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How Home-Field Advantage Affects NFL Betting

What are the reasons for the three-point advantage?

The general consensus is that home-field advantage in the NFL is worth three points. But what are the the factors that go into that? Those variables can change, making the advantage more or less valuable.

Let’s take a look at those factors that bettors should take in to consideration before wagering on NFL games and then also examine the home-field advantage of each of the 32 teams.

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What Is Home-Field Advantage?

Home-field advantage is the underlying idea that a team gains an edge playing in front of their own fans that they don’t have when they travel as a visiting team. Few subjects have caused more discussion than home-field advantage over the years as the experts continue to debate how much of an impact it truly has on the game. There is no definitive factor that makes the biggest difference when it comes to evaluating home-field advantage but rather the combination of a number of elements. Read our previous post on the best home field advantages.

The Venues

There are obvious home-field advantages that teams can boost simply by building their rosters based on the favorable conditions playing in their own stadium. For example, the high-flying fast-paced offense that the Indianapolis Colts used to run under Peyton Manning made perfect sense when you consider they play indoors on turf where weather will not impact the game. Meanwhile, a team like the Denver Broncos is best suited to run the football and play a punishing style of defense in order to capitalize on the outdoor conditions on grass. That’s especially true when November and December roll around and the weather gets cold and there is the threat of snow. In a separate post we look deeper into the factors that can affect performance in a new stadium.

Travel Factors

In addition to the actual venues, the travel factors can lead to the home-field advantage being more pronounced. For example, if a team based on the west coast like the Los Angeles Chargers is forced to travel to the east coast to play a game against the New England Patriots then they will be at a clear disadvantage. There is a good chance there will be some fatigue from the travel and if the game is scheduled for 1:00 PM ET, it will feel like 10:00 AM PT for the Chargers’ players. In the post The Time Zone Factor we delve deeper into the topic.

Familiarity At Home

There is an assumption that players feel more comfortable playing in familiar surroundings at home and therefore they perform better. Research has shown that home players produce an elevated level of natural testosterone when defending their own territory in home games and this is obviously important in sports that combine both skill and aggression like the NFL. The impact of home field advantage might not be as high in division games where those players feel that natural instinct to raise their level of play but the familiarity and desire to “protect the house” could both have an impact.

Sub-Conscious Officiating Bias

The final factor that could play in to home advantage is the potential sub-conscious bias the officials might show when they referee the game. Strong home support from the fans could lead to referees being more generous with the home side regardless of whether or not they even know they are doing it. Officials in the NFL tend to throw more penalty flags on the visiting side, as noted in the 2013 season when on average they threw 6.4 per game for the road team compared to 5.9 per game for the home team. Venue, travel and familiarity all factor in to home field advantage in the NFL and a perceived referee bias could be an element to consider as well.

Check also our previous post analyzing The Impact Of Home Field Advantage In The NFL Playoffs.

Now, let’s delve a little deeper and look at how each team is helped by their home venue.

How Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park Helps the Los Angeles Chargers

This division might have had the oldest collection of stadiums but a lot has changed since the Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles. They were in the StubHub Center in 2018, play in a temporary stadium in 2019 and then move into the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in 2020.

Location: Inglewood, California
Capacity: 100,240
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: When you have always struggled for fan support the last thing you want to do is to make it look like you are flirting with another city, but that is what the Chargers have done. They have never had a rabid fan base and the weather is too perfect to try and cultivate a rugged identity. When this team is at its best it is offense first. I would rate the home field advantage as below average.

Betting Games at Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park: For this one I think you can kind of take the location and play it like it was a neutral site game. The crowd is likely going to be quiet and sparse so there is no advantage for the home team, kind of like it was at Qualcomm. Do not automatically give them a three spot just because of the zip code. That doesn’t mean you should fade them, just be careful with assuming that the old maxim is in effect. Three points can mean everything these days as things are more quant than ever.

How Sports Authority Field at Mile High Helps the Denver Broncos

This venue is the home of the reigning Super Bowl Champion Broncos, but not much else. It does have a unique tradition carried over from the original Mile High Stadium where the public announcer intentionally omits words from his announcements when the visiting team fails to complete a pass, encouraging the crowd to yell INCOMPLETE. This is definitely a venue where football rules. Nothing wrong with that.

