Betting on the 2018 Emmy Awards – Latest Odds and My Top Picks

By Noah Davis
Published on August 06, 2018
Emmy Award's Logo and Money

Hollywood hopes to honor the very best in television come September 17th, when the 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards arrive at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.

Depending on who you ask, the Emmys haven鈥檛 always gotten it right.

For every television show that got overlooked (Seinfeld) or acting performances that weren鈥檛 acknowledged (Andrew Lincoln), both old and new, there is a hot take waiting to point them out.

The good news is that the Emmys do still pay homage to some of the best entertainment on TV, and whether you agree with the ultimate winner in each category, it鈥檚 hard to argue that the victors aren鈥檛 at least deserving.

Another wrinkle in the process is the fact that you can bet on who wins what awards.

That complicates things a bit, as you are quickly less concerned as to which shows and actors get burned and more interested in how the winners impact your wallet.

Fortunately, like most award shows, the end result is relatively mapped out. There can still be some upsets to consider, but the top entertainment betting sites hand out massive odds to the favorites.

This certainly limits the appeal of Emmy sleepers and high-upside wagers, while at the same time limiting the interest and profit in wagering on the likely winners.

Still, the Emmys are fun to talk about, you鈥檙e going to watch them, and you probably want to know how you should bet.

I don鈥檛 pretend to have all of the answers, but based on the latest Emmys odds and the whispers surrounding the event, I certainly have my favorite Emmy Awards picks for 2018.

Let鈥檚 dive in with a look at each major category and its respective odds over at

All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from on 8/2/2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

Best Actor – Comedy

I鈥檒l get things started off with the best actor in a comedy series, and after winning in 2017, Atlanta鈥檚 own Donald Glover is the heavy favorite to repeat.

Donald Glover-300
Bill Hader+190
Ted Danson+1600
Anthony Anderson+3300
Larry David+5000
William H. Macy+5000

It鈥檚 awfully hard to go against Glover. He was the easy favorite to win last year (and did), while what he鈥檚 doing with Atlanta is both fresh and hilarious.

That being said, if you are looking for 2018 Emmys sleepers, look no further than the underrated Bill Hader. Hader鈥檚 dark and sharp turn in Barry hasn鈥檛 gone unnoticed, and it鈥檚 a versatile role capable of pulling off the upset.

I don鈥檛 like any of the longshots here, but Larry David never getting recognized for his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm is a bit of a slap in the face. In fact, he returned after a six-year hiatus and arguably delivered his best and most relevant season yet.

Hader is a solid pivot, and David is fun to root for, but this is Glover鈥檚 award to lose.

PICKDonald Glover-300

Best Actor – Drama

On a more serious note, we move along to the best acting performance by a leading male in a drama series.

Sterling K. Brown is shooting for a repeat just like Glover, as he continued to be exceptional in season two of This Is Us.

Top entertainment betting sites like hand him solid -160 odds as the leading favorite.

Sterling K. Brown-160
Matthew Rhys+160
Milo Ventimiglia+1200
Jeffrey Wright+1400
Ed Harris+2200
Jason Bateman+3300

I am always game for eyeing an upset, but I鈥檓 not digging any here.

Jason Bateman is criminally undervalued here at +3300 (he was awesome in Ozark), but he never dug quite as deep as Brown, and it may require a second killer season from him and his show to really wow the critics.

I think there is an argument that Milo Ventimiglia is the more powerful presence than Brown on his own show, but he鈥檚 also propped up by the writing and his role.

The only other option here, realistically, is Matthew Rhys for his role in The Americans.

That show and his performance have never been appropriately graded by the Emmys, but I don鈥檛 know if I鈥檇 expect that to suddenly stop now.

There has been a new best actor winner in this category every year since Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) won his third in a row back in 2010. Unfortunately, the lineup isn鈥檛 that intimidating, so Brown should get a second straight nod here.

PICKSterling K. Brown-160

Best Actor – Limited Series/Movie

There were some pretty powerful limited series and movies released over the past year, and Darren Criss leads the way for best actor for his gripping performance in The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

Darren Criss-200
Benedict Cumberbatch+180
Antonio Banderas+1200
John Legend+1200
Jesse Plemons+3500
Jeff Daniels+4000

I鈥檓 not sure if Criss is the favorite because of how well he acted or just how intense his series was. Either way, it does feel like some pretty iconic stars are being overlooked here.

