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On the line from Vegas: Bills-Jets spread is historic and peculiar

Sometimes, the numbers don't add up.

The Buffalo Bills are underdogs Sunday against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

For the first time in NFL history, a team with a 1-6 record is favored to beat an opponent with a winning record.

"You look at any analytical site with power rankings and all those things, the Bills should be favored in this game," Las Vegas handicapper and former oddsmaker Joel Staniszewski said. "There's no reason why the Bills are a three-point dog. At minimum, it should be a pick 'em.

"I think the line is wrong. The Bills plus-three probably is the smartest bet on the board."

The Bills opened as two-point underdogs with an over/under total of 43 points.

As of this posting, the Bills are three-point underdogs, and the total is 40.5 points.

"The reason the Jets are favored is because oddsmakers and bettors don't have the same thought process as Bills fans," said Staniszewski, a Buffalo State alum. "That's a good thing for business.

"But we see Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon and think, 'They can step up and carry the load. They don't need C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.' Oddsmakers just see the No. 1 and No. 2 running backs are out, and the No. 3 and the No. 4 are up.

"That's just a bad sign, but not many teams have the depth at running back like the Bills do."

Reputation also plays a factor in Sunday's spread.

"It's mostly just the thinking that the Jets are a better team than their record shows," Staniszewski said. "The AFC East has so much parity. The Jets can give the Patriots all they can handle. The Bills can destroy the Dolphins, and then the Dolphins beat the Bears handily and the Bills barely beat a bad Vikings team.

"From a betting perspective, that puts you in a weird predicament. Which teams are going to show up?"

Some trends to mull:

  • The home team in this series is 4-0 against the spread over the past four meetings.
  • Buffalo is 1-4 against the spread against its past five opponents with a losing record.
  • Buffalo is 7-1 against the spread over its past eight games after allowing more than 150 rushing yards.
  • New York is 1-5-1 against the spread over its past seven games.
  • New York is 0-4 against the spread over its past four home games.
  • New York is 1-4-1 against the spread over its past six against-the-spread victories.
  • New York is 1-5 against the spread over its past six games after a straight-up loss.

Staniszewski likes the under Sunday.

"I think it's going to be a low-scoring game," he said. "The Bills have been playing under football all year so far. The Jets are just a bad team. It's two good defenses and two average offenses, trying to find their way and what works."

Joel's pick of the week: Staniszewski loves the Bills plus three points, but aside from that he said, "I think you just have to go with the hot team. The Cowboys look unstoppable right now. Play the roll and keep on going."

So take Dallas at home and give Washington 10 points Monday night.

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