By Tim Graham
Joel Staniszewski finds himself in a bit of a prognostication dilemma.
Our Las Vegas oddsmaker and indefatigable Buffalo Bills fan had trouble finding trends to support the hunch his hometown team will beat the Miami Dolphins tonight in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Bills opened as 1-point favorites, and many sports books have inflated the spread to 2 1/2 points. The over/under total is 46 points.
"The statistics aren't necessarily looking to be in the Bills' favor," Staniszewski said. "Just me looking at it, giving you my gut opinion, I think the Bills are going to win this game.
"The trends tell you they won't, but these trends against the Dolphins or the Bills in prime time don't factor in the current lineups. For instance, none of these statistics have anything to do with Ryan Tannehill. So you take all these with a grain of salt."
Some numbers to consider:
* The Dolphins are 6-2 against the spread over their past eight games against the Bills.
* The last 11 times the Dolphins have been a road underdog by between 1/2 a point and 3 points, they are 8-0-3 against the spread.
* The Bills have lost eight in a row against AFC East opponents straight up and four of their past 23 games.
* The Bills have lost 11 consecutive primetime games and haven't won since beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 13-10 in 2001.
* Over the past 11 meetings between the Dolphins and the Bills, the favorite is 7-3-1.
"A 1-point spread's rather small for fairly evenly matched teams and considering Buffalo's at home," Staniszewski said. "You factor home-field advantage at 3 to 4 points. So if the Bills are favored only by 1, you'd be inclined to think Miami would be favored by 5 or 6 at home."
The point spread has grown this week partly because the Bills nearly defeated the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday. The Dolphins are coming off a 37-3 home loss to the Tennessee Titans, a team to which the Bills lost by just a point four weeks ago.
"The Bills showed some promise last week against an opponent that in most people's minds is superior to the Dolphins," Staniszewski said. "The Bills' defense gave up a boatload of points to the Patriots, but Miami's offense is not the New England Patriots."