The bye week is just another branch off of the good ole angle tree when it comes to betting on the NFL. Every edge counts, so it should come as no surprise that smart handicappers use it as a seasonal tool.
It doesn't boil down strictly to projecting team performance off a bye week, either. There are separate or more specific situations to monitor: Are teams better at home with an extra week off as opposed to traveling? How do teams perform the week prior to getting added rest?
For starters, while blindly betting teams off a bye week over the last 16 seasons would've churned out a marginal profit, the splits are vastly different. Teams in the first half of that sample won against the spread 57.1 percent of the time; teams from 2010 onward, on the other hand, dipped to 50.6 percent, per BetLabs.
However, there are still specific situations that register better results despite relatively small sample sizes.
Play on road favorites
One may assume that teams playing at home with added rest would hold an advantage. While that's not entirely false - teams in this situation are on a 106-92-4 run (53.5 percent) - road teams coming off a bye, and the ones laying chalk in particular, have been hot.
Overall, visitors with a little extra rest are on a 109-79-3 run (58 percent). However, find the ones that are giving points to find an even better return - road favorites with 14 or more days of rest are 50-23 (68.5 percent) against the spread in the last 73 situations.
Here are some spots the angle will, or could, come into play this season:
Chicago (-3) at Miami
Jacksonville at Indianapolis
Minnesota at Chicago
New England at New York Jets
Kansas City at Oakland
Los Angeles Rams at Detroit
The earlier, the better
There's no denying that a 16-week schedule can be a physical toll, especially considering the mileage teams rack up on the road. Perhaps that's why it's more valuable to play on teams with earlier bye weeks, when bodies are still relatively healthy and travel hasn't come in to play as much.
Teams that play off a bye week prior to Week 8 are on a 99-71-3 run (58.2 percent), while those that play off a bye later than Week 7 are on a 116-101-5 run (53.5 percent).
Teams with bye weeks before Week 8 that still have yet to play: Chicago, Tampa Bay, Detroit, New Orleans, Green Bay, Oakland, Seattle, Pittsburgh.
Play on road favorites prior to their bye weeks
Now that we have specific spots to play on when teams are off extra rest, we can look at how to play teams that have bye weeks on deck.
The road teams, especially the ones giving points, have again been profitable. Visiting teams laying chalk are 70-54 (56.5 percent) against the spread the last 124 situations while road teams are, in general, slightly below that clip at 58.5 percent.
Here are the teams that will play road games prior to their bye this season:
Pittsburgh (+2.5) at Cincinnati
Tennessee at Los Angeles Chargers
Dallas at Washington
Indianapolis at Oakland
Philadelphia at Jacksonville
Houston at Denver
New England at Tennessee
Buffalo at New York Jets
Miami at Green Bay
It's important to stay sharp when betting on the NFL. It doesn't get any more unorthodox than keeping tabs on who isn't playing on a weekly basis.
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