Opened: 2001
Location: Denver, Colorado
Capacity: 76,125
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: Even though they just won the title there is a lot of uncertainty with this team right now. They are going to be a defense first unit for sure and that probably helps at altitude as they are less likely to tire because they are used to the unique environmental conditions. The weather can also wreak havoc as it can turn suddenly to cold and even snow. The team has to find a QB and have some offense to balance things out, but overall I would rate the home-field advantage here as being above average.

Betting Games at Sports Authority Field: The conditions can be poor here, but you don’t want to over consider that factor because sometimes that can have the opposite effect. Given what the Broncos did defensively last year the tendency for the market is going to be to look at the unders. I think you want to take a contrarian view, provided the QB situation for the Broncos is not a disaster. Look at that total and see if you can feel good about a 24-21 game going over.

How Arrowhead Stadium Helps the Kansas City Chiefs

Now one of the oldest venues in the league, Arrowhead is still one of the best environments to catch an NFL game, the best word to describe it is probably authentic. However, other than the NFL there is not a ton of action for this venue. It is a regional site for big football games, but with Mizzou moving to the SEC and Kansas being terrible on the field the demand is low.

Opened: 1972
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Capacity: 76,416
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: This is one of the loudest open air stadiums in the league, if not the loudest. Chiefs fans are also the kind of fans that stick with the team through thick and thin, I am not sure how much these things make a difference, but they think they do. In terms of team construction this team is workmanlike which endears them to the crowd even more. I would rate the home-field advantage as being well above average.

Betting Games at Arrowhead Stadium: The Chiefs are one of the few franchises that just want to win. Yes, of course they all do, but this group more than others is content to sit on a lead by milking the clock…that means that even games that look certain to fly over the total early have a habit of being nail biters. Last year more than 70% of the Chief’s home games went below the total and they were not a good cover team at Arrowhead. Don’t fade them to lose just be aware of that.

How Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Helps the Oakland Raiders

This is another oldie, but I am not sure any of its current tenants would call it a goodie. The Raiders are always rumoured to be heading back to L.A, and now Las Vegas, and they share this venue with the Oakland’s A’s. Both of these teams want the city to commit to something new or they could be gone. It has among the worst amenities around and it would not shock me if it is torn down as soon as a viable replacement is finalized.

Opened: 1966
Location: Oakland, California
Capacity: 56,063
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: The Raiders are notorious for having some of the toughest, rowdiest fans in the business. It starts with all that silver and black and when you throw in spikes on shoulder pads and Darth Vader masks you really have something. The weather can be a little tricky at times, but the real reason teams likely don’t want to play there is that it is a dump. They just want to win and go home. I would rate the home field advantage as being average.

Betting Games at O.co Coliseum: This is a tricky one because it looks like the Raiders are making a slow rise back to relevance. They have key pieces in place and maybe they can make it as tough on the field as it is off it beginning this season. They are souping up on offense and still have an unproven defense so the way to go is probably over the total. This team should be able to score and the conditions won’t likely slow them or opponents down. Overs are going to be most likely this season.

How Gillette Stadium Helps the New England Patriots

Even though this stadium is in the heart of the Northeast it sees plenty of action. It is the home of the Patriots, the New England Revolution, UMass football and the Boston Cannons of the MLL. It has also been a site for outdoor hockey events and major international soccer matches including the Women’s World Cup, the Gold Cup and CONCACAF championships. Patriot Place, a shopping and entertainment district was developed around the stadium and is somewhat of a model for others.

Opened: 2002
Location: Foxboro, Massachusetts
Capacity: 66,829
Surface: FieldTurf

Home-Field Advantage: This is one of the most interesting environments to examine. The Patriots are one of the truly elite franchises, they get good fan support and they win amidst all conditions. However, opponents fear the team more than the environment I think, and it would not surprise anyone if there are a few advantages built in that none of us will never know about. I would rate the home-field advantage as average. This group wins at a high rate no matter where they play.

Betting Games at Gillette Stadium: Handicapping the Patriots in any environment is challenging. They have Tom Brady and Gronk and you think you know how they are going to play and then they throw in some rookie FCS running back who sets a record and they win by pounding the ball. New England is always a very public team, but so their lines get inflated and even though they cover a lot they scare me with those big spreads. I think the best approach to games here is not to think you are too smart and to be willing to take a pass now and then.

