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On the line from Vegas: Bills have been a solid bet so far

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have broken even so far this year.

But they've been profitable to those who've wagered on them.

The Bills have been underdogs every week and will be again tonight, when they play the Cleveland Browns in FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Bills have gone 3-1 against the spread, failing to cover only against the New York Jets. The Bills' two victories on the money line (straight up bets without taking the points) have outweighed the two losses.

Press Coverage friend Joel Staniszewski ran the numbers for us. If you wagered on the Bills every week, then you turned a profit of 43 percent against the spread and 34 percent on the money line.

Staniszewski, a Las Vegas handicapper from Sloan, doesn't bet against the Bills. He lays money on his boys only when he's comfortable they'll win.

"It's so hard to bet against the Bills," Staniszewski said. "Once in my life, I bet against them. This was 2005, and I won. But it was tough to watch the game because I want the Bills to win, but I also want to win my bet."

He has bet on the Bills twice this year: covering against the Carolina Panthers and having his confidence betrayed versus the Jets.

Staniszewski is leaning toward betting on his Bills tonight.

The Browns are favored by 3.5 points. The over-under total is 40.5 points.

"When you look at this game historically, it's an under play," Staniszewski said, recalling such recent final scores as 6-3, 8-0 and 13-6. "They've been so bad for so long.

"Of course, it's two covertly different teams this year than what we've seen in the past. So it's a difficult game to handicap."

Fans of each team pray these are not the same old Bills or Browns. New coaches, new quarterbacks and new defenses lead them to believe the ugly trends should change, but these franchises have switched so many coaches and quarterbacks before.

"It's a tough call," Staniszewski said. "The Bills and Browns over the past decade are bad teams. But the Bills are playing really well this year, and the Browns are 2-0 since putting Brian Hoyer in at quarterback.

"As you get to this point of the season, you see some trends that start helping you with the current team you have."

Some trends Staniszewski highlighted for tonight's game:

  • Buffalo is 4-1 against the spread over its past five games.
  • Buffalo is 1-4 against the spread its past five road games.
  • Buffalo is 0-5 straight up in its past five road games.
  • Buffalo is 4-0 against the spread over its past four games after allowing more than 250 passing yards.
  • Buffalo is 1-6 against the spread over its past seven games after allowing less than 90 rushing yards.
  • Cleveland is 2-5 against the spread over its past seven games.
  • Cleveland is 7-18 straight up over its past 25 games.

Staniszewski explained the status of Bills running back C.J. Spiller (questionable with an ankle injury) won't impact the line.

"A quarterback is going to change a spread," Staniszewski said. "If both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson were out, and you knew they were out, that might adjust it a little bit. But a quarterback is the only position that's going to change a spread enough to be noticeable."

As analytical as Staniszewski is when it comes to sports, there's one more trend he wanted to mention before we got off the phone.

Buffalo is 2-0 straight up this year when Staniszewski watches in his Bryce Paup jersey.

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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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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