11/08/2005 12:00AM

Colts, Broncos bettors' best friends


We're at the midway point in the NFL season.

Through nine weeks, all but four teams have played exactly eight of their 16 regular-season games with the remaining four (Bengals, Saints, Chargers, Titans) on a bye this weekend.

So this is a good time to take a look at all the teams and how they've fared for bettors. The accompanying chart (in alphabetical order) shows each team's straight-up record in parentheses, their record against the spread, their over/under record and their current streak in both categories.

The streak column can show which teams are hottest and coldest. While it's assumed that oddsmakers will be adjusting their ratings to end any such streaks, it can also give a clue to which teams the oddsmakers are having a hard time gauging.

The Colts, who have covered their last five games, are a league-best 6-2 against the spread. The Broncos, who were on a bye last week and have the second-longest streak at three straight covers, are right behind at 5-2-1 along with the Bears and Giants.

The best bet-against teams have been the Eagles, losers of four straight, and Cardinals at 2-6. The Titans are not much better at 3-6 and have also lost four in a row heading into their bye.

In totals wagers, the Patriots are 6-1-1 with the over after a 40-21 loss to the Colts on Monday night. The Panthers are right behind at 5-1-2 while the Rams, Seahawks, and Cardinals are 6-2. This Sunday, the Rams and Seahawks meet with a total of 51 points. All of the other top over teams face teams that are .500 with totals.

The Browns, who have gone under in six straight games, are 7-1 with the under this season. Other top under teams are the Bengals (7-2), Buccaneers (6-2), Ravens (6-2), and Bears (5-2-1). With the exception of the Bengals who are on a bye, the rest of this group will be tested this week as they all have very low totals in their games of either 33 or 34 points.

NFL league-wide betting trends

Favorites went 10-3-1 this past Sunday and Monday and over the last four weeks are 36-18-2 (67 percent). Through nine weeks, they are hitting at a healthy 72-54-4 (57 percent) clip.

* Road favorites, usually a money-losing proposition, won all eight of their games Sunday and were 6-1-1 against the spread to improve to 20-16-1 (56 percent) at the halfway point. The feeling here is that home underdogs will bounce back. This week, the home dogs are the Buccaneers +1 1/2 vs. the Redskins, the Dolphins +3 vs. the Patriots and the Raiders +3 vs. the Broncos.

* Home teams as a whole are 68-57-1 (54 percent), but home favorites - the antithesis of the underperforming home dogs - are 52-37-3 (58 percent).

* Double-digit underdogs are 6-6 against the spread. Teams getting 7 points or more are 16-15 against the spread. There are a lot of teams getting a lot of points this week with 49ers +13 vs. the Bears, Vikings +9 1/2 vs. the Giants, Ravens +7 vs. the Jaguars, Texans +18 vs. the Colts, Jets +9 vs. the Panthers, Packers +9 1/2 vs. the Falcons, and Browns +8 vs. the Steelers.

* Over/unders were split 7-7 this past week and the unders hold a slight edge at 65-62-3.

* Teams off their bye week won three of four games last week and were 3-1 against the spread to improve to 12-9-1 (57 percent). This week's teams coming off byes are the Bills -2 1/2 vs. the Chiefs, Broncos -3 vs. Raiders, Rams +6 1/2 vs. Seahawks, and Cowboys +2 1/2 vs. Eagles.

College who's hot, who's not

No. 2-ranked Texas continued its pointspread dominance with a 62-0 win over Baylor to improve to 8-1. Notre Dame is right behind at 7-1. Virginia Tech's loss to Miami dropped the Hokies to 7-2, just ahead of Auburn and East Carolina at 6-2. One team flying under most people's radar - partly because it had scheduling problems in the wake of hurricane season - is Southern Mississippi, which was 5-1 against the spread heading into Tuesday night's game at Marshall. Southern Mississippi is also playing Sunday as a 1-point favorite at Houston.

* Duke might have a great basketball program, but the football team is 1-9 - the lone win coming against the VMI Keydets - and 0-9 on the betting boards of Las Vegas, as VMI is not a Division I team. Utah and Purdue both won last week to improve to 1-7-1.

* Texas's 62 points put its game over the betting total of 55 1/ 2 to improve the Longhorns to 8-1 with the over. Other solid teams are UCLA (7-2), Missouri (7-2), Rice (6-2), Minnesota (6-2-1), and Texas A&M (5-2-1).

* Mississippi State leads the nation at 7-1 with the under, while rival Mississippi is 6-1. Makes you wonder how low the total will be when those two meet in the Egg Bowl on Nov. 26. Other top under teams are North Carolina State (6-1), Florida (7-2), Eastern Michigan (7-2), SMU (7-2), and Alabama (7-2).

Streaking is believing