How Ralph Wilson Stadium Helps the Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo market is a funny one and this stadium is indicative of it, nothing luxurious going on in this antiquated suburban venue. Other than the Bills nobody else has used this venue with regularity, but it is the largest outdoor concert venue in the region so it is occupied on some days other than NFL Sundays.

Opened: 1973
Location: Orchard Park, New York
Capacity: 71,870
Surface: A-Turf

Home-Field Advantage: The Bills have good fans, that sort of tortured variety that has experienced it all and keeps coming back for more. Weather can definitely be a factor in Buffalo too, on a cold Sunday this will be as nasty a spot as any in the NFL. With Rex Ryan leading the way they want to be a team that plays to the stereotype of running and defense. I rate the home-field advantage as slightly above average.

Betting Games at Ralph Wilson Stadium: Maybe it is a proximity thing, but I feel like I am more optimistic about the Bills than I should be. They are a very difficult team to handicap, but I feel like they are probably only really taking advantage of their home-field advantage in a few games a season. I like the edge they get, but it is probably most valuable when they play division or familiar opponents. On Sunday at 1:00PM against the Falcons, much less so.

How Sun Life Stadium Helps the Miami Dolphins

This not a new venue, it just has had a lot of name changes over the years. The old Joe Robbie Stadium is home to the Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes and maybe its most recognizable event, the Orange Bowl. Given the prime location and weather it has hosted five Super Bowls and multiple BCS Championship Games, remember those. It was also the original home of the now Miami Marlins.

Opened: 1987
Location: Miami, Florida
Capacity: 65,326
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: I think the Dolphins have a nice following, but I am not sure it translates to a dynamic environment at home. It is a classic case of warm weather where there is too much else going on in the community and no ability to create the grit of the Northeast, plus lots of people from somewhere else. The home environs mean they can play whatever style they want which also may be why the Dolphins struggle to establish a real identity. I rate the home field advantage as below average.

Betting Games at Sun Life Stadium: The Dolphins are in that space of neither being a contender or terrible. They seem to never be able to hit on enough moves to breakthrough and their home environment doesn’t prop them up. They are a good fade team at home (they went 2-5 ATS) last season. Since they get no great bump from being there you can’t just plug in that three point edge and they have had some really lopsided losses at home. That just shouldn’t happen either.

How MetLife Stadium Helps the New York Jets

The Jets and Giants share this facility out in the Meadowlands that has already been the home to the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold weather climate. MetLife is also a venue that services New York City when only a large outdoor venue will do and hosts large scale events from Wrestlemania to International Soccer. No other professional or college teams call it home though.

Opened: 2010
Location: Meadowlands, New Jersey
Capacity: 82,566
Surface: Turf

Home-Field Advantage: There is a difference between Jets fans and Giants fans. Jets fans are supposed to be the heartier of the bunch, scrappier as compared to their old money compatriots. I am not sure if this is still an accurate perception, in fact what might be more accurate is that the crowds at MetLife are more corporate than they have ever been. The Jets are always seen as the little brother, but I am not sure the crowd lifts them up in any material way and they have struggled to find an identity that works for them. I would rate the home-field advantage as being average.

Betting Games at MetLife Stadium: The Jets seem to relish their underdog status and thrive in that role especially at home – see the last season upset of the Patriots last season. MetLife day games are nothing special, but at night things are more intense and that is where the true advantage of backing the home team in all situations may lie. Key to any betting on the Jets this season will be deciding who they want to play QB as well.

How Heinz Field helps the Pittsburgh Steelers

Heinz Field is approaching its 15th season as the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers. The Steelers have had a lot of success there, but it might have been The Dark Knight Rises that really put this venue on the map for most. Sports Illustrated rated it the second best NFL stadium at one point and I doubt it has fallen far since that 2007 ranking. In addition to football is has hosted the NHL Winter Classic and other big regional events like concerts.

Opened: 2001
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Capacity: 68,400
Turf: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: When it comes to home field advantage the Steelers have it all. Their fans are second to none in terms of unconditional support and the team has been constructed with the knowledge that it will have to perform at its best when the weather may be at its worst. This team is as well balanced as it could be to exceed in all environments but it thrives at home. I rate its home field advantage as being above average.

