Live On Air

Streaming now: Prime Time Action

play Watch Live radio Listen Live

Dissecting the 2020 NFL Schedule: Bye Weeks, TNF Matchups and Week 1 Betting Trends

May 8, 2020 01:23 AM

The 2020 NFL schedule is here and right on cue sports bettors are dissecting the list of games- and Week 1 lines — for all 32 teams. The regular season begins on Thursday Sept. 10 with the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs hosting the Texans. Kansas City opens as a 10.5-point favorite with a total of 56.5. It's a rematch of last season's AFC Divisional playoff showdown, which the Chiefs won 51-31 after trailing 24-0 in the second quarter.

Here are the rest of the Week 1 opening lines (via the Westgate SuperBook):

Dolphins at Patriots -6.5, OU 44

Browns at Ravens -8.5, OU 49

Jets at Bills -5.5, OU 40.5

Raiders at Panthers PK, OU 46.5

Seahawks -1 at Falcons, OU 49

Eagles -6 at Redskins, OU 45.5

Bears at Lions -1.5, OU 44.5

Colts -8.5 at Jags, OU 47

Packers at Vikings -3.5, OU 47

Chargers -3.5 at Bengals, OU 46

Cardinals at 49ers -8, OU 45

Bucs at Saints -4.5, OU 49.5

Cowboys -3 at Rams, OU 50

Steelers -3.5 at Giants, OU 48.5

Titans at Broncos -3, OU 42

Week 1 provides several profitable edges that bettors should be aware of. According to Bet Labs Sports, Week 1 divisional underdogs have gone 51-32 ATS (61.4%) since 2003. This is due to the built in familiarity between divisional opponents, which levels the playing field and benefits the team getting points. Big Week 1 dogs getting 6.5 points or more have also been a smart bet, going 38-22 ATS (63.3%). 

Another profitable opportunity in Week 1 is backing teams that missed the playoffs the previous year against teams that made the playoffs. They've gone 59-46 ATS (56.2%). This is the ultimate buy-low value play because you're capitalizing on recency bias. The public will be inclined to blindly back teams who made the playoffs because that's the last thing they remember from the previous year. In turn, they'll blindly fade non-playoff teams. This creates a contrarian spot where you're taking advantage of shaded numbers. 

Aside from studying the Week 1 lines, another key aspect of the 2020 schedule is focusing on bye weeks and Thursday Night Football matchups. These unique scheduling spots have provided a significant edge to bettors in the past. 

NFL teams coming off a bye are 254-228 ATS (52.7%) since 2003. However, we see a massive difference between underdogs and favorites. Dogs are just 105-125 ATS (45.7%). However, favorites are an impressive 148-103 ATS (59%). Road favorites are even better, going 62-28 ATS (68.9%). This is likely due to the fact that the betting public overvalues home field advantage, providing road favorites an increased contrarian edge.

Why are favorites off a bye so profitable? Because the extra week off disproportionally benefits the "better" team. Not only do they have more time to rest and rehab injuries but the coaching staff has two weeks to game-plan for the next opponent.

Bye weeks start in Week 5 and run through Week 13. Here are the bye weeks for all 32 teams.

Week 5: Lions, Packers

Week 6: Raiders, Patriots, Saints, Seahawks

Week 7: Colts, Jaguars, Vikings, Titans

Week 8: Cardinals, Ravens, Broncos, Texans, Steelers, Redskins

Week 9: Bengals, Browns, Rams, Eagles

Week 10: Falcons, Cowboys, Chiefs, Chargers

Week 11: Bills, Bears, Dolphins, Giants, Jets, 49ers

Week 12: No bye teams

Week 13: Panthers, Bucs

After bye weeks, the next scheduling spot to look out for is Thursday Night Football. The short week provides another pronounced edge bettors should be aware of. Since 2003, Thursday Night favorites have gone 113-83 ATS (57.7%). Home favorites are even better (73-50 ATS, 59.3%). Just as the extra time off benefits the "better" team, so does the short week. With both teams on a quick turnaround, the team with better players and a superior coaching staff has the advantage, especially if they're at home at don't have to travel. 

