11/04/2002 12:00AM

Wisc.-Illinois game off board- before it made it on


LAS VEGAS - When the Stardust is the first Las Vegas sports book to post the coming week's football lines on Sunday night, it distributes sheets with the official opening lines, while race and sports director Joe Lupo reads them over a public address system.

This week the sheets as handed out showed Wisconsin as an 8 1/2-point favorite over Illinois. But when betting began the game was off the board.

What happened was that Lupo, who will take a new job in Atlantic City after the Super Bowl, and newly appointed director of race and sports Bob Scucci, and their staff had settled on opening lines and photocopied legal-sized sheets of paper for their customers. "Right then, we got word about Anthony Davis," said Lupo, referring to reports that Davis, Wisconsin's star running back, was stabbed in the leg during a domestic dispute.

"We took the line down right away before taking any bets, " Davis said.

But there were other games for the professional bettors to play, and they fired away on 21 college sides, three NFL sides, and two NFL totals.

The biggest line moves in the college games came on Boise St. - bet from -26 to -28 over Rice - "The way Boise is blowing people out, we can't make the line high enough," Lupo said - and Indiana from -1 to -3 (probably mainly a play against Michigan St.).

The biggest move in the NFL was on the Seahawks-Cardinals under, bet from 39 1/2 to 37. The Rams' line vs. the Chargers was moved twice from the opener of -5 1/2 to -6 to 6 1/2.

The Ravens opened -6 vs. the Bengals and were bet up to -6 1/2, but then money came in on the Bengals and the line moved back to 6.