Sports betting continues to gain popularity across the U.S. as more states pass legislation to legalize it, and online sports betting makes it easier than ever to wager money on your favorite team.
But has the weather on the field ever influenced the decision to risk your hard-earned money on the outcome of a football or baseball game?
Most people know that weather can affect a team’s game plan and how well or how poorly the players will perform. That can impact the game's outcome regarding which team is victorious and how many points or runs are scored.
So before you put your money where your mouth is, you might want to consider the expected weather conditions during the game.
How weather impacts bets on NFL, NCAA football games
According to Kevin Roth, chief meteorologist at RotoGrinders.com, you'll want to consider the predicted winds before placing your bet on a football game this weekend, whether it be in the National Football League or the NCAA.
"Wind has the biggest impact on sports betting," Roth said. "You'll see people betting unders on the total when winds are near or over 20 mph, because it makes throwing intermediate/deep passes difficult, as well as essentially eliminates longer field goals."
For example, if the oddsmakers set the over/under at 42.5 points, you might consider betting the over if winds are expected to be light. But if gusty winds are in the forecast, perhaps you'd want to take the under since it would be more difficult for the quarterback to connect with his receivers on a long ball.
Another factor to consider when placing an NFL or NCAA football bet is whether it will rain during the game. Roth said heavy rain will often limit the passing game because the wet conditions make holding and throwing the ball more difficult. That means teams are more likely to run the ball, which in turn can lead to less-efficient offenses and fewer points scored by both teams.
So if there's rain in the forecast, especially heavy rain, betting the under might be the smarter choice.
"Some people also prefer to bet underdogs in the rain, because it increases turnovers, making the game a bit more unpredictable," Roth noted.
Perhaps that explains why the underdog Chicago Bears were able to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in a low-scoring game in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season, despite the FOX Bet app placing the 49ers as 6.5-point favorites. Heavy rain flooded Soldier Field in Chicago, forcing grounds crews to push the water off the field with a squeegee throughout the game.
Not only did the underdog Bears win that soggy season opener on Sept. 11, but anyone who bet the under would have enjoyed a nice payout with the final score of 19-10 (29 total points) coming in well under FOX Bet's over/under of 38 points.
Each week, Roth highlights any football games in the NFL and the NCAA that he believes will have the potential of impactful weather, so be sure to use the FOX Weather app to track the latest forecast before you place your wager in the FOX Bet app.
How weather impacts bets on MLB games
While America's pastime is typically not played in the rain, other weather conditions such as temperatures and winds can influence the outcome of a Major League Baseball game.
According to Roth, temperatures on the field can have a huge impact on the total number of runs scored over the course of the nine innings, which might influence your decision on betting the over/under.
"Hot temperatures lead to thin air, which allows a ball to carry farther," Roth explained. "Cold temperatures mean dense air, and cold-weather games have significantly fewer home runs and runs scored than hot-weather games."
Judge hit more home runs that July than in any other month of the 2022 MLB season in which he went on to break the American League single-season home-run record, smashing 62 homers into the stands. The previous American League record of 61 home runs in a season had been held by former New York Yankee Roger Maris since 1961.
Fittingly, Judge achieved those 13 homers in July 2022 amidst the third-hottest month on record for the U.S. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, July 1936 (hottest) and July 2012 (second hottest) were the only months in the U.S. with a higher average temperature than July 2022.
The winds during a baseball game are also an important factor to consider when betting the over/under, according to Roth.
"Winds blowing out provide extra carry on balls and more home runs, thus people betting overs," Roth said. "Winds blowing in from the outfield mean the opposite."
Each ballpark allows for a different wind flow, which means some parks are very wind sensitive – such as Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
Lake Michigan is located within walking distance from Wrigley, and gusty winds off this Great Lake will generally blow in toward home plate early in the season, providing favorable conditions for the pitchers but not so much for the hitters. Later in the season, however, the winds tend to shift and blow out toward the outfield, making the game more favorable for the hitters during the warmer months.
However, Roth noted that other parks are designed to minimize the potential wind impact, including the home of the San Francisco Giants, Oracle Park, which sits on the western shores of San Francisco Bay.
According to SFGate, engineers designed Oracle Park in a way that would reduce the winds inside the stadium by turning the ballpark's back to the wind, so while it may be windy out in the parking lot, the winds are typically much lighter on the ball field.
So what does this mean for betting? Roth monitors the weather conditions throughout the MLB season and indicates how strong and in which direction the winds will be blowing in relation to each ballpark.
For example, if the FOX Bet app places the over/under at 6.5 runs, you might consider betting the over if the winds are expected to be blowing out toward center field. But if the winds are blowing in toward home plate, perhaps you'd want to take the under since it would be more difficult for the batters to hit the ball into the outfield.
Be sure to use the FOX Weather app to track the predicted winds leading up to your favorite baseball games so that you know which bets might have the best chance of being winners.
How weather impacts bets on golf matches
Perhaps you're a non-traditional sports better and prefer to place your wager on a Professional Golf Association (PGA) or United States Golf Association (USGA) match such as the Masters Tournament in April, the PGA Championship in May or the U.S. Open Championship in June.
"Golf is great because the weather has a huge impact on it," Roth said. "It's maybe the number one sport where weather matters, and if there's one that competes, it's baseball."
For example, on a sunny day, the grass will lean in the direction of the sun, which could alter the direction of a putt. Or if the grass has been severely dried out after a stretch of hot, dry weather, it becomes easier for golf balls to roll right off the green.
Light rain might be the most beneficial weather to golfers, according to Roth, because it causes the green to slow the ball down a bit, making it easier to sink a putt.
And similar to baseball, golfers are able to drive the ball farther during warmer temperatures because of the thinner air, whereas on a colder day there would be much more air resistance on the ball, likely limiting the distance of those drives.
But if you're looking for an advantage the next time you use the FOX Bet app to place a wager on a golf match, Roth believes wind is the biggest weather factor on the golf course.
On a typical day, winds tend to be lightest in the morning before picking up in the afternoon as daytime heating from the sun causes the winds in the upper atmosphere to begin mixing down toward the ground, resulting in stronger gusts from about midday through early evening.
"Because players tee off at different times of the day, savvy sports bettors will target those who can play at times with lower winds," Roth said. "On days that start with calm winds and pick up considerably, this can create a very advantageous betting pattern."
As he does for the NFL and MLB, Roth also offers his expertise for the PGA Tour and highlights any potential weather advantages or disadvantages that the golfers may face as they tee off, so be sure to use the FOX Weather app to track the current conditions and get the latest forecast before you place your bet.