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Now a days there is so much information, it’s hard to know where to start looking when handicapping the NFL. You could spend countless hours trying to breakdown the pro football spreads.

The problem with spending all that time, is there’s no guarantee you are going to make a profit with your bets. Others simply don’t have the time to set aside.

That’s why I wanted to share with you one of my favorite things to look for when betting the NFL. That’s bye weeks and it’s not just the week after. I’m going to show you why you also want to pay close attention to teams that are playing a game with their bye week on deck.

Click here to check out a similar article on college football bye weeks.

2019 NFL Bye Schedule

4Jets, 49ers
5Dolphins, Lions
6Bills, Bears, Colts, Raiders
7Panthers, Browns, Bucs, Steelers
8Cowboys, Ravens
9Bengals, Falcons, Rams, Saints
10Broncos, Jaguars, Texans, Patriots, Eagles, Redskins
11Giants, Packers, Seahawks, Titans
12Chiefs, Chargers, Cardinals Vikings

I don’t just look at the overall numbers and call it good. I dive deep and look at the results for numerous situations.

I want to find the scenarios in which teams perform the best. Whether that be if they are home/away, favorite/underdog or even advanced situations like playing a team that has a losing record. You will find all that and more in the tables below.

There’s two different sections for the results. One is for teams coming off a bye and the other is for teams playing the week before a bye.

Make sure you are aware of which one you are looking at. All of the data goes back to the 2002 regular season. I also want to point out that the data doesn’t include games where both teams are coming off a bye or both teams have a bye the next week.

Handicapping NFL Teams Coming Off Bye Week

It should be no secret to why teams perform better off a bye. All you really have to do is look about how much complaining goes on with teams that have to play on short rest with Thursday Night Football.

Not only does a bye week give players a whole extra week to recover physically, it’s a huge boost mentally. It lets them recharge their minds before the stretch run.

It’s also an advantage from a coaching standpoint. Coaches have two weeks to prepare for an opponent and that team only gets a handful of days to get ready.

Basic Scenarios

Home129-77-1 (62.6%)107-96-4 (52.7%)95-107-5 (47.0%)
Away99-108 (47.8%)119-85-3 (58.3%)98-105-4 (48.3%)
Home Favorite108-38 (74.0%)78-66-2 (54.2%)65-79-2 (45.1%)
Home Underdog20-36-1 (35.7%)28-27-2 (50.9%)29-25-3 (53.7%)
Away Favorite57-20 (74.0%)51-26 (66.2%)35-42 (45.5%)
Away Dog36-87 (29.3%)62-58-3 (51.7%)58-61-4 (48.7)
Overall229-186-1 (55.2%226-182-8 (55.4%)193-214-9 (47.4%)

Advanced Scenarios

Off Win123-84-1 (59.4%)115-91-2 (55.8%)99-106-3(48.3%)
Off Loss105-102 (50.7%)110-91-6 (54.7%)93-108-6 (46.3%)
Early Bye (Before Week 8)99-77 (56.2%)100-73-3 (57.8%)86-88-2 (49.4%)
Late Bye (After Week 7)130-109-1 (54.4%)126-109-5 (53.6%)107-126-7 (45.9%)
Losing Record90-103-1 (46.6%)105-86-3 (55.0%)89-98-7 (47.6%)
Winning Record (.500 or better)139-83 (62.6%)121-96-5 (55.8%)104-116-2 (47.3)
Opp = Losing Record119-66 (64.3%)103-77-5 (57.2%)86-94-5 (47.8%)
Opp = Winning Record110-120-1 (47.8%)123-105-3 (53.9%)107-120-4 (47.1%)

If you haven’t bet teams coming off a bye, chances are you will start doing so this season after looking at these numbers. The overall numbers are outstanding at just under 56% (55.4%). You could simply take every team in this spot and turn quite a profit over the years.

Looking over the basic scenarios, we can quickly see that the numbers lean heavily towards teams that are listed as favorites, especially road favorites, who are hitting at an alarming 66.2% rate.

The advanced situations tell us to also favor good teams (55.8%), teams off a loss (54.7%), byes before Week 8 (57.8%) and most of all when the opponent has a losing record (57.2%).

If you are thinking to yourself it would be a good idea to take a team with a winning record against a team with a losing record, you would be spot on. Teams that are .500 or better and playing a team that is below .500 are an impressive 57-38-3 (60%) against the spread.

How Teams Perform in Game Leading Up to Bye Week

We pay so much attention to the performance of teams coming off a bye. What about how a team plays the week leading up to a bye. I don’t think there’s any question that some teams lookahead to the week off. Below you will find all the same scenarios that we covered in the previous section.

Basic Scenarios

Home116-101 (53.5%)105-109-3 (49.1%)120-92-5 (56.6%)
Away96-93 (50.8%)103-82-4 (55.7%)91-91-7 (50.0%)
Home Favorite84-49 (63.2%)64-68-1 (48.5%)75-56-2 (57.3%)
Home Underdog30-47 (39.0%)39-36-2 (52.0%)40-34-3 (54.1%)
Away Favorite42-14 (75.0%)30-25-1 (54.5%)33-22-1 (60.0%)
Away Dog52-78 (40.0%)71-56 (55.9%)58-66-6 (46.8%)
Overall214-194 (52.5%)210-191-7 (52.4)212-184-12 (53.5%)

Advanced Scenarios

Off Win104-94 (52.5%)97-97-4 (50.0%)100-93-5 (51.8%)
Off Loss110-99 (52.6%)113-93-3 (54.9)111-91-7 (55.0%)
Early Bye (Before Week 8)140-137 (50.5%)136-138-3 (49.6%)147-122-8 (54.6%)
Late Bye (After Week 7)45-33 (57.7%)46-29-3 (61.3%)36-38-4 (48.6%)
Losing Record76-93 (45.0%)88-78-3 (53.0%)78-86-5 (47.6%)
Winning Record (.500 or better)138-101 (57.7%)122-113-4 (51.9%)134-98-7 (57.8%)
Opp = Losing Record105-61 (63.3%)94-72 (56.6%)93-68-5 (57.8%)
Opp = Winning Record109-133 (45.0%)116-119-7 (49.4%)119-116-7 (50.6%)

While the overall numbers aren’t as strong, the 52.4% win rate against the spread tells us these teams are more likely to cover than not. That’s actually a good enough percent that you could bet blindly and make a profit. It just would take a lot of time to really see your bankroll grow.

The basic scenarios inform us that we need to forget about taking these teams at home and focus on when they are playing on the road, where they are hitting a solid 55.7%.

The advanced scenarios point to a couple of things. That’s teams in this spot playing a team with a losing record (56.6%), as well as teams coming off a loss (54.9%) and with a bye after Week 7 (61.3%).

One theory that I had coming into this was I believed the better a team was playing leading up to their bye, the more likely they were to play well and that appears to be true. While teams that are .500 or better are only covering at a 52.2% clip, teams that have won 70% or more of their games are 53-39-1 (57.6%) against the number.

Another thing to take note of with the results here is the OVER on the total seems to be a strong play (53.5% overall). Note that there’s several scenarios above where the total is cashing at 57% or better.