Ah, football. How we missed thee. Like a family member returning home after spending seven months overseas. It has been too long, NFL. There’s so much we need to catch up on and so much we need to do before you leave again in February.
But talk later, action first. After all, there have never been so many legalized sports betting options in the country than during the 2019 season. Regulated wagering stretches across 13 states, from Rhode Island to Oregon.
The NFL “would not be No. 1 without the point spread,” as legendary commentator Brent Musburger said.
Betting “has been an integral part of the NFL for a long time … But it’s always to the benefit of the viewership,” per Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones.
People love to predict the future, Musburger told the Associated Press. Well, let’s look further into the future: to Week 4 and beyond, when the bye weeks begin.
When are each team’s rest period? How do they fare following a bye week? How will that affect the strategy for NFL betting? Don’t worry; we have you covered here.
NFL bye weeks on the schedule
The bye weeks begin following this weekend’s slate of games, kicking off the standard nine-week stretch of NFL scheduling that allows teams to rest players.
|TEAM||BYE WEEK||OPPONENT FOLLOWING BYE|
|New York Jets||4||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|San Francisco 49ers||4||vs. Cleveland Browns|
|Detroit Lions||5||at Green Bay Packers|
|Miami Dolphins||5||vs. Washington Redskins|
|Buffalo Bills||6||vs. Miami Dolphins|
|Chicago Bears||6||vs. New Orleans Saints|
|Indianapolis Colts||6||vs. Houston Texans|
|Oakland Raiders||6||at Green Bay Packers|
|Carolina Panthers||7||at San Francisco 49ers|
|Cleveland Browns||7||at New England Patriots|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||7||vs. Miami Dolphins|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7||at Tennessee Titans|
|Baltimore Ravens||8||vs. New England Patriots|
|Dallas Cowboys||8||at New York Giants|
|Atlanta Falcons||9||at New Orleans Saints|
|Cincinnati Bengals||9||vs. Baltimore Ravens|
|Los Angeles Rams||9||at Oakland Raiders|
|New Orleans Saints||9||vs. Atlanta Falcons|
|Denver Broncos||10||at Minnesota Vikings|
|Houston Texans||10||at Baltimore Ravens|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||10||at Indianapolis Colts|
|New England Patriots||10||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|Philadelphia Eagles||10||vs. New England Patriots|
|Washington Redskins||10||vs. New York Jets|
|Green Bay Packers||11||at San Francisco 49ers|
|New York Giants||11||at Chicago Bears|
|Seattle Seahawks||11||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|Tennessee Titans||11||vs. Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Arizona Cardinals||12||vs. Los Angeles Rams|
|Kansas City Chiefs||12||vs. Oakland Raiders|
|Los Angeles Chargers||12||at Denver Broncos|
|Minnesota Vikings||12||at Seattle Seahawks|
Overall trends following bye weeks
In non-breaking news, bye weeks are important in the NFL. Cue feigned shocked face.
Players received needed rest. More time becomes available for injured stars to recoup. Coaching personnel can regroup and reassess their situations.
Interestingly, when looking at the league as a whole, there have not been many advantages for teams against the spread (ATS) following a bye week.
Since 2002, and not including games when two teams playing one another both come off a bye, teams playing at home after taking a week off have won just 52.7% of games ATS. Visiting teams, meanwhile, have fared only slightly better: winning 58.3% ATS.
As it pertains to favored and underdog teams:
- Home favorites after bye: 78-66-2
- Home underdogs after bye: 28-27-2
- Away favorites after bye: 51-26
- Away underdogs after bye: 62-58-3
While it appears no data emerges to sway NFL betting trends, examining individual teams (might) tell a different story.
Trust the byes or say ‘bye bye bye’?
All that said, an overall trend might not stand as a most trustworthy tool when placing a wager.
Fortunately, data exists that tells a more detailed story of each of the NFL’s 32 teams coming off a bye week.
For example, both the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers will sit out during Week 4. Their next games come at the Philadelphia Eagles and against the visiting Cleveland Browns, respectively.
