Updated on 09/15/2011 1:12PM

No matter the price, Rams irresistible


The St. Louis Rams' 35-0 win over the Detroit Lions on Monday night certainly qualified as a laugher, and most Las Vegas football bettors were laughing all the way to the bank.

The Rams opened at -10 1/2 at the Stardust last week, and most other books opened around 11 or 12, but every book was writing significantly more tickets on the Rams than the Lions, and the line moved to 14 everywhere by Saturday and to 14 1/2 at a few books on Monday, and even to 15 at Station Casinos.

But none of that stopped the public from continuing to bet the Rams, who came through for their backers. The only time the point spread outcome looked in doubt was with the Rams leading 14-0 and the Lions driving late in the first half.

But then Detroit quarterback Ty Detmer floated a pass that was returned 93 yards for a Rams' touchdown. If Don Meredith were still doing Monday night games, he would have broken into "The Party's Over."

The game failed to go over the closing total of 50, and the public lost there. But that hardly dampened the big point-spread score.

Stats and trends

Favorites were 9-5-1 against the spread and are now 35-20 (64 percent) with two pushes through four weeks.

The under is also still the way to go. Week 3 was the only week so far this season in which more games went over (by an 8-6 margin). This past weekend, the under was 9-5-1. (I'm using the Stardust's numbers for the sake of consistency.) For the season, the under is 33-23 (58 percent).

The 49ers-Panthers game was the first Sunday night game of the year to go under. Monday games also went over the first two weeks of the season before two straight unders.

The Colts are the only team to go over in all of their games so far this season. The list of teams that have gone under in all of their games is much longer: Vikings, Packers, Bears, Buccaneers, Steelers, and Saints.

What is the only undefeated team against the spread? You might be surprised to find out it's the Cleveland Browns, who have been underdogs every week but have covered each game and won three outright to share the lead in the AFC Central.

Teams that are winless against the spread include the Lions, Bills, Redskins (0-3 with one push), and Titans. The Titans were a lot of people's preseason Super Bowl pick and have burned a lot of money.

On Sunday, the Cowboys became only the third underdog to cover the spread this season without winning the game outright.

Season-long contest updates

Tim Trushel was 5-2, including a best bet winner with the Saints, to defeat Tim Jeffery (4-3) in a first-round matchup in the Stardust Invitational. Friday's matchup, held in the Stardust sports book at 9 p.m. and broadcast live on KDWN AM-720, pits local handicapper Bubba Youngblood, who helped national sports radio host "Papa" Joe Chevalier win this competition two years ago, and author Patrick Forsythe.

Bob Donahue continues to lead the Sunset Station All-Star Handicappers Invitational with 38 points. Players make six selections a week and get 2 points for each win, 3 for a best-bet win, and 1 for a push. Glenn McGrew of Jim Feist's National Sports Service is tied with Rob Veno for second place with 34 points. Donahue and Veno, both associated with the Vegas Insider website, are the only handicappers who have hit all four of their best bets so far this season.

In a week in which the consensus plays were 5-9-1 against the spread and the three most popular plays (Bengals, Chargers, and Chiefs) all went down to defeat, a contestant named Select West managed to go 3-2 to hold onto first place in the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest. Select West is now 16-4 through four weeks and one game ahead of four contestants: Robert Reid, Blue Coats, Coach Blitz, and The Bud Man.

Thursday's bankroll play

I was 2-0 on my first over/under NFL plays or the year and 3-2 with my sides Sunday and Monday (winning with the Steelers, 49ers, and Rams and losing with the Bills and Vikings, my best bet). My net profit was 17 units (based on five wins at 10 units each and an 11- and 22-unit loss) to bring my NFL bankroll, which started the season at 1,000 units, up to 1,019 units.

In colleges I won 11-unit wagers on Oklahoma, Colorado, and Oregon. The 30-unit profit brought the college bankroll back up to 992 units.

I'll start the week off with Thursday night's ESPN game between Maryland and Georgia Tech. A lot of people were saying this would be Georgia Tech's year to knock off Florida State and win the ACC title. The Yellow Jackets may very well do that, but they have to get by this upstart Maryland team first.

Maryland is in first place in the ACC behind a balanced attack. Last week, the Terps had 243 yards rushing and 237 yards passing against Virginia. Sophomore Bruce Perry has rushed for more than 100 yards in the first five games of his collegiate career and leads the nation with an average of 164 yards per game. Perry's emergence has made it easier for senior QB Shaun Hill.

Maryland may not be able to win this outright on the road, but in a game that could be decided by a field goal or touchdown, 10 points is too much to pass up.

Play: Maryland (+10) for 11 units.