12/04/2001 1:00AM

NFL Notes & Trends


Add Packers-Jaguars to the list of game we discussed in Wednesday's issue of games that swung late and caused losing bettors to curse and winners to thank their lucky stars. The Jaguars, getting 3 1/2 points, led 21-7 with just under four minutes left in the third quarter. However, the Packers came back with two quick TDs to tie the game at 21, and then, instead of settling for a field goal in the closing minutes, Brett Favre ran it in for a TD and a 28-21 spread-covering victory.

As we suspected, road dogs did very well on Sunday, going 7-3-1 against the spread. Road favorites were 3-1 against the spread with the Buccaneers being the only one not to cover. Overall in Week 12, road teams went 10-4-1 to even the home-road battle at 82-82-9 for the season.

Underdogs were 9-5-1 against the spread last weekend and now hold an 87-77 (53 percent) edge with nine pushes.

The under continues to be the way to look as the weather gets colder in many parts of the country. The under was 9-6 over the weekend and is 88-83-2 on the season.

NFC bettors continue to fare well against the AFC in interleague play, going 5-1 straight-up and against the spread this past weekend, highlighted by the Cardinals upset of the Raiders. The NFC's only straight-up loser was the Vikings and the only spread loser was the Buccaneers. For the season the NFC is 24-17 (58.5 percent) with one push while the straight-up record is 21-21.

With the Steelers failing to cover, the Patriots now have the best spread record in the league at 9-3, followed by the Dolphins at 8-3 and the Steelers and Eagles at 7-3-1. The worst spread record belongs to the Bills at 3-8. The Lions, despite being 0-11 straight up, are 5-6 against the spread.

Season-long contest update

Mike Orkin went 4-3 with a best-bet winner on the Rams to defeat Bob Donahue (3-3-1) in the quarterfinals of the Stardust Invitational. Orkin joins Patrick Forsythe and defending champion Dave Cokin in the semifinals. The last semifinalist will be determined this Friday night (9 p.m. in th Stardust race book and heard live on KDWN AM-720) when Coast Resorts sports book director Bert Osborne takes on gaming writer Stephen Nover.

Donahue might be out of the Stardust contest, but he's running away with the Sunset Station All-Star Handicappers Invitational. He has a season-long record of 47-23 (67 percent) and two pushes for a total of 105 points in the contest that awards two points for a win, three points for a best-bet win and one point for a push. Rob Veno and Brent Crow are tied for second at 88 points. The top four contestants after the next three weeks will advance to the semifinals and head-to-head competition.

Tony Salinas, who 20 years ago won the Castaways Challenge(the forerunner of the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest), moved into a tied for first place in this season's SuperContest with a 3-2 record last weekend. Salinas and James Pronovich, who went 2-3, are both 38-19-3 for 39.5 points in the contest that awards one point for a win and a half-point for a push. Mark Maxwell went 4-1 to move into third place with 38.5 points. Contestants paid a $1,500 entry fee and the champion will win $135,600.

Rollercoaster ride continues

For the sixth week in a row, I had one bankroll go up and the other go down (trend players might want to see how if I lose with my college plays this Saturday and then bet my NFL picks, or bet the opposite side of my NFL plays if I win on Saturday).

In the colleges, I went 1-2 with a win on Oregon State and losses with Miami-Fla. and Texas. The net loss of 12 units (based on 11 units to win 10 on all three plays) dropped my bankroll, which opened the week at 976 units, down to 964.

It was better news in the NFL, which entered Sunday's action at 939 units following last Thursday's Eagles victory. On Sunday, I went 3-2-1 overall, with the push coming on the Chargers-Seahawks game. With sides, I won with the Patriots and lost with the Colts and Buccaneers (both bad beats) but went 2-0 on totals with the Colts-Ravens over and the Pats-Jets under. The net profit of 8 units on Sunday brings the bankroll up to 947.