The Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles are the first teams coming off a bye in the 2016 season. Betting teams off a bye is a popular theory among gamblers. The thought process is pretty simple. Bye weeks are beneficial as they give teams extra time to rest (get healthy), practice and prepare for future opponents.
In our database, which goes back to 2003, games that feature one team coming off a bye, the teams with the extra rest have gone 190-165 (53.5%) against-the-spread.
The results lend themselves to the theory that betting teams off a bye is profitable.
However, if you couldn’t tell from the graph above the winnings have been flat in recent years.
- 2003 to 2008: 108-81 (57.1%) ATS, +20.98 units
- 2009 to 2015: 108-110 (49.5%) ATS, -6.77 units
There is no value in blindly betting teams off a bye as the sports betting markets have adjusted for this information.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t an optimal strategy for betting teams coming off a bye.
Let’s find one by using the Bet Labs database.
Favorites and Underdogs
With over 400 data filters, exploring a betting system is easy. We find that adding the “Favorite” filter makes teams coming off a bye even more lucrative. Teams in this situation have gone 125-90 (58.1%) against-the-spread. Underdogs coming off a bye have gone 90-101 (47.1%) against-the-spread.
Home and Away
We can improve this system further by focusing on home and road splits with teams that are favorites and underdogs.
- Home Favorites: 77-67 (53.5%) against-the-spread
- Away Favorites: 48-23 (67.6%) against-the-spread
- Home Underdogs: 26-32 (44.8%) against-the-spread
- Away Underdogs: 64-68 (48.5%) against-the-spread
The sweet spot for betting teams off a bye are when they are favored on the road. In our database, following this simple system would have returned 22.73 units since 2003. This system improves further if you focus only on games where the road team is favored by a field goal or more. This is an indication of a good team. Home teams are often favored, only 33% (approximately) of teams are road favorites.
Teams coming off a bye that are favored by 3 or more points on the road have gone 38-13 (74.5%) against-the-spread, +23.45 units.
Timing is Everything
We just found a winning betting system. Yet, we know every optimal betting strategy loses value over time. As bookmakers and the public become aware of the new information future games are priced accordingly.
The most successful betting systems are those that are profitable regardless of season. Let’s verify that teams coming off a bye that are favored by 3 or more points on the road is a useful system.
- 2003 to 2008: 22-7 (75.9%) ATS, +14.11 units
- 2009 to 2015: 16-6 (72.7%) ATS, +9.34 units
The results are confirmed. Betting teams coming off a bye that are favored by 3 or more points on the road has been consistently profitable over time. What’s better is that there is a current pick for this system. The Philadelphia Eagles, off a bye week, are three point favorites on the road in Detroit.
Fly Eagles Fly!