Updated on 09/15/2011 1:36PM

ABC knows when a game's truly 'over'


It ain't over until Al Michaels says it's over.

ABC play-by-play man Michaels showed again Monday night that he knows that a lot of his viewers, even at the end of a blowout, have money riding on the outcome.

For those who turned off the TV early, the Dolphins were beating the Colts 34-6 in the final minute. The Dolphins didn't have enough time to run out the clock and were trying to pick up one more first down. The total on the game opened at 44 1/2 and was bet up to 46 1/2 at the sports books in Las Vegas, so the under bettors were heading to the windows.

On fourth-and-eight from the Colts' 18-yard-line, Miami fullback Rob Konrad took a handoff and plunged into the line. The Colts' pathetic tackling allowed him to slip outside and head toward the end zone. He was tripped up inside the 5-yard-line and dived for the goal line, getting the ball the plane of the end zone over before his knees hit the ground.

Michaels, not missing a beat, started referring to the game being "over." As is often the case, analyst Dan Fouts picked up on the betting reference (commenting on an "earthquake in Las Vegas"), while analyst Dennis Miller took a while to catch on.

When kicker Olindo Mare took position, Michaels said, "After this extra point the game will really be over."

That extra point made the final score 41-6, and made all the over bettors happy. But it was a blow to Las Vegas sports books, who always write a lot of parlays on the favorite and the over on Monday night games.

One well-known handicapper who had the Dolphins and the over was ESPN's Hank Goldberg. Goldberg has had some rough seasons with his picks on ESPN, but he is 50-28 (64 percent) with his Sunday morning picks this year. On Monday night's SportsCenter, he predicted a final score of Dolphins 31, Colts 21.

Goldberg, whose radio show airs Tuesday afternoon (WQAM AM-560 in Miami and wqam.com on the Internet), was at the game Monday and was as surprised as anyone that he got the over selection right.

"I was heading down to the locker room for post-game interviews and got down to the field just in time to see Rob Konrad go in the end zone," Goldberg said. "I do a radio show with Konrad every other week, so I was happy for Rob, but I was happier that I won my bet."

Goldberg said he has never been reprimanded for talking about the pointspread on the air, and he says the same is true for Michaels.

"I know Al Michaels very well, and he's never had any problem with his bosses saying he shouldn't talk about the odds," Goldberg said. "And the proof is that he keeps doing it."

NFL Trends

Despite the Dolphins' late touchdown, the under had a 9-6 edge in Week 13 and is now 97-89-2 on the season. But don't be too quick to jump on the unders, because oddsmakers have adjusted by lowering the totals in cold-weather sites. Of the eight outdoor games that could have cold or rainy weather, the highest total is 38.

Speaking of bad weather, the Buccaneers are 0-20 in franchise history when the kickoff temperature is below 40 degrees. Early-week forecasts for Soldier Field call for temps in the high-30's with a chance of rain.

Entering the weekend, home and away teams were tied at 82-82-9, but home teams went 9-6 for a 91-88 lead.

Underdogs went 7-8, breaking a three-week winning streak, but they still hold a 92-85-9 lead over favorites for the season.

The NFC defeated the AFC two out of three games last weekend to take a 23-22 straight-up lead on the season, but the weekend's spread record was 3-0 (as the Panthers covered in a loss the Bills) to boost the NFC's lead over the AFC against the spread to 27-17 (61 percent) with one push. The NFC is 8-1 against the spread the last two weeks. There are four interconference games this weekend: Falcons-Colts, Dolphins-49ers, Packers-Titans, and Cowboys-Seahawks.

Season-long contest updates

There is a three-way tie atop the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest standings. The Bud Man, who had been at or near the top all season before a recent slump, rebounded with a 4-1 record to improve his record to 40-22-3 for 41.5 contest points (pushes count for half a point). He is tied with James Pronovich and Tony Salinas, both of whom went 2-3 last weekend.

- The semifinals are set in the Stardust Invitational. At 9 p.m. Friday in the sports book (and on KDWN AM-720 on the West Coast), Mike Orkin and Patrick Forsythe will pick seven NFL sides or totals, including a best bet to be used as a tiebreaker. On Dec. 21, defending champion Dave Cokin will take on Coast Resorts sports book director Bert Osborne with the semifinal winners meeting Dec. 28 to battle for the $10,000 winner-take-all prize.

- The competition is also heating up in the Sunset Station All-Star Handicappers Invitational. Bob Donahue continues to run away from the competition with 114 points, based on an impressive overall record of 51-25-2 and 9-3-1 on best bets. However, the format calls for the top four finishers after 15 weeks to advance to the semifinal round, and that race is close. Brent Crow is second with 97 points, followed by Rob Veno with 95, Glenn McGrew and Dr. Bob Stoll with 93 apiece, and Bryan Leonard, Scott Spreitzer, Tom Stryker, Andy Iskoe all at 92. Defending champion Mike Lee has 90 points. The semifinals start Dec. 28.

Bankrolls take dips

In the colleges, I won with Hawaii and lost with Tennessee. Since I bet 11 units on each, going 1-1 meant I lost one unit to the vig. The college bankroll, which started the season at 1,000 units and was at 964 units entering the week, finished the regular season at 963 units.

In the NFL, I had an okay day on sides, going 2-2 with a 22-unit best-bet winner on the Saints, but I was 1-3 on totals. When all was said and done, I lost 15 net units to lower the bankroll, which was at 947 entering the week, down to 932. It shows again how the vig can eat away at a bankroll.

My season-long record is 33-33-1 on sides, 7-9 on totals, and 7-7-1 on best bets - and yet I'm down 68 units.