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It’s LI week or in layman’s terms this Sunday is Super Bowl 51. What is it with these Roman Numerals? Just say 51 and be done with it!

So we have the mighty Patriots with future Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady and future Hall of Fame head coach Bill “Hoodie” Belichick, who is making his 36th postseason game, which equals Don Shula and Tom Landry. Now that is some good company to be in as the Pats are making their record-breaking ninth Super Bowl game.

The betting line has stayed a very steady – Patriots -3 with the total 59, and we don’t see that number going anywhere. The money line will continue to drop as it should be -170 take back +150 but it is -150 take back +130, and it could go to -140. If so, that would be bargain basement odds, sort of like betting on Arrogate at 4-5.

The matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots looks a little like déjà vu – an instant replay of last year’s matchup between the offensive powerhouse Carolina Panthers and the top defensive team the Denver Broncos. We now get the top offensive team in the Falcons playing the top ranked scoring defensive team, the Patriots.

So do we expect sort of the same thing to happen? If we look back on history we say, why not; and if we look back on the past 50 Super Bowl games the best defense won 41. Now those are powerful numbers.

All we heard last year is how great the NFL’s MVP Cam “Superman” Newton was and how powerful Carolina’s offense was and the Broncos could not stop them. Well the mighty Panthers scored a whopping 10 points, losing to Denver by 14.

We do think there will be more scoring this year but the results should be the same with a very focused Tom Brady wanting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to hand him that Lombardi Trophy as he holds a football with no air in it.

Let’s take a look at a little more ammo for our selection. The Falcons will not be able to stop Brady as they ranked 25th in defense and that defense, which allowed 37 sacks during the season, will be hard pressed to stop the charging Pats’ big “D.”

We can also note that Mr. “Hoodie” has been a perfect 5-0 ATS vs. the Falcons, so who would you like coaching your team in a game like this, Dan Quinn or Bill Belichick?

As for this NFL MVP thing, there have been six QB’s since 2002 heading into the Super Bowl with that MVP trophy in hand, including Newton last year. All six have gone down the drain. Yep, all six down the drain, Matt Ryan will make it seven in a row.

So what about this total of 59? This is the highest SB total ever and if it does go OVER the books will need to bring in extra board clerks to pay off the winners.

As for the -3 points, well, it’s typical NFL. Just find the winner as the pointspread will seldom come into play. We do know those who like the Falcons will be taking them on the deflated money line at +130 or lower.

Those who like the Pats will get some real nice value on the money line at -150 or lower but if you like them just lay the 11-10 on the -3.

The odds say they cover, but oh my if SB 51 lands Pats 3, well the books will need to call in 50 extras to give all that money back. As for this bettor, who always loves a bargain, I will just wait it out and lay the Pats -140.

Don’t forget those teasers. A 7 point teaser that looks like a good thing is Pats +4/OVER 52. By the way, there has never been an OT in a Super Bowl, but take the 6-1 just in case.

Remember, it’s just another game and we hope you have a great time at home or at one of those big Super Bowl parties.

As Jeff McCloud said in “The Lusty Men”: “Hope’s a funny thing. You can have it even when there ain’t no reason for it.”

There’s still hoopla

March Madness is right around the corner and college hoops have gone nuts with teams getting beat by 40 and 50 points. Only the Zags from Gonzaga remain undefeated as they have little opposition in the very weak West Coast Conference. BYU or St. Mary’s are the only two teams that could have a chance beating them.

If they stay undefeated look for them to be a 1 seed. Now we will look for a winner this Thursday as we look to improve on our 1-1 Thursday record.

As we said, BYU looks to be a team that can play with the Zags and these two hook up this Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. The Zags take their perfect 21-0 record on the road to dangerous Provo to take on the Cougars, who should be getting around 7 points. BYU is one tough take down at Marriot Center, winning 76 of their last 86 games.

Look for BYU and its very loud fans to keep this one very close. BYU

Remember, hope is a funny thing. We hope everyone has a great and fun SB 51. Get out and play some props. You could just be walking around lucky and not even know it.

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GT’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Twitter: @SabesBet. Email: [email protected].

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