ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills’ home game against the Cleveland Browns is being moved to Detroit due to a winter storm that will hit Western New York over the next few days.
Several feet of snow is expected to fall in the area overnight Thursday into Saturday, along with thunderstorms and other conditions. 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 at the time the game is scheduled. Gusts of wind are also expected to make travel difficult.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed that the move has nothing to do with the Bills’ stadium being an open-air facility without a dome, but that the priority is not to divert resources away from the community.
“They’ve been through it before, we’ve been through it before and they handled it well,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday of the unknowns surrounding this week. “So much confidence in our team working behind the scenes on that, and then the football team has to get ready to play the game and execute, so it’s a good football team that comes in here.” The decision was made in part to allocate resources for other needs in the community and for the safety of people in the area and fans. The team had a big snow game at Orchard Park in 2017 when the Bills beat the Colts in overtime 13-7.
The Bills had a home game against the New York Jets who moved to Ford Field in November 2014 due to a snowstorm. The Bills won that game 38-3. That game was moved to Monday after being scheduled for Sunday, but a 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 on the game have been voided, according to Caesars Sportsbook’s house rules.
The total, which moved from 47.5 to 42 (rising to 43 when bets were voided) before the site change, attracted significant betting interest throughout the week. The Bills-Browns below received more bets than any team to cover compensation other than Thursday night’s game between the Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers. It’s rare that the totals attract more bets than the points difference.
With the game in Detroit, Caesars Sportsbook lists the Bills as 7.5-point favorites and the game has 48 total.
The Bills practiced at the team’s field house on Wednesday, but were outside for practice on Thursday. At the same time, the Bills are dealing with several ailments on the team. Three players — defensive back Cam Lewis, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips — missed Thursday’s practice due to illness.
Because of the home loss, the Bills won’t play at Orchard Park again until Dec. 11 against the Jets.