09/25/2005 11:00PM

Books make up for previous losses


Last week in this space, we were discussing how the bettors got the better of the books.

In my wrap-up of how line moves were coming in in droves, I wrote, "I warn you that these things do tend to reverse quickly." The ink was barely dry on your Daily Racing Form last weekend when they did just that.

Sports books here made back most of their losses from a week ago this past weekend. Let's go to the scorecards cited last week:

* Professional bettors, who nailed most of their early bets the week before (9-2 vs. the Stardust's college openers, 8-5 against the Stratosphere's college openers, 7-1 vs. the Stardust's NFL openers, 6-1 vs. the Stratosphere's NFL openers, and 6-3 vs. the Las Vegas Hilton's), didn't have nearly the success this past weekend as they were 9-8 vs. the Stardust's college openers, 1-1 vs. the Stratosphere's, 4-3 vs. the Stardust's NFL openers, 1-3 vs. both the Stratosphere's and the Imperial Palace's NFL openers, and 5-3 vs. the Hilton's.

Of the eight biggest moves mentioned in last Wednesday's issue, those went 3-5.

And that was just the wise guys, who fared better than the general public, which seemed to end up on losing side after losing side.

* In other indicators of public opinion, after the Hilton SuperContest's consensus plays went 9-7 with a 4-1 best-bet record last week, the consensus plays of the 505 entrants went a dismal 3-10 this week - going into Chiefs +3 on Monday night - though they were 3-2 on best bets.

* In the Leroy's College Challenge, the top eight plays went 2-6 against the spread to illustrate that Saturday wasn't a much better day for bettors.

This weekend's opening moves

Early betting action seemed a little lighter Sunday night - which isn't uncommon when bettors take it on the chin - but here are the most significant early moves for this weekend's action:

* At the Stardust, Colorado opened as a short 1 1/2-point favorite at Oklahoma State and got bet to 3. The Stratosphere, which like the Stardust puts up its college openers at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, opened Colorado -2. Offshore books had the line at 4, so the money flowed in here on the Buffaloes. As of noon Monday, the game was Colorado -3 1/2 at every book in town. This will be an interesting case study of whether the Vegas or offshore books opened with the better number.

* A similar situation happened with the Minnesota-Penn State game. The game opened pick-em at the Stratosphere and with the Golden Gophers -1 1/2 at the Stardust while offshores had them favored by 3. The consensus line as of noon Monday was Minnesota -2 1/2.

* In Saturday night's "get-out" game at midnight Eastern and 9 p.m. Pacific, the Stardust opened Boise State as a 12 1/2-point favorite at Hawaii while the Stratosphere and offshore had it around 10. The line was a consensus Boise State -11 as of noon Monday.

* In the NFL, the Stardust opened the Bengals -10 vs. the Texans and got early money on the underdog to lower it to 9 1/2, but by Monday, most books had it back at a solid 10. The only other early line moves at the Stardust were the Colts being lowered from -7 1/2 to -7 vs. the Titans and the Panthers being bet from -7 to -7 (-120) vs. the Packers. By Monday morning, all books were dealing Colts -7 but the Stardust was the only book still with the Panthers -7, as every other book had them -7 1/2.

Sports book notes

Samuel Peter has been touted as the heir apparent in the heavyweight division and seemed poised to get a shot at the IBF title when he faced Wladimir Klitschko in Atlantic City on Saturday night. Peter was between a -170 and -190 favorite against the "lesser Klitschko" but even though Peter knocked him down three times, Klitschko won a unanimous decision by 114-111 on all three judges' scorecards. Klitschko will likely get to face the winner of this Saturday's Chris Byrd-DaVarryl Williamson bout for the IBF title.

* For those who thought there was just NFL football going on Sunday afternoon, Jimmie Johnson won Sunday's MBNA Racepoints 400 at Dover International Speedway to take over the lead in the Chase for the Nextel Cup with eight races to go. Johnson was Station Casinos' fourth choice in the betting at 9-1.

* Also on Sunday afternoon, Chris DiMarco sank a 15-foot putt to clinch a victory for the United States in the President's Cup against an International team. The U.S. was a -170 favorite at the Las Vegas Hilton before the matches began, but it wasn't easy as the U.S. had to hold off a strong challenge. DiMarco was the star as he went 4-0-1 in his matches.

Coast resumes horse contests

With the opening of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet Wednesday, the Coast Casinos (The Orleans, Gold Coast, Barbary Coast, Suncoast) race books are resuming their weekly contests on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The weekly contests have similar rules (pick the first five races at Santa Anita - mutuel prices determine the points. First place is $2,000 with $1,000 for second and $500 for third, and there's a progressive jackpot for going 5 for 5), but the Wednesday contest has an entry fee of $5 and the Thursday contest has a $10 entry fee.

Each progressive is seeded with $1,000 from Coast Casinos and all entry fees are added to the pools, which are run separately and carry over from Wednesday to Wednesday and Thursday to Thursday.

The Del Mar contest, which was only held on Thursdays, was hit on the final contest of the meet on Sept. 1 by Jon Cannida, who swept the first five races to win a total of $26,700, the $2,000 daily prize plus the $24,700 carryover.

* The Excalibur is also continuing its free weekly contest on Wednesdays with the Edgewater in Laughlin. The contest uses the entire Santa Anita card with each contestant trying to pick the winner and quinella in each race. There are also drawings after the second, fourth and sixth races. Winners must be present.