08/09/2001 11:00PM

Double-barreled entry takes Terrible's tourney


LAS VEGAS - Dennis Makaron had to like his chances in the finals of the handicapping contest at Terrible's Hotel & Casino on Flamingo Road.

For eight weeks, Terrible's held weekly handicapping contests with the winner earning a spot in the finals last Wednesday. The grand prize was a trip for two to the Breeders' Cup.

Makaron, who plays at Terrible's three to four times a week, according to race and sports book manager John Williamson, won two of the weekly contests. Players pick a horse in the last six races at the Southern California track - the contest started with Hollywood and went into the Del Mar meet - so Makaron came out of the weekly contests with two of the eight entries in the finals.

But Makaron had stiff competition from Mike Lavine, who also won twice in the winner-take-all weekly events that attracted 40 to 55 players at $10 an entry.

Makaron and Lavine jumped to an early lead Wednesday, each selecting Jorrocks in the third race at Del Mar. Jorrocks paid $24 to win, $8.80 to place and $3.20 to show for $36 in contest points.

But it was Makaron's other entry that ended up winning the contest, with Apalachee Ridge winning Del Mar's sixth race and paying $29.40, $11.60 and $8.80 for $49.80 in contest points. That was enough to win although Makaron added Wild By Nature in the eighth race, paying $12.20 to place and $8.40 to show to bring his final total to $70.40.

Lavine was second with $43, and Makaron's other entry was third with $36 (the rest of his horses after the first contest race were out of the money). None of the other five entries earned more than $29.40.

Makaron won round-trip airfare for two, hotel accommodations, and tickets to the Breeders' Cup Oct. 27 at Belmont Park.

Williamson said Terrible's would be looking to have another horse handicapping contest after football season begins. Terrible's has a weekly football contest with a $15 entry fee (buy four and get a fifth entry free).

Hoop tournaments are moved

* The three college basketball tournaments that were scheduled for the Paris Hotel and Casino have been moved to Valley High School, which has a gym that seats approximately 2,000. Promoter Chris Spencer responded to pressure from the NCAA and the participating schools to abandon the casinos. Teams in the Nov. 19-21 Las Vegas Tourney include Oklahoma State, Providence, TCU, and Austin Peay. The Nov. 22-24 Las Vegas Invitational includes Illinois, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, and Penn among its eight entries. The Dec. 20-22 Las Vegas Classic also has eight teams, including Purdue, Texas A&M, Southwest Missouri, Mississippi State, and Illinois-Chicago.

* The two most popular football handicapping contests in town are now taking entries. The Station Casinos' Great Giveaway is $25, and you get a third entry free when you buy two. The Coast Resorts' Pick the Pros is also $25, and you get a fifth entry if you buy four. Both contests offer total prizes of $1.25 million over the course of the season. The season-long first prize is $100,000 in each contest. The Stations contest offers $10,000 to the person picking the most winners each week (and $5,000 to the person picking the most losers) while the Coast has a $40,000 weekly prize pool with a guaranteed $10,000 to a single winner if tiebreakers go into effect. Station Casinos participating in the Great Giveaway include Palace Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station, Texas Station, Santa Fe Station, and Wild Wild West. Coast properties include the Barbary Coast, Gold Coast, The Orleans, Suncoast, and the Plaza.

* The Fiesta and the Reserve, which are also owned by Station Casinos, have their own contest called Football Frenzy. You get two free entries and can play at either property. The total prize money is $250,000, including $10,000 per week plus $80,000 that gets awarded to the top 50 finishers in the season-long contest.

* Other free contests accepting entries are the All-American Football Contest at Boyd Gaming properties (Stardust, Sam's Town, California, Fremont, Eldorado, Joker's Wild) and the Regent Las Vegas. The Boyd contest offers $10,000 weekly to the person picking the most winners of 17 selected pro and college games. The Regent offers $5,000 a week, plus a $25,000 prize to the season-long champ.

Chiefs the only play on NFL card

Sunday and Monday's exhibition games offer some intriguing story lines but not too much betting value.

On Sunday, the Rams, coming off their 17-10 Monday night victory over the Dolphins, had a short week to prepare for the Bills, who are making their preseason debut. I love betting against teams going on the road after Monday nights in the regular season, and the Bills are only a 1-point favorite, but I have to pass.

The Redskins and Chiefs have new coaches in Marty Schottenheimer and Dick Vermeil, respectively. The Chiefs, who reportedly will play quarterback Trent Green for the entire first half and then be replaced by Bubby Brister and Todd Collins, are favored by 3 1/2. Jeff George is out for the Redskins, who will play Todd Husak and Sage Rosenfels in his place. The Chiefs' QB rotation is far superior. I'll wager 11 units (to win 10) on the Chiefs -3 1/2.

On Monday night, the defending champion Ravens are a 2-point favorite at the Eagles, and the Buccaneers are a 3-point home choice over the Dolphins in the battle of Florida. Both totals are low at 33, where they should be, so no value jumps out at me on either game.