09/26/2001 11:00PM

Don't just wager on line moves blindly


LAS VEGAS - Many people have asked me about the Stardust "lottery" opening line moves that we've been running in Daily Racing Form this season and whether I endorse following the moves.

My response is that - as with the many horse handicapping features in Daily Racing Form's PP's - they're just another tool to aid in your handicapping, not to be taken as a magic potion but as a supplement.

The line moves have been winning so far this season. College moves are 27-17 (61.4 percent) the past two weeks that games have been played, and NFL moves are 8-5 (61.5 percent). But I certainly don't advocate betting these moves blindly, especially if the line moves several points and the initial value is lost.

In fact, this week I find myself going against several big line moves, and I think I'm getting the best of it.

N. Carolina at NC St. (-1 1/2)

As part of my handicapping routine, I make lines on the following week's games and then watch teams play and make adjustments. I can then compare these to opening lines and decide when I'm going to jump in (or pass).

Before last weekend, I had NC State as a 10-point favorite in this ACC matchup. North Carolina, which entered last weekend with a record of 0-3, upset Florida State 41-9 and I lowered my line to 6 1/2. I was a little surprised when this line opened NC State -3 1/2 and even more surprised when the money flowed in on the Tar Heels. Everything went right for the Tar Heels last week. North Carolina is more likely to "bounce" off that effort.

NC State hasn't played as tough of a schedule, but they will show they are the best team in the state.

PLAY: N.C. State for 11 units.

Kansas St. at Oklahoma (-4 1/2)

This line opened at 6 and the public has also jumped on a team that had a rout last week (Kansas State beat up on New Mexico State 64-0). But Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and his staff have had a couple of weeks to prepare for this Big 12 battle. Last year, Oklahoma whipped Kansas State 41-31 (on the road no less) in a game that showed the Sooners were for real. The following week they beat Nebraska 31-14 and went on to win the national title. Oklahoma's defense will probably have some extra wrinkles for Kansas State's sophomore QB Ell Roberson, and that will set the tone.

PLAY: Oklahoma for 11 units

Michigan St. at Northwestern (-6)

Michigan State was one of my winning plays last week - getting 9 points from Notre Dame and winning outright - but I have to go against the Spartans here.

Northwestern is laying fewer points than the Irish did last week? Seems like a gift to me. Northwestern's offense is clicking, and Michigan State hasn't faced anything like it (and I do not see how they have learned enough to reverse a 37-17 loss to the Wildcats last year in East Lansing). Michigan State will be able to move the ball on NU, but they will need to score 30 to stay within a touchdown and I do not see that happening.

PLAY: Northwestern for 11 units


Virginia -17 over Duke, Washington St. -2 over Arizona, Hawaii -3 over Rice.

Virginia is coming off big victory over Clemson and goes against defenseless Duke.

Washington State is a Pac 10 contender while Arizona will be exposed as a pretender.

Hawaii, with its potent offense, will use its home-field advantage (Rice will need to fly seven hours to get to the islands, and the game kicks off at 11 p.m. back in their home state of Texas) to win the "get out" game on Saturday night.

Starting bankroll: 1,000 units.

Bankroll entering last week: 955 units.

Last week: 3-0, including a double play on UCLA, for profit of 40 units.

Current bankroll: 995 units.