09/26/2006 12:00AM

Books don't like too many successful dogs


It's pretty much understood that when a bunch of NFL favorites come in the books have a rough day, because the public tends to bet the chalk and tie them together in parlays. So, when favorites went 11-5 against the spread two weekends ago, it was understandable that the books were crying poor. Fair enough. The books wanted more dogs to cover and knock out all those parlays and teasers.

Now, this past Sunday, the favorites were 3-8-1 against the spread in the morning and afternoon games. The books should have made a killing, right? The first sports book director I talked to said, "Nope, too many dogs came in."

Say what?

"What we really want is a balanced mix of dogs and favorites."

What that really means is they don't care about the overall breakdown, they only want the dogs that help them and the favorites when the public jumps all over the underdog.

Overall, when all was said and done, the books did pretty well in the NFL this past weekend - probably better than they're letting on - and were helped out more when two more dogs came in as the Broncos upset the Patriots, 17-7, in the late game Sunday and the Saints knocked off the Falcons, 23-3, on Monday night. For the weekend, underdogs went 10-3-1 against the spread and are now 25-20-1 through the first three weeks (and 20-9-1 if you toss out that week 2 result).

o A big part of that success was the resurgence of home underdogs, who went 4-2 against the spread to even the slate at 9-9 on the year. This week is very reminiscent of week 1 when a lot of top teams were on the road at very weak opponents, so this will be a good test if home dogs might be a good play moving forward as there are six games involving home dogs: Jets +9 vs. the Colts, Ravens +2 vs. the Chargers, Titans +10 vs. the Cowboys, Texans +4 vs. the Dolphins, Redskins +2 1/2 vs. the Jaguars, and Raiders +3 vs. the Browns.

o But the home dog trend didn't overcome the overall lack of home-field advantage as home teams were 5-8-1 overall (meaning home favorites were 1-6-1 on the week with the Seahawks' 42-30 win over the Giants and the Colts' 21-14 push vs. the Jaguars being the only non-losers) and are just 20-25-1 on the season.

o The Titans were the only double-digit dog last week and covered in a 13-10 loss to the Dolphins. Even so, parity has been taking a hit as double-digit dogs are still only 2-4 against the spread. The Titans are in that role again this week (and also a home dog) at +10 vs. the Cowboys. The Packers are +11 vs. the Eagles on Monday night. If late money comes in on the Colts, that line vs. the Jets could go to 10. Even if it doesn't reach double digits, underdogs of between +7 1/2 and +9 1/2 are 2-0 against the spread so far this season (the Bills vs. the Dolphins and the 49ers vs. the Cardinals in week 1). The Saints are +7 1/2 vs. the Panthers and the Cardinals are +7 1/2 vs. the Falcons.

o Last week only had one interconference matchup with the Texans getting blown out 31-15 by the Redskins, giving the NFC a 4-3 edge both straight-up and against the spread this season. Of course, two of those AFC losses were by the Texans, so it doesn't prove much. If you still think the AFC is stronger, the plays this week are the Bills -1 vs. the Vikings, Titans +10 vs. the Cowboys, Chiefs -7 vs. the 49ers, and Jaguars -2 1/2 vs. the Redskins.

College scoring stays down

With the new timing rules, oddsmakers continue to adjust and shade the totals on college football games lower, but that didn't keep unders from going 26-14 (65 percent) on the 41 main board games in the Don Best rotation. In the last two weeks, unders have gone 54-27 (67 percent).

Note: The added board, which includes games with teams in smaller (read: non-board) conferences playing major conference foes and might not have totals offered at all books, had games go 5-1 with the over this past weekend after going 4-1 the week before.

College bankroll slips, NFL rallies

The fact that college football unders performed well didn't help me as my bankroll plays went 2-3 last Saturday as I played five more unders. The two winners were pretty easy with Florida beating Kentucky, 26-7, with a betting total of 55 and the Tulsa-Navy game having to go to overtime before Tulsa prevailed, 24-23, with a total of 54. The losers weren't pretty, though a stop here or there could have kept them under as Air Force beat Wyoming, 31-24, with a total of 50, Boise State beat Hawaii, 41-34, with a total of 62 and Notre Dame beat Michigan State, 40-37, with a total of 60. For the season, college bankroll plays are 13-7, including 12-4 on totals and 1-3 on sides, for a net profit of 5.3 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1).

o The news was better in the NFL as I posted my first winning Sunday of the season, going 3-1-1 for a net profit of 1.9 units. The wins were on the Jets +6 vs. the Bills, the Titans +11 vs. the Dolphins, and the Broncos +6o1/2 vs. the Patriots. The loss was on the Steelers -2 vs. the Bengals (don't get me started on punt return teams). The push was the Jaguars +7 vs. the Colts (a punt return against me turned that game around, too). For the season, the NFL bankroll still has a lot of making up to do at 5-9-1 for a net loss of 4.9 units.