Guest article written by Paul Micelli
One of the biggest advantages a football side can have is playing on home turf. Some managers have made a living out of turning their home stadium into a fortress and in recent years, the likes of Jose Mourinho have taken this concept to a whole new level. The self-proclaimed Special one hasn’t lost a league game in his own backyard for just over eight years and any sports betting enthusiast searching for a home banker would rarely have looked past Porto, Chelsea or Inter Milan during that time.
In England, even unfashionable sides like Stoke City are adept at gaining points at home and this particular type of form is immediately seized upon by the bookmakers who slash their prices accordingly. Unfortunately, the opportunity for sizable one-off profits are extremely rare when betting on home teams and it can often prove useful to back away sides using statistical analysis as a guide to form.
In the same way as some teams consistently perform better in home fixtures, it is also true to say that some sides actually perform better away from home. In many cases, this type of form can actually come from sides that wouldn’t be automatic choices for an away victory without studying the statistics first. The 2005/2006 season threw up some fantastic examples of this throughout Europe and produced a number of unfashionable sides who were consistently performing well on the road. England, Spain and Italy all fostered teams with amazing away records even though their home form and league positions were little more than ordinary.
Wigan Athletic (England)
Home form: W7 D3 L9
Away form: W8 D3 L8
Deportivo La Coruna (Spain)
Home form: W6 D5 L8
Away form: W9 D5 L4
Home form: W1 D4 L13
Away form: W1 D8 L10
These statistics prove beyond reasonable doubt that all three sides listed boasted better away records than home records and there are a number of reasons behind this. Some home crowds can be incredibly partisan and this immediately puts pressure on the player. In the cases of Deportivo La Coruna and Treviso, both sides are backed by passionate, noisy crowds and this energy often has a negative impact because expectations are so high. In the case of Wigan Athletic, their home gates are small, relatively quiet and the resulting lack of atmosphere fails to spur on the players to greater heights.
These trends can actually have massive benefits for the sports betting enthusiast. Bookmakers will usually compile their odds assuming that these teams have a bigger home advantage than they actually do. In turn, this creates better value when smaller provincial teams with indifferent home records play away because bookmakers will extend their prices accordingly. This is where massive profits can be made and the discerning sports bettor should always be aware of these excellent betting opportunities.
Better still, it is also possible to make further profits when betting against the same teams when they are performing at home. This maximises the Away Team Strategy to a level where winnings can be picked up on an almost weekly basis.