Looking at Rest in the 2016 NFL Season

Long-time readers of Winners Win will recall a similar post prior to the start of the 2015 season. To refresh your memory click here:

I showed how the Seattle Seahawks had a very tough schedule in terms of the rest between games compared to their opponents. Over the whole season they had a total of 22 days less rest from the previous game compared to their opponent. The win total for the Seahawks last season was 11 wins, they ended up a record of 10-6…so you heard that here first, obviously.

Ok, so let’s have a look at this season’s schedule.

As before I’m calculating the difference in days rest for each game of the season. For example:

  • The Broncos play on Thursday
  • The Colts play on Sunday
  • The Broncos host the Colts on the Sunday of week 2.
  • Therefore the Broncos will have 3 extra days rest for this game than the Colts.

I’ve set all week 1 fixtures to 0 difference in days’ rest, so I’ve ignored preseason games. And I’m not taking into account accumulative days’ rest. For each fixture, I’m just looking at the last time each team played. Looking at the total difference in days’ rest each team has compared to their opponents over the whole season, we get this:


Arizona and Philly have the toughest schedule in terms of rest difference, with 14 days less rest than their opponents over the course of the season. Green Bay are at the opposite end with 12 days more rest than their opponents.

Rest matters. I calculated that a team with 6+ extra days rest to their opponents is 2.5% more likely to win (wide confidence intervals though). More importantly, I have found that the market generally overrates a bye week…

Great! I’ll just bet against the team coming off a bye week!

Er no. Don’t do that. The market also generally overrates home field advantage, small samples sizes, injuries, travel etc it’s just a case of putting it all together to find a +EV bet.

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