During the regular season, NFL teams are competing to secure a playoff spot. However, the top teams are not only thinking about locking up a playoff spot – they’re also vying for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. While the extent of home-field advantage has been debated, historical data has evidenced that teams playing at home do receive some sort of added benefit, although the extent of this varies from team-to-team. In order to determine which NFL teams get the most from playing in front of their home crowds, an analysis of the point differential for each team’s regular season home and road games must be determined. To calculate the home-field advantage, the road point differential must be subtracted from the home point differential – the larger the difference, the larger the home field impact for NFL betting purposes.
Top Five Teams – Point Differential
From 2002 onwards, the top five teams deriving the most from playing on their respective home fields are, in order from greatest home-field advantage, the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, and Minnesota Vikings. The point differentials advantage gained from home-field advantage are 5.2, 5.1, 4.3, 4.3, and 4.0 respectively for these five teams.
Bottom Five Teams – Point Differential
The bottom five teams who have gained the least from playing on their respective home stadiums are, in order from least home-field advantage, the Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, and Cincinnati Bengals. While each team still gained a slight advantage from playing at home compared to playing on the road, the advantage, based on point differentials, was marginal – 0.8, 1.0, 1.1, 1.3, and 1.4 respectively for these five teams.
Top And Bottom Five Teams – Winning Percentage
Additionally, another statistic showing a team’s home-field advantage may be calculated based on the team’s gap between its home winning percentage and road winning percentage. The top five teams receiving the most home-field advantage based on the gap between its home and road winning percentages are, from greatest home-field advantage, the Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, and New York Mets – .358, .302, .294, .291, and .226 winning percentage differences respectively. The bottom five teams receiving the least home-field advantage based on the gap between its home and road winning percentages are, from least home-field advantage, the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans, and New Orleans Saints – -.042, .063, .080, .095, and .097 winning percentage differences respectively. It is interesting to note that only the Eagles had a better road winning percentage than its home winning percentage.
While the impression is that some teams are able to gain considerably more from playing at home compared to playing on the road than other teams, this appearance should be taken with a grain of salt. Many factors may be present that affects how a team plays at home versus on the road and some of these factors have no direct bearing on a team’s home versus road performance from year-to-year. However, one factor that may have a direct effect on home-field advantage revolves around West Coast teams playing games on the East Coast on Sundays. While these games being played on the East Coast has scheduled start times at 1PM EST, the teams travelling from the West Coast will perceive this start time as equal to 10AM PST. The bodies of these players may feel much less awake or energetic due to the perceived difference in start times due to the time lag. As a result, West Coast teams such as the Seahawks, 49ers, and Cardinals may face a significant disadvantage when playing on the road, further adding to the apparent notion of their home stadiums being superior compared to other teams.