Home Field Advantage in the MLB (Part 2): Tale of Two Halves

By Proloy Bhattacharyya

NFLSystems.com

proloy@nflsystems.com

September 10, 2005



Home teams perform completely differently during the first half of the baseball season and the last half. I analyze baseball games differently based on which half of the season it is and I will demonstrate one such disparity.


Baseball is a long drawn out season with so many games that the best effort from teams generally do not surface until the latter half of the season. As a result, the home field advantage is stronger during the first half of the season.


Over the past 6 seasons, baseball’s home teams have won 54.6% of their games during the first 81 games of the season ( including 55.8% this season ). During the second half of the season, baseball’s home teams have only won an average of 53.0% of their games. Although a 1.6% difference may not seem major, it still represents a 3.2% drop to a home team’s advantage. Also, first half home records have not been below 53% in any of the past 6 seasons.


If we only take into account division rivals, the home field advantage drops by exactly 4% from the first half of the season to the second.


This indicates that one ought to first try to find profitable road teams during the second half of the season. So far this season, road teams in the second half of the season are 179-153, +54.3 units. Last season they were 319-353, +16 units. Decreasing the sample size to a smaller number of games can really yield huge profits for any bettor.


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