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On the line from Vegas: Titans' extra prep time no big deal

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.

UPDATE: After I published this blog, @NickelCityBills and @SalSports tweeted this year's records of how teams fared a week after playing on Wednesday (opening week) and Thursday nights.

Straight up, teams that played on those nights have gone 3-7 the next week, while winners on those nights have gone 1-4.


On the line from Vegas
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |