10/19/2004 11:00PM

Linemaker has Sooners tops


LAS VEGAS - When the first BCS rankings came out Monday, there was the annual scratching of heads as people tried to figure out how Southern Cal and Oklahoma could be 1-2 in both human polls, but Miami-Fla. - despite being No. 3 in the coaches' poll and No. 4 in the writers' - was No. 2 in the BCS ahead of Oklahoma because of a huge advantage in the computer rankings.

Kenny White, the nation's top oddsmaker as the chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sports Consultants, said he believes Oklahoma is the nation's top team and added that his company isn't changing its future-book odds because of the BCS rankings.

"Southern Cal and Oklahoma are the best two teams in the country," White said. He said Las Vegas Sports Consultants had the two as 2-1 co-favorites to win the Orange Bowl, this year's BCS title game, with Miami-Fla. at 6-1. "Oklahoma is my highest-rated team," said White, "and I would make them a 2 1/2-point favorite over USC on a neutral field."

Because Miami-Fla. is ranked ahead of Oklahoma, White was asked what the line would be on that matchup.

"I would make Oklahoma -6 1/2 or maybe higher," White said.

When it was pointed out that the Orange Bowl is where Miami-Fla. plays its home games, White said, "That would probably be worth 2 1/2 points to Miami. Home field is worth between 3 and 7 points in college football, but at this level, that matchup would be more like an NFL game. Plus Miami doesn't always draw well at home and the stands at this game would be filled with people who bought advance tickets, so that's why I'd only give 2 1/2 points for Miami's home-field advantage."

So tentatively look for lines of Oklahoma -2 1/2 over USC or Oklahoma -4 vs. Miami-Fla. if they make it to the BCS title game. White said he was planning to have his staff come up with lines for all potential Orange Bowl matchups and send those to their sports book clients so people can bet those in advance.

As for national title future-book odds of the other top BCS contenders, No. 4 Auburn is 7-1, No. 5 Florida St. is 12-1, No. 6 Wisconsin is 20-1 No. 7 Utah is 22-1, No. 8 California is 25-1, No. 9 Tennessee is 20-1 and No. 10 Georgia is 8-1. For those who are curious, undefeated Boise St., ranked No. 14 in the BCS, is in LVSC's betting field at 20-1.

College hoops not far off

With Midnight Madness practices starting last weekend, college basketball is right around the corner.

The regular season doesn't begin until the Maui Invitational on Nov. 22, and the national champion won't be crowned until April 4 in the Trans World Dome in St. Louis, but here's a look at the top 16 teams heading into the season, according to LVSC : Kansas at 6-1; North Carolina at 7-1; Wake Forest 8-1; Illinois and 2003 runner-up Georgia Tech at 10-1; Duke, Kentucky, Arizona, Syracuse, Louisville, and Oklahoma St. at 12-1; defending national champ UConn at 15-1; Michigan St. at 18-1; and Memphis, Maryland, and Florida at 20-1.

Football handicapping contest updates

Handicapper Trace Fields went 6-1 with a best-bet winner to eliminate Rob Veno, who went 5-2 and lost his best bet, in last week's Stardust Invitational. Fields is the sixth handicapper to advance in the 16-member, single-elimination tournament.

This week's match - held from 9-10 p.m. in the Stardust sports book and on KDWN AM-720 on the West Coast and at kdwn.com on the Internet - is between radio show hosts "Papa" Joe Chevalier and Mark Franco.

Chevalier and White are the only two-time winners of this $10,000 winner-take-all event. Chevalier hosts his show on KENO AM-1460 and sportsradio1460.com on Mondays through Fridays from 4-7 p.m. Franco, who finished fifth in the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest last year, does the "Pro Football Tonight" show on Fridays from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on KSHP AM-1400 and kshp.com.

* Joe Perry went 4-1 in the SuperContest to take over the lead with 22 points based on a record of 21-7-2 (pushes are worth half a point). A contestant using the alias "4U2NV" is second with 21 1/2 points, with five more contestants with 21.

* The leaderboard is even more crowded in the Golden Nugget's Ultimate Football Challenge as four handicappers have 24 points, five have 23, two have 22, and six have 21. In this contest, players make five plays a week just like in the SuperContest, but a best bet is worth two points.

* A contestant named "4 Aces" went 5-0 in the Station Casinos' Gambler's Challenge to move into a first-place tie with "Colts" with records of 20-9-1 for 20.5 points. Three players are right off the pace with 20 points. Selections for all of the above leaders as well as consensus plays of all contestants are available in the respective sports books.

Halloween hits Strip and beyond

For those planning to watch the Breeders' Cup in Las Vegas next Saturday, hopefully it's not a scary time. But when the races are over, this town will turn into Halloween party central.

The most comprehensive list I have found is at vegas.com with 40 Halloween parties planned around town. The most intriguing is the "Fantasy and Fetish Halloween Ball" at the Event Center Las Vegas at Sunset and the Strip (formerly the All-American Sports Park) on Oct. 30, the "Elegant Sin Halloween Party" (sponsored by the folks at "Girls Gone Wild") on Oct. 30, and the "Rubber Halloween Monster Bash" at the Palms on Oct. 31.

But a truly different offering is the Haunted Vegas Tour run out of the Greek Isles Hotel on Convention Center Drive. The 90-minute bus-guided tour takes guests to a number of haunted sites in Las Vegas, including the Stratosphere Tower; the "Motel of Death," where several celebrities have died; and rapper Tupac Shakur's death site and his Vegas home, which he still haunts; and other sites of historical and macabre interest. Tickets are available at the Greek Isles box office and include passes to an 11 p.m. show that is not for the squeamish.