Betting Games at Heinz Field: Given the calibre of the Steelers they are not exactly a team you want to be fading at home. No that does not mean they are going to always cover, but you probably should start by giving them the benefit of the doubt. If you are an underdog bettor you might wish to beware because the visitors will almost always be in that role. In some situations you might be able to steal some value because Pittsburgh is pretty public in terms of support. These are games you have to handicap carefully.

How FirstEnergy Stadium Helps the Cleveland Browns

Cleveland is not exactly a hot destination so it is no surprise that there is not much going on here other the Browns football. At this point it is certainly not a new venue, but the only thing that has been established is that the team is usually going to be bad. The weather can certainly get nasty, but there have not been opportunities where the games have been important enough to really notice.

Opened: 1999
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Capacity: 67,431
Turf: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: The old Dawg Pound used to be one of the best fan bases in America. Sure they have were having their souls crushed by the ineptitude of the Browns, but they always showed up and tried to influence the action and make it tough for opponents. With the reincarnation of the team in the current stadium that is completely lost. No opponents fear the team or the building right now. I rate the home field advantage for Cleveland as being below average.

Betting Games at FirstEnergy Stadium: I think this is a venue where the visiting team matters. Cleveland is a league laughing stock, but the games in this division are generally brutal physical affairs, usually close, regardless of gaps in overall talent. When the Browns are at home against a division foe you can look to back the home side, especially if it is early enough in the season where there is something on the line. I am not saying upset, but good value.

How NRG Stadium Helps the Houston Texans

This stadium opened with the return of the NFL to Houston. A couple of years later it hosted the Super Bowl and has become an important venue for international soccer matches among other events. It has hosted Wrestlemania and is the permanent home to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It has become a staple of the NCAA Tournament too, hosting Regionals and two Final Fours including the most recent one.

Opened: 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Capacity: 72,220
Surface: AstroTurf

Home-Field Advantage: The Texans are still new to the NFL and Texas has always been more rabid about its high school and college football than the NFL. Houston does have good fans, but they are not the difference makers that some other teams enjoy. The venue itself offers no specific advantage either as conditions are pretty perfect for a ballgame nearly every time. They can construct this club any way they want because there is no advantage to play to. I would rate the home field advantage here as below average.

Betting Games at NRG Stadium: The Texans are hoping that a new quarterback can take them further than they have ever gone before. They are a stern host thanks to a defense led by J.J. Watt and generally play a ball control style. In short, they are not looking to run up the score. Going under is a solid choice, but I would also recommend looking hard at underdogs. The style of play by Houston see them sit on leads not extend them which makes it easier for teams to try and come back.

How EverBank Field Helps the Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville is one of the smallest NFL markets so there is not much going on at EverBank other than the Jags. It is the home of the TaxSlayer Bowl, but the game that probably puts this venue on the map is the annual college football tilt between Florida and Georgia, affectionately called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The stadium hosted the Super Bowl in 2005, but is unlikely to get that event again despite being in Florida where the weather supports it. It wasn’t considered a great success.

Opened: 1995
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Capacity: 66,851
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: The Jags are still a relatively new franchise and have not enjoyed a ton of success in their history. Combine that with the fact that they are in sunny Florida and it is no surprise that this venue has not developed any personality over the last twenty years. The environs do little to influence the construction of the home team or game play either. I would rate the home field advantage of this venue as below average.

Betting Games at EverBank Field: The Jags have been bad for a long while and since the stadium seems to offer no competitive advantage it is easy to get into a habit of fading them at home. They are not Super Bowl bound, but they have a great chance to be a lot better in 2016, especially on defense, which is going to force you to do a lot more handicapping homework. You might want to start looking to back these guys in a lot more situations, especially at home.

How Lucas Oil Stadium Helps the Indianapolis Colts

This venue has only one permanent tenant, but it is very busy. In addition to hosting the Colts it has already hosted two Final Fours and is the home of the Big Ten Football Championship Game through 2021. Also, it hosts the NFL Draft Combine making it one of the more important NFL venues anywhere I suppose. It hosted the 2012 Super Bowl and I would bet it will get another shot at the big game in the future.

