As much as we try to eliminate bias in sports, it’s inevitable that some officials will enter games with preconceptions and beliefs that can impact their decision making. One such bias that we frequently observe is that certain officials will favor the home team — perhaps because they don’t want to be mercilessly booed by the home town crowd.
In order to check which umpires have been the most beneficial to home teams, we quickly consulted our Bet Labs software. By simply selecting the home team from the “home/visitor” filter and clicking the “head official” filter, we’re able to quickly find the most profitable officials to bet in home games since 2005.
The table below, which utilizes line data from the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook, displays which umpires have been the most profitable for home teams.
As you can see, Lance Barksdale has been serving up some serious home cooking over the past decade. Simply betting on the home team in every game he has officiated would have resulted in winnings of +42.31 units i.e. a $100/game bettor would have earned $4,231 by following this basic system.
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