Value Betting on the Emmy Awards 2019 - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

We’ll continue our look at the Emmy Awards acting nominations with the ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series’ category.  Unlike the previous category we looked at--’Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series’--this one has a sizable favorite.  While there’s a strong possibility that the favorite will win there are several scenarios in which she won’t meaning that the door is open for some good value on the other nominees.

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Looking at the ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series’ in the Emmy Awards betting odds at and it’s apparent that from a public perception standpoint it’s Sandra Oh and everyone else.  The Killing Eve actress is a whopping -700 to win the Emmy Award over a strong field.  Interestingly, Oh was nominated last year but lost to Claire Foy for The Crown.  In turn, Foy had been nominated the year before but didn’t win.  While the category isn’t quite as ‘evenly distributed’ as the ‘Best Drama Actor’ category there have been 7 different actresses to win the nine awards handed out since 2010. There hasn’t been a back to back winner for ‘Best Drama Actress’ since Claire Danes (Homeland) in 2012 and 2013.  That’s somewhat immaterial this year as The Crown is ineligible for the current awards.

In our introductory ‘Fundamentals of Value Betting on the Emmy Awards’ article we reviewed the nominating and voting process for the Emmy Awards and understanding how it works is crucial for successful handicapping.  The Emmys have each specialized group within the membership of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) nominate and vote on their own area of expertise.  In other words, actors vote for actors and that’s likely why this category has produced 7 different winners in the 9 awards held since 2019.  The ‘Best Drama Actor’ category has had 8 different winners in 9 years so there’s a strong tendency to ‘spread around’ the accolades.  This also means that a strong favorite won’t necessarily win as there are a number of occasions where a performer from a ‘smaller’ show has beaten the favorite.


The 8th and final season of Game of Thrones is the big favorite in the ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ category.  Starting with Season 5, every season of GOT has won the award and we think it’ll win again this year.   We discussed an important fact regarding GOT in our handicap of the ‘Best Drama Actor’ category and the same concept applies here. As excellent as Game of Thrones has been it’s not a series that has one clear cut ‘main actor/actress’.  This is why for all of the awards and critical acclaim the show has received it’s never received so much as a nomination in either ‘Best Lead Drama Actor/Actress’ category.

Game of Thrones is noted for it’s large ensemble cast and complex, interwoven plotlines.  In many ways, this is part of it’s unique appeal—the show was ever evolving and re-centering on a different character as the focal point of the narrative for a period of time.  This format has many advantages but establishing a strong lead acting role isn’t one of them.  This is one of the reasons why we weren’t optimistic about Kit Harrington‘s(‘Jon Snow’) chances to win the ‘Best Drama Actor’ award.  While the same acting dynamic applies to Emilia Clarke in this category the nature of her role does give her more of an opportunity.  As Daenerys Targaryen, Clarke spent much of her on screen time interacting with dragons.  This was exceptionally difficult to film—it is done in front of a ‘green screen’ but Clarke does a remarkable job making it work.  From a technical acting standpoint, Clarke has a much higher ‘degree of difficulty’ than the other nominees and that works in her favor.


Looking at the list of nominees at you’ll notice that Sandra Oh isn’t the only nominee from Killing Eve.  Jodie Comer is also nominated and appears to have a fair amount of support in her own right.  Keep in mind that she had to ‘win’ the nomination nod from the same group of peers that will be voting on the final award.  There’s always a chance that the two Killing Eve nominations could ‘split the voting’ allowing Game of Thrones’ Emelia Clarke to take the win and cash a nice underdog ticket in the process.


This article courtesty of BetOnline

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