Every Tuesday during the NFL regular season, Dave Tuley of ViewfromVegas.com will provide an update on the Hilton SuperContest.
Don't look back, Pagermager, someone might be gaining on you.
And that someone is former leader Sans Souci.
Pagermager entered Week 14 of the prestigious Hilton SuperContest (in which a record 517 entrants ponied up the $1,500 entry fee this year to compete for the $310,200 first-place prize) with a four-game lead with four weeks to play, but he posted a 2-3 week, while Sans Souci went 4-1 to cut the lead in half.
Both SuperContestants won when the Houston Texans scored on a T.J. Yates-to-Kevin Walter touchdown pass with :02 remaining to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-19 as a 3-point underdog, but Pagermager's only other winner was the Arizona Cardinals, who also scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to pull out a 21-19 upset of the San Francisco 49ers as a 3.5-point dog.
Late-game drama didn't go Pagermager's way, however, with his pick on the Panthers plus-2.5 versus the Atlanta Falcons (Carolina squandered a 23-7 halftime lead and still looked like it might cover the spread 24-23, until Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones on a 75-yard touchdown pass to ice the game, 31-23). He also lost on the Dallas Cowboys minus-3.5 versus the New York Giants (Dallas blew a 12-point lead in the final three minutes of a 37-34 loss). Pagermager's other loss was ugly, with the Kansas City Chiefs plus-9 getting blown out 37-10 by the New York Jets.
That opened the door for Sans Souci, who won Sunday with the Chicago Bears plus-3.5 versus the Denver Broncos (probably cheering for anything but a Tim Tebow scramble for a TD in overtime) and the San Diego Chargers minus-7 versus the Buffalo Bills. Then Sans Souci moved within two games of the lead with the Seattle Seahawks minus-7.5 versus the St. Louis Rams on Monday night.
Despite a rare losing week, Pagermager still remains an incredible 48-18-4 (72.7 percent) against the Hilton spread for 50 contest points, as wins are worth one point and pushes are worth a half-point. Sans Souci is 46-20-4 (69.7 percent) for 48 points. They are the only two SuperContestants still above the 67 percent mark needed for the $10,000 bonus.
Prior to Week 14, the front man for the four-player team that makes up the Sans Souci entry emailed me to say, "We are still going to win the whole thing no problem!" (Sans Souci means without worries in French.) Pagermager, who hasn't yet made himself available for interviews, did leave me a voicemail, saying he would consent to an interview this Thursday or Friday.
Week 15 also starts the $10,000 early-bird minicontest for the best record over the final three weeks of the season. Open only to those who registered by 5 p.m. on Labor Day, it's a nice bonus for those who are out of contention for the big bucks.
Where the money is going in Week 15
Even though the official contest lines don't come out until Wednesday, the Hilton posts its openers around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, so we can usually see what the wiseguys have been betting early and project what the popular trends will be for the coming weekend.