2022 NFL Bye Weeks
NFL football is the most physically demanding sport of them all.
Players are massive, lightning-quick, and tackle with a force and intensity that takes a huge toll on their bodies.
There is a reason why the NFL has implemented a bye week for each team at some point during the regular season.
A bye week refers to a week during the season in which a team has no scheduled game.
The bye week is crucial for all players, allowing them to give time to their bodies to rest and recover, before finishing out the regular season and playoffs.
From a sports betting standpoint, the bye week is also something that needs to be factored into our decision-making process.
How do teams perform coming out of a bye week? What teams gain more of an advantage than others after a bye week?
Do teams playing well before a bye week lose their momentum coming out of it?
All of these questions and more need to be addressed when we are betting on NFL football.
Below, we dive into all the details of NFL bye weeks and what we should be looking for as bettors during the upcoming 2022 season.
2022 NFL Bye Weeks Schedule
The NFL recently expanded its regular-season schedule to include 17 games.
When we include a bye week for each team, this means the season is now 18 weeks long.
The bye week schedule now starts in Week 6 and concludes after Week 14. Here is the bye week schedule for each NFL team in 2022.
|Week||Teams On Bye|
|6||Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans|
|7||Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams|
|8||Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers|
|9||Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers|
|10||Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, New York Jets|
|11||Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|13||Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers|
|14||Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Washington Commanders|
How To Handicap NFL Bye Weeks
There is no doubt that every NFL team welcomes their bye week. The rest and recovery for all players is essential as they try to grind through a 17-game regular season.
From a betting perspective, teams coming off a bye week give us a few extra things to consider when we handicap an NFL game.
A rested, healthy team, coming off a bye has an advantage against their opponent, but the question that a bettor needs to solve is how much?
Injuries in the NFL can have a big impact on the outcome of a game. Key players and key positions can be impacted greatly as a 17-game season plays out.
Obviously, a bye week will help every player get some much-needed mid-season rest.
As a bettor, we need to evaluate a team before their bye week and understand their injury situation before their time off.
Once we get an understanding of how banged up a team was heading into their bye week, we need to try and gauge how impactful a bye week was for their roster.
We will want to look at both key players and key positions. Does a team have a wide receiver who was playing through a hamstring injury and unable to produce at a high level?
Did a team have two or three players from their secondary injured and were forced to use second and even third-string players before their break?
Lastly, how would a week off help a player dealing with an injury? Is it a sprained ankle that was able to heal fully during the time off?
Was it a pulled hamstring that requires 4-6 weeks before it can fully heal?
Evaluating injuries and how a bye week can help a team heal is a key part of taking advantage of bye weeks from a betting perspective.
Not all injuries are equal and not all teams will gain the same benefit with a week off during the season.
The Impact Of Coaching
There is no debating the benefits of a bye week for NFL players and the chance for them to rest and recover from the rigors of an NFL season.
However, when it comes to coaches and bye weeks, the benefits of time off are not as easy to evaluate.
First off, not every coach handles their bye week the same way. Some coaches use it as a time to mentally get away from football for a few days.
Other coaches keep their routine and are in their offices before sunrise staring at game film and planning for their next opponent.
Historically, bye weeks favor experienced coaches who have proven themselves to be great already. During a season, each team prepares for their upcoming game and after it ends, coaches then have four to five days to prepare for the next one.
With a bye week, coaches have an opportunity to spend more time on a game plan. The belief is that talented coaches gain an advantage with that extra time to prepare.
If we use Andy Reid as an example, his teams are a combined 20-3 in the regular season after a bye week.
Since joining the Kansas City Chiefs, Reid is 8-1 after a bye week.
When handicapping teams coming off a bye week, spend some time looking at their head coaches and determine if some extra time off to prepare might be a big advantage for one coaching staff, compared to another.
NFL Bye Weeks And Momentum
Players will always look favorably on a bye week, regardless of when it falls during the season. However, coaches and fans may not always view it in the same way.
If a team has strung together several wins in a row and is playing well, there is often a fear of losing momentum with extended time off.
Not every team playing well going into a bye week regains their previous form, and not every team playing poorly before a bye week can turn it around after a week off.
