The San Francisco 49ers will spend one more season in Candlestick Park, with plans to move into Levi's Stadium in time for the 2014 season. The Stick is a generally crummy stadium, but when the 49ers are playing well, the crowd can get quite raucous. Maybe not shake the stadium raucous, but the noise can be impressive. Additionally, it is a stadium with a distinct difference with the winds coming off the Bay. I don't know if it qualifies as an advantage for anybody, but the 49ers kickers and punters at least have known what to expect with the swirling winds.
It will be interesting to see what kind of home field advantage the 49ers are able to create in Levi's Stadium starting in 2014. I expect loud fans, but with ticket prices on the rise, and stadium builders' licenses adding to that, it will be interesting to see what kind of passion we see at Levi's Stadium in 2014 and beyond.
As the 49ers wrap up their time at Candlestick Park, I came aross an interesting way to analyze home field advantage. Over at National Football Post, Joe Fortenbaugh took a look at each team's home record straight up (basic w/l record) and against the spread over the last five seasons. He figured out the average margin of victory and the average point spread, which allowed him to figure out each team's average points above the spread. In the NFL, all that matters is winning. In Las Vegas, covering is where it's at.
Over the last five regular seasons at home, the 49ers were 28-11-1 straight up, and 25-13-2 against the spread. They won their games by an average of 7.9 points, and were favored by an average of 4.6 points. This left them an average of 3.3 points above the spread. It is of course worth noting that the 49ers were wildly inconsistent through the first three years of this study. In two seasons under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers are 13-5-1 at home, including the postseason.
The 49ers 3.3 points above the spread ranks seventh in the NFL. Your top six:
1. Baltimore Ravens
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. New England Patriots
5. New Orleans Saints
6. Atlanta Falcons
None of these teams is a big surprise. Even when the Seahawks were not playing all that well, Century Link Field provides them with a strong home field advantage. As we have heard more about the 49ers new stadium, there have been plenty of questions about the acoustics. The Seahawks built a stadium with ideal acoustics to keep in the noise. I've been to two games in Seattle, and there is no doubt the noise can get crazy when the opposing offense is on the field.