10/03/2005 11:00PM

Against spread, no team's perfect


LAS VEGAS - We're four weeks into the NFL season and there are just four undefeated teams remaining. The Colts, Bengals, and Buccaneers are 4-0 while the Redskins are 3-0.

But in the sports betting world, there are no teams with perfect records against the spread. The Colts and Bucs are 2-2 with two non-covering wins apiece. The Bengals and Jaguars (who coincidentally meet this Sunday night) entered last week at 3-0 against the spread but both failed to cover to drop into a tie for the league's top spread mark at 3-1 with the Falcons and Giants. The Falcons are 3-point favorites vs. the Patriots while the Giants have their bye week.

The Broncos and Chargers pushed with the Broncos' 20-17 win in the second week of the season and both teams are 2-1-1.

Teams with bye weeks have only played three games, but it's interesting to note that six of them are 2-1 against the spread (Redskins, Bears, Browns, Dolphins, Lions, and Steelers). Last week, all four teams coming off their byes (Texans, Lions, Redskins, and Ravens) covered. If you're thinking that trend could continue, this week's plays would be Miami +3 at Buffalo and Pittsburgh +3 at San Diego on Monday night. The Bears and Browns play each other, so they cancel each other out.

* There are also no winless teams against the spread either. How's that for parity? The Jets, Rams, Bills, Panthers, Cardinals, Cowboys, and Vikings are 1-3 for the league's worst marks. The Ravens and Texans are the only teams at 1-2. Eleven teams are 2-2.

Breaking down the overs and unders

This past weekend, the under went 8-6 and is 33-26-1 (56 percent) for the season. The Colts, Bengals, and Buccaneers are 4-0 with the under.

Credit goes to Greg "Del Mar" Daraban of Don Best Sports, who on Tuesday's morning "Stardust Line" radio show pointed out that the four undefeated teams were a combined 14-1 with the under, the only exception being the Redskins' 20-17 overtime win over the Seahawks on Sunday. It proves the adage that defense wins championships - not that I'm putting any of those teams in the Super Bowl quite yet.

Besides, it should be noted that the 1-2 Ravens and the winless Texans are also 3-0 with the under. The Falcons, Bills, Broncos, Chiefs, Saints, Jets, Vikings, and Raiders are 3-1 with the under.

* On the other end of the spectrum, the 49ers are 4-0 with the over while the Patriots are 3-0-1 and the Chargers, Cardinals, Giants, Seahawks, and Rams are all 3-1. The Seahawks are at the Rams this Sunday with a total of 49, the highest on the betting boards this week.

League-wide betting trends

Road teams were 7-6 against the spread, but home teams are still 32-26-1 (55 percent) on the season. Note: the 49ers-Cardinals game is not counted because it was at a neutral site even though the Cards were designated the home team (and their season ticket-holders lost a game), while I'm counting the Giants-Saints game on Sept. 19 as a home game for the Giants, even though it was a displaced Saints home game.

* Favorites won 11 of the 14 games last weekend but were only 8-6 against the spread. For the year, underdogs hold a slight 30-29-1 edge.

* The Titans were the only home dog last week and failed to cover in their 31-7 loss to the Colts. Still, for the season, home dogs are 9-6 (60 percent) against the spread. This week's home dogs are the Jets +3 1/2 vs. the Buccaneers, Cardinals +3 vs. the Panthers, Cowboys +3 1/2 vs. the Eagles, and 49ers +14 vs. the Colts.

* Speaking of that 49ers-Colts matchup, double-digit underdogs are 2-1 against the spread this season after the Texans covered as 10-point dogs vs. the Bengals in their 16-10 loss.

* This week's lines are incredibly low as a whole, with 12 of the 14 games at 3 1/2 points or less. The only other exception - besides 49ers-Colts, is the Redskins-Broncos game, which was wavering between Broncos -6 1/2 and -7 earlier in the week. If it settles at 7, keep in mind that all underdogs of seven points or more are 9-4 (69 percent) against the spread so far. Teams priced at +7 1/2 or higher are 4-1.

Bankroll plays suffer setback

After starting the college football season with an 8-4 record, my bankroll plays dropped to .500 with an 0-4 mark last Saturday. Washington State +2 vs. Oregon State looked solid as the Cougars led 30-16 at halftime, but then Oregon State rallied for a 44-33 victory. Sadly, that was the closest I had to a winner as East Carolina +7 vs. Southern Mississippi (a 33-7 blowout), Kansas State +6 1/2 vs. Oklahoma (a 43-21 loser), and New Mexico +2 1/2 vs. TCU (49-28 rout) were rarely ever in doubt. The 8-8 mark is a money-loser as it comes to a net loss of 0.8 units (based on laying 1.1 units to win 1).

The news was better Sunday, until the night game in Mexico City. I split the day games as I won with the Texans +10 vs. the Bengals, and Raiders -3 vs. the Cowboys (a 16-10 winner), while losing on the Titans +7 vs. the Colts (a 31-10 blowout) and Seahawks +1 1/2 vs. the Redskins (a 20-17 overtime loss). But the Sunday night game was a disaster as I had 2-unit best bets on the 49ers +2 1/2 vs. the Cardinals and under 43 points. The 49ers scored two defensive touchdowns to lead 14-0, but then the Cardinals dominated the rest of the game to win, 31-14, and make losers of both bets.

For the season, my NFL bankroll plays fell to 8-13-1, including 1-3 on 2-unit plays (which hurts the most of all) for a net loss of 8.6 units.