Jeff Daniels comes in with the worst odds despite crushing it in The Looming Tower, while Antonio Banderas was surprisingly fantastic (I always felt he was loudly overrated) in Genius.

If anyone is stopping Criss, though, it has to be Benedict Cumberbatch for his work in Patrick Melrose.

I think you can consider other options here, but Riz Ahmed was an explosive newcomer last year in The Night Of, and I think Criss looks like a lock to follow a similar path.

PICKDarren Criss-200

Best Actress – Comedy

Heading over to the female side of acting, you can place a wager on which comedic talent is named best actress in a comedy series.

Rachel Brosnahan was previously best known for a small role in House of Cards, but she really blew up with smash hit The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Needless to say, she is a huge favorite to take home this award.

Rachel Brosnahan-600
Tracee Ellis Ross+700
Lily Tomlin+1100
Allison Janney+1400
Issa Rae+2800
Pamela Adlon+2800

Based on all of the reviews and Emmy reporting online, this one looks like a slam dunk.

Allison Janney is a titan of the industry and has solid +1400 odds, though, while Tracee Ellis Ross has always been great in Black-ish.

These are distant longshots that really don鈥檛 seem to stand a chance, however.

PICKRachel Brosnahan-600

Best Actress – Drama

If it feels like the 2018 Emmy Awards are in danger of providing little suspense, it鈥檚 because they probably are.

That鈥檚 why I鈥檓 doing my best to offer a few sleeper options here and there, but for the most part, the smart money resides with the favorites.

That鈥檚 the case for best actress in a drama, too.

Elisabeth Moss has been rather fierce in The Handmaid鈥檚 Tale, a powerful series that really put Hulu on the map and is honestly one of the best shows around.

There鈥檚 not much competition here, as Moss comes in with -225 odds.

Elisabeth Moss-225
Claire Foy+400
Sandra Oh+600
Keri Russell+700
Evan Rachel Wood+2800
Tatiana Maslany+4000

While Moss is the heavy favorite here, I do like a few other bets.

Keri Russell was always fantastic on The Americans, while you will not find a more versatile talent than Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) in this group.

Personally, I鈥檇 probably vote for Maslany every year. However, her show did kind of sputter out near the end, and she鈥檚 won once before.

Evan Rachel Wood would also be a fun sleeper to target. She carries nice odds and has been awesome in Westworld.

Vegas like Claire Foy as the best Emmys upset pick, but even though she鈥檚 been great in The Crown, I鈥檓 just not seeing it.

Ultimately, I don鈥檛 mind a few fun fliers on the bottom three here, but I simply doubt Moss loses this one.

PICKElisabeth Moss-225

Best Actress – Limited Series/Movie

A strong recurring role on a long-running series is always impressive, but a daring performance in a limited series or movie can really leave a lasting mark.

I鈥檇 say Laura Dern (-400) did that in The Tale. She鈥檚 coming off a big win last year in Big Little Lies, and she just might ride that momentum in another win in a different category this year.

Laura Dern-400
Regina King+450
Jessica Biel+800
Michelle Dockery+1500
Edie Falco+4000
Sarah Paulson+4000

Dern is the heavy favorite here, and I don鈥檛 think it pays to go against her. If you plan on doing that, however, I鈥檇 aim high with Edie Falco.

Falco is best known for the starring role in Nurse Jackie, but she was also sharp in Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.

I doubt Falco wins, but she鈥檚 won four Emmy Awards for her acting in the past, and that鈥檇 be one fun upset given the odds. Still, Dern has been crushing it over the past couple of years and is favored for a reason.

PICKLaura Dern-400

Best Comedy

I have yet to truly pick an Emmys upset just because I don鈥檛 really see any viable threats in most of the important categories.

This one might be wide open.

Atlanta understandably pulls into the lead with Veep (winner the last three years) not in the running, but this is actually a stacked category.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel+160
Curb Your Enthusiasm+3300
Silicon Valley+5000
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt+5000

Donald Glover leads a witty story in Atlanta, but the odds seem jacked up here. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been widely applauded, while Barry has also been a huge hit for HBO.

