ACM Awards predictions: Maren Morris will end Miranda Lambert’s winning streak for Album of the Year

Maren Morris (“Hero”) will win Album of the Year at the 2017 ACM Awards according to our predictions. She gets leading odds of 8/11. “Hero” is Morris’s major label debut, and it already earned her a CMA nomination for Album of the Year and a Grammy bid for Best Country Album. She’s one of the most recognized artists this year with six ACM noms overall and if she wins this contest that alone would net her two victories as both artist and producer of her critically acclaimed breakthrough album.

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These racetrack odds are based on the combined predictions of Gold Derby’s Editors who cover awards year-round, our Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s ACM winners, our All-Star Top 24 who got the highest scores when you combine ACM predictions from the last two years, and all Users who represent our largest and often savviest predictions group.

Morris has a significant lead in our predictions. Three of our four Editors are betting on her: Chris Beachum, Marcus James Dixon and Paul Sheehan. She’s also backed by 21 of our Top 24 Users, 18 of our All-Star Top 24, and more than 120 of our regular Users, far more than are predicting any of her rivals.

However, Morris is up against an artist who has won this award for her last four albums in a row: Miranda Lambert, who ranks second with 3/1 odds. I’m the sole Editor predicting her to win for “The Weight of These Wings,” but she’s also favored by three of our Top 24 and four All-Stars. This is her fifth nomination in this category after winning for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (2008), “Revolution” (2010), “Four the Record” (2012) and “Platinum” (2015). And like Morris she has six nominations this year, indicating strong support from the academy.

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But Keith Urban has even stronger ACM support this year with seven nominations, more than any other artist. His album “Ripcord” ranks third in our predictions with odds of 5/1. None of our Editors or Top 24 Users forecast his victory, but two of our All-Stars expect him to win. This is only Urban’s second nomination in this category even though “Ripcord” is his ninth album, but the last time he contended in this race he won — for “Be Here” in 2005.

None of our Editors, Top 24 or All-Star Users are predicting the remaining nominees in the category, Dierks Bentley (“Black”) and Florida Georgia Line (“Dig Your Roots”), who are tied in fourth place with odds of 7/1. This is the third nomination in this category for Bentley following bids for “Up on the Ridge” (2011) and “Riser” (2015), though he has yet to win. Florida Georgia Line previously competed in this category once before, for “Here’s to the Good Times” (2014); they are also without a win.

Make your ACM predictions now; change them till April 2

Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts as often as you like before winners are announced on April 2.  Just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Our racetrack odds change as you make your predictions, just as they do when you bet on the Emmys, Oscars and more. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the ACM race in our music forum.

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