A bettor needs to evaluate teams on an individual basis. Very good football teams with a lot of momentum may indeed emerge from the break while still playing at a very high level. That is after all what very good football teams do.
However, a team who is overachieving during the season may be impacted a little bit more with the break. Spend some time analyzing a team and their results heading into the break.
Was a team playing at their expected level or above their expected level before the bye week?
What teams are more likely to be impacted by a loss of momentum compared to others?
Betting Underdogs Or Favorites
North American recreational bettors love to bet on Overs and Favorites.
Many believe that sportsbooks will shade lines knowing that gamblers prefer to bet on the team expected to win the game, even when we are dealing with NFL point spreads.
Coming out of a bye week might be the one time where we suggest taking the favorite when in doubt.
Specifically, we want to draw your attention to road favorites coming off a bye week. Before the 2021 season, Road favorites coming off a bye covered the spread 74.5% of the time, according to TheGreek.com.
With extra time to prepare and more time to travel for their next game, some of the advantages of playing at home might not be as relevant when the visiting team is coming off their bye week.
2021 Post Bye Week Results
Including the playoffs last year, there were 34 bye weeks. Overall, teams coming off a bye week were 18-15-1 straight up.
Where things get interesting is when we start to compare teams coming off a bye week against the spread. In 2021, against the spread, the overall record for all 32 teams was below .500.
Meaning, at least for last year, a bettor would have been wise to bet on the team not coming off their bye week.
One reason for this might be the fact that the benefits of a bye week at this point are extremely well known by gamblers and NFL fans in general. The oddsmakers might be overcompensating for a bye when they set the lines.
Bettors will see a lot of stats on teams who win coming off a bye, however, what’s important for us isn’t who wins or loses the game, but which team covered the spread.
Be aware that at least for the 2021 season, the play was to take the team who played the week before.
Thursday Night Football Advantage
NFL bettors need to be aware of bye weeks and how they could potentially impact individual teams. However, something else that needs to be considered, is teams playing after a Thursday night NFL game.
There is no advantage for either team playing in a Thursday night game because both teams will be preparing on very short rest.
However, where there could be an advantage is for teams playing the week after a Thursday night game.
Let’s look at the Buffalo Bills and their early-season schedule as an example.
In Week 1, the Bills travel to Los Angeles to play the Rams on Thursday night. However, Buffalo is scheduled to play at home on Monday night in Week 2 against Tennessee.
This means that Buffalo can start preparing for Tennessee a full 3-days before the Titans will be preparing for that same game.
Not only will Buffalo have a few extra days to rest and recover, but their coaching staff will have the benefit of being able to gameplan an extra few days as well.
Thursday night games were introduced partway through the season a few years ago and the NFL quickly found out there was a huge appetite to introduce a Thursday night game each week of the season.
A bettor must factor in the extra couple of days off a team receives after a Thursday night game and decide how that will impact them their next time out.
The Week Before The Bye
How many of us are at our most productive on Friday before a long weekend? How many of us aren’t distracted at work when a near-term vacation is looming?
NFL players are extremely gifted athletes but they are also subject to the same thoughts and emotions as the rest of us. I’m sure players are all very aware of when they are very close to having a week off work.
That said, does it mean teams are more likely to underachieve before a bye week?
Statistically speaking there is no evidence that supports the theory teams are more likely to underperform when a bye week is coming up.
In fact, teams with an upcoming bye week cover the spread more than 50% of the time in their final game before the bye.
That number increases if you focus on good and great teams, possibly proving a theory that great teams can focus on the task at hand and not get ahead of themselves or the schedule.
Always Shop Around
The single greatest edge a sports bettor can give themselves against the oddsmakers is the ability to shop around and find their Best Odds.
Each week, sportsbooks set odds and point spreads for each NFL game and then react accordingly once the public starts to bet on them.
Often times you can find discrepancies in these lines that work to your advantage.
For teams coming off a bye week, oddsmakers may differ on how much of an advantage time off was for a particular team or game.
There may be an even bigger discrepancy between sportsbooks for these games.
The best thing a bettor can do is once they have completed their research and have an idea of how they want to bet the game, is to go odds shopping between several different sportsbooks and find their Best Odds.
Finding and betting your Best Odds each week is the biggest advantage a bettor has when trying to beat the house and be profitable.