CFB Betting Tip: How to Bet Teams Off a Bye Week
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz
- The scheduling for 2019 college football season means teams will have multiple bye weeks throughout the regular season.
- See what history says about betting teams off a bye, and how it applies to Michigan vs. Wisconsin (12 p.m. ET, FOX).
Did you know …
In most years there are 13 Saturdays from the one before Labor Day until the one after Thanksgiving. But not this year. In 2019, Labor Day fell just one day past its earliest possible date, and Thanksgiving is on its latest possible date.
Why does this matter? Football, of course. Based on the holidays and scheduling we will get one more week of college football, which means a total of 14 instead of the usual 13. Teams will still play 12 regular-season games but will get two bye weeks. The last time we had a double-bye year was 2014.
Bettors are of two minds when it comes to bye weeks in college football. Some gamblers see the extra rest is a positive as it gives players a chance to recover from injuries and affords coaches additional time to prepare for upcoming opponents.
Others think the time off can cause a team to come out flat by getting out of its routine. Which theory is correct?
Diving into Bet Labs we find that teams coming off a bye — 14 or more days between games — have gone 964-919-32 (51.2%) against the spread (ATS) since 2005. There is a slight edge, but it still wouldn’t be wise to wager on every team after a bye.
The optimal schools to back after a bye are ranked teams. Top 25 squads are the best programs in the country with superior athletes, facilities and coaching staffs. These are teams capable of putting the extra time to recover and game plan to good use. The data supports this hypothesis as well. Since 2005, ranked teams after a bye week have gone 189-164-11 (53.5%) ATS.
That leads us to an interesting predicament this week, as both No. 13 Michigan and No. 11 Wisconsin are coming off byes. So where should we be looking for an edge?
Bettors can further capitalize on ranked teams after a bye if their next game is at home. Not having to travel compounds the advantages these teams get from the additional week between games.
Ranked teams at home following a bye have covered the spread 58.6% of the time since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $2,622 following this strategy.
That makes Wisconsin a match for this system, but some bettors may be hesitant to back the Badgers since they are facing a ranked Michigan team in such a similar spot. However, this strategy still works when the opposing team is ranked.
Since 2005, in matchups of Top 25 programs, the home team off a bye week has gone 41-26-1 (61.2%) ATS. When both teams were off a bye (which expectedly makes the sample pretty small), the home team is still 12-9 ATS.
A majority of spread tickets are on the Badgers -3.5. The public is on the same side as betting history.