The ten day bye layoff has proven golden for both teams & bettors taking advantage
One of the many rituals the NFL has forced us to accept and likely number one both NFL players and coaches hate the most is playing on Thursday night. Not only does is totally screw up their regimented weekly practice schedule, it doesn't allow for proper health benefit. Those "questionable injuries" often become more serious due to risking players being on the field for CBS Thursday Night Football. No doubt an extra few days of rest or time spent with trainers would lessen their risk and maybe not end their season.
The most significant stat and the most astonishing one I can offer you is that coming off the bye week with a full ten days of rest, the most recent ten NFL teams are 10-0 against the spread. That's right. 10-0. Yes, that's a bit overstated but it isn't by accident. And no, every team coming off that rest is NOT expected to cover. It just means they indeed do have a purposeful physical and mental edge over their opponent. And that translated can be the difference in the ultra-close point spread NFL game.
Taking it a bit further, here are a few individual characteristics to look for. And possibly a few teams to watch under the microscope coming up looking for their ten-day vacation:
The Travel. No doubt these players travel in the best private planes under the best circumstances and stay at the best hotels with gourmet food, etc. But the farther they travel the worst the situation with this very short rest. Half of what they are accustomed to. Obviously, keep your eye on the West coast teams traveling East and vice versa as a negative.
Experience. We're all creatures of habit. And the younger players have much less experience getting used to the routine and likely haven't played a Thursday night game on short rest. Conversely, pinpoint the more experienced teams and especially quarterback led like the Packers and Patriots. Even the Los Angeles Chargers with QB Phillip Rivers and many vets as a possible good play with the points.
The Opposition. An obvious factor. This should never be discounted but put further under the microscope of their last few games and especially the last one toward its location and result. For example, say the Denver Broncos are playing the New England Patriots on a Thursday Night Football game. The week before the Broncos were all out to beat the Raiders and might have even covered a tough -4 at home. Now they're going across the country to play the tough Patriots on the road on Thursday night on only three days' rest. On a Sunday, the Raiders would have more of an opportunity to practice and prepare for the Pats. The indicator is often found in the wagering line trends found on popular websites like VegasInsider.com.
The linemakers and the public have likely picked up on this and padded the line an extra point to a point and a half. Watch the line carefully for movements as home favorites also have a strong record on Thursday night for many reasons. The travel, experience and opposition not getting a chance to get accustomed to surroundings are a few of them.
Does One Team Have an Advantage?
The short answer to this question is it depends. Possibly if it's Thanksgiving Thursday and you're the Dallas Cowboys or maybe the Detroit Lions. Other than those specific teams it depends on each individual game.
The most crucial thing to keep in mind is aside from one team's travel, both come into the match-up under the same set of circumstances. The next step is looking how both teams are going to be affected. If one is obviously more affected than the other, than there's something to gain an advantage. If not, it's like any other Sunday or Monday night game. As previously stated, the much, much bigger wagering advantage is with teams coming off that Thursday Night game, earning their ten days of necessary rest.
One area the public often overlooks are opportunities to bet the Over/Under totals for Thursday Night Football. And another endless reminder to shop around the list of preferred sportsbooks to gain a definite advantage.
It's been proven over the years that NFL games on Thursday night tend to be slightly lower scoring than Sunday or Monday. The reason why is up for debate. It could be due to the shorter time frame to practice gives defenses an edge. It could be that coaches have less time to prepare offenses for their opponent. Or it could simply be happenstance. Whatever the reason, by the numbers NFL games on Thursday are generally lower scoring. This DOES NOT indicate Under is an automatic play. Rather a hot button to isolate certain value bettting opportunities.
As an example, popular and reliable sportsbook Bovada traditionally tilt their NFL lines toward favorites and higher total numbers. That indicating the public's propensity to bet favorites and not be "out of a game" by betting under. That could be potentially exploited by zooming in backing the Under within the totals on the right Thursday evening.
Is Wednesday Night Football Next?
With current NFL televisions ratings plummeting, don't be surprised if some executive brings this up for discussion. Or more likely, playing a doubleheader on Thursday night. Possibly one early game in the East followed by one late-starting game in the West, echoing what the league does in the first week of Monday Night Football. While the NFL refuses to honestly admit a large majority of their audience tunes in to wager and boost ratings, anything is quite possible.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.