08/27/2001 11:00PM

Take Jags over sore Cowboys


Some readers have asked me why I'm betting 11 units on all my selections. What I'm trying to do is point out the 10 percent vigorish (I bet 11 units to win 10). Just about everyone knows you need to hit 52.4 percent of your bets to break even.

Heading into the final weekend of preseason games, my record is 14-13 (51.9 percent). I'm one game above .500, but it would be misleading to say I'm ahead of the game. Since I'm betting 11 to win 10, I've profited 140 on my correct selections but dropped 143 on the losers. That's a net loss of three units.

Week 3 recap

I had the under in all three Thursday games (Chiefs-Jaguars, Panthers-Ravens, and Eagles-Titans) and all three went over.

The bankroll's descent continued Friday when I had the Colts-Vikings under 44 and the Colts +3 in a 28-21 Vikings win.

I bounced back with a 3-0 showing on Saturday as the Bills-Bengals stayed under 35, the Jets (+1 1/2) beat the Giants 17-14 and the Chargers (+3) edged the Rams 13-10 in overtime. The bankroll, which started at 100, stands at 97.

Thursday NFL selections

The final week of the preseason is the diciest time to handicap these games. I'm definitely going to shy away from over/unders.

Jaguars (-4) at Cowboys: Not since the barnstorming days of the 30's and 40's has a pro team had to play a game on two days' rest like the Cowboys are doing Thursday night. Coming off Monday's game against the Raiders in Mexico City (did the Marquis de Sade do the Cowboys' schedule?), there is no way the Cowboys aren't going to be sore. Add the fact that the Cowboys actually got off the schneid and won a game, and you see that they have no incentive to put forth a quality effort. Mark Brunell is questionable for the Jags, but Jonathan Quinn and Jamie Martin should put up enough points against an exhausted Cowboys' defense. I'll wager 11 units (to win 10) on the Jaguars -4.

Leans: I like the Steelers -3 at home against the Bills and the Lions -1 1/ 2 at home against the Titans. The Steelers won in their new home, Heinz Field, last week, and they have the quarterback depth in case they need to play catch-up. The Titans used their game last week as their dress rehearsal for the regular season and the Lions need more work, so you have to look to play them.