By Tim Graham
For the second straight game, the Buffalo Bills will face an opponent that played on Thursday night the week before.
How much advantage does that give the team with a few extra days to prepare?
Against the point spread, apparently none at all. In fact, the trend suggests Buffalo has a slight edge Sunday over the rested Tennessee Titans in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Joel Staniszewski, our Las Vegas oddsmaker from Sloan, found that since the 2002 divisional realignment, teams that have won on Thursday night went 29-36-4 against the spread the following week.
"A lot of people think that mini-bye gives teams more time to prepare," Staniszewski said. "But it actually seems to hurt them. Are they taking too much time off and unable to get into game mode when they're out of their routine?"
The Tennessee Titans are coming off a 26-23 Thursday night victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bills are coming off a sudden-death victory over the Arizona Cardinals, who lost on Thursday night 10 days earlier.
The Bills opened as a 3-point favorite against the Titans, but money is inching the spread toward 3 1/2 points.
"The line seems straightforward," Staniszewski said. "They're pretty evenly matched teams, pretty similar teams by the numbers.
"If this game was in Nashville, then Tennessee would be a same-sized favorite there. On a neutral field it probably would be a pick 'em or the Bills a slight favorite because they have one more win, leading you to believe the Bills would be viewed slightly better on paper."
Staniszewski noted another trend that favors the Bills in this matchup: The Titans are 0-5 straight up and 1-4 against the spread in their last five road games.
Straight up, teams that played on those nights have gone 3-7 the next week, while winners on those nights have gone 1-4.