Curb Your Enthusiasm made a triumphant return last year, too, while Silicon Valley, Black-ish, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are three shows that have drawn rave reviews yet have never taken home best comedy.

GLOW is even a realistic threat, with former Community alum Alison Brie headlining a fun and action-packed story most wouldn鈥檛 have ever thought to write.

I think Atlanta makes sense as the favorite, but the next two options are very real threats. I鈥檓 going to go out on a limb here and roll with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which I think is a real threat to snag a bunch of awards.

PICKThe Marvelous Mrs. Maisel +160

Best Drama

It鈥檚 back to the chalk bettors should probably go, as The Handmaid鈥檚 Tale is arguably the best show on television or streaming right now.

The Handmaid鈥檚 Tale stole the show last year after being heavily favored, and the Elizabeth Moss engine will once again enter the Emmys in the lead.

The Handmaid鈥檚 Tale-350
Game of Thrones+300
The Americans+1200
Stranger Things+4000
The Crown+4000
This Is Us+4000

This is actually a loaded class, as Game of Thrones is probably the most engrossing show on TV these days and certainly has the staying power with two wins in 2015 and 2016.

That鈥檚 easily the biggest threat here, but it鈥檚 worth wondering if shows like The Americans or Stranger Things will finally get their due.

This Is Us is a longshot, but if you鈥檙e talking sheer heat string impact, nothing beats it.

If you want safety, The Handmaid鈥檚 Tale will do the trick here. However, Game of Thrones absolutely rivals this show, and after winning two straight before 2017, it鈥檚 possible the Emmys send it off with one more big win.

PICKGame of Thrones+300

Best Limited Series

This category enters with a landslide favorite, as The Assassination of Gianni Versace was extremely well done from top to bottom and figures to be this year鈥檚 The Night Of.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace-1500
Patrick Melrose+1200
Genius: Picasso+1800
The Alienist+2000

Godless has the next best shot here, but this is hands-down The Assassination of Gianni Versace鈥檚 Emmy to lose.

PICKThe Assassination of Gianni Versace-1500

Best Reality Competition Program

I will admit that I do not watch every show listed here, but most of the shows in this category are pretty entertaining.

RuPaul鈥檚 Drag Race seems to take the cake as the heady favorite, while The Voice looks like its toughest competitor.

RuPaul鈥檚 Drag Race-450
The Voice+500
The Amazing Race+1000
American Ninja Warrior+2000
Project Runway+2000
Top Chef+2000

The Amazing Race and Top Chef are recurring classics in this category, as they鈥檝e both won multiple times in the past. Given their history and solid production, they aren鈥檛 terrible fliers at +1000 and +2000.

I鈥檇 be very interested in The Voice as well, seeing as this is quite arguably the best singing competition show of all time, and it鈥檚 stood strong with wins in each of the last three years.

RuPaul鈥檚 Drag Race is just now a top contender in its 10th season, so while it looks like the safe play based on odds, I鈥檓 aiming a little higher here.

PICKThe Voice+500

Best Supporting Actor – Drama

It鈥檚 on to the top supporting actors in various categories, and I鈥檒l start that off with Jim Hopper himself, as David Harbour leads the way for best supporting actor in a drama series.

I鈥檓 a bit shocked he鈥檚 the clear favorite, seeing as Stranger Things doesn鈥檛 seem to be a serious contender for any other Emmys.

Harbour plays a very likable hero, but I鈥檓 not sure he really deserves the nod here. In fact, he鈥檚 facing quite a stacked lineup of worthy candidates.

David Harbour-200
Peter Dinklage+200
Joseph Fiennes+1000
Matt Smith+1100
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau+4000
Mandy Patinkin+5000

Peter Dinklage not only is a worthwhile value bet at +200, but he also has won twice in the past.

He鈥檇 be my pick if you鈥檙e going for a GoT alum (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau鈥檚 character isn鈥檛 quite as impressive), while Joseph Fiennes plays a crucial role in the popular The Handmaid鈥檚 Tale.

Dinklage looks like the main threat here, but Stranger Things needs to get acknowledged somehow at the Emmys. I think it鈥檚 with a win for best supporting actor in this spot.

PICKDavid Harbour-200

Best Supporting Actor – Comedy

It seems that with every bit role Henry Winkler plays, he鈥檚 constantly stealing scenes.