Opened: 2008
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Capacity: 62,421
Surface: FieldTurf

Home-Field Advantage: When you go from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck at quarterback, it only makes sense to think offense first in your team construction. That is especially smart when you play inside where weather is of no concern and speed rules. Indy has a solid fan base and their team is well constructed to succeed at this venue so many people rate their home field advantage as above average.

Betting Games at Lucas Oil Stadium: The Colts may talk a good game about trying to get better on defense, but in this environment they are always going to be a threat to win by outscoring opponents in shootouts. Until we see them really start to slow people down with regularity, a lot of bettors are going to be looking at the overs. This is one of the most prolific offensive teams in the league and they know how to keep the pressure on. The books know it too, but I still like that side most of the time. Just one extra score is usually the difference.

How Lincoln Financial Field Helps the Philadelphia Eagles

Since it opened, Lincoln Financial has been home to the Eagles and the Temple Owls. It has also become a sought after soccer venue, hosting the MLS’ Philadelphia Union for a season while they waited for their arena to be built, as well as a number of international matches. It is considered the greenest stadium in the league thanks to its installation of solar panels and wind turbines. Hopefully setting an example for others to follow.

Opened: 2003
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Capacity: 69,176
Turf: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: Eagles fans are notoriously harsh, remember when they booed Santa Claus? As such they force the team to try and get off to a good start or else they risk being pelted by batteries (that has happened too). At the same time if things are going well this is among the better, more vocal fan bases around. I rate the home field advantage as being above average.

Betting Games at Lincoln Financial Field: The weather can get pretty chilly in Philly late in the season, but when it is fair this stadium does not play in any particular way. As stated before, the home fans can be nasty and they are likely to be so this season as the team looks to recover from the Chip Kelly era. They might like to think they have patience, but that remains to be seen. There is no reason to give the Eagles the benefit of the doubt, even at home, so look to fade them.

How FedEx Field helps the Washington Redskins

This venue does not get a ton of action other than the NFL as D.C. United elected to remain at RFK Stadium and is now planning to build their own soccer only facility. This venue has hosted some college football contests but hasn’t really established itself as “the place” for those big non-conference neutral site contests. Even though the venue is not that old there are grumblings about the fan experience and thoughts of bringing the team back to the District.

Opened: 1997
Location: Landover, Maryland
Capacity: 82,000
Turf: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: The Skins are an interesting team to examine this way. They have never really had the kind of rabid fans of other historic teams and you are just as likely to find a protest going on here due to the team’s moniker. The team is up and down too so it is really hard to find how the environment lifts them up. My assessment is that is does not. I rate the home field advantage here as below average.

Betting Games at FedEx Field: There is not a lot going on at this stadium that affects the game. The weather doesn’t get that cold late in the year and it is not all that rainy either. The team itself is neither good nor tailored to take advantage of any particular factor. Right now they are in that middle area of not being good and not being terrible either. Washington can be on the public side of things which inflates value so when they are at home fading them is probably the way to go.

How AT&T Stadium helps the Dallas Cowboys

Affectionately called Jerry’s World, this is one of the newest and most impressive venues in the United States. It has already hosted a Super Bowl, as well as a slew of big NCAA football games including the inaugural playoff championship. To that you can add NBA All-Star Weekend, soccer and Wrestlemania. It has one of the most impressive video boards you will ever see. It is hilarious how players will watch themselves on the field while the play is still going.

Opened: 2009
Location: Arlington, Texas
Capacity: 80,000
Turf: Artificial Turf

Home-Field Advantage: You can debate whether the Cowboys are America’s Team, but either way it is still a big deal when teams visit Dallas. I think the Cowboys gain an advantage of the spectacle of it all and when the team is actually good that advantage is magnified. It is not the fans, who I consider just average, but the distraction of the video board and other things. I rate the home field advantage as slightly above neutral.

Betting Games at AT&T Stadium: Games involving the Cowboys, especially at home inevitably become among the most public on the schedule. As a result the home team, especially as the favourite, and the over will almost always become the most popular picks. When getting down on these games you may be best served by employing a contrarian strategy. Don’t bet it blindly but that is where I would begin my handicapping process.

