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On the line from Vegas: Bills in unfamiliar territory as big road favorites

Rare are the games when the Buffalo Bills are favored on the road.

And by almost a touchdown? Holy roller!

The Bills are 6.5-point favorites to beat the Oakland Raiders on Sunday in the Coliseum. Bettors have sided with the Bills, moving the spread a point.

"The opening line was correct," said Las Vegas handicapper and former oddsmaker Joel Staniszewski, a lifelong and scarred Bills fan. "The line being moved in the Bills' favor is scary to see.

"Whenever people get on the Bills' betting bandwagon, it always seems to go bad."

So much for analytical thinking. That's what we bring Staniszewski here for, after all.

But you can't knock all those bad Bills beats out of his memory.

Some trends:

  • Buffalo is 3-1 straight up in its past four games, allowing an average of 15 points. All of those totals have gone under.
  • Oakland is 4-3 against the spread over its past seven games.
  • Oakland has averaged 15.6 points its past six games.
  • Buffalo is 8-2 against the spread over its past 10 games after allowing more than 150 rushing yards in its previous game.
  • Buffalo is 4-1 against the spread over its past five December games.
  • Oakland is 3-8 against the spread and 2-9 straight up over its past 11 home games.

Of course, betting interests are more important than Buffalo's win-loss column. The San Diego Chargers came back to beat the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, essentially dashing the Bills' postseason hopes.

Joel's pick of the week: With quarterback Cam Newton back, Staniszewski advises to take the Carolina Panthers at home, and give the Cleveland Browns three points.

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