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On the line from Vegas: Sunday's trends and analysis

Tim Graham

Joel Staniszewski, everybody's favorite oddsmaker from Sloan, shared his betting insight on every Buffalo Bills game this season and since has turned his attention to the playoffs.

Here are his thoughts and trends for today's playoff matchups.

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons

Spread: Atlanta minus-3

Total: 45.5 points

  • • The underdog in the series is 5-2 against the spread the past seven meetings.
  • • Seattle is 7-0 against the spread in its past seven games versus a team with a winning record.
  • • Seattle is 4-1 against the spread in its past five games after rushing for more than 150 yards the previous game.
  • • Atlanta is 3-0-1 against the spread versus teams with winning records.
  • • Atlanta is 0-4 against the spread in its past four playoff games.

Staniszewski's take:

"Seattle's just gotten stronger and stronger as the season's gone on. Atlanta, meanwhile, reminds you of the San Diego Chargers. No matter how good they play during the regular season, when it gets down to crunch time they just can't get it together.

"The big matchup here is going to be Atlanta's passing game against Seattle's secondary. I don't think Atlanta's going to run the ball at all. Michael Turner looks worn out. Roddy White and Julio Jones against Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner is going to be huge."

Houston Texans at New England Patriots

Spread: New England minus-9.5

Total: 47.5 points

  • • Houston is 4-0-2 against the spread in its past six games in January.
  • • Houston is 1-4 against the spread in its past five games after a straight-up victory.
  • • New England is 1-4 against the spread in its past five games after an against-the-spread victory.
  • • New England is 1-7 against the spread in its past eight home playoff games.

Staniszewski's take:

"Houston started off strong and then faltered at the end of the season. That gives people the thought they're not as good as they were the first two-thirds of the season. Everyone's remembering the Patriots winning, 42-14, in Week 14. But that doesn't mean the spread should be 26. This game is going to be a lot closer. It's not going to be a double-digit blowout.

"Houston will have to dial up some pressure on Tom Brady or he's going to pick them apart. The Texans can't get to a point where they're passing because they're down two touchdowns. They have to keep this game close so they can run and have a chance."


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 |