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On the line from Vegas: No safer bet than Bills failure

By Tim Graham

All season, Las Vegas oddsmaker and proud local boy Joel Staniszewski has been a good sport, giving us his thoughts on the Buffalo Bills from a wagering perspective.

For the final Bills installment of our season series, please allow the kid from Sloan, St. Joe's and Buffalo State a few moments to cleanse his giblets.

Mr. Staniszewski, you have the floor.

"Something has to change," Staniszewski said. "Somewhere in the front office -- ownership, the general manager, the coaching staff, the scouts -- something needs to change. Maybe everything needs to change to make this team work properly.

"How can the Colts go from a last-place team in the league to the playoffs? I don't think it was just the quarterback. I think it was the coaching staff, the general manager, the owner. They're the ones who build a team to win.

"The Bills' organization builds a team they think is going to work, and it hasn't for the last 13 years. You need a complete overhaul to right this ship."

On Sunday, the Bills will close their season with a whimper against the New York Jets in Ralph Wilson Stadium. It also will be Staniszewski's sixth wedding anniversary. His wife, Aja, is from Italy and has become a Bills fan by default.

"She follows the Bills because I follow the Bills," Staniszewski said. "She wears Jim Kelly jerseys. She puts up with all my problems and all the Bills' problems even though she has no reason to other than because of me."

Staniszewski finds defending -- nearly apologizing -- for his hometown loyalty tiresome. Recounting recent draft picks and missed opportunities disgusts him. The name Torell Troup makes him laugh impulsively.

That's why Staniszewski wants the Bills to lose Sunday. It can help make their first-round draft pick more foolproof -- relatively speaking.

"This win or loss can change their draft order drastically," Staniszewski said. "Coaches and players want to win. That goes without saying. But, as a fan and looking at the team in the future, a loss is actually better for the Bills than a win.

"It's sad to say, but we're at that point in the season where you're hoping for the Bills to lose to help their draft stock, and they need to build through the draft. A win does nothing for them."

The Bills are favored by 3.5 points even though the Jets beat them, 48-28, at the Meadowlands on opening day. The over/under total is 39 points.

After Staniszewski's blood simmered down from a rolling boil when talking about the state of the Bills, he passed along some betting trends.

New York Jets

  • 8-1 straight up in their past nine games against the Bills
  • 5-1 against the spread in their past six against the Bills
  • 4-0 against the spread in their past four games in Orchard Park

Buffalo Bills

  • 1-4 against the spread in their past five games overall
  • 2-4 against the spread in their past six home games
  • 2-7 against the spread in their past nine season finales

The trends, however, might not matter as much in a game between two teams with so little to play for.

"Who's going to screw up more this week?" Staniszewski wondered. "Which coaching staff has an opportunity to have a job next year? Which starting quarterback has a job on the roster next year? Who wants to go out on a high note, and who has mailed it in?

"It's tough to see who actually wants to win with these two teams."


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 |