College Football Bye Weeks

Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams. Otto Gruele/Getty Images Sport

For college football coaches, the pressure to win impressively is likely at an all-time high. Not too terribly long ago a win was a win, but the past 10 years have seen a greater need for teams to win by large margins in order to impress the computer ratings that are used by the college football playoff committee, those doing the traditional polls, as well as those on bowl game committees. It's also created a complete reversal of a betting trend, which is why bettors can never get too comfortable with what they are doing as nothing stays the same forever in the sports betting world.

For a number of years bettors could look for teams which were double-digit away favorites coming off of a bye week and simply bet against them. The rationale behind that was a team was not very likely to spend the entire two weeks preparing for an opponent they should defeat handily, as evidenced by the fact that they were favored by at least 10 points on the road.

Instead, the team may have spent part of its extra week looking at a future opponent. That simple theory produced a winning percentage of nearly 65%, but with the pressure to win by bigger margins, these teams were 30-34-1 between 2007 and 2015, which is pretty much a break-even proposition. Away favorites of 20 or more points were just 7-13 ATS, but now we're getting to an extremely small sample size, which makes it a bit more difficult to play based on just 20 games, but is something that should be considered.

But the trend that has become extremely pronounced, not to mention fairly profitable, is looking at double-digit favorites off of a bye week when they are playing in front of the home fans.

Between 2007 and 2015 home teams favored by at least 10 points off of a bye were a solid 130-81-5 (61.6%) and home favorites of at least two touchdowns (14 points) were 98-60-4, which is 62%. If you were to look at teams that are favored by 20 or more points, the winning percentage would be even better, as these teams were a solid 63-29-3 (68.5%).

And finally, if the home team is favored by 28 or more points, the results were 29-13-1, which is 69%.

If we look at the short term, 2013 to 2015, we'd see that the double-digit home favorites off of a bye were 50-38-2 (56.8%), which isn't quite as good as the longer-term trend, but still a profitable situation. The favorites of 14 or more points were 38-31-1 (55.1%), which again isn't as good as the long term, but still good enough to make you money. The favorites of 20 or more points were 25-16-1 (61%), which is solid no matter how you look at it, with the 28-point favorites checking in with a record of 14-7 (66.7%).

So now, we're looking to back home favorites off of a bye week that are favored by at least 10 points and the numbers show that the larger the favorite, the more apt the home team is to cover the spread, with special attention to those favorites of 20 or more points.