Odds-On Favorites Dominate 2012 Emmy Awards Betting

Television, the vehicle that has played a leading role in the rise of sports betting popularity, takes its own turn in the spotlight when Emmy Awards betting culminates with the handing out of statues at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Sept. 23. Odds-on favorites dominate six of the "super seven" main categories in this 64th edition of the hardware handout but like a TV cliffhanger season finale, plot twists are anything but uncommon and nothing is certain.

Let’s take a look at the seven main categories:

Best Drama

Mad Men, the first and only basic cable series to win the Drama Series Emmy Award in each of its first four seasons (2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011), opened as the 1/2 favorite in this category. If the reign of the 1960’s based ad agency drama is to come to an end, look for Homeland, the 3/1 second choice, to deliver the death blow. Like Mad Men, Homeland, which centers on a US intelligence officer’s pursuit of a traitorous American soldier, has received critical acclaim, nabbing the Golden Globe Award for top drama for its initial season. A win by any of the other dramas in the field, Breaking Bad, 10/1, Downtown Abbey, 16/1, Game of Thrones, 25/1, or Boardwalk Empire, 25/1, would be a monumental upset.

Best Actor in a Drama

Bryan Cranston, who took the top prize in this category three straight years (2008-2010) for his role in Breaking Bad, is an 8/11 favorite to get back on the winning track after Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) scored a surprise victory last season. Jon Hamm, Mad Men, makes his fifth consecutive appearance in this category but at odds of 9/2 still is seeking his first win. Damien Lewis, 11/2, could upset if Homeland has a big night. Hugh Bonneville, Downtown Abbey, 33/1, Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire, 33/1, and Michael C. Hall, Dexter, 50/1, look like little more than fillers in this strong field.

Best Actress in a Drama

According to the sportsbooks, no person has a better chance of hoisting the hardware on Emmy night than Claire Danes, the 1/20 favorite for her role as bipolar CIA officer Carrie Mathison in Homeland, a performance for which she won this year’s Golden Globe Award. Juliana Marguiles, The Good Wife, 8/1, and Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, 12/1, are the most logical contenders with Glenn Close, Damages, 25/1, Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law, 33/1, and Michelle Dockery, Downtown Abbey, 33/1, given almost no chance of reading their acceptance speeches.

Best Comedy

Bridge-jumpers—Emmy betting fans who are willing to risk a lot to win a little on what appears to be the closest thing to a betting certainty—will bet the ranch on Modern Family, the overwhelming 1/33 favorite (bet $33 to win $1). The show has won the last two Emmy statues in this category while collecting 31 nominations and 11 wins overall from the Emmy voters in the last three years. Curb Your Enthusiasm, from Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, is the 10/1 second choice, closely followed by The Big Bang Theory, 12/1. Girls, 20/1, 30 Rock, 25/1, and Veep, 25/1, offer appeal to longshot players.

Best Actor in a Comedy

Jim Parson, who has captured the last two Emmy Awards in this category for his role of Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, goes for the trifecta as the heavy 4/7 favorite. Louis C.K., the star of the eponymous Louie, is the respect-worthy 2/1 second choice in what appears to be a two-man race. Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 12/1, Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock, 25/1, Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men, 25/1, and Don Cheadle, House of Lies, 25/1, fill out the field.

Best Actress in a Comedy

You can’t blame Emmy Award betting fans if, after five straight categories featuring odds-on favorites, they appreciate the competitive balance and betting value in this field. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, one of the most decorated actresses in television history with 14 Emmy nominations, including two wins, opened as the slight 13/8 favorite for her role at Vice President Selina Meyer in Veep. At odds of 7/2, New Girl star Zooey Deschanel is the narrow second choice, closely followed by Parks and Recreation headliner Amy Poehler at 4/1. Lena Dunham, Girls, is held at odds of 14/1 with tube veterans and former Emmy Award winners Tina Fey, 30 Rock, Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, and Melissa McCarthy, Mike and Molly, each offered at 25/1.

Best Reality Show

With eight wins in nine years since the category of Outstanding Reality Competition Program was created in 2003, it’s no surprise that The Amazing Race opened as the 2/3 favorite to earn another Emmy accolade. The Voice is the 5/1 second choice with Top Chef, which interrupted The Amazing Race’s run in 2010, listed at odds of 9/1. So You Think You Can Dance checks in at 12/1 with Project Runway held at 33/1 and Dancing With the Stars the longshot in the field at 50/1. Notable by their absence are longtime primetime hits American Idol and Survivor.

With an estimated three billion television sets worldwide, this year’s Emmy Award betting certainly won’t lack for an audience.