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On the line from Vegas: Underdog Bills the better team

By Tim Graham

On a national level, the Buffalo Bills are considered a doormat franchise.

Due to that reputation, oddsmakers probably don't respect the Bills as much as they should early each season.

That's suggested by the Bills winning both of their games so far against the spread and the Bills being 4-1 with the points in their past five September games.

St. Joe's and Buffalo State grad Joel Staniszewski, a Las Vegas handicapper and former oddsmaker, believes the Bills are the better team again Sunday although they're underdogs to the New York Jets.

The Jets are favored by 2.5 points. The over/under total is 39 points.

"The trends for Buffalo on the road are not very good," Staniszewski said, "and historically the Jets have done well against Buffalo. They've been a much better team than the Bills.

"But if you look at each franchise, an unbiased person or an oddsmaker would think the Bills are in a much better place right now."

The Jets are favored, Staniszewski pointed out, only because the game is at the Meadowlands.

"That makes all the difference," Staniszewski said. "It's going to be interesting to see how EJ Manuel responds on the road and in a hostile environment.

"I think it's a fairly evenly matched game. If the Jets were in better shape like they were in previous years, the spread might be 7.

"The spread says the Bills are a slightly better team than the Jets are right now, but you've got to give them a little bit of credit because they're playing at home."

Some trends to consider:

  • The Jets are 5-2 against the spread in their past seven games against the Bills.
  • The Bills are 4-10-1 against the spread and 2-13 straight up over their past 15 road games.
  • The Jets are 1-4 against the spread in their past five home games.

"It will be interesting to see how these trends hold up with new teams and new quarterbacks," Staniszewski said. "But the Jets are in disarray."


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 |