09/18/2006 11:00PM

Jags statement win moves next week lines

Email

If an NFL team is going to have a "statement game," it might as well do it on Monday Night Football when all the football world is watching.

The Jaguars did that Monday night in their 9-0 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers. And bookmakers and bettors certainly took notice. Prior to kickoff, the early line in Las Vegas on Jacksonville's game at Indianapolis this coming Sunday was the Colts -9 1/2 and the Steelers were 3-point favorites in their home game vs. the Bengals.

After the Jaguars' performance, by Tuesday morning the Colts were down to a 7-point favorite at all books. Also, the Steelers were lowered to -2.

That's how public perception can change the line literally overnight.

The 9-0 whitewashing was the fourth shutout of the young NFL season. Last year, the league's fourth shutout didn't come until Week 13.

Speaking of shutouts, John Kelly of the Leroy's Sports Hour passes on this nugget: If you took the teams from Week 1 that were involved in the three shutouts and bet on the teams that won (Ravens, Bears, and Chargers) and bet against the teams that were blanked (Buccaneers, Packers, and Raiders), you would have gone 6-0 both straight up and against the spread in Week 2.

That's not to say I recommend a bet against the Steelers this week, because they're certainly in a different class than the three other blanked teams. I'm just passing on the information. Bettors may make their own decisions what to do with it.

More NFL betting trends

Despite the Jaguars' upset as 2 1/2-point underdogs, favorites went 11-5 against the spread over the weekend and stand at 17-15 overall after going 6-10 the opening weekend.

* Home teams bounced back from a subpar Week 1 and went 11-5 against the spread this weekend and stand at 15-17 so far.

* The big surprise (or maybe not, considering the lack of parity that we're seeing nowadays) was that four of the five double-digit favorites covered the spread. The Ravens, Colts, Bengals, and Chargers all covered the big numbers; the Broncos were the lone exception. This week, with the drop in the Colts-Jags line, it appears that the only double-digit favorite will be the Dolphins -11 vs. the Titans. This could be when double-digit dogs start barking since I'm not sure the Dolphins should be that big of a favorite against anyone.

* Even with all the favorites coming in last week, home dogs did manage to go 2-2 both straight up and against the spread as the 49ers upset the Rams and the Jaguars beat the Steelers. For the year, home dogs are still a subpar 5-7. This week's home dogs are the Texans +4 vs. the Redskins, the Vikings +3 vs. the Bears, the Bucs +3 vs. the Panthers, the Browns +6 1/2 vs. the Ravens, the 49ers +6 vs. the Eagles, and the Saints +3 vs. the Falcons.

* Last week there were no interconference games for bettors who think the AFC is the better of the conferences, and there is only one such game this week: the Texans +4 vs. the Redskins (though the Texans might be the exception to the AFC-is-stronger rule). The AFC/NFC games were split 3-3 on the opening week.

College betting trends

Scoring was down noticeably in the college ranks last week, as unders went 28-13 in the 41 games on the betting boards here. Nine games had 30 points or fewer scored, highlighted (or is it lowlighted?) by Auburn's 7-3 win over LSU. In fact, even Texas Tech, with its high-flying passing game, was held to only a field goal in a 12-3 loss to TCU.

* Favorites and underdogs were pretty well split, going 21-19-1 in the 41 games on the board. The push came in the Ohio St.-Cincinnati game as the Buckeyes won 37-7 as a 30-point favorite. Readers of last Wednesday's column might remember that the Stratosphere opened the line at Cincinnati + 34 1/2. The bettors who snapped that up had to feel better than the ones who got in late, especially those who took the points when the line had dipped to +29 and +29 1/2.

Bankrolls continue hot and cold

I've stayed ahead of the curve with the unders in college football, going 5-1 last week for a net profit of 3.9 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1). The winners were Iowa-St.-Iowa, Miami (Fla.)-Louisville, Nebraska-USC, Colorado St.-Nevada, and UNLV-Hawaii. The Iowa battle nearly went over (a penalty called back a late TD that would have pushed it over the number) and the UNLV-Hawaii game was lucky to stay under, but I'll take them after watching the Clemson-Florida St. game. In Daily Racing Form, I took under 44 points, though the total climbed to as high as 48 at some books on Saturday. Florida St. returned a blocked point-after kick for a 2-point conversion and returned another blocked field goal for a touchdown. Even so, the game was tied 20-20 late, and Clemson got down inside the 2-yard line. A field goal would normally be the safe play, but with those earlier blocks, coach Tommy Bowden didn't want to take the chance and had the offense push it in for the 27-20 victory.

That was my first losing college total on the season after 10 straight wins. With a 1-3 mark on sides, that leaves the college bankroll at 11-4 overall for a net profit of 6.6 units.

* As good as Saturdays have been, Sundays have been equally bad. At one point late in the early games Sunday, it looked like I might start 3-0 - with the Packers leading the Saints, the Browns getting within 10 vs. the Bengals, and the Panthers leading the Vikings 13-6. But then the Saints tried a lateral on a punt return and gave up a fake field-goal attempt for a touchdown, and everything fell apart. The Vikings won in overtime, the Packers spit the bit vs. the Saints, and the Browns allowed the Bengals to march right back down the field to win by 17. The other losses were on the Rams vs. the 49ers and the Redskins vs. the Cowboys. No excuses on either of those. That completed an ugly 0-5 day with the NFL bankroll at 2-8 on the season for a net loss of 6.8 units.

All football plays so far are 13-12, but with the vig, it's a net loss of 0.2 units.