06/20/2003 12:00AM

Try Rattlers, under in Arena Bowl


LAS VEGAS - Some bettors see Sunday's Arena Bowl as the end of football until the fall, while others see it as a non-event.

The Tampa Bay Storm are a 3-point favorite over the Arizona Rattlers in Sunday's title game. The over/under opened at 109 and has been attracting over money around town.

The spread seems kind of short with the game being played on Tampa's home field, but Arizona played as well as any team down the stretch. Arizona was 4-5 at one time, but has won nine of its last 10 games, including road playoff wins over Los Angeles and defending champ San Jose. The Rattlers +3 have to be the preferred side. I also lean toward the under, especially since the total had climbed to 110 at some books as of Friday morning.

* Handle on Arena Football games have met expectations this season, but only because expectations weren't very high. But while most books will at least put up Arena odds with low limits, very few put up the Canadian Football League. Here are the future book odds from Las Vegas Sports Consultants: the Montreal Alouettes are the 3-1 favorite to win the Grey Cup, followed by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-2), Edmonton Eskimos (7-2), and Toronto Argonauts (5-1).

Tennis wagering anyone?

Serena Williams failed to win last month's French Open, but oddsmakers think that was an aberration. Williams is the 3-5 favorite to win her third straight ladies' title at Wimbledon, which starts Monday.

Her sister Serena is the second choice at 7-2, followed by Kim Clijsters (5-1), French open champ Justine Henin-Hardenne (6-1), and Jennifer Capriati (10-1).

The men's draw is more wide open with defending champ Lleyton Hewitt as the 3-1 favorite, followed by Andre Agassi (7-2), Andy Roddick (5-1), Roger Federer (6-1), Mark Philippoussis (10-1), and Tim Henman (10-1). Roddick appears to be the value play.

Vegas film reviews

The city of Las Vegas was as much of a star as any actor in several of the offerings at the CineVegas Film Festival, which was scheduled to close Saturday. In fact, I'll lead off today's reviews with a look at . . .

"Las Vegas"

**** (out of 4)

This actually isn't a film - it's the pilot for a hour-long television drama series this fall about a casino surveillance director, played by James Caan, at the mythical Montecito Hotel & Casino (okay, it's the Mandalay Bay) and his team of investigators as they try to catch cheaters and keep rival hotels from stealing their high rollers. Like most dramas today, it's also very funny, especially to gamblers and those in the industry. The action never stops, with multi-layered story lines. It sure didn't feel like an hour. It looks like a hit, and Vegas looks great.

Slated for 9 p.m. Mondays this fall on NBC.



This film examines three tourist spots: Jerusalem, Florence, and Las Vegas.

It shows how Jerusalem's and Florence's historical virtues have attracted tourists for years and that commercialism has invaded even these old-world destinations. Then you have Las Vegas, which isn't much on history (choosing to implode its past and build newer attractions) and instead steals icons from all corners of the globe. As director Randi Steinberger said after the screening, "The epiphany is that Las Vegas was the most 'real' of the three."

The movie ends by showing that in 2000, Jerusalem had 3 million visitors; Florence 6 million; and Las Vegas 36 million. How's that for star power?

"Holi-days" is scheduled to play on the Sundance Channel this winter.

"The Road Home"


Part of this movie was set in Vegas. I laughed and, I'll admit, I cried. But it still fell short.

It's a love story with a baseball backdrop, so you'll feel like you've seen this movie before, and you'd be right. The love story is predictable, though it's boy meets girl; boy wants girl; girl goes with all the wrong guys; girl gets married, has baby and realizes she should be with her childhood sweetheart; girl waits four years to tell boy; boy gets girl.

The cinematic highlight is a home run swing, juxtaposed with an earlier swing when the raw slugger was being tutored by our hero, that's the equal of anything seen on the silver screen. Who knows, with some polishing, this movie could fulfill its potential.

"The Dance"


This is a touching profile of a boxing coach who gives up his free time to teach Louisiana inmates not only how to box but also lessons in life. He ends up as a surrogate father for many hardened criminals who haven't had a strong male role model. The film follows four former students who turned their lives around, returned to society, and boxed professionally, including Clifford Etienne, who won the IBA Continental Americas Heavyweight crown but saw his dreams of greater glory take a big blow when he was knocked out by Mike Tyson this past February.

This could become a dramatic feature.

"Owning Mahowny"


This movie was released in theaters in May and had moderate success. It's the true story of an assistant bank manager in Toronto named Dan Mahowny who embezzled $10.2 million in 1982 to support his gambling habit. There's something for every gambler as Mahowny seems to be trying to complete a virtual decathlon of gambling - horses, college basketball, baseball, CFL, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps, and more. He does most of his betting with a local bookie and then in Atlantic City, though he also makes a trip with his girlfriend to - where else - Las Vegas, where he actually wins big. The only thing keeping it from getting a higher rating is that there's no redeeming social value. The moral seems to be: if you get caught, you'll get a slap on the wrist.