10/01/2001 11:00PM

Reduced vig helps cushion the bankroll


Every bettor knows (or should know) that the house has the advantage in every game. The gambler is up against it. It's true for the table games and slot machines, and it's true in the race and sports book.

Usually football bettors have to pay a 10 percent commission, or vig, on every bet against the point spread. Laying $11 to win $10 means a bettor needs to win 52.38 percent of the time - on what amounts to a 50-50 proposition - just to break even.

But what if you only had to pay 5 percent vig? You would only have to bet $10.50 to win that same $10 and would only need to hit 51.22 percent to beat the house edge.

Well, bettors have that option from 8-9 p.m. on Thursdays at Park Place Entertainment's Nevada properties. Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Las Vegas Hilton, Bally's, and Paris are PPE's Las Vegas casinos, with the Flamingo Reno and Caesars Tahoe in the northern part of the state and the Flamingo Laughlin to the south.

Someone who typically wagers $110 would save $5 per game by having to bet only $105 while a $22 player would have to bet only $21. Even at those amounts, the savings can add up over the course of the season.

Obviously, getting a good price only offers value if you're also getting a good number. For myself, I would rather bet $110 at a book that has a line of -3 instead of only $105 if the line is -3 1/2. You need to look at each game on a bet-by-bet basis, especially when the lines are around key numbers, such as 3 and 7 in the NFL.

If you're looking to bet the games earlier in the week, the Regent Las Vegas also offers 5 percent vig on Mondays from noon to 4 p.m. Savvy bettors can catch some good numbers before they move, whether they're looking to commit to a game early or trying to set up a middle.

NFL news, notes, and anecdotes

Having games rescheduled in college football is uncommon enough, but I'm still trying to find anyone who can name an NFL game that was rescheduled before this season. That rarity occurs on Sunday, when the Raiders host the Cowboys in a game that was scheduled for Oct. 21.

Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, which is the cause of dozens of rescheduled college games and the NFL's Week 2 schedule being played at the end of the season. The Oakland A's are hoping to be playing a home game in the American League Championship Series on Oct. 21. Since the Cowboys and Raiders had a bye this weekend, they both agreed to move the game up two weeks.

The game is listed as a "write-in" game at the bottom of this week's Nevada rotation (Nos. 133 and 134), below the Monday night game. The Raiders opened as a whopping 19-point favorite.

*For the first time this NFL season, there were more overs than unders as eight of the 14 games went over their closing total this past weekend, using the numbers at the Stardust. For the season, there have been 24 unders, 18 overs, and 1 push. The Cardinals and the Colts are the only teams that have gone over in all their games. The Cardinals have gone over because they can't stop anybody. Anyone who jumped on the Colts' "over" bandwagon Sunday cashed in even though they probably handicapped the game going over because of the Colts' offense. Well, they kind of had that right, as Peyton Manning had two passes picked off and returned for touchdowns.

*The Rams, Packers, and Chargers are the only undefeated teams in the NFL, but the Browns and Falcons join the Packers and Chargers as the only four teams unbeaten against the spread. The Rams failed to cover two Sundays ago against the 49ers.

*Home teams are just 22-21 straight up this season, but their spread record is 24-17 (58.5 percent) with two pushes.

*Much to bookmakers' chagrin, favorites are 26-15 (63.4 percent) with two pushes this season. Another indicator of how well bettors have done this season is that of 36 closing lines that were different from their opening number, 25 (69.4 percent) moved toward the team that covered. Over/under movement has been less successful as only 12 of 30 moves (40 percent) were bet in the right direction.

Season-long contest update

Pete Korner, operations manager of Las Vegas Sports Consultants, went 5-2 against the spread to defeat Houston sports radio host Lance Zierlein (4-3) on Friday in the Stardust Invitational. Both won their best bets (Korner with the Raiders and Zierlein with the Rams).

This week's matchup, held Friday at 9 p.m. in the sports book and heard live on KDWN AM-720 in 16 Western states, pits Tim Jeffery against Tim Trushel. Both handicappers have their own local radio shows. Jeffery co-hosts the "Don Best Radio Show" from 7-8 p.m. Fridays on KDWN and is a regular guest on the "Stardust Line" radio shows. Trushel hosts the "Vegas Sportswire" from 7-9 a.m. Mondays through Fridays on KENO AM-1460.

*Trushel will be pulling double duty Friday night as he is also the featured guest in the Sunset Station All-Star Handicappers Contest from 6-7 p.m. (also heard on KDWN). Trushel, who won the 1998 Sunset title, is tied for last place this season. Bob Donahue, a regular guest on Trushel's radio show and a member of the Vegas Insider website, leads the competition with 31 points. Handicappers make six selections a week, including a best bet, and get 2 points per win, 3 for a best bet, and 1 for a push. Glenn McGrew of Jim Feist's National Sports Service is second with 28 points. Donahue is 14-4 overall with his contest selections, including 3-0 on best bets.

*A contestant going under the name Select West took over the lead in the SuperContest at the Las Vegas Hilton. Select West went 4-1 in Sunday's games to improve to 13-2 on the season. T B M, who was 10-0 entering the weekend, went 2-3 to fall into a second-place tie with Linda K and Robert Reid at 12-3.