Baker Mayfield threw three first-half touchdown passes as the Cleveland Browns built a 28-0 lead over the Cincinnati Bengals and cruised to a 35-20 win in Week 12 of the 2018 season. One week after a bye, the Browns covered the spread as a 1-point road favorite to continue a post-bye NFL betting trend.
It was the third time since 2003 the Browns were a road favorite one week after their bye. They’re 2-0-1 against the spread in those games. In all other post-bye games since 2003, the Browns are 4-11.
Most NFL teams aren’t similarly miserable after the bye – only four other teams have covered less than 40 percent of their games since 2003, and 17 teams are above .500 – but all teams have combined to cover approximately 51 percent of their post-bye games since 2003. When post-bye teams are road favorites, however, they’ve covered 61 percent of spreads (70-45-2). The Cincinnati Bengals were the most recent team to do so, covering -2.5 against the Las Vegas Raiders on the road in Week 11.
Post-bye road favorites of at least 5.5 points are even better, covering in 69 percent of games (25-11) since 2003. And that includes an active four-game ATS losing streak that was extended by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ failure to cover as a 9.5-point road dog against the Washington Football Team in Week 10.
Looking at Week 13 NFL odds for 2021, there’s one game within the post-bye sweet spot: Arizona Cardinals (-7.5 as of Saturday, Dec. 4) at Chicago Bears. The Cardinals are 8-3 ATS this season, the third-best mark in NFL betting this season, while the Bears are 4-7, tied for the second-worst mark.
You can view updated NFL betting odds for the Cardinals-Bears and other NFL games at the BetMGM sportsbook. And you can listen to more NFL and college football betting analysis on The Lion’s Edge podcast: