10/23/2006 11:00PM

Whole lot of barking dogs

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The Giants' 36-22 win over the Cowboys on Monday night as 3-point underdogs capped a great weekend for dog players.

While favorites went 28-21-1 overall on Saturday and Sunday in college football, a lot of the high-profile games (and where a good portion of the wagering handle comes from) had the dogs covering, including Rutgers vs. Pittsburgh, Syracuse vs. Louisville, UCLA vs. Notre Dame, Nebraska vs. Texas, Alabama vs. Tennessee, Washington vs. California, Boston College vs. Florida State, and Washington State vs. Oregon.

But then Sunday's NFL card really got the dogs barking as they went 7-4-1 against the spread and won six - exactly half - of the games straight up. Monday night's win by the Giants made underdogs 8-4-1 on the week and 52-45-3 (54 percent after tossing out the pushes) on the season, which is a far cry from last year, when underdogs cashed at a 42 percent clip.

The bulk of this past Sunday's success was with home underdogs, who went 5-2 both straight up and against the spread, and won all five games outright with the Chiefs, Texans, Falcons, Buccaneers, and Raiders pulling the trick. For the season, home dogs are now 24-15 (62 percent) against the spread, and that's after starting the season 5-7 over the first two weeks. Since then, home pups are 19-8 (70 percent). The only home underdogs this week are the Raiders +9 vs. the Steelers and the Vikings +2 1/2 vs. the Patriots on Monday night.

More NFL betting trends

* Home teams went 7-5-1 against the spread this past week and are 54-43-3 (56 percent) for the season.

* There were no double-digit underdogs this past weekend, and this week's lone entry is the 49ers +16 1/2 at the Bears. Double-digit dogs are 6-7-1 this season. Underdogs in the 7 1/2- to 9 1/2-point range have fared better. The Texans upset the Jaguars on Sunday as 7 1/2-point dogs and the Redskins failed as 7 1/2-dogs vs. the Colts to go 1-1, but overall, teams in that range are 5-3 (62.5opercent) this year. This week's qualifiers are the Buccaneers +9 vs. the Giants, the Rams +8 1/2 vs. the Chargers, and the Raiders +9 vs. the Steelers (that would make the Raiders a dual qualifier - home dogs in the 7 1/2 to 9 1/2 range are 2-0 against the spread this season).

* Interconference games were split 3-3-1 this past week, so the NFC still leads at 16-11-1 against the spread. There are five interconference games this week.

* In totals wagering, overs went 8-5 for the week and hold a slim 51-46-3 lead for the year.

Who's hot, who's not

With their upset of the Seahawks, the Vikings improved to 5-1 against the spread to tie the idle Saints and Rams for the NFL's spread record. This week, the Saints are -2 1/2 vs. the Ravens, the Rams are +8 1/2 vs. the Chargers, and the Vikings are +2o1/2 vs. the Patriots.

* Conversely, the Dolphins' 34-24 loss to the Packers dropped them to 0-6-1 against the spread. Mercifully, Miami now gets a bye week. The Panthers pushed vs. the Bengals and are next-worst at 1-5-1. The three teams who entered last week at 1-4 - the Packers, Texans, and Raiders - all won and covered.

* In NFL totals wagering, the Jets improved to 7-0 with the over in their 31-24 win over the Lions. Their total vs. the Browns this week is 38. The 49ers are 5-1 with the over, while the Bears are 4-1-1, and the Eagles and Lions are 5-2. The Broncos are perfect with the under at 6-0 after their 17-7 win over the Browns. The Broncos' total vs. the Colts - a true test for the Denver defense - is also 38. The Panthers and Bills are both 5-2 with the under.

* In the colleges, Central Michigan improved to 7-0 and Wisconsin also won to sit right behind the Chippewas at 6-0-1. Central Michigan is idle this week, while Wisconsin is -21 vs. Illinois. Other top spread teams include Ohio State and Syracuse at 7-1 and East Carolina and Nevada at 6-1. As a sidebar note, Leroy's Sports Hour radio host John Kelly points out that Ohio State, Michigan (which is 5-2-1 overall), and Wisconsin are a combined 14-0 against the spread in Big 10 play.

* On the losing side of the ledger, Fresno State is 0-7 and is off this weekend before playing next Wednesday on the blue field at Boise State (no line available). Other money-burners are the alma maters of yours truly (Northern Illinois) and Tiger Woods (Stanford) at 1-6.

* In college totals wagering, UCLA is 7-0 and Miami-Fla. is 6-0 with the under. This week, UCLA has a total of 45 vs. Washington State while Miami-Fla. has 37 1/ 2 vs. Georgia Tech. As for over teams, Rice is 7-1 and Tulane is 6-1. Rice is idle while Tulane has a total of 50 vs. Army.

Overall bankroll back in black

My college bankroll plays went 1-1 as I had a winner with New Mexico State +20 1/2 vs. Hawaii and a loser on Texas -4 1/2 vs. Nebraska. As those were my first 2-unit plays of the season, my overall college bankroll stands at 22-20 for a net loss of 0.1 units (based on laying 1.1 units to win 1). I take some small consolation in listing the picks of handicapper Dr. Bob, as he went 6-2 against the numbers when his plays were released and 5-2-1 against the closing numbers. The Hawaii game was -18o1/2 when he released it and it climbed to 20 1/2 (where I played back on the other side) and closed at most books at 19. The Warriors won, 49-30.

* The better news came Sunday with my NFL bankroll plays, which went 3-1 against the spread. The downside was that the one loss was on a 2-unit play, the Steelers -2 1/2 vs. the Falcons, so I had just a net profit of 0.8 units. I also messed up by not including my plays on the Chiefs as an official release. Regardless, NFL bankroll plays are now 18-15-2 for a net profit of 0.4 units after starting the season 2-8 and being stuck 6.8 units and later being 6-13-1 for a net loss of 8.3 units. The past three weeks, I'm a combined 12-2-1.

* All football selections are 40-35-2 for a net profit of 0.3 units. Nothing to write home about, but better than where it started.