Is the spell broken?
After a four-week HBomb winning streak that vaulted SI.com gambling expert Frankie Taddeo to the top of the leaderboard, he came crashing back to earth after placing his confidence in the Jets, who were a 7-point underdog to the Dolphins.
That loss, along with a win by SI.com's Bill Enright that moved him into second place, placed him with only a one game lead. Enright, AllCardinals deputy editor Mason Kern and AllCardinals scout-in-residence Marc Lillibridge all dropped the bomb on the Rams and had a direct hit thanks to the 49ers victory.
Joe Roderick also had a win when the Jaguars covered the 6.5 points against the Browns. Unfortunately, AllCardinals publisher Howard Balzer and staff writer Alex Weiner crashed like Taddeo thanks to the Bears’ pathetic effort against the Packers.
The standings heading to Week 13 have Taddeo at 9-3, Enright and Kern at 8-4, Balzer, Lillibridge and Roderick at 7-4-1 and Weiner at 6-5-1. Taddeo also leads in direct hits with six, while Enright, Kern and Roderick have four, followed by Balzer and Lillibridge with three and Weiner with two.
The overall record for the underdogs is now 33-28-2 with 12 direct hits.
Week 13 has a bounty of possibilities. After three straight weeks with only four eligible games of 6.5 points or more, this week has eight, including four games with double-digit favorites: Kansas City 13.5 over Denver; Miami 11.5 over Cincinnati; Seattle 10.5 over the N.Y. Giants; Minnesota 10 over Jacksonville; Las Vegas on the road 9 over the N.Y. Jets; Green Bay 8.5 over Philadelphia; Baltimore 7.5 over Dallas; and Pittsburgh 7 over Washington.
That last game is the most popular pick by our panel with Taddeo, Balzer, Weiner and Roderick dropping the bomb on the undefeated Steelers. Enright jumped back on the Jets train to cover, while Kern likes the Jaguars and Lillibridge the Broncos — probably because they will play this week with a quarterback that has actually thrown a pass in a NFL game.