How the Georgia Dome helps the Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are the primary tenant of the Georgia Dome but it is also home to the Georgia State Panthers and the Peach Bowl. If you are not a fan of football you might remember that the venue was used during the 1996 Olympics. It will also be home to Atlanta’s entrant in the MLS beginning in 2017, at which time it will be renamed Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Opened: 1992
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Capacity: 71,228
Turf: FieldTurf

Home-Field Advantage: The Falcons are a team built to play indoors and take advantage of the predictability of doing so. In the NFL you have to play to your stadium to some degree so this group is one built to play offense first and take advantage of ideal throwing conditions. The key now is for them to get the speed they need on defense to be able to win on that side of the ball too. It has been a struggle which is why the home field advantage for them is just average.

Betting Games at the Georgia Dome: Indoor stadiums tend to inflate offense but of course the odds makers know that too. When I am looking at games at the Georgia Dome and with Atlanta, of course, I am looking at the matchups. In the dome, you have to have cornerbacks who can cover one on one because the environment makes it easy to get your throws off. If a visiting team has that than go under, if not, then look hard at the over. Also, Atlanta doesn’t scare me at home so you can fade the home team too.

How the Mercedes-Benz Superdome helps the New Orleans Saints

The Superdome is one of the most well-known arenas in the United States. It has long been the home of the Saints and the Sugar Bowl; and has hosted the Super Bowl seven times. Like so many other big time venues around the country it has hosted Wrestlemania but I was surprised to learn it has also hosted gymnastics and was once a proposed location for a relocated MLB team. Of course, it was also an important venue as the city recovered from Hurricane Katrina.

Opened: 1975
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Capacity: 73, 208
Turf: Synthetic Turf

Home-Field Advantage: Saints fans are passionate and they enjoy making it difficult for visiting teams to communicate on the field by getting super loud. After Katrina the city seemed to embrace the team at a deeper level and on their run to the Super Bowl this was one of the hardest arenas in which to play in the league. They are fickle though. As the team has stumbled a little they have become more subdued. Still the potential is there, I rate their home field advantage as above average.

Betting Games at the Superdome: Similar to Atlanta above the Saints have constructed a team that should thrive in the environment they play their home games in. They are a finesse team no matter how you slice it and when they are going good they are among the best offenses in the game. On defense the crowd can be a factor but most of the time shootouts are the order of the day. Generally take the over here. Teams love to use this venue and its host team to get their offense back on track.

How Bank Of America Stadium Helps The Carolina Panthers

This stadium has been the home of the Carolina Panthers since it was completed. Originally it was named Ericsson Stadium but it has been under its current name since 2004. Playing off the banking theme some are calling it The Vault, I emphasize some as I do not think it has really caught on (though I like the name). In addition to being host of the Panthers it has also hosted neutral site college football games for teams in the Carolinas as well as Bowl games. It also seems to be in the rotation for big international soccer matches.

Opened: 1996
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Capacity: 75,412
Turf: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: It might seem like the mid-Atlantic positioning would not be too harsh but it can get nasty down in Charlotte. As a result it helps that the Panthers have been constructed to win with a solid running game and excellent defense. They are prepared to deal with the elements, especially the heavy rains that hit the area more often that you realize. At night there have been some real soakers.

Betting games at Bank of America Stadium: With an intimidating home team whose strength is defense and threat of weather the obvious way to play games at The Vault is to go under. Of course the oddsmakers know this too so being contrary could be the way to go as well. That would be my call because I believe the markets are still underestimating the Panthers own ability to put points on the board. Plus the team was missing a big weapon last year. Look to overs this season.

How Ford Field Helps The Detroit Lions

It seemed that while the city of Detroit was crumbling there was a stadium building boom in Motown. Ford Field opened a little more than a decade though and is still among the newer and nicer stadiums in the league. Like so many of the new stadiums around the country it has “gotten around” in terms of hosting major events. It hosted the 2006 Super Bowl, Wrestlemania 23 and most recently the Frozen Four (NCAA Hockey Championships). The one thing it has never hosted is an NFL playoff game. Sorry Lions fans.

Opened: 2002
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Capacity: 65,000
Surface: FieldTurf

Home-Field Advantage: Nobody fears heading to Ford Field. The Lions are one of the most hapless franchises in the NFL and the fans hardly do much to make it inhospitable for visitors. Resting in a place where the weather could be a significant factor the Lions have taken that out of the equation in favour of cozy indoor climates. Until such time as the franchise develops a sustained culture of winning there is not much going on here. I rate the home field advantage here as below average.

