It’s one of the simplest plays in the football betting handbook: Bet teams coming off a bye week. But which ones? We’ve got six candidates to consider as we head into Week 5, and they can’t all be gems.
Jason’s Record after Week 4: 12-14 ATS, 5-4-1 Totals
Profit: Minus-5.6 units
Finally, we get our first crack at everyone’s favorite NFL picks betting trend: teams coming off a bye week have been a popular play for years now, but are they profitable? Football analyst/guru Walter Cherepinsky looked at all the head coaches from this past decade, and came up with a collective record of 155-141 ATS, or 52.36 percent. The break-even point when factoring in the standard –110 vigorish is 52.38 percent.
Harrumph. But as always, if you use trends like these when you bet on the NFL, you can improve your results by applying them selectively, rather than across the board. Remember last week’s feature trend, where we focussed on teams playing the second of back-to-back road games? We liked the Green Bay Packers because head coach Mike McCarthy was 5-1 ATS in those contests, and we didn’t like Ken Whisenhunt (0-3 ATS) and the Tennessee Titans so much. Green Bay covered last week. Tennessee did not.
Week 5 is graciously giving us a wider selection of betting options. We’ve got six teams coming off a bye – not the greatest time to be taking a week off, given how battered and bruised everyone’s going to be in December. But it’s still a considerable advantage to be playing with an extra week of rest and preparation under your belt. Here are the six teams in question, with their current head coaches and their personal records in this situation.
Arizona Cardinals (Bruce Arians, 0-0 ATS)
Cincinnati Bengals (Marvin Lewis, 5-6 ATS)
Cleveland Browns (Mike Pettine, 0-0 ATS)
Denver Broncos (John Fox, 8-5 ATS)
St. Louis Rams (Jeff Fisher, 11-7 ATS)
Seattle Seahawks (Pete Carroll, 1-1 ATS)
Before we continue, we should address those two bagels next to Arians’ name. That record doesn’t include his time as interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012; Arians’ first game in relief of Chuck Pagano was in Week 5, after the Colts took their bye, and Indianapolis (+6.5 at home) beat the Packers 30-27. That record also doesn’t include last year’s 27-24 win over the Houston Texans in Week 10; that was a push for some books, although Arizona was favored by 3.5 points at others.
While we’re at it, if we want to continue increasing our knownledge on sports picks we need to dig deep into the annals of time to pull out Carroll’s records with the New York Jets (0-1 ATS) and the New England Patriots (0-3 ATS). But that’s just for accuracy’s sake. Carroll is for all intents and purposes a different coach after spending nearly a decade running the USC Trojans program.
Tonight at the Fox and Fisher: 2 for 1 Appys
Any way you slice it, the two coaches who stand out on the above list are John Fox and Jeff Fisher. In fact, if you isolate how those coaches have performed with their current teams, Fox is 3-0 ATS after the bye week since taking over the Broncos, while Fisher is 2-0 ATS with the Rams. Small sample sizes, yes, but still useful for betting on football.
Alas, only one of these coaches will do us any good this week. The Broncos don’t get to enjoy the full effect of their bye – they’re hosting the Cardinals on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX). Well, that hardly seems fair. The Rams, on the other hand, are hitting the road to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in a Sunday matinee (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX). Philadelphia is coming off a hard-fought 26-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers (–3.5) at the Field of Jeans, falling to 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS in the process. History says this could be a good spot to grab St. Louis as a 7-point puppy on the NFL betting lines.