Week 5 of the NFL season is the first time football bettors will deal with teams coming off bye weeks.
The break in the schedule can be a blessing or a burden, depending on a team’s situation. This week, two teams are returning to action following the bye – the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts.
The Steelers (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) got an extra week to rid the taste of an upset loss to the Oakland Raiders in Week 3 as well as give RB Rashard Mendenhall, S Troy Polamalu and LB James Harrison some added recovery time.
Pittsburgh, which takes on state rival Philadelphia as a 3.5-point home favorite Sunday, is just 10-13 ATS (14-9 SU) coming off a bye week since 1990.
The Colts had a rough week off with news that head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. Pagano will step away from the team for treatment, leaving the head coaching duties to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Indianapolis followed its first win of the season with a close loss to Jacksonville in Week 3, failing to cover as a 3-point home favorite.
Oddsmakers have tagged the Colts as 7-point underdogs hosting Green Bay in their first game back from the break. Since 1990, Indianapolis is 12-10-1 ATS (13-10 SU) following the bye.
Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, and Tampa Bay are all off in Week 5 and betting the bye week can be a useful handicapping tool throughout the NFL season. Here’s a look at the best and worst bets coming off the bye:
Stats since 1990 (1993 season had two bye weeks)
Best bets off the bye
Dallas Cowboys: 16-7 ATS/16-7 SU
Denver Broncos: 16-6-1 ATS/17-6 SU
Philadelphia Eagles: 16-7 ATS /19-4 SU
Arizona Cardinals: 14-9 ATS/10-13 SU
Buffalo Bills: 14-8-1 ATS/15-8 SU
Worst bets off the bye
Seattle Seahawks: 4-17-2 ATS/6-17 SU
New York Giants: 7-15-1 ATS: 8-15 SU
Oakland Raiders: 8-14-1 ATS/9-14 SU
San Francisco 49ers: 8-14-1 ATS/10-13 SU
Cincinnati Bengals: 10-13 ATS/6-17 SU