Favorites continue to cause books problems

Oct 25, 2005 1:39 AM

Nearly halfway through the NFL season has bettors gaining a decided edge over the house.

How so?

"We want equal action on both sides and that’s not happening enough," said Mike Seba, football analyst and linesmaker at Las Vegas Sports Consultants. "The favorites are ahead of the dogs and bettors are winning both in straight bets and parlays."

The dilemma books are dealing with can be best explained with one game — last Monday night’s St. Louis-Indianapolis matchup. The line opened at Colts -13½ and kept rising. With good reason.

"The week before we put out San Francisco +14 and it went to 16½," Seba said. "We didn’t want to be caught short again. I think we hit the Rams game right. If (Marc) Bulger stays in there, the result would have been different."

Bulger had led the Rams to a stunning 17-0 lead over Indy, but a shot to the shoulder sent the St. Louis QB to the bench. Jamie Martin managed just three points the rest of the way and Indy stormed back to easily cover.

"As you know, making lines is all about timing," Seba said. "This week we put out Indy -17 at Houston. Offshore immediately knocked it down to 14½. Midweek it was 16½ at the Stardust. These teams meet three weeks from now in Indy and you could see a line of -20 or 21."

Indy covered again, keeping with the favorites’ win pattern.

Still USC, but...

Shifting to the college ranks, USC still rates as six points better than anyone. However, the gap is closing.

"Texas would be +6, but its power ranking has improved," Seba said. "I would put Virginia Tech next at +10 at least."

Not Duke again!

J.J. Reddick, the sharp-shooter those outside Durham love to hate, is back. That means another preseason No. 1 ranking for Duke and Coach K.

"Our top four college basketball teams at LVSC are Duke, Texas, Connecticut and Michigan State," Seba said.