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So we have the big black cats, the Carolina Panthers vs. the Denver Broncos – the old vs. the young.

You could have bet this matchup last week as the line was Carolina -2.5 but now we see it is sitting at -4 with a total of around 45. Personally, I thought it would be the Panthers  but the -4.5 is a much better number for the books to hang as they just hate 3’s.

Just a note looking at the past, 40 of the 49 previous Super Bowls were won by a team that had a top 10 defense and that trend will continue in Super Bowl 50. The Broncos have the No. 1 defense, which was on full display on Sunday vs. the Patriots who were completely overwhelmed.

The Panthers’ top 10 defense caused 7 turnovers this past Sunday on their way to routing the Arizona Cardinals and that blowout is the main reason the line is now -4.

Just watching that game, “rootin-tootin” Cam Newton so much reminded me of a young Terry Bradshaw. He is strong, durable, not afraid and very capable of anything on the field – and he can fire up his team.

But as we did see, both home teams this past Sunday had a huge home field advantage with the Denver stadium a sea of orange and the Panthers stadium just plain nuts!

If you have never been to a Super Bowl, well, let me give out some advice: You have it much better here in Vegas at one of the parties or even better, if you live here, just stay at home with those 50 yard line seats and the toilet very close by with no lines.

I actually went to a Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl when Bradshaw, Swann and his Steel Curtain derailed the then-Los Angeles Rams back in 1979. That was actually my second Super Bowl, first and last even though I did have a great time.

The good thing about this game is I will get an extra week to see what team I will be betting my dollars on, will they be on the Broncos defense or will they be on super Cam?

What a small world we live in! Last week’s article I wrote about a game when the Steelers played the Houston Oilers and in that game, I remember it like yesterday, there was a streaker. To this day I didn’t think anything about it till last week when a reader by the name of Paul Merriman emailed me bringing up the streaker who just happened to be his uncle who was a huge Steeler fan.

Without warning Larry Opperman leaped from the stands wearing two Terrible Towels over a bathing suit and it was zero that day. He twirled another towel over his head, then zig zagged his way downfield with the crowd just going crazy. Now those were the days!

Just a note – Larry’s nephew who sent me the email told us Larry was a former Marine who also ran for the State Legislature. Larry, who loved that part of his life, especially his big game moment, just passed away in Pittsburgh on Jan. 18. Thanks for the memories.

Now this is very important, the Buffalo Bills just hired the first full-time female assistant coach in Kathryn Smith. She will be their special teams quality control coach. What the heck is that?

Last year Smith worked as an administrative assistant for Rex Ryan. I knew when I was young I should have gotten into quality control.  George Costanza would be jealous.

Last week we started my one for Thursday selection in college hoops, it was not a good start but as always this is a different Thursday coming up. You never know, we could be walking around lucky this time. This selection, just to make things clear, is from a huge Notre Dame fan, Jim Long, an Irish lad who can knock them down with the best.

1 for Thursday

NOTRE DAME at Syracuse (ESPN 4 pm PT): In what should be a near pick’em game we will side with the Fighting Irish who have been looking forward to this matchup since losing to the Orange in South Bend last year, 65-60, as an 8.5 point chalk.


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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