Tuesday, December 09, 2008
THE VALUE , OR OTHERWISE, OF HOME ADVANTAGE ................STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Last season, much was made of the number of away wins in Division 2 of the Football League and many people were happy to follow the "road" favourites almost blindly and probably made a little money. Over the entire season, the division only produced 39% home wins, just a shade higher than the visiting teams managed.
On Saturday, I was interested in Newcastle at home to Stoke, actually, my idea was based more upon opposing City, but the odds on offer, just didn't feel right, so I left the match alone. This season, the EPL has produced fewer home wins than any other major league in Europe. Infact, the number of wins for the hosting team , has been in sharp decline for some time . In 05/06 over 50.5% of fixtures were won by the home team, that number fell to circa 48% the following season and again by another 2% last campaign, at present, the rate is around 41.5 %, so you could argue that the true odds for a "home" in a random top flight fixture is 2.41 . Obviously, I am not advocating that Manchester United at home to, well almost anyone should be that price, that would be silly, but please think long and hard before betting anyone at odds on, in this increasingly competitive league.
Only United and Liverpool are unbeaten on home soil, Villa and Fulham have lost one each, every one else, has been defeated at least twice. Which includes Chelsea and Arsenal, at their former fortress home ground's. We have not hit the half way mark yet, I hear you cry, which is true, but over the last two seasons there have been far fewer home wins after Christmas and this is a trend I do not see changing too much in the coming months.
If you like your home favourites, how about Serie A, where most teams seem to be suffering from travel sickness this season. So far, almost 58% of matches have been decided in favour of the host, only four teams have won less than three and an eyecatching eleven, have lost one or less. This is a massive percentage increase, especially at this stage of the season, over any recent year and you would have to be a brave man, or be getting a very good price, to consider taking any visiting team at present. Only Juve, Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio have recorded more than two away wins. Of course, 58% is an incredibly high number and not one I can see lasting too long, but 150 games is a reasonable sample and worthy of note.