10/02/2006 11:00PM

Big favorites coming through


LAS VEGAS - A lot has been made about the lack of parity in the NFL nowadays, with a big gap between the haves and the have-nots.

The Eagles' 31-9 rout of the Packers on Monday night seemed to back that up, as double-digit favorites are now 5-2 against the spread this season and haven't lost a single game outright. In fact, no favorite of 7 or more points has been upset, and there have been 18 such cases so far. The biggest upsets so far would be the Bills' 16-6 win over the Dolphins as 6 1/2-point underdogs in Week 2 (and that doesn't look so shocking anymore as the Dolphins are regarded as the biggest disappointment of the early season) and the Broncos' 17-7 win over the Patriots as 6 1/2-point underdogs in Week 3. There have also been two upsets by 6-point dogs - the Jets over the Bills and the Packers over the Lions in Week 3 - but neither of them could be considered as games between the league's elite and doormat.

This week there are three perceived mismatches, with the Colts -18 vs. the Titans, the Patriots -10 vs. the Dolphins, and the Bears -11 vs. the Bills, and you're not going to find many people making arguments to go against those favorites.

While big favorites have done well this season, underdogs overall are actually 31-28-1 against the spread. This is a win percentage of 52.5 after tossing out the push, just above the 52.3 percent it takes to break even when laying 11 to win 10.

Home underdogs have made a comeback by going 4-2 against the spread each of the past two weeks and are now 13-11 (54 percent). This week's home underdogs are the Packers +3 vs. the Rams and the Cardinals +3 vs. the Chiefs.

Some other NFL point spread trends:

* Home teams, after going 10-4 both straight up and against the spread this past weekend, are 31-29 straight up and 30-29-1 against the spread. Pretty much a toss-up.

* In totals wagering, unders hold a slight 30-28-2 advantage.

* With some of the worst teams in the AFC having early-season interconference games (specifically the Titans and Texans), the AFC has not shown its overall superiority and the NFC is actually 6-5 both straight up and against the spread. This might not be the week when it turns around, but for those who do think the AFC is better, the plays this week would be Bills +11 vs. the Bears, Browns +8 1/2 vs. the Panthers, and Raiders +3 1/2 vs. the 49ers.

Who's hot, who's not

The Colts, Ravens, and Bears are the only undefeated teams in the NFL at 4-0, but the Saints are the only 4-0 team against the spread. The Bears, Ravens, Bengals, Falcons, Vikings, Bills, Jets, Eagles, and Rams are all 3-1.

o At the bottom of the heap, the Dolphins, Panthers, and Cardinals are all 0-4 with the Raiders at 0-3.

o In the college ranks, Ohio State, Syracuse, and Central Michigan are all 5-0 against the spread. In fact, the No. 1 ranked Buckeyes have covered their last dozen games. Louisville and East Carolina are both 4-0 against the spread, while Air Force, Hawaii, and San Jose State are all 3-0.

o Iowa, Fresno State, Arkansas, and San Diego State are 0-4 against the spread, with Miami-Fla., Maryland, North Carolina, and Marshall at 0-3.

College totals turning

The prediction here last week was that overs would start coming in more often in the college ranks. I was slightly right as overs went 21-18-2 in the 42 games on the main betting board in the Don Best rotation. In the added games involving teams in smaller conferences, the under went 1-4 to make it 22-22-2 in all college games on the board. Still, I would rather be a week ahead of a trend than a week behind.

Bankroll plays scuffle along

My college bankroll plays went 3-3 with wins on New Mexico State +16o1/ 2 vs. UTEP, Oregon +1 vs. Arizona State, and the Ohio State-Iowa game over 43 points. The losses were on Bowling Green-Ohio over 46 points, Toledo +16 vs. Pittsburgh and over 49o1/ 2 points in the Toledo-Pitt game.

Now, I can take consolation in that last play because when I wrote it 49o1/ 2 was the only number I could find in Las Vegas. When it was posted later in the week everywhere, it dropped to 47, 46 and even as low as 45 at some books. I bet it at over 46 and I'm confident 99.9 percent of the bettors who played the over on that game cashed their tickets as Pitt won 45-3 (and it was included in the above college totals as an over), but since I published the pick as over 49o1/2, I have to take a loss to maintain the integrity of these records. For the year, my college bankroll plays are 16-10, including 13-6 on totals and 3-4 on sides, for a net profit of 5 units.

o The NFL bankroll has no such excuses as I went 1-4 with the lone win being on the Patriots +6 vs. the Bengals. The losses were the Titans +9 1/2 vs. the Cowboys, the Cardinals +7 1/2 vs. the Falcons, the Jaguars -2o1/2 vs. the Redskins, and the Seahawks +3 1/2 vs. the Bears. For the year, that makes my NFL bankroll plays 6-13-1 for a net loss of 8.3 units.