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Home field (court, pitch) advantage is one of the most talked about phenomena in all of sports. Bookies give the home team a three point lead before making lines in both football and basketball. Announcers talk about the quest for it, coaches talk about needing it, players use it as motivation. HFA does matter, if only psychologically, but in which sport does it actually matter the most?

I am going to examine this in three parts.

1. Game Time

In football and soccer, you are playing either in the afternoon or a generally agreeable evening time slot, however, there is a caveat I will get to in a second. In basketball, football, and hockey, there is a three or four spread on start time (more so in a nationally televised game), in which the game could end at 1 or 2 AM east coast time in west coast games. The body regulates time internally, and you have to believe that time frames affect performances. That being said, a general NFL betting rule it to give the east coast team a plus three or four if a west coast team is coming for a 1 PM start (10 AM visitors time).

2. The Elements.

Wind affects all outdoor sports. Old Giants stadium was said to have a wind tunnel that suddenly started blowing into the face of the visitor in the fourth quarter. The Colorado Rockies play in zero gravity if you listen to the broadcasters. Much has always been made of the Packers success in cold weather and Tampa Bay's failures. This is a measurable effect of HFA. During the AL playoffs, much was made of the Texas Rangers letting the infield grass grow to slow down the speed game of The Rays. Iowa Football's visitors locker room is painted pink. Denver Nugget opponents are always gassed at the end of games due to the elevation. Outfielders at their home stadium know the dimensions of the park and how the ball bounces off the outfield wall. I could go on, but the point is whether the be man made, influenced, of natural, there are many elements which can affect play.

3. The Fans.

Some fans are rowdier than others. The Cameron Crazies jump all game and that has to be distracting. Sacramento fans ring cow bows at basketball games. Vuvuzelas anyone? Knowledgeable crowds know when to be loud and when to be quiet. They know what buttons to push on their opponents. The crowd is truly part of the event.


If I had to choose, I would pick baseball. There are real world tangible benefits to familiarity with the ball park. Playing the common prevailing winds, knowing the ricochets off the wall, using the grounds crew to your advantage. You can count the runs that home field advantages cause from game to game.

This link shows that while metric splits in football do favor the home team, the advantages are slight.

http://footballpredictionnetwork.blogspot.com/2007/07/value-of-home-field-advantage-40.html

This link shows how a team's ability creates an increase in HFA and not the other way around. (NFL)

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=410

I also can't find the article I read anymore, but it stated that psychological factors of home field advantage (The awe of Lambeau or Yankee Stadium, The Crazy Raider fans) are the strongest at the beginning of a game, but it diminishes throughout. This, of course, leaves only environmental factors (elevation, etc.) Now, since every sport is played on a uniform field with uniform measurements except one, it would make sense that that one sport would hold the most HFA. That sport is baseball.
 

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guess i must have missed where sports meant any sport thats predominantly played in America :side:

best answer here is cricket. no need to explain it to cricket fans and anyone who doesn't know anything about cricket makes it too tiresome to explain :p
 

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I'd agree that from a physics standpoint, baseball HFA gives the biggest edge. You make a great case for this.

From a psychological and communication standpoint, however, HFA in football is/seems greater. Communication is mostly non verbal in baseball, so crowd noise isn't that big of a deal. In football it's mostly verbal. Football is also more cerebral and the crowd noise can more greatly affect those cerebral decisions that QB's have to make pre snap and post snap.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
guess i must have missed where sports meant any sport thats predominantly played in America :side:

best answer here is cricket. no need to explain it to cricket fans and anyone who doesn't know anything about cricket makes it too tiresome to explain :p
Yeah, I focused on American sports. Next time I write bout sports though, I promise to include all 6,000 of them so as not to offend anyone.

And, since cricket is too tiresome to explain, you understand how it's also too tiresome to watch?
 

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Yeah, I focused on American sports. Next time I write bout sports though, I promise to include all 6,000 of them so as not to offend anyone.

And, since cricket is too tiresome to explain, you understand how it's also too tiresome to watch?
relax son, just busting your balls.

Not exactly. I can see how some people find it boring (personally its one of the best sports) but you guys watch American football and baseball. You have no cause to complain about sports taking a while to complete ;)
 

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also, i'll explain it for you. just cause i need something to do.

You have the crowd on your side (a given), you have field conditions on your side (the pitch and how the ball moves off the pitch. a huge thing in cricket) the type of ball used, the weather conditions, the players are better suited to playing a certain style which is obviously better on the grounds they learnt how to play on)

The Ball - To illustrate my point i'll put it into a baseball context for you. Say you have a pitcher who can bowl epic curveballs on one side and a guy that can send a fast ball wherever he wants it. In cricket the home field can use balls which will enhance their bowlers (in the baseball context, pitcher's) best attributes.

The pitch or wicket - different pitches are used all over the world. For example - fast, high bouncy pitches in Australia, good for batsmen who like to play off the back foot. In India - slower, low bouncing pitches. Good for front foot players.

The weather conditions -
The conditions change dramatically all over the world ie cold in England, humid in India, hot in Australia etc etc. Makes a big difference when you're in the field all day (6-7 hours)
 

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Variance in size and shape seems to be the same with cricket and baseball, but if you're saying the home team gets to use balls that enhance their bowlers and the visitor doesn't not get this same advantage then home seems enormous in cricket. No bullshit.
 

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Variance in size and shape seems to be the same with cricket and baseball, but if you're saying the home team gets to use balls that enhance their bowlers and the visitor doesn't not get this same advantage then home seems enormous in cricket. No bullshit.
well for an example i'll use England and Australia. We use Kookaburra balls down here while they use Duke balls up there. The Duke balls have an exaggerated seam so more movement off the pitch is allowed. They're also more durable thus will move around for longer. Kookaburra are better for reverse swing, and regular swing very early on (after about 20-30 overs they get pretty worn) and generally are a bit harder and bouncier. Duke balls usually suit England bowlers better, kookaburra suit us better.

In a way your bowlers get the same advantage but if you don't use that sort of ball regularly then you won't get the most out of it, or the conditions.
 

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Variance in size and shape seems to be the same with cricket and baseball, but if you're saying the home team gets to use balls that enhance their bowlers and the visitor doesn't not get this same advantage then home seems enormous in cricket. No bullshit.
Yep, there are different balls used by different countries that do different things in both the air and coming off the pitch.
 

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Well I still won't pretend to understand cricket but it seems similar enough to baseball's HFA when the same ball is used.

However when say England has to go Australia (not even sure if that happens, but assume it does) England is at a decided severe disadvantage. No question.
 

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England and Australia have arguably the biggest rivalry in cricket. The 4th day of the second match is currently being played down here in South Australia. It usually once every 2-3 years, depending on scheduling.
 

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Well I still won't pretend to understand cricket but it seems similar enough to baseball's HFA when the same ball is used.

However when say England has to go Australia (not even sure if that happens, but assume it does) England is at a decided severe disadvantage. No question.
overseas tours happen all the time.

as i said conditions between countries differ in terms or weather and pitches but they also differ in the country. In Australia overall we have faster, bouncier wickets but in Perth and Brisbane they're extra fast and bouncy, Sydney and Melbourne a slower, bit more conducive for spin and swing bowling, Adelaide is a road mostly, Hobart is good for swing.
 
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