Since bye weeks were introduced in 1990, the Jets have gone 13-17 in games following a bye, but they are 2-8 over the past 10 years. Against the spread, the Jets have gone 10-9 since 2000. As for the 49ers, the franchise holds a 10-19-1 all-time record after a bye, including a 2-7-1 mark over the past decade. San Francisco has lost 13 of 18 games against the spread, including each of the past seven.
With that in mind, here are some intriguing post-bye matchups to earmark.
Week 6, Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
The Lions have won four straight against Green Bay, the franchise’s longest such streak against the Packers since 1989.
Detroit has been one of the more reliable teams following a bye week over the past seven years, as the Lions have won six times, including a Week 10 win over Green Bay in 2015.
Likely, though, Detroit will head to Wisconsin as the underdog, which, if history is any indication, does not instill as much confidence.
While the Lions have gone 6-1 ATS as the favorite since 2000, they have split 12 games when they entered as dogs. Factor in, also, that Detroit has gone just 3-24 at Lambeau Field since 1991. Then again, all three of those Lions wins have come in the past four games at Green Bay.
Week 7, Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
When QB Andrew Luck abruptly retired prior to the season, it shook up the AFC South landscape. As such, the bride (Indianapolis) seemed destined to become the bridesmaid, changing places with the Texans.
Star QB Deshaun Watson and WR DeAndre Hopkins provide ample offensive firepower for Houston. And a defense led by DE JJ Watt has traditionally been stout.
The Colts, though, have surprised out of the gate. They rallied from a 15-point deficit on the road in Week 1 before falling in overtime to the Los Angeles Chargers. Indy came back the next week, again on the road, and upended the Tennessee Titans.
Indianapolis features a respectable offensive trio in QB Jacoby Brissett, RB Marlon Mack and WR TY Hilton. To boot, the Colts have won 11 of the past 14 games straight up after a bye, and they have gone 4-0 against the Texans in such situations.
Week 9, New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson has done pretty well for a running back, huh?
The second-year pro stands as the top scorer in many fantasy football leagues. He has led the Ravens to two straight wins to gain the inside track at claiming the AFC North. Anything can happen between now and the midpoint of the season. Yet one thing is a given: The Patriots will be a tough out.
New England has won three of the past five Super Bowls and boasts arguably the greatest quarterback (Tom Brady) and coach (Bill Belichick) in league history.
Consider the following, however: Baltimore has gone 8-2 following a bye over the past 10 years. Extending the timeline, the Ravens have won 14 of the last 17. They have gone 9-1 at home after an off week.
One more: Despite playing on the road, New England could potentially be favored in this game. As an underdog since 2000, Baltimore has gone 4-1 against the spread. Even if the Ravens are favored, they have won 10 of 14 games ATS since the turn of the century.
- $20 Free Play
- $20 Free with $5 Deposit
- No code needed
- PayPal Accepted
- Quick & simple games!
Week 10, Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Certainly, many variables come into play when looking this far down the road. At the forefront: the health of Saints QB Drew Brees, who had surgery on his injured throwing hand and is expected out for six weeks.
Then again, perhaps that doesn’t matter as much.
The Falcons may feature the game’s most dynamic wide receiving duo in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, not to mention a strong quarterback in Matt Ryan. They have even won five straight road games following the bye.
But New Orleans enters the year riding a three-game winning streak over Atlanta, and it has won six of the past eight against the Falcons at home.
On top of it all, the Saints are 7-3 ATS when favored since 2000. Overall, they have won 9 of the last 10 games ATS.
Of course, if Brees returns, the Saints become even more formidable.
Week 13, Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks
Few places in the NFL provide more of a challenge for road teams than Seattle.
Since 2012, the Seahawks have gone 50-12 at home, a success rate of 80.7% that only the Patriots (59-9, 86.8%) have trumped. While a smaller sample size, Minnesota has historically struggled in the Emerald City, losing seven of nine.
Dalvin Cook, though, as turned into a force at running back for the Vikings. And Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs entered the year as one of two wide receiver duos in the league to each top 1,000 receiving yards a year ago.
It will be a long wait, but how this line closes could sway a bettor’s wager one way or the other.
After all, since 2000, the Vikings are 7-2-1 ATS when favored and just 2-7 ATS when dogged.