Home Field Advantage in the MLB (Part 3)

By Proloy Bhattacharyya

NFLSystems.com

proloy@nflsystems.com

September 12, 2005


In one of our earlier articles, we demonstrated how the home field advantage was stronger in the first game of a series and qualified that by explaining how the opposing team has to travel to a visitor’s stadium and may struggle in the first game.


I wanted to apply a few handicapping principles that we generally apply to the NBA such as the betting against a team on zero-days rest angle.


Home teams in the first game of a series are 54.4% winners if their opponent is playing back-to-back days but only 52.8% if their opponent has had 1 or more days rest. This is a significant advantage that is averaged over approximately 5000 games.


If we condition this fact on our team not having to travel because its previous game was at home, the percentage increases to 975-801, 54.9%. In fact, blindly betting home teams in this situation is +26 units over the past 6 years. Because of the large number of games in baseball, even simple angles such as these do not get factored into the spread as they should.


As my “2005 YTD Home Favorite Money Line Records” piece suggested, home teams perform much better against non-divisional rivals than against divisional rivals. Utilizing that knowledge, we improve this system to 55.6%, +39 units.


American League favorites that fall into this system are 226-113 (66.7%), +56 units over the past 6 seasons with no losing seasons. Even though this is coincidental


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