By Tim Graham
Joel Staniszewski was thrilled to learn the Buffalo Bills had signed a lease to remain in Western New York for at least another seven years.
Then he sat down to examine Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins and got depressed again.
Staniszewski, the Las Vegas oddsmaker from Sloan, didn't see much for fellow Bills fans to get excited about when it comes to the betting trends.
"I remember when these rosters had Dan Marinos and Mark Dupers and Jim Kellys and Thurman Thomases and Andre Reeds -- perennial All-Pros and future Hall of Famers," Staniszewski said. "Now we're looking at Ryan Fitzpatricks and Brian Hartlines.
"These two teams have really fallen from grace."
The over/under total for this game is 41.5 points, but the spread has been volatile.
"The lines have been weird all over town," said Staniszewski, an oddsmaker with Cantor Gaming. "It's been anywhere from 4 1/2 to six points for the Dolphins. A move from 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 isn't all that big of a move because how many NFL games land on five? That's an unusual number. But six is a common number, making for a big disparity.
"That tells me some places are getting big bets on the Dolphins, and the trends tell you to do so."
Bills against-the-spread trends to consider:
- * 3-13 in their past 16 games after allowing more than 350 yards the previous game;
- * 0-6 in their past six games after a double-digit home loss (Las Vegas still counts Toronto as a home game).
"The Bills, when they have a good game, they usually follow it up with a bad game," Staniszewski said. "When the Bills also have a horribly bad game, they follow it up with another bad game."
Dolphins against-the-spread trends to consider:
- * 4-1 over their past five games in December;
- * 6-2 in their past eight games against AFC East teams;
- * 6-3 in their past nine games versus the Bills (also 6-3 straight up).
"You hope that the emotional lift of the new lease agreement can give the players a spark to play a little better," Staniszewski said, "but the statistics say they don't have much of a shot."