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On the line from Vegas: Spread reset, but Bills still favored over Jets 'at home'

Good luck trying to figure this one out.

The Buffalo Bills are favored to win "at home" Monday night against the New York Jets.

Home, however, is not where the bettor's heart is.

"It's next to impossible to try to figure this out," Las Vegas handicapper and former oddsmaker Joel Staniszewski said. "To factor in all these different questions marks, you can't figure out what's going to happen."

Oddsmakers opened the Bills as four-point favorites to beat the Jets. But the game was taken off the board amid this week's weather chaos and the game being moved to Detroit. When a sportsbook takes a game down, previous wagers became void and are refunded.

Bettors then were presented with a new number, which favors the Bills by two or 2.5 points, depending on the sportsbook.

Although the Bills officially will be the home team, Monday is considered a neutral-site game for betting purposes because of the distance.

Staniszewski noted that analytic services such as AccuScore or consensus power rankings indicate the Bills should remain at least 4.5-point favorites over the Jets and that some services compute an eight-point margin is appropriate.

But there simply are too many variables in play.

"When you look at the Bills' inability to practice, an inability to game plan properly, coming off two losses, the Jets finally appearing to get some momentum going," Staniszewski said, "as a whole it's tough to put up a line and just as tough to handicap it.

"I have no strong feeling. I mean, in the history of the NFL, how many times does something like this happen?"

A few trends to mull (all things being equal, which they aren't this week):

  • The home team in this series is 4-1 against the spread over the past five meetings.
  • Buffalo is 1-4 against the spread over its past five home games.
  • Buffalo is 2-4 against the spread over its past six home games against the Jets.
  • Buffalo is 6-0 against the spread over its past six games after gaining less than 250 yards the previous game.
  • New York is 2-5-2 against the spread over its past nine road games.
  • New York is 1-8 straight up over its past nine road games.
  • New York is 2-5 against the spread over its past seven games against the AFC.
  • New York is 1-4-2 against the spread over its past seven games after a straight-up victory.

"It's hard to see there's a history of a particular team doing 'X' in this situation," Staniszewski said. "How the San Diego Chargers did when they had to move a game to Phoenix in '03 won't tell you what the Bills will do in 2014."

So bettor beware.

Joel's pick of the week: He's riding the Green Bay Packers. They opened as six-point favorites to beat the Minnesota Vikings on the road. Action has fattened the line by three points, but Staniszewski still likes the Packers to win comfortably.

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