The NFL season is the most popular time for sports betting. With a complete week of buildup before kick off, the season lends itself to plenty of talk, debate, analysis, and wagering research. Each team has NFL bye weeks built into its schedule throughout the season (and a few during the playoffs). Taking those into consideration can be important when making those weekly picks and provide some nice returns if times well.
This guide offers a bettor plenty of information about NFL bye weeks – their purpose for teams, how they came about, how to regard them in terms of wagering, and more.
NFL bye weeks 2020
|Week||Teams On Bye|
|5||Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions|
|6||New England Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks|
|7||Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans|
|8||Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Football Team|
|9||Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, LA Rams|
|10||Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, LA Chargers|
|11||Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers|
|12||All teams active|
|13||Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
Why do NFL bye weeks exist?
As most bettors know, the NFL season features 16 regular-season games. In 1990, however, the league switched to play those out in a 17-week season.
That gave room for each team to have one bye week worked into its season. That not only gave teams a week off, but also added a week of television revenue for owners.
Teams now use the week to heal up, make use of some extra days to scout opponents, and work on improving in some shortcomings.
How are NFL bye weeks decided?
Until 2004 these bye weeks were random but the league went to a more uniform system in 2004. Byes all now come between Weeks 4 and 12 to create some consistency before the late-season race for the playoffs.
For bettors, this allows for some interesting wagering opportunities between Weeks 5 and 13. There are also a few other things to consider in a similar vein. Teams traveling after a bye tend to have an advantage since it gives them a longer time to prepare and recuperate for next game.
When building the NFL schedule, the league attempts to keep team disadvantages to a minimum.
“With games on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays, the schedule makers have to allow enough time between games so teams aren’t at a disadvantage against an opponent that has had more time to prepare and rest,” the league’s operations staff notes. “Teams scheduled to play on Thursday nights will not have to play a short week Thursday more than once a season.”
Creating a complete schedule of 32 teams considering road and away, travel schedules, and working in bye weeks certainly isn’t easy.
Fantasy football bye weeks
Your board is ready and you’ve done plenty of research. It’s time for that fantasy football draft. The plan is to dominate your buddies and rule the league – hopefully with a big payoff.
But what role should bye weeks play in your selections? Bye weeks for real football players also mean bye weeks for fantasy football players, and they should be a consideration.
There are a few schools of thought when it comes to making those selections:
- Space them out – Some players like to make sure none of their best players have overlapping bye weeks. The idea is that losing a minimal key player here and there won’t affect the overall team in the long run. This can be a good plan, but a few players out might prove costly in several games. Being willing to sacrifice a few wins may be important. Lose a few more though – and you might be in trouble.
- All in – Using this concept (championed by ESPN fantasy guru Matthew Berry), managers would rather have several important players having similar bye weeks. In this scenario, a manager only loses key players during a couple weeks of the season. The team remains strong throughout the rest of its schedule. Drafting backups will be key and injuries can be extra costly.
- Disregard them (for the most part) – Other than maybe positions with limited roster spots (such as QB or RB), some managers prefer not to think about byes. They draft simply for need and the best player available. This can be a good plan for managers who are good at research and can add players here and there as needed from the waiver wire. Keep that laptop open.
Why paying attention to bye weeks is important for betting
Tracking bye weeks may offer some wagering value and it’s an important aspect to consider when placing those bets.
There are several reasons a bye week can help NFL teams. A team on a big run already is afforded a chance to get even better. They can implement more complicated schemes and also have more time to prepare for upcoming games.
For struggling teams, a bye week offers a chance to regroup, overcome injuries (which goes for top teams as well), and rest players. Some may revamp offensive and defensive strategies that haven’t paid off.
Occasionally, a team may even have a new head coach or coordinator in the event of a mid-season firing. They then have more time to get a grasp on getting things moving in the right direction. Teams occasionally respond to new leadership on the sideline.
When making a bet on a team, here are a few things to consider when it comes to bye weeks:
- Record performers – Some coaches excel at planning for that next game after a bye. For example, Bill Belichick is 13-8 after the bye week and Andy Reid is 14-7. Those types of trends can be helpful.
- Bad apples – On the other hand, some teams (and more specifically, coaches) don’t take advantage after the bye.
- Trending upward – While this last point may be true, a team on the rise may also fare well after a bye. This team may have some younger talent and showing gains. The bye may come around and there aren’t many injuries. After a week off, a patsy is on the schedule. This might be a nice wagering opportunity.
- Road warriors – One major trend when considering byes is the success of road favorites. Over the last several years, teams favored on the road are 65 percent against the spread. Certainly it’s not a no-brainer, but worth checking out when considering action for the week.