It has indeed been a bizarre set of circumstances for the Buffalo Bills over the course of the past week, and if anyone out there in the America’s Bookie audience is wondering whether this team has been able to go through a normal practice routine, well, they absolutely have not. But this is not like baseball, where you can just plug a postponed game into an off-day. This is the NFL, and so the Bills’ game against the New York Jets has been moved to Ford Field in Detroit, where it will kick off at 7 PM ET on Monday night. The game will be on CBS affiliates in New York and Buffalo, and otherwise, America’s Bookie patrons can see it as part of DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket.
Most people who analyze the pro football odds are aware that the city of Buffalo and the surrounding areas have been hit with a record snowfall, as high as seven feet in some areas. The game could not possibly be played at Ralph Wilson Stadium, as scheduled, and so after much deliberation, the decision to move the game and play it on Monday night was made. And this brings up a rather interesting handicapping situation, as essentially, the Bills have had about as much practice time as a team would have if they played on Sunday and then had to turn around for a Thursday game. Their problem, from a scheduling standpoint, is the fact that the Jets are coming out of the bye week, so they have had a lot more prep time.
In the pro football odds that a been posted on this game by the people at America’s Bookie, the Bills are a slight favorite in this “home” game:
Buffalo Bills -2.5
New York Jets +2.5
Over 42 points -110
Under 42 points -110
The Bills say that the city of Detroit and the Lions’ organization have been absolutely terrific to them. Ford Field is set up to look like an indoor version of Ralph Wilson Stadium, with the Bills’ logo at the 50 yard line in the end zones decorated accordingly. Coach Doug Marrone said he has been overwhelmed with the hospitality. And over 70,000 tickets have been distributed online – for free.
Some of this has helped Buffalo prepare for this ballgame. But frankly, there was nothing they could do prior to Thursday, because they had to actually round up a lot of players with snowmobiles to get them on the flight to Detroit. This team is coming off back-to-back defeats in which they have scored a total of 22 points. Kyle Orton has not stretched the field (6.9-yard average), and Buffalo has had to dip into its bench for running backs. On top of that, they couldn’t get a break from the officials last week when they played in Miami, as Orton got called for an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, and a pass interference call that was questionable at best led almost directly to a Dolphins touchdown.
So it’s been difficult all the way around for this Buffalo team. And it is clear that they have not been able to practice along the lines of a regular schedule. When a team like that is laying points, as the bills are in the pro football odds at America’s Bookie, you have to really take a long look at it. After all, there is a certain amount of improvisation involved in football, but coaches and players don’t like to get out of their routine. And this was most definitely an non-routine week.