Betting games at Ford Field: The Lions are always a mess and this season they will be a mess looking to replace their best player, retired receiver Calvin Johnson. The cozy indoor environment allowed them to feature a pass first offense, but that philosophy might change without Megatron and to minimize the mistakes of QB Matthew Stafford. That might play against the “indoor weather” assumptions, but something has got to change if they want to start winning. Look to the unders and fading Detroit is usually a good strategy too.

How Soldier Field Helps The Chicago Bears

This venue has been around a long time, but its northerly location has prevented it from hosting a diversity of events. Primarily it has been Chicago Bears football, with some dalliances into the college game, soccer and even hockey. Soldier Field is a familiar sight along the Chicago waterfront. They really do not build them like this anymore.

Opened: 1924
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Capacity: 61,500
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: Similar to Lambeau Field above the weather can be a significant factor here. Not only can it get wicked cold, but there is a reason that Chicago is called the Windy City. When the Bears have been at their best they have gone with a defense first approach and I think they are getting back to that. The fans are good, but not great, in part because the venue was not designed with the idea of really integrating them into the action. I would rate the home field advantage as being average.

Betting games at Soldier Field: Where the Bears are going anybody’s guess. They are in that grey area of not being a contender or terrible right now. Soldier Field can be a factor, but that will be mostly later in the season when the weather is the nastiest. I do think they are trying to change their identity and it will suit a more defense first approach. They definitely want to be a team that can run the ball and compete in the elements at home and on the road. Unders and fades of the Bears are probably the way to go.

How US Bank Stadium Helps The Minnesota Vikings

This stadium has not opened for business yet, but it is has already locked up a Super Bowl (2018) and a Final Four (2019). No surprise there as the old MetroDome had its success putting on similar events indoors. This barn might be hosting soccer too.

Opened: 2016
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Capacity: 66,200
Surface: FieldTurf

Home-Field Advantage: This stadium has yet to host a game so it is a little early to tell. The fact that the Vikings had been playing outside the last couple of years should help them adjust to this stadium. Similar to Green Bay and Chicago, it seems like they should be playing in the ice and snow if possible. The home field advantage here has yet to be determined. They used to have a huge noise advantage in the Metrodome, but we’ll have to see what happens in their new digs at the U.S. Bank Stadium.

Betting games at U.S. Bank Stadium: The Vikings are no powerhouse and I don’t expect them to become one just because they have some fancy new digs. In fact the new barn might not provide much advantage at all so fading them might be the way to go early. Force them to prove you wrong.

How Lambeau Field Helps The Green Bay Packers

Even though I can’t quite make a visual of this stadium there is no football field with as strong a reputation as Lambeau Field – affectionately called the Frozen Tundra. Due to its location it is not sought after for events beyond football in a big way, but for NFL history it is hard to beat as Green Bay, err Titletown, has been an important NFL franchise since the beginning. It has undergone nine expansions to keep it relevant in the league’s smallest market.

Opened: 1957
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Capacity: 81,435
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: The Packers enjoy one of the best home field advantages in the league. First they have the weather, you never know what it going to be and late in the season it can be blizzard like. They also have the fans, the infamous Cheeseheads. They are a smart and knowledgeable group that truly loves their Packers. They are not going to turn on them like the folks in Philly might if they get down early in a game. I rate the home field advantage as above average.

Betting games at Lambeau Field: The Packers are among the top teams in the league right now, but even when they are average, or below, you don’t want to be fading them at home. Lambeau Field can definitely play cold which can suppress points, but it also definitely lifts the home team at the same time. I also feel like Green Bay does a great job of not overly adjusting to weather effects. They just play their game so I look a lot at team overs when they are playing at Lambeau.

How CenturyLink Field Helps The Seattle Seahawks

This venue has not been around all that long, but has already had a few names, starting as Seahawks Stadium, then Qwest Field and now CenturyLink Field, or affectionately the “Link”. It is a truly beautiful facility that also hosts Sounders FC (soccer) as well. Even though this stadium has not been around all that long it has quickly gained fame as one of the noisiest around, making a very good Seahawks team that much tougher to beat. This the home of the 12th man (or at least the NFL version of it).

