Home (Court) is Where the Heart is


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So what do you think of the Golden State Warriors? All right, so they are a .500 team, nothing to get excited about. However, a closer look finds that the young Warriors are a sizzling 14-6 SU, 13-7 ATS at home, but a miserable 4-13 SU, 7-10 ATS on the road. Not all teams that this extreme, of course, but it's essential to understand that home/road breakdown is most important when examining basketball handicapping.

This is also commonplace in college hoops. It's important to focus on where the site that a basketball game is being played, especially with college basketball conference play taking place. Spend some time going through the records, straight up and against the spread, of your favorite college and pro hoops teams and you'll be amazed at some of the differences.

Some college teams will shoot lights out at home, averaging 78 points per game. Yet, the same players can turn into certified masons on the road averaging 59 points per game. Several things are taking place. For serious sports bettors, it's important to identify these valuable wagering facets, apply meaning, and incorporate into your handicapping.

Eastern Michigan of the MAC currently has a 5-3 record at home where the defense is allowing 65 ppg. Yet, on the road the Broncos are a very different team at 1-4 SU, 0-4 ATS allowing 76 ppg! What the heck happens to their defense on the road? Basically, they leave it at home!

It's not relegated to college hoops, either. Examine some of the home/road records of NBA teams over the years. One of the best examples I ever found was the Denver Nuggets in 2000-01. That season, the Nuggets were an average team with a 40-42 overall record. But going a step further, something remarkable takes shape: Denver had a winning spread record at home where they were 29-12 straight up, yet on the road, a completely different team showed up, where the Nuggets were 11-30 straight up and 16-25 against the spread!

There are many reasons as to why this takes place. One is pride, as team want to play all out to defend their home turf. Another reason is emotion as the home crowd will be rooting for their team to give 100%. This is why opposing coaches are so quick to call a time out when they see the home crowd going wild, as they want to stem that momentum before the game gets away.

Confidence and being comfortable are two other reasons. Teams at home are comfortable with the surroundings, the arena, the lighting, etc. They practice and prepare each day in that same arena, so going on the road things can change completely.

And experience is another factor to consider. Professional handicappers take careful note of rosters and identify which teams have an excess of youth and ones that have experience. The first example I gave, Golden State, happens to have a roster full of young players. Veteran teams, like the Spurs and Miami Heat, can be less spooked on the road as they have so many games under their belt. Notice that Miami is 8-9 at home and 7-10 on the road, not that much of a difference. A young Washington Wizards team? 14-3 at home, 6-11 on the road!

From a bettor's perspective this offers opportunities “to play on” a young team at home and “go against them” when traveling. I'm still waiting for my young Cleveland Cavaliers to turn that corner: The Cavs are sensational at home again (15-3), yet a money-burning 7-10 SU, 6-11 ATS on the road. When a talented young team begins to start to win and cover on the road, that can be an excellent opportunity to begin backing that group before oddsmakers catch up. But until they turn that corner, be careful and examine home/road stats VERY carefully!

Bryan Leonard is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at http://www.procappers.com/Bryan_Leonard.htm


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