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Private Investor Group

Standard Investment Plays

How Sharps Make Money off of Unfair NFL Betting Schedules

The season is about to start and there are a lot of great opportunities to make money betting on sports this year. The NFL Schedule is filled with inconsistencies and opportunities for us to make a lot of extra money. As a lot of professional handicappers come to Coopers Pick to see what our take and advice is.

A rudimentary analysis of any weeks games has a cursory situational study and an arbitrage opportunity for the most sharp NFL bettors. We have determined whether or not a team is enjoying an advantage that is inline with the current odds based on how much rest the away team has received from their last weeks game.

For example last year we made an extra 16 units because we placed wagers on football teams that were coming off of a bye week playing a tough game the previous week. In these instances we were 17-9 straight up and 16-10 against the spread for a total of positive 16 units or for a $1,000 bettor noticing this made them an additional $16,000 in one football season.

A couple of months ago The Pittsburgh Post-Gazettes Ray Fittipaldo helped to cover a story on Doctor Murat Kurt who recently presented documentation at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference earlier this year where there are imbalances with the yearly NFL Schedule. This pinpointed the issue of NFL teams facing unique challenges of teams playing a tough game and following it up against a team that is coming off well rested and researched for their game which sets off a significant advantage as we pinpointed with the statistical numbers above.  

Michael North who is the Director of Scheduling for the NFL caught onto this much to our shigrin as we want to exploit these loopholes as long and thoroughly as possible. Now they are working together to create a more balanced schedule so this will be interesting to see if this is our last year where we are able to make our clients an extra $16,000 before the NFL catches on and makes changes.

So thanks to our friends at covers and Joe Fortenbaugh he has ran some numbers as to how teams that are playing different opponents with more rest did against the spread going back the last 12 seasons. The reason for the change and research going back to 2002 is that this was when the NFL changed to an eight division format.  

Below are his findings:

Below are our findings.

SU: Straight-up
ATS: Against the spread
OVER: This pertains to the Over/Under for each game in question

*Indicates a profitable angle worth considering.


Let’s begin with a look at how teams coming off the bye week performed against opponents who played a game the week before.

Since 2002

230-184-1 SU (.555)
210-197-8 ATS (.515)
195-214-6 OVER (.476)

Since 2002 AT HOME off bye week vs. no bye week

149-89-1 SU (.626)
115-121-3 ATS (.487)
111-124-4 OVER (.472)

Since 2010

88-75 SU (.539)
76-83-4 ATS (.477)
78-81-4 OVER (.490)

Since 2010 AT HOME off bye week vs. no bye week

51-32 SU (.614)
35-47-1 ATS (.426)
*46-35-2 OVER (.567)

Analysis: What have we here? Well the bookmakers do the research so you dont have to. As do we. The end result is them implementing the rest and statistical probabilities of them winning off of a bye week into the odds. That is why the NFL weekly point spreads are altered to include this perceived edge.  

Over the last five years alone, home teams off a bye week facing an opponent who played a game the week before are winning at an impressive 61.4 percent clip, but are covering the spread just 42.6 percent of the time. In reality, rather than looking to bet on the well-rested team in these situations, gamblers should be looking to fade them, as that approach would have resulted in a winning percentage of 57.4 percent over the last five years.  

What this tells us is that perhaps both bookmakers and gamblers are overcompensating in regards to their pointspreads in these situations, creating a profitable angle for those looking to fade the bye week club.


The following analysis focuses on teams that played a Thursday night game the week prior going up against opponents who played on Sunday the week prior.

Since 2002

102-106 SU (.490)
101-105-2 ATS (.490)
*112-91-5 OVER (.551)

Since 2002 AT HOME off Thursday night game vs. opponent off Sunday game

45-39 SU (.535)
43-41 ATS (.511)
42-41-1 OVER (.506)

Since 2010

61-60 SU (.504)
59-61-1 ATS (.491)
*66-51-4 OVER (.564)

Since 2010 AT HOME off Thursday night game vs. opponent off Sunday game

30-20 SU (.600)
27-23 ATS (.540)
25-24-1 OVER (.510)

Analysis: While Kurt’s research presentation uncovered competitive advantage situations within the annual NFL schedule, our research indicates that bookmakers have corrected that imbalance within their respective point spreads, effectively eliminating the possibility of creating a profitable angle for gamblers.  

However, as it pertains to teams coming off a Thursday game playing teams coming off a Sunday game, there is one area to monitor very closely: When you identify all of these situations that have occurred over the last five seasons, you’ll notice that the Over is cashing at the profitable 56.4 percent rate.  


These situations have been few and far between since 2002, but have still produced some intriguing results.

Since 2002

5-8 SU (.384)
*4-9 ATS (.307)
*11-2 OVER (.846)

Since 2002 AT HOME off Thursday night game vs. opponent off Monday game

2-1 SU (.666)
1-2 ATS (.333)
*3-0 OVER (1.000)

Plus 1 Coopers Pick