09/05/2008 12:00AM

NFL early lines move more toward Lions and Eagles


LAS VEGAS - The NFL released its schedule back on April 15, and less than 24 hours later the Las Vegas Hilton posted its Week 1 opening lines.

Right at the top of the schedule was Thursday night's opener between the Redskins and the Giants with the defending Super Bowl champ Giants installed as a 4-point favorite with a total of 40 1/2. Four and a half months later, when the game kicked off, the Giants closed as a -4 1/2-point favorite at the Hilton with a total is 41. So how did the book miss both lines by a half-point?

But seriously, it's amazing how spot-on most of the numbers were when first posted at the Hilton. Of the 16 opening-weekend NFL games, all but four point spreads are within a single point of what the Hilton projected back then, which was before the draft or a number of free-agent acquisitions and trades.

I'm not sure if you heard anything about this, but a quarterback from a small school in Mississippi retired/unretired and switched teams from the Packers to the Jets (this might have flown under the radar where you live, but we follow this stuff closely in Las Vegas), but the Jets were favored by 3 points over the Dolphins back in April with a total of 36 - and that's exactly what it is now even with the Jets getting a supposed upgrade with this Brett Favre guy at QB and going against the QB he replaced in New York, Chad Pennington.

The only major line moves are the Lions going from -1 vs. the Falcons back in April up to -3 now; the Eagles going from -6 1/2 then to -8 now (and that's gone to 8 only recently); and the Cowboys from -3 then to -5 1/2 now. The fourth move of more than a point is the Bengals going from pick-em to -1 1/2, though that almost doesn't count since books don't post NFL lines at -1/2.

The biggest adjustments in totals are the Bengals-Ravens dropping from 42 1/2 to the current 38 1/2 and the Patriots-Chiefs plummeting from 48 1/2 to 44.

Back in April, the Hilton also made the AFC representative a 6 1/2-point favorite over the NFC rep in the Super Bowl to be played Feb. 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., but now it's down to AFC -6.

And the favorite to win the Super Bowl is still the Patriots, currently at 7-2 (the same price they were at the Hilton back in April), followed by the Cowboys at 6-1, the Colts and Chargers both at 7-1, and then a drop off to the Jaguars at 13-1 and the Giants and Steelers at 15-1.

Are you ready for some justice?

As if there weren't enough gridiron stars filling our TV screens in the coming weeks, here comes the O.J. Simpson Trial: The Sequel.

The case of the State of Nevada vs. Orenthal James Simpson is scheduled to begin Monday in a Las Vegas courtroom. It's been nearly a year since the Juice was arrested after an alleged robbery in a hotel room at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino here in Vegas last Sept. 13.

Simpson, according to his own deposition, set up his own sting operation when he heard some memorabilia dealers were selling some of his property out of a hotel room. He showed up with a group of other men and reclaimed his stuff. The problem is the conflicting reports of guns being involved.

A number of people had tape recorders in the room with some recordings having already appeared on the Internet, and I'm sure we'll be hearing sound bites on the news networks often through the anticipated five-week trial.

Simpson has pleaded not guilty to 12 charges, including armed robbery, felony kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. Alleged co-conspirator Clarence Stewart faces the same charges. Four other participants have accepted plea deals and are expected to testify for the prosecution.

Stay tuned.

Yankee Stadium going, going . . .

As I approach 10 years as a resident of Las Vegas, where historic casinos routinely get torn down to make way for new buildings, maybe I'm jaded to the point where I don't see what all the fuss is about Yankees Stadium being in its last season.

The Lucky's chain of sports books obviously think there's enough people that care about such things. The Stadium opened on April 18, 1923, and Babe Ruth hit the first homer in the House That He Built, and now Lucky's is offering proposition wagers on who will hit the last homer there.

The odds are -160 (risk $1.60 for every $1 you want to profit) that a Yankee will hit the final dinger with odds of +130 (win $1.30 for every $1 wagered) that it will be an opposing team. In the individual list of players, Alex Rodriguez is the favorite at 5-2, followed by Jason Giambi at 3-1. The Baltimore Orioles visit for the final series, so Aubrey Huff is offered at 5-1 and Melvin Mora at 6-1. In all, there are 11 individual players listed plus a field bet at 5-1.

* Lucky's, a division of Brandywine Bookmaking LLC, received the recommendation of the Gaming Control Board on Thursday to take over race and sports book operations at the Terrible's casino on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas and two casinos in Pahrump and three in Primm. To become official, the Nevada Gaming Commission needs to give its stamp of approval at its Sept. 18 meeting, but that shouldn't be a problem as Brandywine has received approvals each of the past four months. Terrible's is already part of Lucky's weekly progressive football contest that has a $6,000 prize for a perfect NFL card. If no one hits it, the jackpot carries over to the following week with another $6,000 added. The contest is free and available for sign-ups for visitors anytime during the season.

Brandywine operates the sports book at the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas as well as the Grand Sierra in Reno, the Casino Fandango in Carson City and two books in Elko.