may not have a huge impact on teams in relatively small countries such as the UK, it can on teams in other leagues such as Norway, Russia and even Spain and France.
With busy schedules, teams may not travel until the day of the game and so do not have time to relax and recover fully from travelling before kick-off.
We’ve determined that there is an advantage for teams which are playing at home and so what effect does this have on betting odds?
As a team is more likely to win if they are playing at home compared to playing away, the odds on that team winning will be shortened. The home team will not always have the shortest odds as they could be playing a far superior team. However, the odds on them winning will be shorter than if they were playing the same team away from home. The opposite applies to the away team which will have higher odds than if they were playing at home.
You may notice a difference in odds at online bookmakers for other markets also depending on if a team is playing at home or away. For example, looking at the home & away tables above, we can see that Norwich have scored 19 goals at home so far this season but only 6 goals in their away games. Therefore, bets such as ‘Norwich Over 1.5 Goals’ will most likely have lower odds when Norwich are playing at home compared to when they are playing away.
There is no doubt that when a team is playing at home, they have an advantage. This is due to many factors which we have discussed and as a result, lower odds are generally offered when teams are playing at their home ground.
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