Opening ‘Weak’

Sep 12, 2006 5:32 AM

The books more than survived Week 1, thanks to the dogs and the Manning Bowl going ”˜under’ 48.

"We had a small profit, an OK day," said Eric St. Clair, race and sports operations director at both the Rampart and Cannery. "It was certainly a good day for most of the underdogs."

No doubt, 9-4-1 heading to the two Monday night games justify St. Clair’s feeling. Whether that’s a foreshadowing of years past when the dogs would gain nearly 60 percent of the covers is really a bit premature to judge.

"I don’t think the books tried to adjust the lines so that bettors would be inclined to take the dogs," St. Clair said. "Each individual book can make a line as it sees fit. The line can change depending on how the money comes in."

Week 1 surprises to St. Clair were the rise of Atlanta’s Falcons and fall of the Denver Broncos. The team of greatest intrigue: New Orleans.

"Seeing the Saints favored on the road this week against Green Bay definitely catches your eye," St. Clair said. "Hey, the Saints favored over anyone on the road is a surprise."

If you’re looking for an early Week 2 winner, St. Clair suggests the Jets as a strong home underdog against New England.

"To me, the Patriots are giving up a lot to the Jets if (Chad) Pennington is throwing like he used to," he said. "If that’s the case, it will be tough for the Pats to cover the number (5½) on the road."

And, there’s still 16 weeks of the regular season left!

Lions +8 at Bears (32): Chicago handed Green Bay its first shutout in the Favre era last week. Kitna and Lions managed 6 against Seattle. UNDER.

Redskins +6 at Cowboys: Parcells would like nothing better than to get the best of Gibbs. He has T.O. and Gibbs has QB problems. COWBOYS.

Chiefs +10 at Broncos: Denver facing must-win game with Patriots coming up next week in New England. An 0-3 start is unacceptable. BRONCOS.

Saints -1½ at Packers: Reggie Bush has the Saints think 2-0 start. So do the Packers. What a great early story this would be. SAINTS.

Titans +10½ at Chargers: Tennessee could be the worst team in the AFC. San Diego has the horses to make this a runaway. CHARGERS.