11/14/2006 12:00AM

Spread records starting to even out


LAS VEGAS - Last Thursday, when I first posted the NFL point-spread standings chart, I advised bettors not to bet on the top spread teams or against the bad spread teams, because oddsmakers are likely to adjust lines to try to balance action on those teams' games.

It sure would have been profitable to have taken my own advice. The top five listed teams - Saints, Colts, Jaguars, Chiefs and Ravens - all failed to cover, and the bottom three teams - Panthers, Dolphins and Steelers - all won and covered. In addition, since the Browns, who were No. 6 on the list, were playing the Falcons (No. 7), and the Bears (No. 8) were playing the Giants (No. 9), the Jets (No. 10) were the only team in the top 10 that covered while playing a team with a worse spread record. Six of the seven worst spread teams covered, with the Cardinals being the only exception.

As a result, we're seeing spread records tighten up even sooner than expected. No NFL team is covering at even a 70-percent clip. The Bears, Chargers, Saints, Jets, Rams, and Browns are all tied at the top at 6-3 (67 percent). The Colts and Jaguars are the only other teams above 60 percent, at 5-3-1 (62.5 percent after tossing out the push).

The Cardinals, at 2-7 (22 percent), are the only team below 30 percent against the spread. They were passed this week by both the Panthers and Dolphins, who are next at 2-6-1.

Other notes to be culled from the chart:

* The Browns have quietly put together the longest spread winning streak, at three. The 49ers, Bills, Texans, and Dolphins are the only other teams to have even two covers in a row. You'll note that those teams have all been mentioned this year as the worst in the league, so it just goes to show that the oddsmakers have adjusted the lines enough to make those teams competitive at the betting windows.

* The Vikings, Buccaneers, Bengals, and Cardinals have all lost three in a row against the spread.

* In the Sunday night game, the Bears and Giants went well over their total of 37 points, as the Bears pulled away in the second half and won, 38-20. The Bears went over for the sixth straight time, and they're now 7-1-1 with the over this season. Other top over teams include the Titans, who have four straight overs, and the Jets, who are 7-2 with the over despite going under in their last two. The Chargers and Saints have also gone over in five straight games, and they're 6-3 overall along with the 49ers, Bengals, Seahawks, and Steelers.

* The Patriots lost 17-14 to the Jets, but their tendency to go under won out. They've gone under five straight games and are now 7-2 with the under, along with the Broncos and Bills. The Raiders also have five straight unders and are 6-3 overall, along with the Browns, Texans, and Panthers.

League-wide betting trends

Underdogs came through for the second straight week and for the fourth time in the last five weeks. I have them going 9-6 against the spread. The Bears-Giants game closed at pick-em - although for most of the week the Giants were favored - and I won't include it in the dogs vs. faves mark.

For the year, underdogs are 77-66-3 (55 percent).

* Home dogs only went 2-2 on the week, but are 16-6 over the past five weeks and 30-18 (63 percent) on the season. This week's home dogs are the Cowboys +1 1/2 vs. the Colts, Browns +3 1/2 vs. the Steelers, Packers +6 vs. the Patriots, Jets +6 1/2 vs. the Bears, and the 49ers +6 1/2 vs. the Seahawks.

* Home teams went just 6-10 overall on the week and are 75-66-3 (53 percent) on the year.

* Double-digit underdogs came through huge this past week. They went 3-1 against the spread and pulled outright upsets with the Texans over the Jaguars and the Jets over the Patriots. Double-digit dogs are 6-1 the past two weeks, 9-4 over the past five weeks, and 12-9-1 overall. This week's big dogs are the Titans +13 vs. the Eagles and possibly the Raiders vs. the Chiefs - that line was wavering between 9 1/2 and 10 earlier this week. Even if the line doesn't close at 10, underdogs in the 7 1/2- to 9 1/2-point range went 2-1 this past week and are 9-7 on the season.

* AFC teams won and covered in both of the interconference games last week and are 11-2 against the spread the past three weeks and 22-18-1 overall. If you think that trend will continue, there are eight AFC-NFC matchups this weekend.

* We might start to see more unders as the weather continues to get worse. The under went 9-7 this past weekend. Oddsmakers have adjusted, and there are only three games with totals higher than 44; all three will be played south of the Mason-Dixon line. For the season, overs are still ahead 71-67-6.

NFL bankroll outperforms college

I split with my college bankroll plays last Saturday, going 3-3. Following a trend that's been going on all year, I did better with totals - I was 2-1 with totals and only 1-2 with sides. For the year, my college bankroll plays are barely profitable at 30-27-1, including 1-1 on 2-unit plays, for a net profit of 0.2 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1). That breaks down to an 18-11 (62 percent) record on totals and 12-16-1 on sides.

* The news has gotten decidedly better in the NFL after I went 5-2 on bankroll plays. After starting the year 2-8 after two weeks and 6-13-1 after four, I've rebounded and now stand at 27-23-2, including 0-1 on my one 2-unit best bet, for a net profit of 0.6 units.