10/31/2002 12:00AM

Bettors gain small concession


LAS VEGAS - If you regularly pick up a college football betting sheet in a Nevada sports book, you have probably noticed the reduction in the number of "added games" starting this week.

Don Best Sports, a Las Vegas-based handicapping information firm, sets the rotation - the order in which games are listed - for nearly every sportsbook both in Vegas and offshore. The rotation first lists the main board, and then puts less-marquee games on the added board. In response to some bookmakers wanting to set lower betting limits on those more obscure games (in which the professional bettors are perceived to have an edge), Don Best put the Mid-American and other smaller conferences on the added board this year.

Bookmakers said the change made it easier to separate the games, and less confusing for bettors. Bettors didn't buy it and complained about the lower limits and that it was harder to find where games were listed.

The bettors got their way, and when the Don Best schedule came out for Oct. 30-Nov. 25, most of the games were back on the main board. There are only four added games this Saturday - compared to an average of 14 added games the past eight weeks. To reinforce the theory that professionals like to pound these games, the lines on three of those have moved quite a bit: Arkansas, from -20 1/2 to -24 vs. Troy State; North Texas, from -14 1/2 to -17 vs. UL Monroe; and New Mexico State, from -2 1/2 to -6 1/2 vs. Middle Tennessee State.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make much difference where the games are listed. As Stardust sports book director Joe Lupo has said, the bookmakers have the option to circle a game - meaning to take lower limits - whether it's on the main or added board.

C. Michigan (-10) at E. Michigan

This game previously would have been on the added board. This line opened with Central Michigan -12 1/2 at the Stardust last Sunday night, and has been steadily bet down to 10. Central Michigan has played a tougher schedule, losing (but covering) to Marshall and undefeated Bowling Green over the past three weeks, while Eastern Michigan lost 55-27 to Ohio and 42-17 to Ball State in its two most recent outings. Central Michigan will be able to move the ball on the ground (CMU is averaging 190 yards rushing; EMU allows a whopping 288) and control the game and the clock.

PLAY: Central Michigan for 2 units.

Georgia at Florida (+2 1/2)

I'm going back to the well. Last week, I lost a 2-unit play on Kentucky vs. Georgia. Kentucky stayed with the Bulldogs early, actually leading 24-21 at the half, before getting blown out 52-24. I still think Georgia, which has key starters nursing injuries, is playing over its head, and if Kentucky can stay with the Bulldogs, then Florida definitely can. This is the Gators' last chance to turn around a disappointing season, and they won't miss this opportunity in the "Swamp."

PLAY: Florida for 2 units.

Tennessee (-1 1/2) at South Carolina

Tennessee has lost to Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. QB Casey Clausen, who put his foot in his mouth two weeks ago when he said Tennessee would have beaten Georgia if he had played, was humbled when he returned and got beat by Bama. The Vols now face South Carolina, a team they have beaten nine straight times - and they only have to win by 2 or more to win our wager.

PLAY: Tennessee for 1 unit.

Season record: 16-17 for a net loss of 1.5 units (based on laying 1.1 units to win 1).