ORCHARD PARK, NY – The Buffalo Bills’ home game against the Cleveland Browns is being moved to Detroit due to a winter storm expected to hit Western New York over the next few days.
The area is expected to receive several feet of snow overnight Thursday through Saturday evening with thunder and other conditions also expected. The team said the decision to move the game from Highmark Stadium was made “in consultation with the Buffalo Bills and local and state officials as the region prepares for the storm.”
It is not expected to snow during the time the match is scheduled to take place. Gusts of wind are also expected to make travel more difficult.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed that the decision had nothing to do with the Bills’ stadium being an outdoor facility without a dome, but rather that the priority was that resources not be diverted from the community.
“They’ve been there before, we’ve been through it before and we’ve handled it well,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday of the unknowns surrounding this week. “So full confidence in our team working behind the scenes on this and then the football team has to prepare to play a game and perform, so it’s a good football team coming here.” The decision was made in part to have resources available for other needs in the community and for the safety of people in the area and fans. The team played a major snow game at Orchard Park in 2017 when the Bills beat the Colts in overtime 13-7.
The Bills played one home game against. the New York Jets moved to Ford Field in November 2014 due to a snow storm. The Bills won that game 38-3. That game was pushed back to Monday after being scheduled for a Sunday, but the Bills’ Thanksgiving game in Detroit makes the schedule less flexible this year.
With the news that the Browns-Bills game has been moved from Buffalo to Detroit, all previous bets made on the game are void, per Caesars Sportsbook rules.
The total, which rose from 47.5 to 42 (it had risen to 43 when bets were voided) before the venue change, sparked considerable betting interest all week. The Bills-Browns got more bets than any team to cover the spread in addition to Thursday night’s game between the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers. It is rare for totals to attract more bets than the point spread.
With the game now in Detroit, Caesars Sportsbook lists the Bills as 7.5-point favorites and the game has a total of 48.
The Bills practiced inside the team field Wednesday, but were away for practice Thursday. At the same time, the Bills struggle with several illnesses within the team. Three players – defensive back Cam Lewis, receiver Isaiah McKenzie and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips – missed Thursday’s practice due to illness.
Due to a home game loss, the Bills won’t play at Orchard Park again until Dec. 1. 11 against the Jets.