Opened: 2002
Location: Seattle, Washington
Capacity: 69,000
Surface: FieldTurf

Home-Field Advantage: The Seahawks have one of the strongest home field advantages in all of sports. It has nothing to with the weather and everything to do with the fans. Quite simply this is the loudest stadium in the league and when you combine that with the intimidating defense of the Seahawks you have a powerful combination that is really tough to beat. I rate the home field advantage here as high.

Betting games at CenturyLink Field: Backing the Seahawks at home is usually the way to go. They might have been more mortal last year at 5-3, but this is probably the best home field advantage in the league, plus they are still one of the elite teams. Given how their fans can help disrupt an offense you want to shade towards the under, but offensive miscues can help put points on the board fast going the other way. The best way to play the Link is to give the Seahawks way more than the standard three point edge in your handicapping.

How Levi’s Stadium Helps The San Francisco 49ers

This is the newest stadium in the league and it received some notoriety when it was first proposed as it is not even close to San Francisco, really. Of course as it is new it is the most up to date facility and creates a spectacular fan experience for those who venture out there. Most recently this venue hosted Super Bowl 50 and has hosted Wrestlemania and the PAC 12 title game. It is getting into the rotation for the College Football Championship too in 2019.

Opened: 2014
Location: Santa Clara, California
Capacity: 68,500
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: Given that the venue is so new and the 49ers have not been very good since it opened, it is hard to tell what kind of advantage this stadium will have for the home team –especially compared its previous home, the notoriously breezy Candlestick Park. Maybe opponents will get too caught up in the comfort of wine country to get amped up for the games. I rate the home field advantage here as to be determined.

Betting games at Levi’s Stadium: Certainly the quality of the home team has a lot to do with how to be a venue and the 49ers just aren’t good right now. Additionally, they are going through a philosophy change with Chip Kelly as the new coach. Odds are the scores will be higher this season as a result. The offense has nowhere to go, but up and the pace of play will make it easier. Overs might be the way to go with this venue which has not proven to play one way or the other thus far.

How Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Helps The Los Angeles Rams

This is one of the most historic stadiums in America. It has hosted the Olympics and was for the former host of the Rams and Raiders back when they were both based in L.A. Over the years it has also been the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, UCLA Football and of course, USC Football. The Rams will share the stadium with the Trojans until their new stadium is ready. The Coliseum has quite literally hosted every type of event imaginable.

Opened: 1923
Location: Los Angeles, California
Capacity: 80,000
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: This has never been a venue that has offered a tremendous advantage to the home team, I think because it has been shared by so many teams that it never really developed that kind of intensity other venues do. Throw in the fact that it is in laid back Southern California and it is easy to understand why opponents do not exactly fear the place, even if the Trojans were going to kick their ass. I rate the home field advantage here as average.

Betting games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: In their last few seasons in St. Louis, the Rams built up a strong defense, which helped the team be respectable. Now that they are in L.A. they have thrown caution to the wind and doubled down on getting a new quarterback to lead the club forward. The offense is still going to be bad for a while though so look at unders most of the time this year.

How University Of Phoenix Stadium Helps The Arizona Cardinals

This is still one of the newer stadiums in the league and one of its crown jewels, so to speak. Even though it has only been open a decade it has already hosted a slew of premier sporting events including the college national championship and a Super Bowl. Perhaps most interesting is that it will host the NCAA Basketball Championships next spring. I think that will be the first time that event has been held in a stadium with a retractable roof.

Opened: 2006
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Capacity: 63,400
Surface: Grass

Home-Field Advantage: Even though the weather is nearly perfect every game the Cardinals have developed a defense first mentality. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of noisy stadium that plays havoc with pre-snap communications though. The folks in Arizona are still not very accustomed to their team actually being good so the frenziness of the fans seems more like a low boil. I would rate their home field advantage here as being average.

Betting games at University of Phoenix Stadium: As it is only recently the Cardinals have become good it seems this stadium is still looking for a reputation other than being the ideal spot to host a night game for television. Arizona is trying to develop a raucous environment, but it is hard when all their fans seem to have grown up somewhere else and the weather is always good. On the field they want to lead with defense and are still underrated nationally so backing the Cardinals at home is usually a good play. It is probably worth a little more than the standard three points right now.

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