NFL Bye Week Betting Strategies
One thing that makes the NFL different than most major sports is how uniform the schedule is for each team. Everyone plays once a week, and the vast majority of games are on Sundays, meaning that figuring out which teams are well-rested or coming off a difficult road trip isn’t really necessary.
Of course, there’s one major exception to this rule. This comes from the fact that each team receives a single bye week on their schedule. This gives each team a single week off during the regular season. For gamblers, it’s perhaps more important to realize that this gives each team one game each season in which they’ve had two weeks to prepare and rest injured players.
It might seem like a great idea, then, to bet on teams that are coming off a bye week. However, such a simple gambling strategy just won’t work, especially if you’re betting against the spread. There are a couple obvious problems with such a strategy. First, the bookmakers are going to factor the advantage that the bye team has into their lines; this isn’t something subtle you’ve found that your online sportsbook won’t have thought of. Secondly, you shouldn’t assume that the bye week will affect all teams equally; some teams might use that week to get a critical injured player back in the lineup, while others might have that bye come at a bad time, interrupting a winning streak and cooling off a previously red hot team.
The numbers bear this out as well. Of course, each season changes the numbers as new results come in, but the percentage of teams coming off of a bye week who cover the spread definitely trends right around 50%. The bookmakers definitely have a handle on what effect – if any – the bye week should have on the spread.
However, there are other bye week-related strategies that you can consider using. One that has shown some success has been to bet on a winless team coming off a bye week. These teams – assuming they’re coming into the game as an underdog – have shown an overwhelming advantage against the spread. While this situation isn’t common (very few teams are winless after the bye weeks begin), it makes sense. These teams are not only very hungry for a win, they’ve also had plenty of time to make extensive adjustments to their offense and defense that are likely to prepare them well for their next game, and might very well catch their opponents by surprise.
Another similar system that has done well is to bet undefeated favorites coming off of a bye week. This system, which has produced good results over the years, may seem to be the polar opposite of the first system. However, the logic is actually quite similar. A great team coming off a bye week will be reenergized, ready to continue proving that they’re a force to be reckoned with. Any nagging injuries that were building up – but clearly, weren’t enough to stop them from winning games – are likely healed, making them better than ever. Plus, with a week out of the spotlight thanks to the bye, it’s quite possible that they’re not favored by as much as they should be.
As always, we add a word of caution – you shouldn’t follow any system without putting in the work to make sure the bets you’re making are good ones. However, these betting strategies can help you find games you otherwise may not have considered, adding more good plays to your schedule during the NFL season.