09/19/2005 11:00PM

Two Monday night NFL games lift handle


Two games on Monday night. Wasn't it great?

Okay, the play on the field wasn't that compelling (at least until the Redskins scored two late touchdowns to pull out a 14-13 win over the Cowboys), but it was still better than being stuck with one boring game.

Sports books here were reporting increases of 30-40 percent on the Monday night twin bill compared to the typical one-game Monday night. Straight-up bettors were basically betting their same amount - split between the two games - but it definitely opened the parlay business with two extra options instead of the usual side/total parlay. Plus, each game handled more than if it were buried in the middle of a Sunday card.

"Two games is twice as nice," said Jay Kornegay, sports book director at the Las Vegas Hilton. "Actually, I wish we had football games seven nights a week. Isolation of these games, especially when they're on national TV, always creates action."

Kornegay's dream is actually becoming a reality as this week we have Bowling Green-Boise St. on Wednesday, Air Force-Utah on Thursday, and two games on Friday night. And it gets even better next week as there are single college games on every night from Tuesday through Friday. Ending with the Monday night game on Oct. 10, Wednesday started 20 consecutive days of football on TV.

As for the Monday night double-header, do not get too used to it. NFL officials have said that this was a one-time thing because of the short span between Hurricane Katrina and the Saints' home opener, and that the new TV contract with ESPN taking over Monday night games next year doesn't call for multiple games.

As for the specifics of the wagering on the games, the majority of bettors were on the right side of the Giants-Saints game as the G-men won 27-10 after being bet from -3 to -3 1/2. The total was 44 and over bettors had to be going nuts as the Saints missed several opportunities to score, including in the final minute when Joe Horn was going for the goal-line, dropped the ball, and saw it hit the pylon for a touchback.

The bettors also appeared to have landed on the right side of the Redskins-Cowboys game as they bet the Cowboys from -5 to -6. The Cowboys were seemingly in control the whole game, building a 13-0 lead. When the Skins scored their first touchdown with 3:46 remaining to make it 13-7, that was actually the worst-possible scenario for books as they would have been sided (meaning they would have lost all straight bets on Dallas -5 and -5 1/2, and refunded all bets made at -6 or +6) and still lost on all parlays with Dallas -5 1/2. But then the Redskins scored again to bail them out. For under players, the total of 35 1/2 was never in jeopardy.

Ken White, chief executive officer and chief oddsmaker for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, said the mixed results of one favorite, one dog, and both unders were good for the sports books.

NFL betting stats

Counting a split by the home teams on Monday night, home teams went 9-6-1 against the spread for the week (the Broncos' 20-17 win over the Chargers as 3-point favorites was the push, though the Broncos -2 1/2 was widely available). Through the first two weeks, home teams are 19-12-1 (61 percent).

Home dogs went 3-2 against the spread for the second straight week and are 6-4 on the young season. That's my all-time favorite angle and, unfortunately, I haven't used it enough in my bankroll plays so far this season (see below). This week's home dogs are Bears +3 vs. the Bengals, Dolphins +3 1/2 vs. the Panthers, Packers +3 1/2 vs. the Buccaneers, and 49ers +6 1/2 vs. the Cowboys.

The 49ers failed as the first double-digit underdog of the season, losing 42-3 at Philadelphia as a 13 1/2-point dog. The Browns are +13 1/2 at the Colts this week.

In totals wagering, the under was 11-4-1 this weekend (the Patriots-Panthers game fell on the total of 44 for the one push), and the under is now 20-11-1 (65 percent) overall. I'll take a little bow on this one, as last Thursday, I wrote: "With some offenses looking really weak and the proverbial early-season theory that 'the defense is ahead of the offense,' the under is probably still the way to look this week, especially in these games: Ravens-Titans (36 1/2), Jaguars-Colts (46 1/2), Lions-Bears (34), Bills-Bucs (35), Dolphins-Jets (37), Redskins-Cowboys (36), and Saints-Giants (44)."

The under went 6-1 in those games. When you see my record at picking sides, you'll see why I have to cling to any silver lining that's available.

This week, the unders I like are Titans-Rams (46), Bengals-Bears (40), Buccaneers-Packers (38), Cowboys-49ers (41) and Giants-Chargers (42 1/2).

Bankrolls go in opposite directions

After going 1-4 on my NFL bankroll plays on the opening weekend of the season, it looked like the only way to go was up. Wrong.

I went 1-4-1 with six NFL selections over the weekend to drop to 2-8-1 with my published plays. To make matters worse, I had a 2-unit play on the Vikings +3 vs. the Bengals, so my net loss is 7.9 units (based on laying 1.1 units to win 1). The win was on the Bears +1 1/2 vs. the Lions while the other losses were the Patriots +3 vs. the Panthers, the Cardinals (pick-em) vs. the Rams, and the Raiders +1 1/2 vs. the Chiefs. The push was on the Broncos -3 vs. the Chargers. As stated above, a line of 2 1/2 was widely available and I had a ticket in my pocket, as I hope did everyone else, but since the 3 was more common when the plays were submitted, that's what I have to go with for my documented record.

I'm a slightly better 3-7 in the Hilton SuperContest, which is small consolation to my ego or pocketbook.

* At least the colleges are treating me better. After losing with Utah -3 vs. TCU last Thursday as TCU won 23-20 in overtime to drop my record to 3-3, I went 3-0 on Saturday with San Diego St. +28 vs. Ohio St., Wisconsin -3 vs. North Carolina, and Clemson +7 vs. Miami-Fla. That raised my college bankroll record to 6-3 for a net profit of 2.7 units.

Sport betting radio roundup

There are two new sports betting radio shows in Las Vegas this season.

"Raceday Extra: Todayatthesports-book.com" with Ralph Siraco and Rick Herron airs Mondays though Fridays from 10-11 a.m. on KSHP AM-1400 and kshp.com, following Siraco's "Raceday Las Vegas" horse racing show.

I appear on Friday's shows to give out one college and one NFL game a week. Despite going only 53 percent last year with my published selections, I went 34-18-2 (65 percent), including bowl games and NFL playoffs, on the "Raceday Las Vegas" show. Last week, I went 1-1 (which, sadly, is also a better percentage than in this corner so far this season).

* "LVSC's Just for Openers" has moved from Saturday morning to Fridays from 7-8 p.m. on KENO AM-1460. The show, which is a rare chance to get into the head of White, co-host Brian Blessing, and the LVSC oddsmakers, is broadcast live from the Hilton SuperBook, but White said he hopes to have it on a rotating basis with other sports books throughout the city.