A Montgomery County man cashed in big in Las Vegas yesterday on the NFL, but he wasn't wagering against the casino bookmakers.

Joe Vance of Gilbertsville won $25,000, beating out nine other players in the Fantasy Football Championship sponsored by Fanduel.com. Among the portals through which Fanduel offers fantasy games is Philly.com.

Vance, the 33-year-old father of a 14-week-old daughter, advanced to the championship round held at the Palazzo casino resort as one of 10 weekly winners in the fantasy sweepstakes contest. The finalists drafted teams consisting of eight players and one defense, while staying within a salary cap, for Sunday's schedule of games.

Vance's squad was led by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 39 yards against San Francisco.

"Rodgers was definitely the difference-maker today," said Vance, who works for an auto-glass company. "I was surprised no one else had him."

A Northampton County, Pa., man took second for $10,000 and a Cleveland man won $5,000 for third.

Fat middle hits. Injuries had NFL point spreads in flux this week, and one presented a dream scenario for bettors, but few capitalized.

The Bears started the wagering cycle as 3- to 31/2 -point favorites against Detroit, but when it became clear that Lions quarterback Shaun Hill would miss the game with a finger injury, the line inched up to 51/2 points by kickoff.

With Drew Stanton at QB for Detroit, the Lions hung tough and Chicago squeezed by with a 24-20 win.

For bettors, that four-point margin could have been a sweet middle if they took the favorite with the short points early and wagered an equal amount on the underdog with the larger number later. In such a case, the bettor risks losing just the commission on the losing wager but has a chance of winning both sides - which is what happened.

"Luckily for us, we didn't take a whole lot of Bears money early," said Todd Fuhrman, sports analyst for Caesars Palace.

Contact Bill Ordine at wordine@aol.com.