Whether it鈥檚 as an incompetent lawyer in Arrested Development, as a doctor in Parks and Recreation, or as an acting coach in Barry, he just keeps getting better and better.

He is not as big of a favorite as I鈥檇 peg him to be, but he鈥檚 certainly deserving and even offers a little betting value at -170.

Henry Winkler-170
Tony Shalhoub+400
Brian Tyree Henry+600
Tituss Burgess+750
Alec Baldwin+1000
Kenan Thompson+4000
Louie Anderson+5000

This is admittedly a very tough lineup for Winkler to contend with.

Louie Anderson has made embarrassing himself an art and is the most fun dark horse possibly ever at +5000, Kenan Thompson continues to be vastly underrated, and Alec Baldwin is an icon still throwing punches.

It鈥檚 a pretty stacked group, but Tony Shalhoub at +400 looks to be the prime threat. I think Winkler deserves this nod, and he should probably get it.

Barry was too good to not get a win, and if you鈥檙e not betting on the show or Bill Hader, this is the wager you need to make.

PICKHenry Winkler-170

Best Supporting Actor – Limited Series/Movie

Jeff Daniels has developed into such a great actor that his footprint is felt all over the 2018 Emmy Awards.

He鈥檚 nominated for his part in The Looming Tower, but he enters this category as the clear favorite.

Jeff Daniels-650
Edgar Ramirez+400
Brandon Victor Dixon+2000
Finn Wittrock+3300
Michael Stuhlbarg+3300
Ricky Martin+3300
John Leguizamo +4000

I don鈥檛 think anyone here really has a case to unseat Daniels from the top spot. Ramirez has the next best odds, but the argument for these other candidates comes up pretty frail.

If anything, I鈥檇 swing for the fences and roll the dice on John Leguizamo at +4000. He was never properly honored for his impressive work on Bloodline, while he was fantastic in Waco.

A longshot flier bet isn鈥檛 a terrible try here, but Daniels looks like a lock.

PICKJeff Daniels-650

Best Supporting Actress – Drama

On the other side, Ann Dowd has a narrow edge for best supporting actress. Of all the tight Emmys categories this year, this is probably the toughest call.

Dowd was another big reason for The Handmaid鈥檚 Tale being so successful, and she absolutely deserves the nomination.

The good news is that she is a pretty profitable favorite, but she does face a tough group.

Ann Dowd+110
Yvonne Strahovski+175
Thandie Newton+350
Lena Headey+2000
Vanessa Kirby+2000
Alexis Bledel+2800
Millie Bobby Brown+5000

Thandie Newton, Lena Headey, and Alexis Bledel all stand out here. The top threat still figures to be Yvonne Strahovski, who also has a fighting chance as a member of The Handmaid鈥檚 Tale.

I think just because Vegas doesn鈥檛 seem sure about this one, you can roll the dice a bit. However, I鈥檓 all for a little bit of awkwardness, so let鈥檚 hear it for Strahovski scoring the upset win over her co-worker.

PICKYvonne Strahovski+175

Best Supporting Actress – Comedy

Kate McKinnon is a rising star in the world of comedy. You can check her out in hit comedy movies like Ghostbusters or The Spy Who Dumped Me, but she鈥檚 getting the nod here for her many hilarious roles on Saturday Night Live.

Kate McKinnon-105
Alex Borstein+180
Laurie Metcalf+400
Megan Mullally+2500
Betty Gilpin+2800
Leslie Jones+3300
Aidy Bryant+4000
Zazie Beetz+4000

This is a big, competitive list. I certainly like McKinnon as the favorite (especially with a cool -105 price), but you do have to consider some alternative bets just because she isn鈥檛 a heavy favorite.

Alex Borstein deserves a look for her role in the adored The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, while Laurie Metcalf (who was severely overlooked in Getting On) didn鈥檛 miss a beat in the reboot of Roseanne.

I鈥檓 going to aim a bit higher here and go with a classic character, as Megan Mullally has always been a fun one to watch on Will & Grace.

She鈥檚 won two times before for this role, and I would not at all be shocked to see her get the upset win. Her odds at +2500 are too attractive to pass up.

PICKMegan Mullally+2500

Best Supporting Actress – Limited Series/Movie

If you thought we were done with The Assassination of Gianni Versace, think again.

