Best and worst NFL bets coming off the bye week
In the last 10 seasons, NFL teams coming off a bye week are 168-141-8 against the spread, a win rate of 54.4 percent.
Eighteen of the league’s 32 teams have winning ATS records off a bye, four are exactly .500 and 10 have losing records. This year, teams will take their bye weeks from Week 5 through Week 11, which means now is a good time to provide a quick refresher on which teams fare well off the extra rest and which ones don’t.
Here is a look at the three best and worst teams off a bye week over the last decade:
BEST OFF A BYE
Baltimore Ravens (8-2 ATS)
The Ravens were strong off a bye before John Harbaugh took over in 2008, but they’ve been virtually unstoppable since. Harbaugh is 3-0 ATS off a bye and has won all three games by a combined 84-27.
In the process, the Ravens have covered the spread by 11, 18.5 and 17 points, and haven’t allowed more than 10 points in any of the three games. Both of the Ravens’ ATS losses have come against the Steelers — on the road in 2007 and at home in 2001.
The Ravens face the Texans off a bye this week as 7-point home favorites.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-2 ATS last 10)
Andy Reid’s bye week record is legendary. Since taking over the Eagles in 1999, Reid has never lost off a bye. He is a perfect 12-0 straight up.
Reid’s approach is to give his players the week off and get them out of the building. It’s something he adopted from former coach Mike Holmgren, who he served under while in Green Bay. Most coaches in the league don’t like to “throw away” a week, but Reid doesn’t seem to mind. Given his bye-week record both straight up and ATS, why should he?
Buffalo Bills (7-2-1 ATS)
Despite a 5-5 straight-up record and having five different coaches over the last decade, the Bills have been one of the league’s best ATS teams off a bye.
When the Bills cover, they do it easily, clearing the spread by an average of 7.43 points. Four of Buffalo’s ATS wins have come at home. The Bills will host the Redskins off a bye in Week 8.
WORST OFF A BYE
Oakland Raiders (2-8 ATS)
No team in the NFL has been worse off a bye than Oakland, which has lost eight in a row both straight up and ATS. Not only do the Raiders routinely get blown out, but they don’t even come close to covering the spread.
The Raiders have lost ATS by an average of 10.8 points, which includes four games where they failed to come within 11 points of the spread. They have also lost twice outright as favorites.
Seattle Seahawks (2-8 ATS)
Seattle had lost eight of nine ATS off a bye until last season, Pete Carroll’s first as head coach. The Seahawks won outright at Chicago as 6-point underdogs.
Before then, it was ugly. Seattle lost by 21 points as a 10-point dog in 2009 and by 38 as a 7-point dog in 2008. The Seahawks have a bye this week but will take on the Browns in Week 7, where they’ll likely be listed as 3- or 4-point road underdogs.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-7 ATS)
This shouldn’t be a particularly surprising inclusion on this list when you consider the players Cincinnati has had on its roster through the years. For the Bengals, bye weeks have represented great opportunities to get arrested, not prepare for the next opponent.
Marvin Lewis is 3-5 off a bye in his eight seasons as head coach. The Bengals have, however, covered the spread off a bye in two of the last three seasons, including a 10-point outright win against the Ravens as three-point dogs in 2009.