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Thanks to the NFL scheduling formula, we can take a sneak peek at the season and that's because we now know who the opponents will be for all 32 teams. For instance, if Jon Gruden is going to turn things around for the Raiders next season, he's going to have to do it going up against a schedule that will include a total of seven playoff teams from Next season, the Raiders will play the Colts , Texans and Bears , along with their normal divisional games against the Chargers and Chiefs. The Raiders will also be playing a total of nine games next season against teams that finished with a winning record, which is tied with the Jaguars , Broncos , Chiefs, Falcons and Texans for the most in the NFL.

On the other hand, the Patriots will be playing just six games against teams that finished the season with a winning record, which probably won't come as a surprise to anyone who thinks the Patriots seem to have an easy schedule every year. One thing to keep in mind about the NFL schedule is that the formula keeps things as even as possible.

Each team will play four games against a first-place team from , four games against a second-place team from , four games against a third-place team and four games against a fourth-place team for a total of 16 games. Here's a brief explanation of the NFL scheduling formula, which was implemented in Each team will play:. The regular season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. The NFL season will conclude on Feb.

Here's the complete home and away opponent list for each NFL team. The dates and times of each game will released at some point during the spring. One thing to keep in mind is that there will be five international games in and although we don't know the dates of those games, we do know that the Jaguars, Chargers, Rams , Raiders and Buccaneers will each be losing one home game. Basically, if your favorite team is on one of those five home schedules, they could be headed abroad next season. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will In many team sports in North America including baseball , basketball , and ice hockey , playoff series are often held with a nearly equal number of games at each team's site.

However, as it is usually beneficial to have an odd number of matches in a series to prevent ties , the final home game is often awarded to the team that had the most success over the regular season. The World Cup victories of Uruguay , Italy , England , Germany , Argentina and France are all in part attributed to the fact that the World Cup was held in the winner's country. A study by The Times found that in the English Premiership , a home team can be expected to score Others have suggested that the increase in British medals during the Olympics may have been impacted by home court advantage.

The strength of the home advantage varies for different sports, regions, seasons, and divisions. For all sports, it seems to be strongest in the early period after the creation of a new league. The effect seems to have become somewhat weaker in some sports in recent decades. They demonstrated that, in theory and in practice, home-field advantage decreases as superiority of performance increases. They also showed that home-field advantage is not applicable for no-hit major league baseball games for pitchers who either replicated performance by winning two or more no-hitters or amassed a large number of career wins.

Their general finding was that home-field advantage is a metric for the inability to maintain performance independent of environment and that this metric is inversely related to variables of expertise. In recognition of the difficulty in winning away matches, cup competitions in association football often invoke the away goals rule. Away goals can also sometimes be used to separate teams level on points and goal difference in league competitions. There are many causes that attribute to home advantage, such as crowd involvement, travel considerations, and environmental factors. The most commonly cited factors of home advantage are usually factors which are difficult to measure and so even their existence is debated.

Most of these are psychological in nature: the home teams are familiar with the playing venue; they can lodge in their homes, rather than in a hotel, and so have less far to travel before the game; and they have the psychological support of the home fans. Other factors, however, are easier to detect and can have noticeable effects on the outcome of the game.

In American football , for instance, the crowd often makes as much noise as it can when the visiting team is about to run a play. That can make it very difficult for the visiting team's quarterback to call audible play changes, or for any player to hear the snap count. In contrast, the crowd is often quiet while the home team is on offense, and that enables the quarterback to use the hard count intended to draw the defense offsides as the defense can hear the hard count.

In basketball , when a visiting player is making a free throw , home fans behind the backboard typically wave their arms or other objects in an attempt to break the visiting player's focus on making the shot. Environmental factors such as weather and altitude are easy to measure, yet their effects are debatable, as both teams have to play in the same conditions; but the home team may be more acclimated to local conditions with difficult environments, such as extremely warm or cold weather, or high altitude such as the case of Denver teams , as well as the Mexico national football team , many of whose home matches are played in Mexico City.

The stadium or arena will typically be filled with home supporters , who are sometimes described as being as valuable as an extra player for the home team. The home fans can sometimes create a psychological lift by cheering loudly for their team when good things happen in the game. The home crowd can also intimidate visiting players by booing , whistling , or heckling. Generally the home fans vastly outnumber the visiting team's supporters.

While some visiting fans may travel to attend the game, home team fans will generally have better access to tickets and easier transport to the event, thus in most cases they outnumber the visitors' fans although in local derbies and crosstown rivalries this may not always be the case. In some sports, such as association football , sections of the stadium will be reserved for supporters of one team or the other to prevent fan violence but the home team's fans will have the bulk of the seating available to them.

Stadium announcers in many sports will emphasize the home team's goals and lineup to excite the crowd.


Ryan Boyko, a research assistant in the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University , studied 5, English Premier League games from to , to discern any officiating bias and the influence of home crowds. The data was published in the Journal of Sports Sciences and suggested that for every additional 10, people attending, home team advantage increased by 0.

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Additionally, his study proved what many football fans already suspect: that home teams are likely to be awarded more penalty kicks , but crucially, this is more likely with inexperienced referees. So, consideration of referee profiles should clearly be a refinement for home field advantage statistics. Further, home players can be accustomed to peculiar environmental conditions of their home area. Although baseball is less aerobically demanding than many other sports, high altitude affects that sport's game play in several important ways.

