12/01/2003 1:00AM

Football lines sluggish this week


As expected, with the football odds not going up until Monday morning at the Stardust sports book - and with only six college games on the board - there was much less line movement in the early betting for this upcoming weekend's gridiron action.

In fact, the MAC championship game on Thursday night was the only college line to move in the first 30 minutes after the betting windows opened at 8 a.m. at the Stardust. Miami-Ohio was posted as a 6 1/2-point favorite at Bowling Green - which is hosting the game only because of a rotating schedule that gives the MAC West champ the home field this year - and was promptly bet up to 7.

It should be noted that the main reason for the move is that there were 7's available off shore, and bettors were snatching up the favorable number on a Miami-Ohio team that many believe is the best from a non-BCS conference.

The Stardust didn't post a number on Saturday's Boise St.-Hawaii game because of the question about whether Jason Whieldon or Timmy Chang would start at QB for Hawaii.

In the NFL, four games were bet enough to move the opening numbers.

The biggest move was on the Saints, from pick-em vs. the Buccaneers up to -1 1/2. Last week at the Imperial Palace, this number was Bucs -2. Bettors laid the extra vig on the Ravens -3 (-120) and bet them to 3 1/2 over the Bengals in their battle for first place in the AFC North. The money also came in on the Chargers +3 at the Lions and the Dolphins +3 1/2 at the Patriots.

The release of the football lines was moved from Sunday to Monday morning because of the smaller college slate and the fact that more NFL lines are held up for injuries and other factors at this time of year. While action at the Stardust was slow on the football games, it was brisk on college basketball, as 12 of Monday's 13 games moved.

The Rampart sports book on the west side of town, which holds its football lottery at 10 a.m. Monday all season long, saw much more action than usual on its football lines this past Monday. The Rampart offered Oregon St. +23 vs. Southern Cal, while the Stardust had it at USC -20 1/2, so bettors snapped up the points with the Beavers. The Rampart also made Boise St. an 11-point favorite over Hawaii.

Bettors also took the Cardinals +11 vs. the 49ers - compared to lines of 9 1/2 at the Stardust and some offshore books - and laid the Broncos from a -1 to a -2 favorite over the Chiefs. Other movement came on the Redskins, Bears, Dolphins, and Browns.

While no totals moved in the NFL at the Stardust, the Rampart ended up moving seven of its 12 posted over/unders. Double moves - lines that are bet enough to cause a second adjustment to the odds - occurred with the overs for Bengals-Ravens (bet from 38 to 39 and then to 40) and Cowboys-Eagles (bet from 35 to 36 and finally 37).

Early football line moves


Took moneyOpenBet ToOpponent

Miami-Ohio (Thurs.)-6.5-7BOWLING GREEN


Took moneyOpenBet ToOpponent

RAVENS-3 (-120) -3.5Bengals

Chargers+3 (-110) +3 (-120) LIONS

SAINTSPK-1 1/2Buccaneers

Dolphins+3.5+3 (EV)PATRIOTS

Home team in CAPS

Last week: Early college bettors went 7-3 against the Stardust opening lines last week with wins on Nebraska, Arizona St., Miami-Fla., Rutgers, Virginia, Notre Dame and Toledo, and losses on Texas A&M, Memphis and Fresno St. For the season, the college line moves are now 88-82 (51.8 percent) after starting the season around 40 percent. In the NFL, the early bettors went 2-2 with wins on the Patriots-Colts over and the Chargers +7 1/2 vs. the Chiefs, and losses on the Eagles-Panthers under and the Colts -3 1/2 over the Patriots. For the year, NFL line moves are 21-21 (50 percent) with sides and 8-2 (80 percent) on totals for a combined record of 29-23 (55.8 percent).