NFL

The Impact Of Home Field Advantage In The NFL Playoffs

Home field advantage is widely understood throughout the sports betting world as a term to describe the benefit that teams receive when they host an opponent. However, there is still some confusion about just how big of an impact home field advantage has in certain situations including in the playoffs when it matters the most. Here is a look at the impact that home field advantage has in the NFL playoffs.

The Numbers

The statistics recorded over the years show the advantage that home teams can have in the NFL playoffs. In a 15-year period between 1981 and 1996, the home terms registered an impressive 58% win rate. While part of that has to do with the fact that the teams with the best records clinch home field for playoff games, there are a number of other factors that sports psychologists have attributed these results to.

Home Field Advantage Factors

The sports psychologists listed learning factors, travel and time zone factors, crowd factors, inflated testosterone levels in home players and potential referee bias as the main attributes for home field advantage in the NFL. The learning factors include familiarity with the stadium and its playing surface with factors including turf or grass, indoor and outdoor venues and of course weather in the case of the outdoor venues. The travel factors were obvious with visiting teams experiencing some sort of physical and mental fatigue, including a disruption of routine for teams that had to travel from the west coast to the east coast in particularly. The crowd was also a psychological factor but perhaps even more intriguing was that studies found elevated natural testosterone levels in players on the home team as a result of their desire to “defend their home territory”. The studies also found the potential for a referee bias towards the home team as a result of their environment, regardless of whether it was in their conscious or sub-conscious.

HFA In The Playoffs

A study from 2007 through 2013 found that an impressive 61.7% of home teams won their playoff games. However, the home side covered just 48.8% of the time over that same span. The problem was that the sportsbooks overcorrected the lines in order to make sure they accounted for the home field advantage. It’s important to remember that when betting on the NFL playoffs because we clearly know now that the sportsbooks will take home field advantage in to account when they make their lines. NFL betting fans can maximize their potential to win by making their bets early in the week if they like the favorite, or by waiting for the line adjustments to be made later on if they like the underdog. The obvious home field advantage is accounted for by the sportsbooks so make sure that you keep that in mind the next time that you bet on an NFL playoff game so that you are well aware of the potential for them to overcorrect the lines.

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