What is the NFL Bye Week Betting Strategy?
The landscape of the NFL and NFL betting in general changed forever with the start of the 1990 season. That was the year in which the league introduced bye weeks into the regular-season schedule.
Up until the 2004 season, bye weeks were inserted randomly into the league schedule. There really was no pattern to when teams might sit out the action for a week.
Beginning in 2004, the NFL instituted that all bye weeks would fall between Week 4 and Week 12 of the season. This created more uniformity in the off weeks and it streamlined the stretch run of the schedule leading up to the playoffs, with all teams guaranteed to be on the field for each of the final five weeks of the regular-season schedule.
Teams like the idea of a week off. It gives ailing players an extra week to heal and allows for longer gameplanning against the next opponent. It also enables everyone to take a few days away from the field and recharge their batteries.
The league seeks to keep disadvantages caused by the bye weeks to a minimum but with games being played on Thursdays and Mondays every week, that can prove to be easier said than done.
There are some unique wagering opportunities created by the NFL bye week that come into play and are historically proven over the length of its history. Let’s look at some of them and how to make them work for you.
How do you do NFL Bye Week Betting
Upon Further Review
For starters, we’ll take a deep dive into the 2018 NFL season and how the bye week impacted upon wagering throughout the year.
Overall, teams coming off their bye week displayed a slight advantage on the scoreboard. Bye week teams were 18-14 straight up in their first game back on the gridiron. Oddly enough, road teams (13-9) were far more successful than home teams (5-5).
On the other hand, things took a dramatic turn in the other direction when the point spread was taken into consideration. Returning bye week teams were 10-18-4 against the spread. Three games ended in pushes and one was a pick-em with no established favorite or underdog.
Home teams went 3-5-2 ATS, while road teams were 7-13-2.
Breaking the odds down even further, bye week returnees that kicked off as home favorites were a surprising 0-4. Home underdogs didn’t fare much better, going 1-3.
On the road, it was a much different story. Away favorites posted a 2-2 record ATS, while away underdogs were an impressive 12-4.
What facts can we glean from this one-season sample size? Moneyline wagers on road teams (.591 winning percentage), and against the spread bets on road underdogs (.750 winning percentage) coming off their bye weeks would have proven to be a very profitable endeavor.
Betting on road teams coming off a bye week is a trend that’s held forth for many years. Road favorites are 57-20 in their last 77 games coming off the bye week. That’s a 74.02 winning percentage.
Road underdogs returning from their bye week against the spread also maintains an impressive record over the past several seasons. They’re 62-58-3 for a 51.7 percent winning mark.
Bye Week Total Wagering
Another telling statistic where you can make some money betting on NFL bye week teams is in the area of total wagering. Again in this instance there are established trends that show almost all of the time, the under is the play to make.
Home teams are 95-107-5 (47.0 percent) on the total coming out of the bye week. Road teams also trend under, going 98-105-4 (48.3 percent).
Home favorites (65-79-2, 45.1 percent), road favorites (35-42, 45.5 percent), and road underdogs (58-61-4, 48.7 percent) all skew under as well.
The only exception to this rule are home favorites. At 29-25-3 (53.7 percent), they lean toward the over.
Other Factors Of Note
NFL Teams trending upward tend to survive a week off much better than teams that are spiraling in the opposite direction.
Squads that won the last game prior to the bye week have gone 123-84-1 straight up in the first game back from the bye, good for a 59.4 percent win rate. Against the spread, these same teams are also solid bets, producing a 115-91-2 mark, or a 55.8 percent winning ratio.
Overall, teams with winning records on the season are good bets to keep rolling following their bye week. Straight up they’re 139-83, an excellent 62.6 percent chance of winning. Factor in if this team is facing a team with a losing record for the season, and those numbers jump up even further. Now those successful teams are 119-66, putting up a 64.3 percent winning percentage.
Against the spread bet, teams with winning records returning from the bye week to face losing clubs also post delicious digits. They are 103-77-5, a stellar win rate of 57.2 percent.
The Best NFL Bye Week Teams To Bet On
Factoring in both regular-season and postseason bye weeks, the best post-bye week teams in the NFL since 2010 are the New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens. Both have gone 8-2 for an 80 percent success rate.
Right behind them are the New England Patriots (14-4, 77.8 percent) and surprisingly, the perennially inconsistent Detroit Lions (7-2, 77.8 percent).
The Atlanta Falcons (9.3, 75 percent) and Seattle Seahawks (8-3, 72.7 percent) are the only other above-.700 teams over the time period.
At the other end of the scale, stay away from the New York Jets (2-7).
Factor in the spread and the Jacksonville Jaguars are kings for the bye week return. They’ve gone 7-1-1 (87.5 percent) post bye week since 2010.
The Saints (8-2, 80 percent) are next, with the Lions (7-2, 77.8 percent) and Los Angeles Rams (7-2-1, 75 percent) also coming in above .700.
Avoid the Washington Redskins (2-7) and Minnesota Vikings (2-8).
The best coaches are also the best post bye week coaches. Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs is 13-7 straight up. Bill Belichick of the Patriots is 12-8.