09/21/2003 11:00PM

Home is where the action is

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NFL home teams went 5-8 against the spread on Sunday and were 19-23-2 on the young season heading into Monday night's Raiders-Broncos game, but that didn't keep participants in the Stardust lottery Sunday night from betting enough to move the lines in favor of three home teams for this upcoming weekend's games.

Whether they're on their own or part of a team, the professional bettors who sign up and have their names picked in random order to take the first crack at the Stardust's opening numbers aren't concerned with betting trends. They're looking for the best possible number, whether they're basing their decisions on their own handicapping or comparing the lines to those available offshore or at other Las Vegas sports books that post early lines on Sunday afternoon (such as the Imperial Palace and Stratosphere).

The Stardust opened the Patriots-Redskins game at pick-em, but the bettors backed the home-standing Skins to a 1 1/2-point favorite. The Jets opened as a 3-point favorite over the Cowboys (with bettors laying the standard -110 on each side) and the line wasn't moved, but the price on laying 3 with the Jets rose to -120. The Ravens-Chiefs game opened with the Chiefs as a 3-point favorite and a premium of -120, while Ravens bettors were able to take even money. But the money came in on the Ravens, and the price moved to -115, with Chiefs bettors having to lay only -105.

The only NFL total that took enough action to move it was the Cowboys-Jets under, which opened at 38 and was dropped to 37. The early bettors are 3-0 on NFL total moves this season.

Last week on the college board, Purdue opened as a 21-point favorite and got bet up to -24 vs. Arizona. By kickoff Saturday it was up to -27, and Purdue easily won and covered, 59-7.

Compared to that action, there were no major moves this week: In the first half-hour of betting, 18 lines were moved, but only by a half-point or a full point.

Purdue was again backed by early bettors, getting bet from -9 1/2 to -10 vs. Notre Dame. The only other favorites to get action were Michigan, Miami-Ohio, Washington, Southern Cal, and Hawaii.

One game, Mississippi vs. Texas Tech, opened at pick-em, and Mississippi was backed to 1-point favoritism. On the other hand, Arkansas opened as a 1-point dog vs. Alabama, but that game was moved to pick-em.

Also of note: Ohio, Air Force, Illinois, and Navy each opened as 3-point underdogs in their respective games but took enough money to move the Stardust off that key number and down to +2 1/2.