Charge!

September 10, 2002 10:32 AM
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   Parlays normally benefit the house in football but if Week 1 of the NFL is any indication, teasers are the way to go.

   "I play teasers mostly now," said Wayne Braddock the race and sports manager at Eldorado Casino in Henderson. "When the bookies are making spreads this good, bettors have a great chance to win by playing teasers."

   Opening week in the NFL usually means "under" totals, with defenses figuring to be ahead of the offense. Not so this year. In fact, this was the highest scoring first week on average in NFL history (nearly 50 pts per contest).

   Of the 14 games played Sunday, 13 exceeded the total on most mega-teaser cards and all but one team (Detroit) covered the added point spread.

   "Actually I'm not surprised by the scoring," Braddock said. "With (Steve) Spurrier coming into the league, I thought it might change the outlook. I figured his offensive-minded nature would affect the thinking of other coaches."

   The biggest action at Eldorado was the Jets-Bills encounter, which New York won in overtime on Chad Morton's second touchdown kickoff return of the game.

   "A lot of cheers went up after that run," Braddock said. "The overtime touchdown wiped out a possible push or loss."

   Over at Harrah's, the results were similar. The handle was heavy and the bettors did well on the whole.

   "If good numbers were up, like there were this week, then the teasers will fall in line," said Jack Frost, race and sports director at Harrah's on the Strip. "I would figure the totals are going to be adjusted this week and that they will be a few points higher than normal."

   Frost had thought the turnout might be a little slow due to the upcoming anniversary of the tragic events from Sept. 11, but that wasn't the case.

   "We were very busy, particularly during the Rams-Broncos game," Frost said. "Most of the money was on the Rams, so I guess we did all right on that one. But overall, I would have to say it was a 50-50 day. The public did a great job."

   In college football, there were several dramatic line shifts that went well for the house.

   The two best involved Middle Tennessee St-Tennessee and Wyoming-Central Michigan, each creating attractive "middle" plays for bettors.

   Tennessee opened as a 27-point favorite, but was bet down to 22 in some locales. The Vols won 26-3.

   Wyoming started out as a 2½-point choice, but wound up a three-point underdog. Central Michigan won, 32-20.

   The Kansas-UNLV also drew a bit of attention, mostly toward the visiting Jayhawks. Kansas went off as a 14½-point underdog and wound up gaining a "back-door" cover, scoring a late touchdown in a 31-20 loss.

   "We had more tickets on Kansas," Braddock said." The public is pretty smart."

MAJOR MOVES

NCAA

Team    Open   Close Score

NC St.   -21   -17    65-19

Mich St.               -23.5  -31   27-10

Tx Tech -16.5   -21    24-14

Wyoming   -2.5   +3.5   20-32

Tenn     -27   -22    26-3

NFL

Team    Open   Close Score

CIN       -1.5   -3      6-31

CLE       -2.5   -1      39-40

DAL      -7   -9.5   10-19