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How to bet NFL bye weeks: Best situational spots, coaching records

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Betting teams that are coming off a bye week is one of the most common situational trends.

Teams coming off a bye are covering consistently above 50% in the past two decades, though making those bets blindly hasn't been profitable over any stretch since 2000.

Instead, savvy bettors find specific advantages surrounding bye weeks. How do favorites do after a bye? What about teams before a bye? Which coaches are most (and least) effective in those weeks?

Using data from Sports Database, let's break down how to approach bye weeks in NFL betting:

(Games after a "bye week" include any regular-season contests that follow a full week's preparation, even if not an official bye - such as the 2001 season that featured a week-long delay. They do not include preseason or postseason.)

Situational trends

Away favorites off a bye

This has been the moneymaker for bettors playing bye weeks. Since 2002, away favorites coming off a bye are 66-31 against the spread (68%) and a phenomenal 28-6 ATS (82.4%) and 31-3 straight up (91.2%) when favored by at least 4.5 points.

Big road favorites have also been profitable. Teams giving at least seven in that spot are 13-4 ATS (76.5%) since 2007 with a 16-1 SU record. Logically, this makes sense: teams good enough to be heavily favored on the road are often the ones who can benefit most from an extra week of preparation.

The market has corrected itself a bit in recent years, though it's still been profitable over nearly any stretch since 2000. It's picked up as of late, with road chalk riding a 13-5 ATS/16-2 SU run since 2016.

Away underdogs off a bye

While not nearly as profitable as road favorites, road 'dogs coming off a bye have been stellar for bettors in recent years. Those teams are 41-28-1 ATS (59.4%) since 2012 and are riding a 10-2-1 ATS run with seven outright wins in their last 13.

Road underdogs getting at least seven points after a bye are 14-9 (60.9%) since 2012, though only six teams pulled off an outright upset. Still, 'dogs that get an extra week before a road game tend to keep things closer than ones with just seven days to prepare.

Home favorites off a bye

While road chalk has netted consistent winnings, home favorites off a bye have struggled to find the same success in recent years. Those teams are 24-30-3 ATS (44.4%) with a 3-9-2 ATS run, and they're 17-26 ATS (39.5%) when giving more than a field goal.

This could be a sign of market overcorrection to the advantage of a bye week. These teams are still winning nearly 65% of the time, but they aren't covering inflated lines stemming from home-field advantage and the "bye-week bump."

Home underdogs off a bye

Even with a week off to prepare for a superior opponent, home 'dogs have been clearly outmatched in the week after a bye. Teams in that spot are 9-22-1 ATS (29%) since 2011 and are riding a 1-10 ATS streak since 2016.

Outlooks are even less favorable for teams that enter their bye week on a skid. Home 'dogs that lost the game before are 6-18-1 ATS (25%) since 2011, while those coming off back-to-back defeats are 4-14-1 ATS (22.2%).

Teams before a bye week

What about teams in the week before their bye? Bettors have mostly broken even in the past two decades, though the trend itself has been volatile in recent years.

Teams playing before a bye week have lost five of their last six ATS, though that followed runs of 7-0 ATS, 0-6 ATS, and 7-0 ATS. These small sample sizes could point to a fluke or it could be a sign of a volatile market trying to gauge the value of a team pre-bye.

One potentially valuable trend is teams limping into their bye week. Since 2016, teams coming off back-to-back losses are 7-11-1 ATS (38.9%) in the week before a bye, while those with three straight losses are 4-8 ATS (33.3%).

Coach records

Some coaches consistently fare better after bye weeks, even as the market tries to adjust for it. Andy Reid is lauded for his 16-3 SU record, though he's among the best against the spread, too.

Here's a table of ATS records for coaches before and after a bye (minimum 150 games coached):

Coach After bye Before bye
Andy Reid 13-6 9-11-2
Bill Belichick 12-13 15-10
Pete Carroll 5-7-1 11-2
Mike Tomlin 5-7 7-5
Sean Payton 8-4 8-4
Jon Gruden 9-4 9-4
John Harbaugh 8-3 5-6
Jason Garrett 5-3 2-6
Ron Rivera 3-5 4-4

Andy Reid

The king of post-bye betting, Reid is a scorching 13-6 ATS (68.4%) after a bye week, though he's just 3-3 as Chiefs head coach. He's 7-3 ATS on the road post-bye and 6-3 ATS at home. His 9-5 ATS record as a favorite will likely apply this year against the Raiders.

Bill Belichick

Despite his reputation as a master game-planner, Belichick is just 12-13 ATS (48%) after a bye and 2-8 ATS (20%) as a home favorite. It's not just the market, either: His teams are 5-5 SU in those 10 games as post-bye home chalk, though two of those losses came with the 1990s Browns.

Pete Carroll

Carroll is subpar coming off a bye, but his teams are a remarkable 11-2 ATS (84.6%) in the week before one. His Seahawks have been injury-plagued over the years, so perhaps the market overreacts to the importance that a bye week can have for recoveries. His 60% ATS record as an underdog proves he's a coach who consistently exceeds expectations.

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