#Betting101: The Power of the Bye Week in NFL Betting

Jason Lake

Thursday, October 19, 2017 1:10 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 1:10 PM UTC

You can’t just look at the NFL odds when you bet on football – you have to look at the schedule, too. Taking a week off can make a big difference for some teams.

In case you haven’t noticed, football is an incredibly violent sport. It’s supposed to be tackle football, but that’s not what’s really happening on the field; people are launching into each other at high speed, and sure enough, these people are getting larger and meaner every year. That makes the bye week an incredibly valuable respite for weary NFL soldiers. You’d expect teams coming off the bye to have a big advantage when they play someone who didn’t get the previous week off.

You’d expect it, but not everyone in the betting market pays close attention to these things. According to NFL handicapper Jimmy Boyd, teams coming off a bye in the regular season went 203-160-7 ATS between 2002 and 2016. That’s 55.9 percent, more than enough to make a profit just by blindly putting them in your NFL picks. But you can do even better by looking at specific teams (and coaches) in specific situations.


The first and easiest adjustment is to narrow your bye week search to teams who are favored the following week. In general, favorites are superior teams do a superior job of using the bye to recover from the previous games, and to prepare for their next opponent. Even better, make it a road favorite: Those teams went 43-21 ATS, or 67.2 percent, while home favorites off a bye were 75-59-1 ATS (56.0 percent).

You can get even more granular by looking at the head coaches involved. Walter Cherepinksy did just that with his NFL betting trends, and found that certain coaches just might have a knack for beating the football odds coming off the bye. John Harbaugh has the Baltimore Ravens at 7-2 ATS. The Green Bay Packers are 9-1 ATS in this situation under Mike McCarthy. This ability travels well, too. When Andy Reid was coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, they went 10-4 ATS after the bye; now that Reid is with the Kansas City Chiefs, they’re 3-1 ATS. Go ahead, people. Keep making fun of him.

So how do we approach Week 7? Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas and Seattle are all coming off the bye week. The Cowboys and Seahawks are road faves. Jason Garrett is 4-2 ATS off the bye; Pete Carroll is 2-3 ATS in Seattle. We’ve already recommended the Cowboys for your Week 7 NFL picks, but now you’ve got even more reason to take them – even with Ezekiel Elliott returning to action and the lines shifting ever-so-slightly.

Free NFL Pick: Cowboys –5.5 (–107)
Best Line: at BetMania
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