s The score by Fred Bowen

Why winning on the road is so hard

Playing last month in Oklahoma City, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook goes up for a shot in a game that the Wizards wound up losing in double overtime.
Playing last month in Oklahoma City, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook goes up for a shot in a game that the Wizards wound up losing in double overtime. (Sue Ogrocki)
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Fred Bowen
Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Washington Wizards are acting like a bunch of homesick kids this season. The Wizards have lost all 25 games they have played away from their home court.

Plenty of kids understand not feeling great when they are away from home. You probably know kids who don't like to sleep over at a friend's house or go to sleep-away camp because they get homesick. Maybe you're one of those kids. I know I was.

Some kids don't like being away from home because they miss all the familiar sights and sounds of their house. They might pack their favorite stuffed animal when they go away, so the new place will feel more like home.

In every sport, teams seem to get homesick. The home team wins more often than the visiting team. That's called the home-field (or home-court) advantage. Here is how often the home team wins in some major professional sports:

Soccer: 65%

Men's basketball: 62.7%

Women's basketball: 61.7%

Hockey: 59%

Football: 57.6%

Baseball: 54.1%

In their book "Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won," authors Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim say the biggest reason home teams win so many games is that referees and umpires favor the home team. The writers don't think the officials do it on purpose, but they say the referees naturally favor the home team on close calls to go along with the home crowd.


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