Obviously, the critics loved this limited series, and it had as much to do with the tense acting as it did with the real harrowing story.

Penelope Cruz hands in yet another strong performance from this limited series, and she鈥檚 favored to take home the award for best supporting actress.

Penelope Cruz-150
Judith Light+250
Merritt Wever+350
Sara Bareilles+1200
Letitia Wright+3300
Adina Porter+5000

I probably wouldn鈥檛 go against Cruz here, especially since -150 is a nice price for a sizable favorite.

That being said, Judith Light was also great in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, and Letitia Wright (+3300) is worth a flier for her role in a Black Mirror episode.

I still think this is Cruz鈥檚 award to lose, and the value is nice.

PICKPenelope Cruz-150

Best Variety Sketch Series

There are a few nominations for Saturday Night Live to consider along the way if you plan on betting on the Emmys, and one is obviously for best variety sketch series.

SNL is one of the most storied television programs in history, and to this day, it stands as the best original sketch series.

Unsurprisingly, it enters the 2018 Emmys as a near-lock at -1400 at and other novelty betting sites.

Saturday Night Live-1400
At Home with Amy Sedaris+1600
I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman+1600
Drunk History+2000
Tracey Ullman鈥檚 Show+2500

While SNL is the easy call here, there鈥檚 absolutely no value in throwing down any amount of cash on a -1400 price tag. Instead, I love Portlandia as a high-value pivot (+1400), and Drunk History isn鈥檛 the worst gamble at +2000.

SNL is going to win this one, but I鈥檒l roll with Portlandia, just because the series is over, and Fred Armisen created such a clever world to latch onto.

It鈥檇 also be pretty funny to see a former SNL cast member break off and go win this very category on his own doing.


Best Television Movie

You rarely jump for joy for movies made for television release, but there were actually some pretty well-done feature films in 2017.

Even at the very bottom, Al Pacino鈥檚 Paterno was well received and looks to be a threat in this category.

Black Mirror: USS Callister-350
The Tale+200
Fahrenheit 451+3300

While I鈥檇 consider a flier bet or two here, the movie that really excites me is The Tale at +200. Black Mirror: USS Callister leads the way, but Laura Dern drives a very thought-provoking story about how we recount our own lives.

I鈥檒l freely admit that Black Mirror: USS Callister is the safer play, but at -350, I don鈥檛 see the point. Consider aiming a bit higher with The Tale.

PICKThe Tale+200

Best Variety Talk Series

Lastly, we come to the best variety talk series. If you don鈥檛 stay up late at night or want to hear a lot about politics, this category just isn鈥檛 for you.

Everyone starts sounding the same after a while, but the most watchable 鈥渃omedy news鈥?show is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Unsurprisingly, it鈥檚 the heavy favorite going into the 2018 Emmy Awards.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver-400
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert+325
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee+650
Jimmy Kimmel Live+4000
The Late Late Show with James Corden+4500
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah+5000

You could really pitch an argument for almost every show here, but John Oliver has taken each of the last two wins in this category.

It鈥檚 only been around since 2015, and The Daily Show won the first time, but I can鈥檛 go away from the clear favorite here.

If you need a sneaky favorite, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert makes sense at +325, and while I鈥檓 not a big fan of Trevor Noah, a win at +5000 is quite the fun flier bet.

PICKLast Week Tonight with John Oliver-400


I will be the first to tell you that I have not watched every single show or movie that鈥檚 nominated for an Emmy this year. I don鈥檛 even know who would have the time for that.

I鈥檝e watched and read up on most of them, though, and I think there are two major takeaways: most of the favorites will probably win, but the tighter categories feel wide open.

Even in some cases with seemingly heavy favorites, I do think it could pay to take a shot on an underdog.

The Emmys aren鈥檛 just about winning cash, though. They鈥檙e about fun and a lot of hard-working talent getting the credit they deserve.

Of course, if you can nail some picks and win big along the way, why not?

Betting on the 2018 Emmy Awards - Latest Odds and My Top Picks
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Betting on the 2018 Emmy Awards - Latest Odds and My Top Picks
Here we preview the 2018 Emmy Awards with a look at the latest odds, favorites, sleepers, and more. Check out our free picks here.
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