Could Bob Odenkirk (‘Better Call Saul’) pull off Emmy upset over Jon Hamm (‘Mad Men’)?

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While 12 of our 13 Emmy Experts think Best Drama Actor is a slam dunk for Jon Hamm (“Mad Men“), Entertainment Weekly‘s Lynette Rice is convinced that the trophy will instead go to Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul“). Hmm, could Rice be onto something here? (See her complete Emmy predictions.) After all, no “Mad Men” actor has ever won an Emmy despite 34 previous nominations. Could that be the nail in the coffin for frontrunner Hamm?

Click here to see updated list of all 2015 Emmy episode submissions

In addition to Rice, Odenkirk also has the support of five of our Top 24 Users — those who did the best at predicting last year’s Emmy Awards out of thousands of readers. They are: Chris Tsang (who was in fifth place last year), Lance Austria (14th place), Charles Bright (15th place), Surpriselover (17th place) and Rodman (33rd place). See current odds and rankings from our Top 24 Users.

Also in Odenkirk’s favor: he won Best Drama Actor at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards in June while the show was just named Best New Program of the Year by the Television Critics Assn. And, don’t forget, “Better Call Saul” comes from the same creative minds — Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould — that earned “Breaking Bad” a whopping nine acting Emmys: four for Bryan Cranston, three for Aaron Paul and a pair for Anna Gunn.

Before Cranston took home his first trophy in 2008, many pundits had dismissed this one-time sitcom star (“Malcolm in the Middle”). His new show was small and played on a basic cable channel. He wasn’t as well-known as some of his rival Emmy nominees, including fellow freshman contenders Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) as well as the returning Hugh Laurie (“House”). But Cranston prevailed thanks, in no small part, because of his socko Emmy episode submission, the pilot.

Like Cranston before him, Odenkirk has submitted a stand-out episode to Emmy judges (“Pimento”) in which his character Jimmy/Saul has an emotional blow-up with his loving brother, played by Michael McKean. We chatted with the actor before nominations came out and he revealed why he wanted to make this his Emmy submission. “It’s not even a challenging question. The ninth episode of the show, where Jimmy realizes that his brother has [turned on him],” he revealed. “It took the most to do and the most out of me, and I’m very proud of the work that I did.” Watch our entire webchat below.

Gold Derby’s combined predictions overwhelmingly favor Hamm to win the Drama Actor race with odds of 3/10. However, if the “Mad Men” Emmy curse continues for this show’s final hurrah, we can expect Odenkirk (8/1 odds) to claim victory. Rounding out the Best Drama Actor category are Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) in third place at 16/1, Kyle Chandler (“Bloodline”) in fourth at 20/1, and Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”) and Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) tied for fifth with odds of 100/1.

Experts Emmy predictions: All 32 categories

Make your own Emmys picks now to the right or at the bottom of this post. You could win one of our three prizes ($500, $300 and $200 Amazon gift certificates) as well as a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys line-up).

Meet the guy who won our contest to predict the Emmys last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar.

Last year, our Experts had an accuracy rate of 58.62% when it came to predicting the Emmy winners. That score tied them with both Gold Derby’s Editors and the Top 24 Users (those two dozen folks who did the best at predicting last year’s Emmys). Our Users scored  51.72% (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.) Which group will be victorious this year?

As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it’s important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.

Photo: Bob Odenkirk, Jon Hamm. Credit: AMC/courtesy Everett Collection/REX

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