12/20/2001 1:00AM

Looks like a three-dog day


It's generally not a wise move to bet teams that have to travel on a short week, because they have less time to practice - and maybe I should have learned my lesson when I went with the Vikings and Broncos on the road on Thanksgiving Day - but after looking at Saturday's offerings I couldn't find a compelling reason to take any of the home favorites.

Dolphins (+3) at Patriots

First place is on the line in the AFC East in Saturday's early game. The Dolphins beat the Patriots 30-10 in Miami on Oct. 7, the week after the Patriots' first upset of the Colts. As if the Dolphins' defense isn't confident enough from the team's earlier blowout of New England, in which it held the Pats to under 200 yards of total offense, the defense can also go to school watching game films of how the Bills held the Pats to four field goals last week. It's unlikely the Dolphins will be the benefactor of two fumbles deep in Patriots' territory, as in the earlier meeting, but they still will be able to get the straight-up win by moving the ball on the ground with RB Lamar Smith (144 yards vs. the Pats last time) and the ball-control passing game of Jay Fiedler.

Play: Dolphins for 11 units.

Eagles (+3) at 49ers

This is perhaps the best matchup of the weekend, with both teams jockeying for playoff position. They have both had impressive performances (including easy wins this past Sunday) with a few clinkers thrown in. The difference should be the Eagles' defense, which matches up well with the 49ers. The Eagles should be able to shut down Garrison Hearst, and their big corners will help contain San Fran's passing game. The 49ers have already clinched a playoff spot and are highly unlikely to catch the Rams atop the NFC West, and throw in the fact QB Jeff Garcia is listed as questionable (he has vowed to start, but don't be surprised to see him get limited action), and that only adds to the case for the Eagles.

Play: Eagles for 11 units.

Titans (+5 1/2) at Raiders

The Raiders were favored by fewer points than this last Saturday vs. the Chargers and barely covered, so I'm surprised to see them laying this many point to Tennessee, which is still one of the most talented teams in the league despite a 6-7 record. If you throw out the Titans' debacle in Minnesota two weeks ago, they're not playing that badly, with victories over the Browns and Packers sandwiched around the loss in the Metrodome. The Titans have rediscovered a passing game and Skip Hicks ran through the Packers' defense last week in place of Eddie George. The Raiders lost to the Cardinals three weeks ago and struggled to beat the Chiefs and Chargers. At the very least, the Titans should stay within a field goal, and they are definitely worth a look at a money-line play.

Play: Titans for 11 units.

Starting bankroll: 1,000 units.

Bankroll entering last week: 932 units.

Last week: 6-3 on nine 11-unit plays for net profit of 27 units.

Current bankroll: 959 units.