Value Betting on the 2019 Emmy Awards: Outstanding Comedy Series

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

We’ve covered the Emmy Awards for ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ along with the ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Actress’.  In this article, we’ll now move over to the Emmy Award nominations for the ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ category.  In subsequent articles we’ll also hit the two major Comedy Series acting awards.  

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Looking at the ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ in the Emmy Awards betting odds at along with the ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Actress’ category there is a decent sized favorite in all three.   In the ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ three time winner Veep is a -375 favorite.  Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a -1000 favorite in the ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series’ category.  In the ‘Comedy Actor’ category it’s Barry star Bill Hader at -900.  Not surprisingly with such high priced favorites in each category all three offer great value underneath.  For that reason, we’ll try to ‘beat the favorite’ in all of them.

In our introductory ‘Fundamentals of Value Betting on the Emmy Awards’ article we reviewed the nominating and voting process for the Emmy Awards.  This process is in large part why playing underdogs is much more viable with the Emmy Awards than with the Oscars.  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, sound men vote for sound men, lighting directors vote for lightning directors, etc.  Most importantly for our purposes here, actors vote for actors in the relevant categories.

The exception to the above voting process is in the ‘Best Series’ categories such as the one we’re dealing with here.  The top genre awards like ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ and ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ follow a process that includes a significantly larger voting base.  All 24,000 members of ATAS vote to select both the nominees and award winner in these categories.  Voting members watch six episodes submitted by the producers of each show via a secure online platform.  They also vote online and at some point they’re supposed to verify that they’ve actually watched the content.  Not sure how strict ATAS is about making sure that voters have watched what they’re voting on but they do make an effort.


As we noted at the outset of this article, the favorite in the ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ is Veep at -375.  Veep won the award in a ‘three-peat’ in 2015, 2016 and 2017.  It was not eligible for the 2018 award which was won by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  So now that Veep is eligible again the voters will reflexively give it the award in this category?  Not quite, for several reasons.  In the past few decades, three ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ awards have been the ‘glass ceiling’ for most shows.  Only four shows have won more than three awards in this category—Frasier and Modern Family each won five times, All in the Family and Cheers each won four times.  Not sure that the ATAS voters are ready to put Veep on the same level as All in the Family or Cheers.

Another thing that suggests Veep might be ‘voted out’ this year—there is considerable precedent for a show hitting the aforementioned ‘glass ceiling’ long before it goes off the air.  Frasier won five times but never won again despite airing for three more seasons.  30 Rock won three consecutive awards and never won again though the show continued for four more seasons.  Modern Family also won five straight awards but after giving up the crown to Veep in 2015 never won again though it ran for three more seasons.

If anything, a show winning another award after it finishes a consecutive run is the exception and not the rule throughout the history of the Emmys.  There have been 16 shows that have won multiple ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ awards.  10 of those series won all of their Emmy Awards consecutively—and never won again.  Veep ended their consecutive streak in 2017 so depending on what happens during the rest of the series run they could end up being #11.  Of the shows that won three or more awards only two did so non-consecutively but this hasn’t happened for 28 years since Cheers did it in 1991.


Looking at the list of ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ nominees at there are three series that could potentially win this category at ‘plus money’.  Fleabag has an outside chance and is highly regarded but the show is only in it’s second season and this is a first time nomination.  The two series that we’ll focus on are last year’s winner The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel at +400 and Barry at +500.  There are a number of industry experts that suggest this race is a ‘toss up’ between the top three shows and if that’s even close to being true we’re getting great value on two of them.



- This article courtesy of BetOnline

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