Home Is Where The Heart Is

by Ben Burns

In football, playing "at home" means more to some teams than it does to others. Some tend to thrive in a familiar setting. Others do not. The Packers and Bucs are both 5-0 at home. Yet, each is 4-3 on the road.  Meanwhile, the Cardinals and Patriots are a combined 13-0 on the road but only 6-6 on their home fields. The same is true for NBA teams. Let's take a closer look. 

Overall, home teams are 200-165 (54.8%) on the season. They've only hit 48.1% (174-188-3) at the betting window though. 

The Blazers are a solid 10-4 at Portland but a dismal 1-10 on the road. 

The Pacers enter Wednesday with a 7-6 home record. However, they're just 3-10 on the road. 

The Hornets are 7-3 at home but 7-9 on the road. 

The Hawks are 8-4 at Atlanta but 5-8 on the road

The Nuggets are 8-4 in the high altitude of Denver. On the road, they're 4-8.

The Rockets enter Wednesday's play with a winning (6-5) home record. They're an ugly 1-11 away from Houston. 

The Raptors are one team which hasn't fared well at home. They're 4-8 in games played at Toronto but 7-5 when on the road. 
The same is true of the Cavaliers and the Knicks. The Cavs are 8-5 on the road but only 5-7 at Cleveland. The Knicks are 5-8 at MSG but 7-4 on the road. 

Most have an idea whether or not a team has a strong home court advantage. Some may not look at the "type" of games which teams are playing at home, compared to on the road, though. Let's use the Spurs, as an example. At first glance, there's not much separating their home and road performances. They're 4-7 at home and 4-8 on the road. No big deal. However, if one digs deeper into the stats, it turns out that the Spurs are playing higher-scoring games at San Antonio than they are on the road. Much higher. (See below) This knowledge helped support my 'over' play when the Spurs hosted the Knicks on 12/7. (The O/U line was 211 and the teams combined for 230.) Here's an excerpt from my analysis of that game:

".... The Spurs saw last night's game at Phoenix sneak below the total. We're working with a lower O/U number tonight but I'm expecting a considerably higher-scoring affair. San Antonio road games have been staying below the total all season. In fact, including last night's result, the 'under' is now 10-1-1 when the Spurs have played away from San Antonio. Entering last night, SA road games were averaging just 206.5 points. However, the complete opposite has been true in games played at the AT&T Center. Games here are averaging 225.5 points. That's nearly 20 ppg more than the Spurs' road games. The OVER is 7-1-2 here.

There's a lot more to this play than just the venue. The Knicks aren't playing the same type of defense that they were last year. They were a top five defense last year. This year, they've been mediocre. Over their last four games, they're allowing 110.4 ppg and a high 47.9 field goal percentage. The last time that the Spurs played the second of b2b games, they combined with the Pacers for 249 points. Including that shootout, the OVER is 43-21-2 the past 2+ seasons, when SA has faced an Eastern Conf. opponent, 14-6-1 in games against teams from the Atlantic. With the OVER also 8-1-1 (or 9-1) the past 10 times that the Spurs hosted the Knicks ... "

The Pacers are another team which has been playing higher-scoring games at home than on the road. The opposite is true for Sacramento. The Kings have played much lower-scoring games on their home floor. That's led to a 9-3 'over' record on the road but an 8-4 'under' record in games at Sacramento. 

There are many more examples but you get my point. Take the time to look at how teams are playing at home, as opposed to on the road. It's simple but important. 

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