Monday, 7 September 2020

Pump It Up

The NFL season is here, and as with most other sports at the moment, it will be one with no fans at some stadiums, but fans at others, and thus a season with no precedent.

At least some Home Field Advantage (HFA) has long been held to come from the thousands of screaming fans in the stands who intentionally make more noise when the visiting team is driving and hard for them to hear play calls.

This season, some teams will have fans from the start, e.g. Miami Dolphins. Others hope to have fans as the season unfolds, e.g. the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, while others, e.g. the New York Giants have ruled out fans completely, at least for the time being.

Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on a conference call that there will be no advantage for teams with fans in the stands.

How can this be? Here's how - on the same call, it was announced that:

"For teams with no fans in the stands, we’ve created audio that will be played in all stadiums"
Apparently details are still being finalized, most notably about the decibel level to be allowed for the pumped-in noise, but it certainly appears to be a case of an unfair playing field.

Readers will be aware that the strategy of backing away teams getting a handful of points (the Small Road 'Dogs System) in the regular season has been profitable in most recent seasons:
That ROI is 10% if you restrict your bets to Divisional games only. Unlike MLB, the NFL have not changed their scheduling, nor made any COVID-19 specific rule changes, so I am optimistic that the season will play out in a fairly typical way. One big concern is that the market may see the HFA as reduced or non-existent this season, and the points Road teams are getting will be reduced. 

Three road teams opened as Picks for Week One, the Las Vegas Raiders, (get used to that name), Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears, although the Raiders are now 3 point favourites in some books while the Bears are now getting 3 points (and are currently a Small Road Dog pick) along with Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A quiet opening week might not be a bad thing. The reigning champions Kansas City Chiefs host Houston Texans on Thursday night and the Washington team still have no name and will start the season with the temporary, if unimaginative, name Washington Football Team.

Although not tied to the pandemic, the NFL has changed its play-off format this season with 14 teams (of the 32) now qualifying, and only the top seed in each conference now receiving a Bye in the first round.   

Finally, as I've mentioned before, I occasionally peruse the Betfair Forum, though more for amusement than in any expectation of learning anything useful.

One recent thread on the Football Forum was started with this comment:
It is nice for b/f to provide us live view...but until one team scores how are we to know which team is which?
Team colours would be nice.
Good grief. As one of the replies said:
If you are researching teams to bet on and don't know what colour shirts they play in maybe time to call it a day. Failing that a 10 second search on Google.

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