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How to Bet on the Sports Emmy Awards

by Scott Kacsmar
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The Sports Emmy Awards have been held annually since 1979 to honor the best in sports television coverage from the previous year. The 45th Sports Emmy Awards are coming soon on May 21, 2024. 

There are dozens of awards handed out each year, including awards for programming, best sports TV personalities (analysts and play-by-play people), and technical awards (camera work, editing, graphic design, sound, etc.).

A top-rated sportsbook like BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review to learn more) will offer some betting markets for the Sports Emmy Awards. We have included examples of those markets and our tips on how to bet on the Sports Emmy Awards below.

Best Documentary Series

Get used to this phrase: American football is king at the Sports Emmy Awards. The Emmys have always been an American-based award show for American television, and the sports coverage is no different in that regard.

That means the NFL is king and usually dominates with the most nominations and wins at the Sports Emmy Awards.

When you look at Best Documentary Series, the nominees and winners are often steeped in very popular American leagues such as the NFL and NBA. Last year’s winner of this award was the Hulu series Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers. The year before that, it was Tom Brady’s The Man in the Arena from ESPN+ that won Best Documentary Series.

When you look at the nominees this year, a couple of NFL-related shows have some of the best odds, including the favorite Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets (-200 at BetOnline). It was hardly the best season of Hard Knocks, and it didn’t come close to recreating the magic of the 2010 season when HBO followed Rex Ryan’s team. This one had the hype for Aaron Rodgers, which lasted way longer than his actual season did.

But the Netflix series Quarterback (+500) is also a leading candidate, and frankly, that was a better show as it followed the 2022 seasons for Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins and Marcus Mariota. They got lucky that Cousins played in so many thrilling games and Mahomes won the MVP and Super Bowl, but it was a very good show.

Safe to say an NFL show should win this award. Quarterback should be more deserving and has good value with its odds. If you want to take on a good underdog with a real shot, this would be the choice to make instead of Hard Knocks.

Best Event Analyst

This award goes to the best analyst for calling live games. Historically, it has been dominated by NFL game analysts as Cris Collinsworth and John Madden both have 16 wins. The only person with more is Bob Costas (28). This is overall wins, though Costas has been a play-by-play, and Collinsworth and Madden both were event analysts.

For the 2024 odds, 3 of the top 4 are NFL game analysts (odds via BetOnline):

  • Greg Olsen, FOX Sports (+150)
  • Cris Collinsworth, NBC (+260)
  • Bill Raftery, FOX Sports (+550)
  • Troy Aikman, ESPN (+550)

Greg Olsen did excellent work for FOX on NFL coverage, which is why many are annoyed that Tom Brady signed a $375 million contract to replace him despite Brady having no experience in calling games.

Let’s add “Emmy-winning analyst who lost his job for Tom Brady” to Olsen’s resume with a win here as the best bet in this category.

Best Live Series

Remember, football is king. Check out the odds on this market for Best Live Series from BetOnline:

  • Manningcast (-140)
  • Sunday Night Football (+350)
  • Monday Night Football (+420)
  • FOX College Football (+700)
  • FOX NFL (+700)

That is all football. The Manningcast won this award for its 1st season in 2022, and last year, Peyton Manning won the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

The show is well received, and Season 3 was arguably its best yet as the brothers had some real gems to cover in Aaron Rodgers getting injured after 4 snaps in Week 1, and the epic Chiefs-Eagles game in November.

We will back the Manningcast here.

Best Live Special

This award goes to big events with live coverage like a Super Bowl or coverage of The Masters or PGA Championship.

But for the past year, is there any denying Super Bowl LVIII between the Chiefs and 49ers is going to win this award? It is the favorite at BetOnline with -150 odds, leading The Masters from CBS (+325) and the World Series on FOX (+500).

The game had a fantastic, walk-off finish in overtime, the 2nd Super Bowl to go to overtime. It was nothing but scoring drive after scoring drive in the 4th quarter and overtime.

That’s an easy chalk pick this year with how much football is already at an advantage at the Sports Emmy Awards.

Best Long Documentary

This award is for long-form documentary films. Kelce from Amazon Prime Video is a heavy favorite with -200 odds at BetOnline, and it is deserving of that praise.

Kelce chronicles the 2022 season for Jason Kelce, the center of the Philadelphia Eagles. He ended up facing brother Travis and the Chiefs in that game, and we get a personal look into the family and that special game.

It is a very well-done documentary for what Jason thought might be his final season. He ended up returning for the 2023 season.

The Kelce family is on top of the world right now with brother Travis’ relationship with Taylor Swift. That’s not in the documentary since it was from 2022, but this should be yet another award this family can claim when the Sports Emmy Awards name the Best Long Documentary.

Best Sideline Reporter

This award is for the top sideline reporter during live games. CBS’ Tracy Wolfson is a veteran and has the best odds at BetOnline with even money. Trailing her are CBS’ Tom Rinaldi (+280), ESPN’s Holly Rowe (+380), FOX’s Erin Andrews (+600) and NBC’s Kaylee Hartung (+600).

It would appear that Wolfson is a 5-time Sports Emmy nominee, but she has yet to win any awards. After covering an epic AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl for CBS, it looks like she is due for a win here.

There has been a push for more women being recognized in these categories, and while they often have good representation as sideline reporters, honoring one of the best with her first Emmy seems like a logical bet.

Best Studio Analyst

This award goes to the best in-studio analyst, so that means the people who work at ESPN often have an edge as the premier 24/7 sports coverage network.

ESPN’s Mina Kimes has the best odds at BetOnline (-120), leading TNT’s Charles Barkley (+240), ESPN’s Ryan Clark (+380), CBS’ Nate Burleson (+520) and ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit (+650).

Barkley is hilarious and a national treasure, but his analysis is usually not the reason you watch him and the guys at TNT for NBA coverage. You watch him to laugh and be entertained.

For an award like this, actual analysis should be rewarded. Kimes should win the award for going against the archetype of being an ex-player who now wears suits and yells on TV to get their point across.

George Wensel Award Winner

Finally, this Sports Emmy Award is actually for Technical Achievement. It is named in honor after George Wensel, a sports production and engineering legend who helped make watching sports on TV a much better experience.

At BetOnline, we see the tightest award race by the odds of them all at the Sports Emmy Awards this year:

  • Manningcast (+150)
  • Toy Story Funday Football (+175)
  • The Masters (+400)
  • Thursday Night Football (+550)
  • MLB Home Run Derby 2023 (+650)

This looks like a 2-horse race. We talked about the excellence of the Manningcast earlier, but from a technical standpoint, they don’t always hit the mark. Sometimes Eli’s audio cuts out or a guest can’t get their sound working properly. The interviews also can distract from big moments in the game. It’s a fun watch but maybe not the best to award for production value.

However, the Toy Story NFL coverage was very innovative and cool. They did it for a game overseas between the Jaguars and Falcons early on a Sunday morning, so that wasn’t the greatest way to do it. But it was done live and only with a few hiccups.

They get huge points for creativity and offering a fun viewing experience for all ages. Let’s go with the Toy Story Funday Football for another winner with better than even odds at the Sports Emmy Awards.

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Scott Kacsmar
NFL football picks are Scott Kacsmar's expertise, serving as his main focus. He has contributed to various sports websites and blogs, such as NBC Sports, ESPN Insider, FiveThirtyEight, and, JoeWager. Originating from Pittsburgh, Scott maintains a love-hate connection with the Pirates.

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