At this point, you can almost hear American gamblers screaming for sports to come back. They want to lay down bets, watch the game, and have a chance to win some money. And in the coming weeks, the NFL says it will be back on.
But when you do start seeing sports again you are going to want to change the way you bet. For generations, people have always factored the home-field advantage into their bets. After all, why wouldn't a team play better at home in a stadium that they are used to?
It turns out however that the crowd has a lot to do with home-field advantage – at least if you look at the numbers coming out of Europe where games have already started. The New York Times did a complete study of soccer reopening and found that not only is the home field advantage without a crowd eliminated the teams actually have a home filed disadvantage.
The number of home victories slipped by 10 percentage points, to 33 percent of matches in empty stadiums from 43 percent in full ones.
The change has been so extreme, in fact, that Lukas Keppler, a managing director of the data and analytics firm Impact, noted a sort of “negative home advantage.” For the first time in soccer history, he said, it has appeared, at times, to be easier to be playing on the road.
In addition, home teams scored fewer goals than they had in full stadiums (1.74 to 1.43 per game), leading to a decline in goal scoring overall.
What that means is that in an otherwise even match you don't want to bet on the home team. In an otherwise even match, you want to bet on the visiting team. The home team advantage is completely gone and now the visiting team has the advantage.
Whether or not this will be factored into odds is anyone's guess. But it can't hurt for you to know it and take advantage of it. Ignore the home field advantage whenever you make your bets until the stands are filled with fans again.