The Buffalo Bills expect to start undrafted free-agent Jeff Tuel at quarterback versus the New England Patriots in Week 1 of the NFL season, forcing sportsbooks to jack up the spread for the season opener.
Buffalo opened as a touchdown underdog at most markets in the spring before injuries to veteran QB Kevin Kolb and rookie passer E.J. Manuel forced the Bills to turn to Tuel, causing oddsmakers to take the game off the board and repost Buffalo as a 10.5-point road underdog - climbing as high as +11.5 at some books. The total for Week 1's game has also moved from 53 to 49.5 points.
Tuel, out of Washington State, showed some skill in the preseason by going 19 of 23 for 212 yards passing against the Indianapolis Colts in the first tune-up tilt of the summer.
Manuel, who was shelved after Week 2 to ensure recovery, is the frontrunner to be the Bills No. 1 QB but is still nursing a knee injury. He will not suit up for Thursday's preseason finale. Kolb suffered a concussion in Saturday's game versus the Washington Redskins and the Bills are fearful that the injury could be career ending.
With the QB depth chart thinning out, the Bills have signed Matt Leinart and acquired QB Thaddeus Lewis in a trade with the Detroit Lions.