Here's the complete list of Thursday Night games this season

Week 2: Bengals at Browns

Week 3: Dolphins at Jaguars

Week 4: Broncos at Jets

Week 5: Bucs at Bears

Week 6: Chiefs at Bills

Week 7: Giants at Eagles

Week 8: Falcons at Panthers

Week 9: Packers at 49ers

Week 10: Colts at Titans

Week 11: Cardinals at Seahawks

Week 13: Cowboys at Ravens

Week 14: Patriots at Rams

Week 15: Chargers at Raiders

Week 12 is Thanksgiving. The three games on Turkey Day include Texans at Lions (12:30 p.m. ET), Redskins at Cowboys (4:30 p.m. ET) and Ravens at Steelers (8:20 p.m. ET). 

Historically, favorites have crushed it on Thanksgiving. Since 2003, they've gone 31-13 ATS (70.5%). 

back to news

FREE Email Sign-Up

Get the latest sports betting news & VSiN programming updates with this free daily email from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network.

Headlines

View All
  • USATSI_15426698

    2021 NFL Draft best bets - Prop bets we like

    The 2021 NFL draft will take place April 29-May 1 in Cleveland, Ohio. While it isn't the Super Bowl or NCAA tournament in terms of sports betting...
  • flatter

    Five favorites turn Derby top-heavy

    The rate of attrition from the Kentucky Derby is reaching a hard-to-imagine level. Rather than the usual springtime stories of horses coming up unfit,...
  • kuhn

    UFC 261: Best bets for Smith-Crute

    UFC 261 is slated for a rare triple-title night, and that usually offers matchups with different odds profiles. In this case, we have two established...
  • youmansdraft

    2021 NFL mock draft: Five QBs in top 10 picks

    The 2021 NFL draft is only a week away, beginning on Thursday, April 29. VSiN senior editor and host Matt Youmans gives his first version of a mock draft...
  • jvtrank

    NBA power rankings: Nets fall out of top 5

    Just a few weeks remain in the NBA regular season, but quite a few teams refuse to start buckling down. Brooklyn experienced one of the biggest drops...
  • reynolds

    PGA offers different look with team event

    Stewart Cink, 47, earned his second victory of the PGA Tour season with a four-stroke victory over Emiliano Grillo and Harold Varner III last weekend...
  • biglou

    Best bets for UFC 261 titles

    “Insight the Octagon” lost another best bet on last week’s UFC slate as Drakkar Klose was forced out of his bout with Jeremy Stephens...
  • macneil

    Handicapping marquee NHL games

    Montreal Canadiens at Calgary Flames (Friday, Saturday and Monday)   After two games in Edmonton, the Canadiens will travel a few hours south...
  • jvtclips

    Clippers sneaking into NBA elite

    Injuries have largely shaped this NBA season. A condensed 72-game schedule over five months has led to injuries to key players on multiple teams that...
  • hill

    Seeking value in NFL win totals

    Some people would say Christmas is their favorite holiday. Others prefer the candy on Halloween or the turkey on Thanksgiving. The revelation of NFL season...
  • tuley

    Tuley's Takes on baseball season

    We’ve taken the last two weeks off in the Tuley’s Takes home office as we spent spring break with the kids and, well, doing some spring cleaning....
  • makinennfl

    NFL stats foretell improvement, decline

    With the NFL draft approaching next week, bettors are ramping up their preparation to take on all the offseason futures wagering options available in...

custom-banner-3
VSiN Logo Plus

Free Trial

Make a risk-free bet on VSiN!

VSiN+ FREE TRIAL

  • Afternoon subscriber-only email with highlights and best bets from the day's programs
  • Point Spread Weekly, VSiN's digital magazine on sports betting
  • 24-7 Live video stream of VSiN programs plus replays
  • Any special sport-specified betting guides we do
  • All exclusive subscriber-only stories and data on VSiN.com
Sign Up Now
Google Play
App Store
Close