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On the line from Vegas: Bills revert to low betting expectations

By Tim Graham

TAMPA, Fla. -- Things change quickly in the NFL.

Last week, we were talking about the Buffalo Bills being a favorite three, maybe four straight games.

Now we're back to the idea they probably won't be favored again for the rest of the season.

The Bills are 2.5-point underdogs this afternoon against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium. Next week, the Bills will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, winners in four of their past five games.

Maybe the Bills will be favored when they host the Miami Dolphins in Week 16. Maybe.

First, though, let's take a look at the Bills' chances to cover today.

As always, Las Vegas handicapper and Sloan native Joel Staniszewski has some trends for us to consider:

  • Buffalo is 1-4 against the spread and straight up over its past five games.
  • Buffalo is 1-6 against the spread in its past seven road games (not counting Toronto because, ahem, that was a home game).
  • Tampa Bay is 4-1 against the spread over its past five games.

Staniszewski pointed out, "These trends would have you think that the Bucs are the play." Then he added these:

  • Buffalo is 4-0 against the spread after allowing more than 150 yards rushing.
  • Buffalo is 7-2 over its past nine games following an against-the-spread loss.
  • Tampa Bay is 4-17 against the spread in its past 21 home games versus a team with a losing record.
  • Tampa Bay is 1-6 against the spread over its past seven games after allowing more than 250 passing yards previous game.

"Looking at these trends," Staniszewski said, "it's hard to try to find a play here.

"If we can establish a strong run game and hang onto the football this week, the Bills have a good chance to win this game. Let's hope for the best."

The Bills are 6-6 against the spread for the season. The Buccaneers are 5-7.


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 |