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On the line from Vegas: Field goal seems low for Ravens spread

By Tim Graham

Joel Staniszewski doesn't always agree with the point spread. But as a handicapper and former oddsmaker, he usually understands how it came to be.

The St. Joe's grad was forced to muse on the number for Sunday's game between the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"I'm just surprised at the line," Staniszewski said today from Las Vegas. "The defending Super Bowl champs are only a three-point favorite. I thought it would be more.

"The trends that I've looked at basically affirm that the Ravens are the team to bet here."

To wit:

  • The Ravens are 8-4 straight up over their past 12 games against the Bills.
  • The Ravens are 6-1 straight up and against the spread over their past seven games overall.
  • The Ravens have won each of their past four games against the spread following a straight-up victory.
  • The Ravens have won four straight against the spread versus a team with a losing record.
  • The Ravens are 5-1 against the spread over their past six games against the AFC.
  • The Bills have failed to cover four straight Week Four games. "That doesn't really mean anything, but I thought it was interesting," Staniszewski said.

Staniszewski could find only one favorable trend for the Bills:

  • In the past five Bills-Ravens meetings, the home team is 4-1 against the spread.

How are the Ravens favored by only a field goal?

"The Ravens are a veteran team, solid in every important aspect of football," Staniszewski said, "and the Bills are depleted by injuries.

"But the Bills have been close in every game, which I don't think anybody expected with a rookie head coach, rookie offensive coordinator, rookie quarterback, rookie middle linebacker ... Just go down the list of all the rookies.

"No one expected them to be close to the Patriots, but they were with them the whole game. They've had to settle for a million field goals, but if they could punch a ball in they'd be 3-0 right now. It's weird to think."

But when it comes to previewing the Bills game each week for the Press Coverage blog, Staniszewski's inner fan often emerges.

The Sloan native, who watched last week's game against the New York Jets at Moon Doggies, a Las Vegas Bills bar that serves loganberry beverages, has trouble envisioning a close game based on what he witnessed on TV.

"If we're putting Justin Rogers on anybody that can run a pass pattern, I think we're in some serious trouble," Staniszewski said. "I'm actually shocked they kept him in the game. I think they would've had a better chance if they put the punter out there in coverage."


Justin Rogers | 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 |