College Basketball Home Court Advantage
When it comes to betting on college basketball the value of home court advantage is a hotly debated topic. What really is the advantage of college basketball home court advantage and how does it factor into handicapping games? Traditionally home court advantage is assigned somewhere between 2 and 6 points depending on the teams and location. Generally, it falls at about 3.5. With so many teams how do you accurately determine home court advantage?
What does it Mean
There is no question that blue bloods like Duke and Michigan State are going to get a slight edge when it comes to home court advantage, but is this really accurate. While Wins and Losses ultimately determine home-court advantage, they don’t do a great job in predicting spreads. A prime example of this happened last year in the Big East.
From this list, you can see that home court definitely meant something when it came to winning games. Every team won more than 68% of there games at home, besides Providence who won a still-impressive 61.1%. However, when you look over to the right we see that only two of these teams, Marquette and Creighton, outperformed the spread. While the amount you cover by doesn’t necessarily reflect how often you cover, it can be a pretty good predictor. Below are the Big East ATS records.
Only Villanova was able to join Marquette and Creighton when it came to covering the spread. So what exactly does all this mean? Basically while playing at home helped when it came to winning games, Vegas didn’t have it factored into the spreads enough. So now that we know why it’s important, what is the best way to calculate it.
Calculating Home Court Advantage
The main reason I started writing this article was that it seemed like the Big Ten was covering an insane amount of games this year. This made me begin to wonder what actually goes into covering the spread at home. Below are the results from the Big Ten’s home games this season.
These results showed me that the margin by with teams cover the spread can be a decent factor to how often they cover the spread. In college, one of the biggest parts of home court advantage comes down to the student section. There is no dought that a wild student section creates a hostile environment for opposing teams.
When it comes to analyzing fans there are several factors to consider. First looking at there attendance is key. While looking at tickets sold can be helpful, it doesn’t always show a great picture. The best way to see how many people are actually showing up to the games is to look at the local reporters. Fans are always going to show up more for big rivalries, so it’s important to pay attention to the buzz around the game. For example, Duke and North Carolina is always a huge game.
Duke students camp outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium for days just to get into the game. Even in a year like this where North Carolina is a below-average team, this will still be an exciting game. The biggest thing you have to remember about these games is that at the end of the day the players are just students who haven’t had much experience in these situations.
Travel Between Games
For certain games away fans will travel well, but the further apart the schools are the greater the advantage. Perhaps the biggest example of this came a few weeks ago when Maine traveled to Hawaii. Maine traveled over 5,000 miles to play in Hawaii. The spread for this game was set at Hawaii -17 in no small part because of this huge home court advantage. Hawaii won this game 91 to 51 showing just how much an advantage like this can be.
While not all advantages are as crazy as this, there are all kinds of advantages throughout the season. This time of year looking at travel delays can be a big advantage. If a team was stuck trying to get to a game it could lead to a slow start. When it comes to March Madness looking at how far teams have to travel to there game can be a great indicator. Ever overlook travel when it comes to handicapping games.
Power of a Home Crowd
As the season progresses and young players gain more experience, home court advantage can mean less. In big moments big-time players will come out. Never underestimate the power of a home crowd. Having fans on your side can turn potential losses into wins. How do you handicap home court advantage? Let me know down below.
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