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Sports Betting: Will Playing Sports Matches Behind Closed Doors Make a Difference to the Outcome?

As the world emerges into the New Normal, and sports leagues are starting up again, the one proviso for all sporting events in every country, except New Zealand, is that no spectators be allowed into the grounds to watch their favourite teams play.

As an aside, New Zealand society has totally reopened. Consequently, spectators are allowed to attend sports matches at the sports grounds or stadiums. The only negative still for New Zealand sports pundits is that the country’s airports are still closed, with no international teams allowed into the country.

As the title of this article suggests, the question that must be asked and answered is whether not allowing spectators into the stadiums, especially for home matches, will influence the outcome of the match?

And, will this change in circumstances force sports bettors using mobile apps to place bets, like the Betway mobile app, to change their betting strategies?

By way of answering these questions, let’s consider the following points:

The home ground advantage

Research has shown that teams who play at their home ground have a psychological advantage over their opposition. In fact, the same research shows that the advantage of the home ground has can even be considered an unfair advantage. And, this is the fundamental reason why teams play two matches against each other, home and away, to even out the perceived disadvantage.  Otherwise, this phenomenon would be a real and unfair advantage.

Sportsbooks also take the home ground advantage into account when calculating the probabilities of both teams to win at home. As a result, these odds are usually even odds because there is a 50% chance or equal chance that each team will win at home.

The advantage of spectators

This advantage is allied to the home ground advantage. Players seem to up their game when they are playing in front of their home crowd. And, there are times where an away team has won the match because of a large number of spectators that have travelled to support the team in their away match venue.

However, there isn’t enough research to validate this statement, so sportsbooks do not take this factor into account when calculating the betting odds for away matches. We have described the statistical probabilities created by the home ground advantage, let’s look at the remaining two scenarios: away and a draw.

An example of betting odds is as follows:

  • Home: 1-1 (even odds)
  • Away: 5-1
  • Draw: 2-1

The home odds are listed again as a reminder of their role in the perfect book calculations – the probabilities of these odds add up to 100%.

Therefore, the probability that the match will be a draw, based on these odds, is 33.34%. And, the probability of an away win is 16.66%. Thus, when added to the 50% chance of a home win, we can see that the total probabilities equal 100% (50% + 33.34% + 16.66%).

Final thoughts

Based on the above research and statistical analysis, it is reasonable to assume that the absence of spectators could play a role in how well teams do against each other. However, there is currently no research that supports this statement. Only time will tell.

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