2018 Emmy Awards: Is Donald Glover a Lock for Best Actor?

by Taylor Smith
on July 22, 2018

Minute Read

The nominees for the 2018 Emmy Awards were recently announced, and there is no shortage of household names in the mix for the coveted awards. While there are plenty of established actors and actresses among the nominees, there are also some fresh faces earning recognition for the first time.

Some major film stars have made their way from the big screen to the world of television, while others are more established on the small screen. There are even personalities from the world of music making the rare foray into TV.

Today, let’s roll through the list of nominated actors and actresses and try to pick the winners, shall we?

Best Actor, Comedy

  • Donald Glover, Atlanta -250
  • Bill Hader, Barry +160
  • Ted Danson, The Good Place +2500
  • Anthony Anderson, Blackish +4000
  • William H. Macy, Shameless +4000
  • Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm +5000

2017 brought us the return of Larry David’s acclaimed comedy, Curb Your Enthusiasm. The show had been on hiatus for a number of years, but David finally relented and brought the show back. David was his standard cringeworthy self in the returning season, but the Seinfeld co-creator is listed as quite the long shot here at +5000.

I’d give the Emmy to LD if I were in charge of these things, but I’m not. He’s been nominated for this award in the past without a victory. Unfortunately, it looks as though David will have to wait a little longer for that elusive Best Actor win.

Atlanta’s do-it-all star Donald Glover is the heavy betting favorite to take him the award at -250. Frankly, it’s hard to argue against him. This is one of a whopping 5 Emmy nominations this year for the actor/rapper, who was also nominated for writing and directing on the same series. He was additionally nominated for his hosting stint on Saturday Night Live.

Last year, Glover became the first African-American to win an Emmy for Best Director in a comedy series for his work on Atlanta. He also won the Emmy in this very category, and a repeat looks increasingly likely. There’s no value in taking him at -250, but it’s easily the safest bet on the board.

If you’re looking for some slight profit potential, look no further than Bill Hader. Hader enjoyed a strong first season as the lead role in HBO’s Barry, in which he plays a ruthless hired gun while also dabbling in an acting career. Barry struggles internally with the juggling act of trying to get out of the hitman game while also starting a normal life on the outside. The show was a raving success in its first season, so Hader could have some momentum here at +160. I like that as a flier.

Best Actress, Comedy

  • Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel -800
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, Blackish +325
  • Allison Janney, Mom +2000
  • Pamela Adlon, Better Things +4000
  • Issa Rae, Insecure +5000
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie +5000

Well, this one looks rather secured. Rachel Brosnahan checks in as a massive favorite to take home the Best Actress in a comedy series Emmy at -800 for her work in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She is phenomenal as a comedienne trying to make it in a stand-up comedy field dominated by men in 1950s New York City.

Brosnahan plays a housewife until her husband leaves her, which leads her into an unlikely career as a stand-up comic. Madness ensues.

This will be Tracee Ellis Ross’ third consecutive nomination for Best Actress in a comedy series for her role in ABC’s Blackish. She has yet to come up with a win at this point, and it’s looking as though the wait will continue with Brosnahan so heavily favored. There is plenty of value here at +325, but it looks like a risky wager. This looks like a category without much betting value. You aren’t betting on Brosnahan for -800 with the hopes of banking a huge haul.

Best Actor, Drama

  • Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us -350
  • Matthew Rhys, The Americans +350
  • Jeffrey Wright, Westworld +650
  • Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us +2000
  • Jason Bateman, Ozark +4000
  • Ed Harris, Westworld +5000

So here we have 2 actors from This Is Us and another 2 representing Westworld. This Is Us continues to be one of the more popular shows on network television, while Westworld just completed its second season on HBO.

Brown has picked up a couple of Emmy wins over the last couple of years. He won the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Role for his work as attorney Christopher Darden in the acclaimed The People vs. O.J. Simpson in 2016. Last year, he won this very award for his lead role in This Is Us. He’s also nominated this year for Outstanding Guest Actor for a cameo appearance in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Once again, this is his award to lose.

