NFL Schedule Release: 3 Key Factors Sports Bettors Need to Know
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid meets New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
- The NFL will release its regular season schedule for the 2019-20 season tonight at 8 p.m. ET (NFL Network).
- While most fans will be interested to see the schedule for their favorite teams, there are a handful of takeaways that savvy sports bettors can use to their advantage.
The NFL announced that the 2019-20 regular season schedule will be released tonight at 8 p.m. ET (NFL Network). While we already know which opponents each team will be facing, it is still exciting to see the official schedule.
While you may be drawn to how many primetime games your favorite team has or you want to start planning your tailgate schedule for the season, there are a few important things you should look for that actually contribute to your favorite team’s success.
In addition, there are several key takeaways that sports bettors should monitor throughout the NFL’s schedule release.
First off, we already know that five teams have already sacrificed home games to play internationally on a neutral field. The Jaguars, Chargers, Rams, Raiders and Buccaneers will all lose home-field advantage (~57.5%) for one game next season.
Here are the three key things you should look for when the NFL schedule is released.
1. Opponent following a bye
Many fans focus on when their favorite team gets a bye, but the opponent following a bye is much more important. Using the Bet Labs software, we can see that teams coming off a bye against teams on normal rest have won 54.7% of their games since 2003, regardless of location.
Ideally, teams want to face their toughest opponent right after the bye. While playing a cupcake for an easy win might seem like a good thing after a week off, teams ideally want to increase their chances to win the toughest games, especially with playoff implications on the line.
2. Opponents coming off a bye
This is the converse of the first key and may seem redundant, but a lot of people may gloss over it. First of all, teams can play opponents coming off a bye more than once per season. Just last year the Indianapolis Colts played the Raiders, Jaguars and Dolphins coming off their byes.
Again, you want to play as few teams coming off a bye as possible and hopefully those games are against weaker opponents.
3. Thursday Night Football matchup
This offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles submitted a proposal to change the long-standing tradition of the Lions and Cowboys always playing at home on Thanksgiving.
This may seem like sour grapes, but the analytically-driven Eagles understand just how brutal Thursday Night Football games have been for the road team.
Visiting teams on a short week have won just 40.7% of games. Given that a majority of these Thursday games have been divisional matchups, I estimate that having a Thursday game at home vs. away is around a 6% swing in win probability.
While these edges may seem insignificant as first, when you add them over the course of a season it may be the difference in making or missing the playoffs.
And for NFL bettors, that can mean winning or losing a season win total bet.