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On the line from Vegas: Don't look now, but Bills are runaway favorites again

The last time Las Vegas wise guys were so bullish on the Buffalo Bills, they were pulverized.

So forgive lifelong Bills fan and betting-industry veteran Joe Staniszewski if he remains leery of the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

"This is a scary one," Staniszewski said. "The Bills are the bettors' sweethearts again, and that usually doesn't turn out too well."

The Bills opened as 3.5-point favorites, and money was bet in bundles. Now they're 5.5-point favorites. The over/under total, meanwhile, has dwindled from 44.5 points to 42.5 points.

"A low-scoring game benefits the Bills," Staniszewski said. "That probably means their defense is doing well.

"Teddy Bridgewater has made two starts, one of which he looked like a superstar and the other one he looked like a scrub. But if the Bills' defense can stand up and do what's needed, and if their offense doesn't make bone-headed mistakes, they should do well."

Long-term trends are difficult for this non-conference matchup because the Vikings have churned through quarterbacks and don't have All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson anymore.

For your consideration:

  • Minnesota is 1-4 against the spread over its past five games.
  • Minnesota is 1-6 against the spread over its past seven games after rushing for less than 90 yards the previous game.
  • Buffalo is 10-4 against the spread over its past 14 games after a straight-up loss.
  • Buffalo is 5-2 against the spread over its past seven games after a straight-up loss of more than 14 points.
  • Buffalo is 8-2 against the spread over its past 12 home games.

The outcome could be as simple as an opportunistic defense facing a rookie quarterback in his first road start.

"If you have rookie who can't read defenses at NFL speed and who might be inaccurate as we know from young quarterbacks," Staniszewski said, "a good defense can tee off."

Joel's pick of the week: Bears -3 at home over the Dolphins.

"The Bears should be able to handle them pretty easily," Staniszewski said.

"If you look at the Bears' offense player for player they're too high-powered for the Dolphins to keep up with them. Oppositely, I don't think the Dolphins' offense is that much better than the Bears' defense."

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