The low humidity also causes baseballs to dry out, making it harder for pitchers to grip them and further reducing their ability to throw breaking balls. This anomaly has been countered with Colorado's innovative use of humidors to keep the baseballs from drying out. More recently, Bolivia beat Argentina , who were ranked sixth in the world, 6—1 on April 1, , Argentina's heaviest defeat since The weather can also play a major factor. Hapoel duly lost the match This advantage, however, can also be a disadvantage to the home team, as weather conditions can impede the home team as much as the visitors: the Buffalo Bills , whose home stadium New Era Field is subject to high and unpredictable winds and lake-effect snow in the late fall and early winter, regularly suffer large numbers of injuries late in the season.

Sometimes the unique attributes of a stadium create a home-field advantage. The unique off-white Teflon -coated roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome trapped and reflected noise to such an extent that it was distracting or even harmful.

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  • This, combined with the color of the roof, caused opposing baseball players to commit more errors in the Dome than in other ballparks. While this is no longer an issue for opponents of the Minnesota Twins with that team's move to the open-air Target Field , it remained important to the many college baseball teams that played games in the Dome until its late closing. The parquet floor at the Boston Celtics ' former home of Boston Garden contained many defects, which were said to give the Celtics, who were more likely to be familiar with the playing surface, an advantage.

    During the — season , the Larry Bird -led Celtics posted a home court record of ; this record still stands in the NBA. Memorial Gymnasium , the venue for men's and women's basketball at Vanderbilt University , was built in with the team benches at the ends of the court instead of along one of the sidelines, a setup that was not unusual at the time. However, the configuration is now unique in U.

    Cherry Hill Arena , a New Jersey -based arena in the southern suburbs of Philadelphia , had a number of idiosyncrasies that its home teams used to their advantage but earned the arena an extremely poor reputation, including a slanted ice surface that forced opponents to skate the majority of the game uphill and lack of showers for the visiting team. Sports Illustrated , in a 17 January article, reported that home crowds, rigor of travel for visiting teams, scheduling, and unique home field characteristics, were not factors in giving home teams an advantage.

    The journal concluded that it was favorable treatment by game officials and referees that conferred advantages on home teams. They stated that sports officials are unwittingly and psychologically influenced by home crowds and the influence is significant enough to effect the outcomes of sporting events in favor of the home team.

    Other research has found that crowd support, travel fatigue, geographical distance, pitch familiarity, and referee bias do not have a strong effect when each factor is considered alone suggesting that it is the combination of several different factors that creates the overall home advantage effect. An evolutionary psychology explanation for the home advantage effect refers to observed behavioral and physiological responses in animals when they are defending their home territory against intruders. This causes a rise in aggression and testosterone levels in the defenders. A similar effect has been observed in football with testosterone levels being significantly higher in home games than in away games.

    Goalkeepers, the last line of defense, have particularly strong testosterone changes when playing against a bitter rival as compared to a training season. How testosterone may influence results is unclear but may include cognitive effects such as motivation and physiological effects such as reaction time.

    An extreme example of home advantage was the Nigeria Premier League ; each of the 20 teams lost at most 3 of 19 home matches and won at most 3 of 19 away matches. Paul Doyle ascribed this to visiting teams' facing "violent crowds, questionable refereeing and [ In ice hockey , there are at least three distinct rule-related advantages for the home team.

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    The first is referred to as "last change", where during stoppages of play, the home team is allowed to make player substitutions after the visiting team does. This allows the home team to obtain favorable player matchups. This rule makes the home team designation important even in games played on neutral ice.

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    Traditionally, the second advantage was that when lining up for the face-off , the away team's centre always had to place his stick on the ice before the centre of the home team. However, in both the NHL and international rule sets, this now applies only for face-offs at the centre-ice spot; when a face-off takes place anywhere else on the ice, the defending centre has to place his stick first.

    The centre who is allowed to place his stick last gains the ability to time the face-off better and gives him greater odds of winning it. The third advantage is that the home team has the benefit of choosing whether to take the first or second attempt in a shootout. In baseball , the home team gets to bat last in each inning. If the game goes into extra innings, this can yield very real advantages when deciding strategies regarding base-stealing and sacrifice hits.

    This puts AL teams at a disadvantage when they play in NL parks, as AL pitchers are typically not used to having to bat. NL teams at AL parks are at a disadvantage because a player who does not play often will have to bat an entire game, usually on consecutive nights. The NL team's DH is a pinch-hitter who bats perhaps once every two or three games during the season, or alternates in a platoon system with other players such as a catcher who does not start because the starting pitcher uses the other catcher , while the AL team's DH bats three or more times a game throughout the season.

    In baseball, there is always a psychological home advantage when the game is tied or close in the 9th or in extra innings. But the home team, upon scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 9th or an extra inning, wins in sudden death without having to take the field defensively following their period at bat. If the home team is in the lead following the top of the 9th, the game ends at this point, and the bottom of the 9th is not played at all.

    There is no clear-cut, physical advantage because both teams are given the same number of opportunities i. The advantage is knowing how well one must perform in the last inning, if at all. A team's identity is often partly or mostly based on its home colors for example, the All Blacks of New Zealand.

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    In Major League Baseball, by tradition a team's home uniform has the team name on it i. A rule in American high school football except Texas, which plays by NCAA rules requiring the home team to wear dark jerseys and the visiting team to wear white jerseys may work as a disadvantage to the home team in hot-weather games. Goals scored and conceded — in so called combined measure of home team advantage — are used to determine which results are better, same, and which are worse.

    The main result is that home team advantage in Spain is stronger. Spanish La Liga has the strongest home team advantage and English football league two has the lowest home team advantage among analysed leagues. During the regular season for a sport, in the interest of fairness, schedulers try to ensure that each team plays an equal number of home and away games.