By Tim Graham
A week ago on the Press Coverage blog, Las Vegas oddsmaker Joel Staniszewski relayed an NFL trend that proved prophetic.
Staniszewski is a Buffalo State grad who works for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, one of the world's most prominent line-setting operations. Last week, he noted teams that started a season 0-2 were 80-57-1 in Week Three against the spread -- a wager-healthy .584 win percentage. The win percentage increased to .642 for 0-2 underdogs.
And what happened Sunday?
Four out of five 0-2 underdogs won straight up, with the lone exception being the Cleveland Browns at home against the Buffalo Bills. The New Orleans Saints were the only 0-2 favorites to lose, but they played the 0-2 Kansas City Chiefs.
"I'm an oddsmaker, but first and foremost I'm a Bills fan," Staniszewski said Thursday from Las Vegas. "Any time a trend works out and the Bills win their game, it's the best week possible.
"What can be better than that?"
Staniszewski certainly wouldn't mind watching his Bills defeat the New England Patriots on Sunday, but the trends aren't encouraging.
"Everyone knows the history of the Bills and the Pats," Staniszewski said. "So it historically doesn't look good.
"Over their last 20 games, the Bills are 2-18 straight up. They are 1-6-1 against the spread their last eight home games. Previous to last year, they were 0-6-1 against the spread at home. Over their last 21 games within the AFC East, the Bills are 4-17 against the spread."
The Patriots opened as a 3 1/2-point favorite. Early money on the Patriots moved the line to 4 points. The over-under total opened at 51 1/2 points and shifted slightly to 52 points.
"The last 13 games within the AFC East, the game involving New England has gone over the total 12 times," Staniszewski said.
Staniszewski noted the uncertainty surrounding Bills running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller hasn't had a huge impact on the numbers so far.