Eagles fans had company yesterday - at least some Las Vegas bookmakers also were rooting for the Birds.

Despite San Francisco's having to make a cross-country trip after a Monday night game, the 49ers were a "fashionable" pick, in one bookmaker's words.

The Eagles started as a nine-point favorite earlier in the week and slid to as low as 61/2 to 71/2 points, a reflection of the both the pro bettors and the public putting their cash on the Niners.

Jay Rood, who runs the race and sports books for MGM Mirage casinos in Vegas, offered that the 49ers' ground attack in a Monday night win over Arizona (189 rushing yards) may have influenced the wagering.

"If you can run the ball, that nine points looks pretty attractive," Rood said.

Sure enough, the 49ers' Frank Gore gained 107 yards, but that couldn't offset four San Francisco turnovers as the Eagles won and covered, 27-13.

Overall, it was a quieter-than-usual Sunday in Las Vegas, according to Jay Kornegay, vice president for sports and race book operations at the Las Vegas Hilton.

For starters, casual bettors are less likely to be active just before the holidays, and this year, several wagering favorites - Indianapolis, Dallas, and New Orleans - played before Sunday.

"That means we're pretty much left with the sharp money," Kornegay said, referring to pro bettors.

Sports books got off to a good start when Atlanta, a six-point underdog with no playoff hope, upset the Jets, 10-7. But the books got nicked when the Patriots-Bills game fell right on the final seven-point line.

New England beat Buffalo, 17-10, but the line started at 71/2, setting up a so-called side.

In such a case, bettors could have the Bills taking 71/2 points and then grab the Patriots giving seven. As a result, the bettor's risk is minimal - the "vigorish" or commission on one of the bets - while the upside potential is huge. If the favorite wins by seven, which happened in that game, the bettor collects on one wager and ties on the other.

Contact staff writer Bill Ordine

at 215-854-2939 or wordine@aol.com.