Home is Where the Points Are
Are Soccer leagues with high levels of parity between teams more affected by the concept of home field advantage? The world of team management and sports betting rely heavily on understanding how teams perform beyond player stats and win loss records. The concept of a home field advantage is not new to sports. An intrinsic value may exist between a team and their home crowd, enabling a team to play more effectively than statistics would predict. This paper intends to quantify the impact of home field advantage while controlling for variations of parity
Researchers have theorized what factors cause home field advantage. The Institute for the Study of Labor, a German independent research group, published a study written by Thomas Dohmen in 2003 focusing on how a crowd may impact referees and force them to be partial to one team over another. The study determined that crowd size and position relative to the field are directly related to the number of favorable calls to the home team. In a similar vein, the book “Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won” by Tobias Moskowitz and Jon Wertheim discusses how referee bias affects games in the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, and NHL. The pair discovered that referees assign penalties and make decisions that are more likely to benefit the home team. Both of these studies show that home field advantage exists in some form, and how referee bias may impact a match. This paper will explain how a team may over perform or underperform against a team, based on whether they are playing at home or away. Data was collected from four regional European soccer leagues; the English Premier League, the German Bundesl...
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...leagues and seasons. Home field advantage contains many omitted variables such as match specific factors such as red cards not covered by the model, but by sampling thousands of matches, the model minimizes the impact these variables have on the result. Empirical results show that there is a statistical link between parity level and the tier of the team. Accounting for that, we were better able to quantify home field advantage as a factor of how many additional points the home team can earn in an average match.
Dohmen, Thomas J. Is Support of the Supporters? Do Social Forces Shape Decisions of the Impartial. N.p.: IZA, Apr. 2003. PDF.
"ESPN FC." ESPNFC. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.
Moskowitz, Tobias J., and L. Jon. Wertheim. Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won. New York: Crown Archetype, 2011. Print.
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