# Home Field Advantage »

by William Hanson

It is no secret that clubs tend to perform better when playing on their own pitch in front of their loyal fans. You know it and I know it. And if we know it, you can be sure that bookmakers know it.

Home Field Advantage (HFA) is the basis by which nearly all bookmakers begin to set their odds. It is important to understand that when a bookmaker sets the opening odds and handicaps, they are trying to find the point at which the turnover generated will be most balanced. They are not trying to predict who will win the match. By balancing the action, the bookmaker’s traders minimize risk. Within the industry, this is called “achieving parity”.

Since its inception in 1992, the Premier League has held forty different clubs, however only 7 have managed to survive the top tier for all 16 seasons. We will examine the HFA for those clubs over the history of the league.

There is a fairly simple formula from which you can derive a figure for a team’s relative HFA:

HFA = (Home Goals For – Home Goals Against)/Home Games Played

Example: During the 2007-08 Season, Liverpool scored 43 goals while conceding 13, for a goal difference of 30 divided by 19 games played at Anfield = (43-13)/19 = 1.58

The table below displays the calculated HFA in goals for the seven clubs mentioned above. The numbers represent the average increase in goals scored when playing at home.

 HFA Man. U. Arsenal Liverpool Chelsea A. Villa Everton Tottenham Total 1.53 1.16 1.12 1.01 0.42 0.35 0.41 Past 3 Seasons 1.81 1.54 1.51 1.53 0.32 0.58 0.68 Last Season 2.11 1.37 1.58 1.21 0.63 0.9 0.63 Current Season 1.57 0.73 1.27 1.07 0.27 0.4 0.47

The theory behind quantifying HFA is to find value by either backing the home team when the Asian handicap is less than their HFA, or betting the visiting team when the Asian handicap exceeds the HFA .

There are several other factors bettors can consider that could also potentially have an effect on the calculated HFA, further exploiting ones perceived edge. The possibilities to take into account are endless but having the inside in just one of the areas could be difference between you or the bookmaker taking home the cash. Here are a few to consider:

Home Crowds: One study showed, while examining the results of 5000 Premiership matches from 1992 to 2006, that for every additional 10,000 people attending the match, HFA increased by 0.1 goals.

Breaking News & Injuries: It is always important to be informed of the team’s latest injury report. It is not uncommon for players to get hurt even in warm-ups! Also be sure to check the weather for this could affect whether or not it is a high or low scoring affair. Conditions that support lower scoring matches will decrease the size of any team’s HFA.

Rivalries & Games of Special Significance: Rivalry games tend to always have higher attendance which ultimately affects HFA. Also be sure to consider any unique storylines or club specific events that could increase the intensity of the game.

New Stadiums: Some teams take some time to adjust to their new venue.

Republished by authority of WSN.com (Original Post)
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