Sunday, March 8, 2009

Initial Pac-10 research, potential Bias discovered,

Before I forget, the bias that I thought up today is thus: a college football team that plays a majority of its early-schedule games at home will suffer from Home Field Bias.  Essentially, this means that its stats will be inflated because it will have a disproportionate amount of games played at home.  Homefield advantage has been proven to pump up scoring, improve defense, and generally make the team look better than it actually will when it travels.

Now, on to the research results.  I looked at each team in the Pac ten and their points scored in away games and at home.  The results were not surprising, but still important.

For the season
Home team: 2589 points.   Away Team: 2245 points.
A difference of 344 points spread out over 45 games.  That makes it 7.64 points per game!  That is over one touchdown difference per game that you get for playing at home.  In the pros it is a mere three points.  

I also read in Stanford Wong's book Sharp Sports Betting that home field advantage decreases between division rivals.  It would also be interesting to look at inter-conference games.  Perhaps if I picked another conference, say the Mountain West Conference, and also compared the inter-conference games between the two, to look at home field advantage in another conference and also the difference in inter-conference games compared to in-conference games.  

Also, if the implications of this research are correct, then the younger the team, the bigger the discrepancy between homefield advantage and away disadvantage.  Also, my data may be skewed because of certain "neutral" games that are technically listed as home/away, like USC/UCLA.  These rivalry games may have stadiums that are split.  

Possibly maximized when a young team is a road favorite over a home team with more experienced players.  

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