07/27/2001 12:00AM

Exacta lovers, here's a contest for you


LAS VEGAS - After handicapping events in Reno the past two weekends, the tournament circuit moves to Las Vegas with Bally's Summer Stakes II this upcoming Friday and Saturday. The twist in this contest is that exacta wagering is used on the second day.

Contestants pay a $1,000 entry fee and make 15 mythical win-place-show wagers of $48 on Friday and 15 mythical exacta (in any combination) wagers of $24 on Saturday. Daily Racing Form pedigree writer Lauren Stich won the inaugural event last year, but she won't be back to defend her title.

John Avello said Friday that about 70 people have entered, and he is expecting about 100. The prize pool would then be worth $100,000. Entries will be accepted through Friday.

Futures odds on six of the Breeders' Cup races are now up at Bally's, with the two juvenile races to be added later in August, after the top 2-year-olds race at Del Mar and Saratoga. Odds on the other races were updated Wednesday, and can be seen on the Internet at www.ballysraceandsports.com/pdf-files/bcodds.htm

A show you can bet on

Larry Grossman's Las Vegas radio show, "You Can Bet On It," which began in 1990, has turned into a mini-cottage industry, with a book by the same name and magazine articles under that title.

Grossman starts his 12th year on the air Wednesday (he does the show August through January). He is moving to KENO AM-1460, and the show will air Monday through Friday from 2-3 p.m. Pacific Time. For out-of-towners, the show can also be heard live or archived on www.audiovegas.com.

Wednesday's season-debut show will be a tribute to legendary oddsmaker Bob Martin, who passed away since Grossman's last show. Las Vegas icons such as Lem Banker will be part of the broadcast.

It's no coincidence that the show airs for the duration of the football season. Each show has a bookmaker to supply the odds and a well-known handicapper to analyze games: Russ Culver (Mondays), Andy Iskoe (Tuesdays), Mike Lee (Wednesdays), Phil Steele (Thursdays) and Chuck Sippl (Fridays).

Grossman estimates about 65 percent of his show's content is football, but he also interviews experts on all types of casino games, plus other sports, including horse racing.

Phone first . . . and then wait

Monday is the deadline for sports books to have phone betting systems in place to guarantee that bets are not accepted from out-of-state. Jerry Markling of the Gaming Control Board said the deadline would not be extended.

Bettors with phone accounts should have received instructions to pick up their pagers at the sports book that handles their account. When a bettor calls to make a wager, it will trigger an automated call to the player's pager with a code. The bettor will then have to enter that code to gain access to the betting menu.

Coast Resorts, Mandalay Resorts, the Stratosphere and Stardust have all contracted with American Wagering Inc., which runs the Leroy's network, for a "Wager Pager" that works at all five properties. Those books are requiring a $20 refundable deposit for the pager. Station Casinos and the Mirage have their own systems. Art Manteris, who recently took over the top post at Stations, said they will charge a $30 refundable deposit, which will be waived with a minimum deposit of $100.

Markling said that all of the approved systems were tested by Gaming Control agents and then taken out-of-state to make sure bets could not be placed outside Nevada. Critics of the new system point out that with the $2,200 daily limit on bets, it's not likely anyone from out of state would spend the money to defeat the system. But gaming regulators argue that Nevada is under close scrutiny from anti-gaming forces and they want to avoid any loophole.

Besides the inconvenience of having to locate one's pager when making a bet, some players are concerned about being shut out, especially during high volume calling times (halftime of Monday night games, for instance).

Under remains way to go

Betting the under in major league baseball games has continued to be profitable. I first recommended playing the under in games after the news came out that vice president for baseball operations Sandy Alderson was instructing umpires to call more strikes in order to shorten games. A New York Times story this week illustrated how vigilant Alderson was in berating umpires for high-pitch counts. The umpires balked and Alderson backed down publicly, but the feeling was that the message was delivered.

The numbers bear that out. Since the All-Star break, the under is 117-88-13 through Thursday. A bettor laying $110 on every under would have a net profit of about $2,020. Since it was written about here July 18, the under has been 65-54-10 - including 10-6 on Wednesday and 9-4 on Thursday - for a profit of $560.