11/01/2005 12:00AM

Two NFL dogs get bumped to favorites


LAS VEGAS - For the second straight week, there was more volatility in the NFL than college lines when they were first posted here Sunday afternoon.

At the Las Vegas Hilton, which puts up its openers at 4:30 p.m. Pacific, all 14 NFL games were posted, with nine of them being bet enough to move off the opening number, including two change of favorites: the Lions went from +1 to -1 1/2 vs. the Vikings and the Bears went +1 to -2 1/2 vs. the Saints. In addition, the Hilton opened the Giants -8 1/2 vs. the 49ers and it got bet immediately to -10, the Chargers opened -5 vs. the Jets and got bet to -6 1/2, and the Raiders opened +6 1/2 vs. the Chiefs and it got bet the other way to 5.

At the Stratosphere, which posts its openers at 5 p.m., 10 games were bet off the opening numbers, with most of them mirroring the Hilton.

The Stardust put up its openers after the kickoff of the Sunday night game, shortly after 5:30 p.m., and only had nine games available for wagering. The Stardust doesn't include teams that are playing Sunday or Monday night and also kept the Lions-Vikings game off the board because of Daunte Culpepper's injury and the Giants-49ers off the board because of the 49ers' uncertain quarterback situation. Seven of the nine games at the Stardust were bet off the opening number.

While the Hilton and Stratosphere had opened the Falcons -2 1/2 vs. the Dolphins, the Stardust went with -3 and had it bet to 2 1/2. The Stardust opened the Bears -2 1/2 vs. the Saints (as opposed to the other books which had it bet to that number) and still took money on the Bears and moved it to 3.

The Stardust opened the Buccaneers as a 1-point home favorite vs. the Panthers and saw the visitors get bet to 1-point favoritism.

Movement was much less on the college board. Of the 48 available games at the Stardust, only five were bet enough to move off the opening number. And of those, only one moved more than a point, and that was Arkansas State, bet from +7 to +5 1/2 vs. Middle Tennessee State. But not too much should be read into that because the Stardust moved the line just one time, by 1 1/2 points, rather than moving it twice, which would have been an indicator of heavy action.

NFL league-wide betting trends

Favorites won 10 of 14 games this past Sunday and Monday, but they were only 7-7 against the spread and for the season hold just a 62-51-3 (55 percent) edge over underdogs.

* Home-field advantage was only slightly stronger as home teams went 8-6 against the spread and stand at 63-49-3 (56 percent) on the year.

* Home underdogs went 2-1, thanks to the Rams and 49ers both pulling outright upsets, and moved above .500 on the year at 15-14. The home underdog angle will be put to the test this weekend as there are 10 - count 'em, 10 - home pups on the card: Vikings +1 1/2 vs. the Lions, Jets +6 1/2 vs. the Chargers, Saints +3 vs. the Bears, Ravens +3 vs. the Bengals, Buccaneers +1 1/2 vs. the Panthers, Dolphins +2 1/2 vs. the Falcons, 49ers +10 1/2 vs. the Giants, Cardinals +4 vs. the Seahawks, Packers +6 1/2 vs. the Steelers, and Patriots +3 1/2 vs. the Colts on Monday night.

* After struggling most of the year, double-digit underdogs also fared well this past weekend as the 49ers upset the Bucs 15-10 as 10 1/2-point home dogs and the Bills and Ravens covered the spread in losses on Sunday and Monday night. That improved double-digit dogs to 5-5 on the year. Let's see if that can continue this week with the 49ers +10 1/2 vs. the Giants and the Texans +13 1/2 at the Jaguars.

* Las Vegas obviously thinks the AFC is far superior - especially with the top teams - as the AFC is now an 8-point favorite in the Super Bowl at the Las Vegas Hilton. The NFC won three of the four interconference games this past week, though they were split 2-2 against the spread. For the year, AFC teams are 19-15 (56 percent) against the spread. If you feel the AFC is still superior, the plays would be Miami +2 1/2 vs. the Falcons and the Steelers -6 1/2 vs. the Packers. Personally, I think I will be looking at the NFC teams this week.

Who's hot, who's not in NFL

Four teams are tied atop the NFL's point-spread standings at 5-2. The Lions, who were 5-1 heading into last Sunday, lost, 19-13, in overtime to the Bears, who also improved to 5-2, along with the idle Colts and the Broncos (actually 5-2-1).

* The Texans beat the Browns, 19-16, to improve to 2-5 against the spread, but they're still tied at the bottom of the standings with the Jets, Eagles, Cardinals, and Vikings. Of note, the 5-2 Lions are 1 1/2-point favorites at the 2-5 Vikings this week.

* In totals wagering, the Patriots went under for the first time this season in their 21-16 win over the Bills on Sunday night and stand at 5-1-1 with the over. The Panthers are now second at 4-1-2 with the over with the Rams at 6-2. The 49ers went under vs. the Bucs to drop to 5-2 along with the Seahawks, Cardinals and Jaguars.

* The Buccaneers and Browns are both 6-1 with the under. The Bears and Lions pushed to leave the Bears at 5-1-1 with the under, while the idle Colts are 5-2 along with the Vikings and Ravens.

College who's hot, who's not

Texas failed to cover a 37-point spread in its 47-28 come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma State and fell to 7-1 against the spread. That drops the Longhorns into a tie with Virginia Tech for the nation's best spread record. Both teams are trying to earn a spot in the BCS title game. Notre Dame and Auburn are next at 6-1, Southern Mississippi is 5-1, then comes Wisconsin at 6-2-1, and East Carolina and Eastern Michigan (two teams at 3-5 on the scoreboard) at 6-2.

* Last week I listed Utah at 0-8 against the spread but the Utes are actually 0-7-1, having pushed as 4-point dogs to Colorado State back on Oct. 8. Rice covered last week, leaving Duke (0-8) and Purdue (0-7-1) as the only other winless teams against the spread.

* In totals wagering, Texas is 7-1 with the over to lead the nation in that category, followed by Rice (6-1), UCLA (6-2), Missouri (6-2), and Arizona State (6-2).

* Florida's 14-10 win over Georgia showed how much of an under team the Gators are as they improved to 7-1 with the under, tied with Eastern Michigan. Baylor, Mississippi, and Mississippi State are right behind at 6-1, followed by North Carolina State at 5-1 and Tennessee at 5-1-1.