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August 21, 2014

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Chase for the Golden Nerf: Celebrity/Media NFL Picks Week 3

More fun, less twerking’ Terry Fator moves into a first-place tie

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

The 2013 Miss America Pageant contestants attend Terry Fator’s headliner show at The Mirage on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.

When it comes to the Chase for the Golden Nerf, in the past few years, Terry Fator has done more than his share of chasing.

“In the past, I was so bad, if you wanted to make a mint at the sports book, all you had to do was take my picks and bet the opposite,” said Fator, the multitalented singer, comedian and celebrity impressionist who stars nightly at the theater named for him at the Mirage and whose new DVD will be released in February.

This year, however, Fator finds the rest of the celebrity field doing the chasing. His 3-0 record last week vaulted him into a tie with Fox 5’s Jason Feinberg atop the contest with a 5-1 mark.

To what does Fator credit his early success? Watching more highlights? Studying statistics? Nope. His formula is much simpler.

“Two glasses of scotch, a blindfold and then I throw darts at the schedule. The embarrassing part — it’s working better than when I actually tried to analyze the picks,” he said.

Hey, don’t mess with success. Especially when you consider Fator’s history in the contest.

“For years, I have been relying on Winston the Impersonating Turtle for football advice, and you know turtles — their advice is to start slow and finish slower. This year I decided not to lull my opponents into a false sense of security and actually make good picks. It feels great to be 5-1, but it’s a long season,” he said.

Fator, a lifelong Cowboys fan, has sung the national anthem in AT&T Stadium — “the jumbotron is so huge, it makes me wonder if Jerry Jones is compensating for something” — and believes the Cowboys could have a big season.

“I was a little disappointed in Dallas losing to the Chiefs, but realistically, in a weak NFC East, we should go 10-6, make the playoffs, and with Tony and Dez, we have as good a chance as anyone not named Seattle, Green Bay or Denver,” he said. “I knew Seattle was going to be good, I just didn’t know how good. I think the biggest surprise to me is how bad Jacksonville is. One more loss and their stadium could be declared a federal disaster area.”

Speaking of potential disasters, Fator’s wife, Taylor, is a big Steelers fan. Pittsburgh’s slow start isn’t making things any easier in the Fator household.

“There is a little tension, especially after I picked the Steelers to lose last week,” Fator said. “But it’s all in fun, and Taylor told her mom all will be forgiven once she starts speaking to me again.”

Everything is great, however, with Fator’s career. He recently made a cameo on “America’s Got Talent,” the contest he won that launched him into Vegas superstardom.

“It was so much more relaxing compared to when I was competing,” Fator said of the appearance. “Although the judges are different, the feel and the vibe and the crew there made it seem like a homecoming.”

Nowadays, the Mirage is where Terry calls home. But he’s not resting on his past success by any means.

“We’re always adding something new to the show — new songs, new comedy bits and new celebrity impressions. Our slogan this year is 'more fun, less twerking,'” he said. “My favorite part of the show is getting to interact with the audience. I’m often asked which ‘cast member’ is my favorite, but that’s a tough one: I’d probably say Winston the Impersonating Turtle since, as he says, he won me ‘America’s Got Talent,’ but asking me which is my favorite is like asking me who I’d rather see the Cowboys beat 63-0: the Giants or the Eagles? There’s no wrong answer.

“There are so many great things going on. I have a new CD called ‘It Starts Tonight,’ and we just got the release date for the DVD of my show, 2/18/14, which means that within six months or so, we will have a totally new show on stage at the Mirage, a tour show that’s different from that and a DVD of the current show.”

One thing that won’t change: Fator honors active and former members of the military at every show.

“All of us who live in this country are so blessed to be able to live our lives knowing we are safe and secure … and it’s thanks to the brave men and women who defend us every single day. Years ago I made a promise that I would pay tribute to the true heroes among us in all my shows; I do that with a song I wrote with Pete Mitchell called ‘Heroes,’ by raising and donating money for veterans organizations and by having the veterans in our audience stand up every night so we can show them how much we care.”

That’s a gesture you can chalk up in the win column every time.

Sal’s picks (2-3-1):

Vikings -5 vs. Browns

Packers -2 at Bengals

Falcons +1.5 at Dolphins

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The media/celebrity picks:

Carrot Top, Luxor headliner (2-3-1)

Vikings -5 vs. Browns

Giants +2 at Panthers

Falcons +1.5 at Dolphins

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Terry Fator, Mirage headliner (5-1)

Seahawks -19.5 vs. Jaguars

Cowboys -4 vs. Rams

Redskins-Lions over 49

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Jason Feinberg, KVVU-TV morning personality (5-1)

Chargers-Titans over 44

Vikings -5 vs. Browns

Rams +4 at Cowboys

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Andrew Freeman, "Raiding the Rock Vault" performer at LVH (3-3)

Patriots -7 vs. Buccaneers

Jets -2.5 vs. Bills

Giants +2 at Panthers

•••

Carolyn Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas (2-4)

49ers -10.5 vs. Colts

Seahawks -19.5 vs. Jaguars

Broncos -14.5 vs. Raiders

•••

Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas ambassador (1-4-1)

Ravens +2.5 vs. Texans

Bengals +2 vs. Packers

Bears -2 at Steelers

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Kevin Janison, KVBC meteorologist (0-5-1)

Giants +2 at Panthers

Lions-Redskins under 49

Colts-49ers under 46

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John Katsilometes, The Kats Report (4-2)

Colts-49ers under 46

Jets -2.5 vs. Bills

Rams +4 at Cowboys

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Mark & Mercedes in the Morning, Mix 94.1 (2-3-1)

Vikings -5 vs. Browns

Patriots -7 vs. Buccaneers

Titans -3 vs. Chargers

•••

Frankie Moreno, Stratosphere headliner (2-2-2)

Giants +2 at Panthers

Falcons +1.5 at Dolphins

Vikings -5 vs. Browns

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Wayne Newton, "Mr. Las Vegas" (2-4)

Redskins -1.5 vs. Lions

Patriots -7 vs. Buccaneers

Cardinals +7.5 at Saints

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Donny Osmond, Flamingo Las Vegas headliner (2-3-1)

Giants +2 at Panthers

Broncos -14.5 vs. Raiders

Vikings -5 vs. Browns

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Carla Pellegrino, celebrity chef and owner of Bratalian (0-5-1)

Bears -2 at Steelers

Falcons +1.5 at Dolphins

Lions +1.5 at Redskins

•••

Marc Savard, comedy hypnotist at Planet Hollywood (3-2-1)

Vikings -5 vs. Browns

Texans -2.5 at Ravens

Falcons +1.5 at Dolphins

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Claire Sinclair, star of "Pin Up" at the Stratosphere (2-3-1)

Cowboys -4 vs. Rams

Redskins -1.5 vs. Lions

Patriots -7 vs. Buccaneers

•••

Dana White, UFC president (2-4)

Buccaneers +7 at Patriots

Giants +2 at Panthers

Colts +10.5 at 49ers

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