Matt Lessinger’s 2018 Grammy Awards Predictions (Gambling)
Gambling on the Grammys this year? It’s not an exaggeration to say no one in the world has picked more Grammy winners for profit over the past five years than my dear friend — Matt Lessinger. Here are his latest thoughts on this year’s nominees:
Note: I’m posting this (unedited) write-up, which was just received from Grammy-betting guru Matt Lessinger. I will update the page with more info as I receive it.
READ PREVIOUS LESSINGER GRAMMY PICKS/WRITE-UPS HERE:
Sorry for the super late write-up. In the interest of time, this will be shorter than past write-ups. The Grammy Awards are tonight. Let’s make some money.
As has been the case in recent years, I can find odds only on the four major betting categories. Here is my take on each of those categories:
BEST NEW ARTIST: Alessia Cara is the -200 favorite, and she seems like the logical choice, and the line seems about right. If the line was closer to even money, I would make a play on her, but at -200 I’ll pass.
No bet in this category.
RECORD OF THE YEAR (RotY): Despacito is the -250 favorite, and again seems like the logical choice. The song was already an international hit, then they added Justin Bieber to the English language version of the song and it became the most listened to pop song in any calendar year ever. That makes it hard to beat. Kendrick Lamar is the +240 second choice with Humble. I personally like the song, but I wouldn’t touch that from a betting perspective. Bruno Mars is the +650 third choice with 24k Magic. I would like to get better odds than +650, but I think there’s a chance that Bruno Mars sweeps the major categories. He is historically a favorite of Grammy voters, and his throwback style aligns perfectly with what has seemed to be their preference in years past.
Small play: 24k Magic for Record of the Year at +650 or better.
SONG OF THE YEAR (SotY): The -150 favorite in this category is 1-800-273-8255. Yes, that is the title of the song. It is also the number for the suicide prevention hotline. It was a collaboration song done by a number of artists, and it’s obviously a heavier song than the average nominee. If song of the year was truly being given to the best written song, then probably this song deserves to win. However, in many years, there seems to be little separation between RotY and SotY. Very often the artist who wins one also wins the other. For that reason, it’s hard to justify a collaboration song being the favorite. Despacito is the +200 second choice, and if it wins RotY as it will likely do, then it’s chances for SotY go up substantially. Bruno Mars is nominated again as the +375 third choice, but for That’s What I Like — a different song than his RotY nominee. I don’t think the same artist has ever won RotY and SotY in the same year for different songs, but if anyone might do it, he’s got a shot. Since I view the odds on the favorite as too low, I think there’s value in the other two likely winners.
Small play: Despacito for Song of the Year at +200 or better.
Small play: That’s What I Like for Song of the Year at +375 or better.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR (AotY): THIS is where we take our shot. Kendrick Lamar is the -300 favorite with DAMN. Yes, that is the title of his album. There is no question that is a turnoff to some of the more traditional Grammy voters. He is a hip-hop artist. NO hip-hop artist can EVER be made a -300 favorite in AotY, until the Grammy voters show some inclination to vote for one. In the history of the Grammys, your only AotY hip-hop winners are Lauryn Hill and Outkast. As Tony Kornheiser would say, “That’s it! That’s the list!” This has FADE written all over it. I personally like Kendrick Lamar. His album is fantastic, it’s received plenty of critical acclaim, and yet I would make it +200 AT BEST. So while I recognize that there’s about a 33 percent chance that he will win, I maintain that a bet on anyone else is +EV.
Let’s spread the money around a little bit. 24K Magic by Bruno Mars is +300 on Bovada, but I managed to find it at +460 on a rogue site, so I went balls to the wall at that price. I would still make a large play at +300. I cannot reiterate enough that Grammy voters stick with what they like. He is a Grammy favorite, to the point that he beat Michael Jackson for Best Male Vocalist the year that Michael Jackson died! That’s basically their way of saying that they have found a new king of pop. Bruno Mars is everything that Grammy voters like. He is my best bet of the night.
Having said that, there are arguments to be made for every other nominee as well. Lorde is the +700 third choice. She is the only female nominee, which carries a lot of weight in the “year of the woman.” Her album has received plenty of critical acclaim, and it would not be any sort of surprise if she were to win. I will be placing a decent bet on her as well.
The fourth choice is Jay-Z at +1200. He fits the “Lifetime Achievement Award” angle, although that almost always goes to old white males. Nevertheless, we are at the point in time where hip-hop artists can have a body of work that dates back 20 years as his does, so even though no one would realistically make the case that his album was the best album of the year, he could win from that angle. As a side note, it would be an unbelievable slap in the face to Beyonce if Jay-Z wins AotY when she was repeatedly nominated and never won. I’ll make a small hedge play on him to protect my other two wagers.
The longest shot is Childish Gambino at +1500. He fits the “lucky to be nominated” angle, which wins a shocking amount of the time. Most recently, four years ago, I would have told you that Daft Punk was lucky just to be nominated, and sure enough they won as the longest shot on the board. In 2010 Arcade Fire was lucky to be nominated, and I bet them from that angle and collected at 8-1. But I gotta draw the line somewhere! This would just be an upset of biblical proportions and I have to take a stand at some point, so no bet on CG. Instead, my action is as follows:
BEST BET: Bruno Mars to win Album of the Year at +300 or better.
Medium play: Lorde to win Album of the Year at +700 or better.
Small play: Jay-Z to win Album of the Year at +1400 or better.
Good luck to everyone this year, and especially to Bruno!