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Reconsidering Your NFL Bye Week Strategy

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jul/11/2020

With so many casual bettors in the market today, one of the things that is most often overlooked is the NFL bye week and its effects. In 1990, the NFL moved to a 17-week schedule. With each team playing 16 games, it affords each team the opportunity to have a bye week.

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How the Bye Works

The format of the bye week has changed over the years. Originally, a team’s week off occurred at random during any week of the season. To make it more uniform, the NFL now schedules all byes during Weeks 5 through 13. Bettors should be paying attention to teams coming off of byes in Weeks 6 through 14.

During the first four and last four weeks of the season, all 32 teams are in action. There are no byes to consider during these weeks.

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Records Coming off Bye Week

Since 2001, teams coming off of a bye week have won 53.2 percent of their games. The overall record is 312-274-3. Breaking it down even further, we see that in the last five seasons, the trend is the same as teams coming off a bye have a record of 99-81.
Using that data, a bettor might be inclined to simply bet on teams coming off a bye to win. Some further research is needed though. Betting lines are far more efficient today than they were even five or 10 years ago. Understanding point spreads and records against the spread (ATS) coming off a bye can help.

Since 2015, teams coming off a bye are 93-80-7 ATS. Even those numbers don’t tell you much until you break them down even further. There are a number of teams that have done very well recently after a bye both straight up and ATS.

If you are looking for straight up winners, Buffalo (5-0), New England (8-1), and Seattle (4-1). When thinking about betting strategy in 2020 and the benefits to betting at America’s Bookie, bettors should keep in mind a team’s recent record in games when coming off a bye. Bettors will also consider that the Patriots no longer have Tom Brady and how that could impact New England’s 8-1 record in games right after bye.

The most popular bets, of course, are on point spreads. Like straight up winners, there are a number of teams whose performance against the spread after a bye is noteworthy. Since 2015, the Miami Dolphins are unbeaten at 5-0 ATS after a week off.
The Patriots are another team that does well against the spread after a bye. New England is 8-1 in such games since 2015. Detroit, which hasn’t enjoyed a lot of success recently, is 4-1 in their five games after a bye since 2015.

Home & Away

A four-year sample between 2007 and 2010 gives us yet another example of why you need to drill down your bye week information when betting at the top football sportsbooks. Breaking the data down further, we can examine the performance of home and road favorites and home and road underdogs in the game immediately following a bye.

The most interesting tidbit of information was that of the road favorite. In those four seasons, the road favorite went 17-1 straight up in games after a bye. Even more impressive was the road favorite’s ATS record - 15-1-2.

The point here is simply that you should identify and have a strategy to deal with betting on teams that are coming off of a bye or playing a team coming off of a bye. Your research and strategy can pay big dividends in the end.

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