The Americans has largely been snubbed by the Emmys throughout its run, but it is finally getting some recognition as the series comes to a close. If the voters are tired of giving the award to Brown, Rhys makes plenty of sense here as a value option at +350.

The Westworld actors are fringe options that may wind up canceling each other out. If you want safety, go with Brown. If you’re in the market for a little profit potential along with some risk, Rhys makes for an excellent play, too. I’ll go with the long shot and take Rhys here.

Best Actress, Drama

  • Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale -600
  • Sandra Oh, Killing Eve +325
  • Claire Foy, The Crown +2500
  • Keri Russell, The Americans +3000
  • Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black +4000
  • Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld +4500

The Best Actress categories are looking pretty straightforward at this point. While Brosnahan looks like a near lock to take home the comedy version, the same can be said for Mad Men veteran Elisabeth Moss for her work in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Like Brown, Moss will be looking to take home this award for the second year running. Last year, she beat out plenty of her fellow nominees from this year, including Evan Rachel Wood, Claire Foy and Keri Russell.

Speaking of Russell, you’d think her odds would be a little better than +3000 considering she is the driving force in The Americans. She is clearly the primary protagonist, and she deserves consideration for the stellar job she’s done for the duration of the series. If you want a value punt, she’s your best option here.

Killing Eve isn’t a show that garners a whole lot of attention, but Sandra Oh (of Grey’s Anatomy fame) may mount the strongest challenge to Moss’ bid for back-to-back wins. This is the sixth nomination for her, with the previous 5 coming for the aforementioned Grey’s Anatomy.

If not Russell, I think this one is pretty clearly going to be Moss once again.

Best Actor, Limited TV Series or TV Movie

  • Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace -375
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose +200
  • Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso +3000
  • Jesse Plemons, USS Callister +3500
  • John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar +4500
  • Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower +5000

This category is loaded with big names. You’ve seen the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Antonio Banderas and Jeff Daniels enjoy loads of success on the big screen. You’ve seen Jesse Plemons feature in a pair of mega-hit TV series, Breaking Bad and Friday Night Lights. And you know John Legend for his outstanding musical career.

Interestingly enough, the one name you may not know happens to be the favorite to win Best Actor in a Limited TV Series or TV Movie. Darren Criss checks in at -375 here for his role in FX’ The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Criss plays Andrew Cunanan, the man that murdered Versace during a serial killing spree in the late-1990s.

Most of Criss’ previous work came in the theater rather than in front of the camera. He is perhaps best known for his role as former Fox hit Glee, in which he played Blaine Anderson.

While Criss is favored, Cumberbatch isn’t too far behind for his lead role in Patrick Melrose. This is your safest profit option, though the risk is evident. John Legend has a shot at the elusive EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) if he wins here, which would be quite a story. He’s quite the long shot, though, so I’m not sure he’s worth the risk here at +4000.

Cumberbatch for value, Criss for safety.

Best Actress, Limited TV Series or TV Movie

  • Laura Dern, The Tale -700
  • Jessica Biel, The Sinner +325
  • Michelle Dockery, Godless +2500
  • Regina King, Seven Seconds +4000
  • Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult +4500
  • Edie Falco, The Menendez Murders +5000

Sarah Paulson is an excellent actress, but the latest season of American Horror Story was truly something to behold for its cringeworthiness. It’s good that she got nominated, as she did her usual fine job, but the fact that that season of AHS is potentially going to be rewarded in any way is a bit of a drag.

Anyway, once again we have a heavy favorite leading an actress category. Laura Dern, of Jurassic Park fame, is leading the way at -700 for her role as Jennifer Fox. The Tale premiered at the Sundance Film Festival before airing on HBO on May 26.

Interestingly enough, Dern won this award last year for the job she did in Big Little Lies. This is her seventh nomination overall, with last year’s win being her first.

Again, there isn’t much reason to break this one down given how obvious the result looks. Dern is a huge favorite, and with good reason, at -700.

The 2018 Emmy Awards will take place on September 17, and they will be hosted by Saturday Night Live tandem Michael Che and Colin Jost.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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