It’s awards season! The Golden Globes came and went with a few surprises (and a stellar job from host Ricky Gervais), and the Grammys are up next. There’s swirling controversy around the awards show after the National Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization that puts on the Grammys, suspended their new CEO, Deborah Dugan, for misconduct. Interestingly, Dugan has since shot back with allegations of her own.
Although I doubt that the hubbub around Dugan will have any effect on who wins what award, it’s going to be in the back of everyone’s minds as the show goes on. I’ll be taking a look at three of the most prominent awards: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year to give you my take on the race for each award. All odds come from William Hill, and they’re current as of publication.
Album of the Year
Nominees and Odds
|When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?||Billie Eilish||-200|
|Cuz I Love You||Lizzo||+400|
|Thank U, Next||Ariana Grande||+550|
|Norman F***ing Rockwell!||Lana Del Rey||+550|
|I, I||Bon Iver||+2500|
|Father of the Bride||Vampire Weekend||+3300|
|7||Lil Nas X||+4000|
|I Used To Know Her||H.E.R.||+5000|
Suggested Pick: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (-200)
Last year, some sportsbooks missed on Album of the Year, but that was in a year without a clear winner. That’s because the favorite to win Best Record and Best Song, “This is America,” was released as a single. As a result, the Album of the Year race turned into a close to a tossup between Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Computer” (+300), Kacey Musgrave’s “Golden Hour” (+350), Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy” (+400), and Drake’s “Scorpion” (+400), and Musgraves ended up the winner. William Hill is pretty confident this year, however, and Billie Eilish’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” is a heavy favorite. Also, betting trends show that Eilish has only become more of a favorite over time.
While these odds aren’t very profitable, it should be a safe bet. Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” just hasn’t received the same hype among critics that Eilish’s album has gotten, and Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” lacks the energy that Eilish brings to the table. That said, the critical acclaim that Grande’s album has received warrants considerably better odds than +475. The album ranked first in top-50 charts by both Rolling Stone and Billboard, so its long odds could give you a nice return on investment if you can stomach the risk. Other folks, like the Los Angeles Times’ Mikael Wood, project Lana Del Rey’s “Norman F***cking Rockwell!” as the wildcard option. The album features an array of real instruments, and the academy has been sympathetic to those in the past. I’m still taking Eilish with confidence here, however.
Record of the Year
Nominees and Odds
|Old Town Road||Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus||+100|
|Bad Guy||Billie Eilish||+130|
|7 Rings||Ariana Grande||+800|
|Sunflower||Post Malone & Swae Lee||+1600|
|Hey, Ma||Bon Iver||+4000|
Suggested Pick: Old Town Road (+100)
The Grammy for Record of the Year rewards the production and mixing behind a song, not its lyrics, and the mix of Lil Nas X’s hit that featured Billy Ray Cyrus was certainly a banger. The song dominated the Billboard Hot 100 last year, and it broke the record for the most consecutive chart-topping weeks at 19. That was three more than the two songs now tied for second place, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” and Daddy Yankee and Justin Beiber’s “Despacito.” Although “Old Town Road” was eventually unseated by Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” — the song with the second-best odds to win — don’t sleep on Nas’ record-setting performance. That said, the Grammys robbed both “One Sweet Day” and “Despacito” of Record of the Year when they got nominated for the award, so popularity doesn’t guarantee success.
Although “Bad Guy” poses some tough competition, it’d be silly to take Eilish over Nas with the odds where they are now. You should also consider locking in “Old Town Road” with “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go” as a two-way parlay.
Song of the Year
Nominees and Odds
|Bad Guy||Billie Eilish||+175|
|Someone You Loved||Lewis Capaldi||+400|
|Always Remember Us This Way||Lady Gaga||+2000|
|Norman F***ing Rockwell||Lana Del Rey||+2000|
|Bring My Flowers Now||Tanya Tucker||+5000|
Suggested Pick: Bad Guy (+175)
Unlike Record of the Year, Song of the Year rewards songwriting. That’s not good news for Lizzo and “Truth Hurts,” as the singer has dealt with accusations of plagiarism, and she was even forced to extend songwriting credit to British performer Mina Lioness. It’s an ugly situation, and because of it, I’m surprised to see “Truth Hurts” sharing the best odds at William Hill. BetOnline has “Bad Guy” as their favorite, and the song currently has +155 odds to +183 for “Truth Hurts.” Still, neither sportsbook seems that confident in their favorites, reminiscent of last year’s race for Album of the Year.
Lizzo and Eilish appear locked in a two-way race for this award, but William Hill sees Taylor Swift and Lewis Capaldi as close enough competition to keep their odds under +500. BetOnline has those tracks at +350 and +450, respectively, so those two tracks are interesting high-reward options. However, it’s probably not a good sign that neither Swift nor Capaldi got nominated for Album of the Year. In the past decade, Song of the Year winners came from Album of the Year nominees with only two exceptions: once when Childish Gambino released “This Is America” without an accompanying album, and once when Lorde won it for “Royals.” As a result, “Bad Guy” seems like the best bet to end up with the Grammy.