How weather affects sports betting

Sports betting has become increasingly popular over recent years, and bettors are always trying to find an edge.

For outdoor sporting events, weather is one of the biggest variables, and RotoGrinders Chief Meteorologist Kevin Roth has spent the past 10 years combining his weather knowledge and passion for sports to help bettors.

What You Need To Know

  • Weather can heavily influence outdoor sporting events

  • Knowing how weather affects a game can help bettors

  • Altitude is the biggest advantage for a home team

From football, baseball and golf, to NASCAR, tennis, soccer and even the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, if it’s outdoors and sports-related, he’s made a forecast for it.

After earning a master’s degree in meteorology and working on TV for 10 years, Kevin Roth saw that there was a need in the fantasy sports world for real forecasts provided by an actual meteorologist, not just a low-quality automated forecast.

He provides forecasts and live weather updates for outdoor sporting events, and breaks down how the weather could affect the game with the lens of a fantasy sports player or a sports bettor.

In football, fantasy sports players get an entire week to digest the latest forecast and can decide who to start until kickoff. Sports bettors don’t get the same luxury if they want to maximize their profit, since betting lines and totals are fluid.


You might think that ‘cold weather teams’ like Kansas City, Buffalo or Green Bay have a built-in advantage during the playoffs when the calendar flips to January, and the weather could offer bitter cold temperatures, high winds and snow.

Earlier this month on Jan. 13, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins during the AFC Super Wild Card Weekend in a frigid matchup. The kickoff temperature was -4 degrees with a wind chill of -20 degrees, making it the fourth coldest game in NFL history.

But Roth says he’s a firm believer that cold or snowy weather doesn’t inherently favor a ‘cold weather team’ over a ‘warm weather team,’ like Tampa Bay or Miami.

“The cold, wind and snow impacts all humans the same in a physiological way. Patrick Mahomes [Kansas City Chiefs quarterback] will get the same cold fingers in those conditions that Tua [Miami Dolphins quarterback] would.”

In football (and other sports), the weather can really make its presence known with high winds. Kicking a field goal or throwing a deep ball is much more difficult with a brisk wind in your face, versus when it’s at your back. 


According to Roth, baseball is the most interesting sport for weather effects since every single factor (rain, wind, temperature, humidity, elevation) plays a significant role in the expected outcome.

Since there are 162 games a year, and hundreds of pitches thrown each game, there is a large sample size to help isolate variables and determine how weather affects the game. Baseball is the only major team sport where every ballpark has unique dimensions, so the impacts can vary depending on where ballplayers play the game.

Roth says “in Chicago’s Wrigley Field, a southerly wind creates a jet stream effect that helps balls sail over the fence for home runs. A 15 mph wind blowing out in Wrigley can increase home run probabilities by over 50%. If you were to take that same wind, blowing out at 15 mph, to San Francisco’s Oracle Park, the wind only accounts for a 5% increase in home runs, as that stadium was specifically designed to minimize the impact of those winds.”

Temperature and humidity is a variable that applies to all ballparks more equally. Most of the season (April through October) athletes play in the thick of the warm summer months. Since hotter air is less dense, offensive players score more runs during the dog days of summer since the air is thin. Routine pop-ups can carry further, sometimes becoming a home run.

In the northern climates, teams there play those early and late season games in temperatures between 30 to 40 degrees. Roth says “the cold, dense air mass will limit how far a well-hit ball will travel, and what would have been a home run in 70 degree weather suddenly becomes a fly out.”

Best “home field advantage?”

If you’re a sports fan, you’ve heard of home field advantage. Oddsmakers and sports books will factor in 2 to 3 extra points for the home team in football games when creating lines, determining the favorite and underdog.

Some factors baked into home field advantage include the crowd, home stadium familiarity, potential officiating bias and the lack of travel, sometimes visiting teams travel across multiple time zones. But how does the weather factor in?

Roth says you have to consider elevation, since it’s the exception to the ‘this impacts everyone equally rule.’ “Our bodies take time to adjust to elevation, so any visiting team thrust into a game at elevation (i.e. – Denver) is immediately at a disadvantage when compared to players whose bodies are already acclimated to the thinner air at elevation.”

Denver Broncos defensive end Matt Henningsen (91) leaves the field during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)

Roth says that Colorado teams have the best home field advantage, since the elevation change and thin air can cause fatigue in more active sports, and change the way a pitch breaks in baseball.

What’s next?

Roth says he’s focusing on “quantitative over qualitative.” He’s been compiling weather data on every outdoor baseball game since 2000 and the statistical results (runs, home runs, ERA, strikeouts, etc) of those games.

The large sample size has allowed him to isolate weather as an individual variable, and the next step he plans is taking that data and applying it to the gambling odds or totals.

Instead of saying “it’s hot and winds are blowing out, that’s great for hitting,” he can definitively say “in 72 games with similar heat and wind in this ballpark, we’ve seen a 48% increase in home runs and a 20% increase to runs scored compared to average.”

You can check out RotoGrinders Chief Meteorologist Kevin Roth’s forecasts here:

Our team of meteorologists dive deep into the science of weather and break down timely weather data and information. To view more weather and climate stories, check out our weather blogs section.

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