One of the biggest questions for football right now is if fans are going to be able to attend. Much will have to change if NFL and NCAA football games aren’t going to held in full capacity stadiums.
But will this affect the spread of games? How much does the crowd matter to the outcome of the game? Surely this will take much of the home-field advantage away from the game.
Adam Burns is a sportsbook manager and might have to consider the impact of spectator-less games. Games in Seattle might not seem so loud on TV, but it’s a different story for those in the stadium. Burns experienced that himself.
“It definitely did make an impact on the game, I would think,” he said.
The amount of impact on the game is the question that sportsbook managers like Burns are trying to figure out. The NCAA and NFL are both discussing games without fans or just partially filled stadiums.
There are several factors in a “home-field advantage.” For teams like the Seattle Seahawks, it would be noise. But take the Denver Broncos, for example, who also get used to the different altitude at which they play.
But what will change by the numbers? Burns thinks that it could result in fewer penalties. Without the crowd noise, there is a potential for less false starts or other instances in which the crowd affects the flag.
Impact On Scoring
One debate that sportsbook managers have is whether or not there will be more or less scoring. Fewer fans could result in the home team being less motivated to play at their fullest potential.
Sportsbook manager Sascha Paruk sees it the opposite way.
“My instinct on that is in the NFL, it’s going to go up because the road offense won’t have to deal with crowd noise,” said Paruk.
A number of NFL teams have to practice with play-calling signals because of the level of noise in the stadium. Without fans, opposing offenses will have the ability to communicate without much disturbance.
Right now, most sportsbook operators aren’t trying to predict what will exactly happen without fans in the stands. But they won’t call them like neutral site games either.
Until further information on how teams are going to perform in these conditions, most lines are going to stay similar to how they were before.
“It’s the same as everything else in life right now,” Burns said. “You go day by day and see what happens.”
There is also hope that the positive tests of the coronavirus will continue to decline, resulting in far less impact on fall sports than those in the summer.
There’s a good possibility that stadiums will be half full, which will still be far from the norm.
“If you’re taking out half of that noise, I think you’re taking out a huge part of the sort of motivating environment, which very tangibly has a bigger impact on college kids than it does pros in the NFL,” Paruk said.