10/01/2006 11:00PM

Dodgers tempt longshot players at 14-1


LAS VEGAS - Right before spring training started back in February, the Yankees were the World Series favorites in the future books here in Las Vegas, ranging from 2-1 to 4-1.

There were a lot of twists and turns during the season, with the Tigers and Mets being favored at some shops at different points and the Yankees even in danger of not making the post-season. Yet, here we are nearly eight months later and the Yankees are again favored at odds of 8-5, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, as the playoffs were to begin Tuesday and Wednesday. LVSC has the Mets as the 3-1 second choice, with the Twins at 11-2, the Padres at 6-1, the Tigers at 10-1, the A's at 11-1, the Cardinals at 12-1 and the Dodgers the longest shot on the board at 14-1.

To just win the AL pennant, the Yankees are 4-5, the Twins are 5-2, the Tigers are 5-1, and the A's are 11-2. In the NL, the Mets are 7-5, the Padres at 2-1, the Cardinals at 7-2, and the Dodgers at 4-1.

In the series that doesn't start until Wednesday, the Dodgers looks like a live dog against a Mets team which won't have the services of Pedro Martinez. The Dodgers are +140 (or the money-line equivalent of 7-5 odds)

Here's some notes as we closes the book on regular-season wagering:

* With the collapse of the Tigers, who were 12-1 to win the AL Central at the Las Vegas Hilton before the season started, there were no really big surprises. The biggest price was the team that caught them, the Twins at 3-1 (they were available at the Palms at 9-2). The other division winners and their odds: Yankees (1-4), A's (11-10), Mets (1-2), Cardinals (2-5), Padres (8-5).

* The Tigers were the easiest winner in over/under season win totals as, despite stumbling down the stretch, they exceeded their preseason win total of 77 by winning 95 games. The Twins exceeded their win total of 83 by 13 with their 96 victories. The A's, Mets, Padres, and Dodgers also went over, but it's interesting to note that the Yankees (an over/under season win total of 98 and 97 actual victories) and the Cardinals (over/under of 93 1/2 and just 83 wins) both went under their totals and still made the playoffs.

* The Palms set an over/under of 34 1/2 on the number of home runs that Barry Bonds would hit. He hit 26.

* Last December, the Hilton put up odds on who would hit the most homers this year. The Phillies' Ryan Howard opened at 50-1 and with no takers, he was raised to 60-1 during spring training. He won the title with 58. That blew away the over/under of 48 1/2 that was set at the Hilton.

* The Palms had odds for the most wins by a pitcher. Johan Santana was the favorite at 8-1 and he won 19 games to tie with Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees. Wang wasn't on the preseason list, so he was part of the field at 6-1. Since they tied, the odds are cut in half for those cashing tickets.

Football opening line moves

When the Hilton put up the first NFL numbers at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, only two games saw enough action to move the numbers as the Rams went from -1 1/2 to -2 vs. the Packers (though that number could be greatly impacted by how the Packers did Monday night vs. the Eagles) and the Jaguars were bet from -6 1/2 to -7 vs. the Jets.

When the Stratosphere put up its openers a short time later, there was a little more movement: the Strat also opened the Jaguars -6 1/2 and it got bet to 7, the Patriots went from -9 to -9 1/2 vs. the Dolphins, and Chargers opened at -2 1/2 vs. the Steelers and got quickly bet to -3. All were bet toward the numbers that were already available offshore.

The Stratosphere's college openers were similarly bet with none being adjusted more than a point.

Tiger Woods's win streak continues

Those who think you can't make money betting Tiger Woods at the ridiculously low prices he goes off at against large fields have to be changing their minds. Woods won the American Express Championship on Sunday for his sixth straight PGA event victory. The Hilton had him at 9-4. He's taking this week off, but expect his odds to continue to plummet.

King Palm runner-up streak ends

King Palm finished fourth in the third race, a $42,800 maiden special weight, last Friday at Santa Anita. That normally wouldn't be news, but King Palm had finished second in his previous nine races and had a chance to tie the North American record for consecutive runner-up finishes, set by Full Quid in 1990 and Therapy in 2002.

The 5-year-old is owned by the Maloof brothers, who own the NBA's Sacramento Kings and the Palms Resort-Hotel here in Las Vegas. No one is expected to feel sorry for them as this weekend the brothers, all bachelors, are unveiling the Playboy Club Las Vegas, the first club to open in 20 years, atop the Palms' new fantasy suites tower in partnership with Hugh Hefner and Playboy Enterprises.

Big horse tourney set to begin

The big event for horseplayers here in town this weekend is the Fall Classic at the Orleans. It runs Thursday through Saturday in the Mardi Gras Ballroom with a $500 entry fee. Contestants make 12 mythical $100 win bets each day with the top prize to be $128,000 if they reach their goal of 800 entrants. Prizes are paid to the top 80 finishers, but the real goal of most of the players is to finish in the top 50 to earn a free berth (a $1,000 value) in the Horseplayer World Series, to be held Jan. 18-20 at the Orleans.

For those who earn automatic berths, the Orleans will start accepting registration for the World Series on Sunday.

Full details are available at .