Cute challenges luck, knowledge

Oct 22, 2002 5:46 AM

   Carol Lucan, my former boss at Computer Sports World, brought the “cute factor” to new heights in the National Football League.

   Lucan, a protégé of famed Las Vegas oddsmaker Roxy Roxborough, rode her admiration for Detroit QB Joey Harrington to victory in her first round matchup against Las Vegas Sports Consultants oddsmaker Cesar Robaina in the Stardust Invitational.

   The Lions won in overtime as a 3-point underdog, 23-20. No word on the value of “cute” or how many players fit in that category.

   GamingToday contributing writers Andy Iskoe and Roland Beech will probably study cute trends the rest of the year.

   “How do you beat it,” Robaina said of Lucan’s philosophy. “I didn’t feel as strong about the games this week. You know, sometimes you get this bad feeling about games. I hoped I was wrong, but I didn’t do well. The show was fun and I wish her all the luck.”

   Luck and good fortune was definitely with the house, which enjoyed a banner weekend both in college and the pros.

   “From all I heard, the house pretty much was successful everywhere,” Robaina said. “Other than Buffalo winning, the pros pretty much went the way we thought. I think Notre Dame was a nice result for the house.”

   Indeed.

   Air Force was bet up from 1½ to 3 points against Notre Dame in a battle of unbeatens witnessed by a national prime time audience Saturday night. The Irish won 21-14 in an entertaining game that really wasn't as close as the final score.

   The house closed strong, gaining outright winners behind underdogs Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Texas and South Florida, in addition to Notre Dame.

   Bettors did have their moments. Heavy late money on Tulane moved the favored Green Wave from 3½ to 6 against UAB. Birmingham was blitzed 35-14. However, even the late money went to the house.

   Especially frustrating was Houston climbing late from 14 to 16 points at the Las Vegas Hilton. The Cougars beat Army 56-42.

   Our vote for the Pepto Game of the Weak was Michigan-Purdue. The missed extra point, two blown field goals and a late Boilermakers TD resulted in the Wolverines

blowing the cover as a 3½ point road favorite in a 23-21 win.

   But the wise-guys know all too well that backing Michigan on the road has long been a losing proposition.