Daytime Emmy predictions: Maurice Benard (‘GH’) is the Best Actor frontrunner with 5-to-2 odds

Maurice Benard (“General Hospital”) is the frontrunner to win Best Actor according to our Daytime Emmy predictions. He gets leading 5/2 odds. Benard has played mob boss Sonny Corinthos on the ABC soap continuously since 1993 and has earned seven nominations for his performance: one for Best Supporting Actor (1997) and six for Best Actor (1996, 2003-2004, 2006, 2011-2012). But he has only won once (2003), so if our odds hold true this would be his first trip to the podium in 14 years.

Sign up to get Gold Derby’s free newsletter with experts’ latest predictions and breaking news

These official odds are based on the combined predictions of Gold Derby Editors who cover awards year-round, the Top 24 Users who did the best at their Daytime Emmy nomination picks last year, the All-Star Top 24 who got the highest scores when you combine the last two years’ Daytime Emmy nominations, and all Users, who are our largest and often savviest bloc of predictors.

Benard is backed by three of our four Editors: Chris Beachum, Marcus James Dixon and Paul Sheehan. I’m the sole Editor currently forecasting Jason Thompson (“The Young and the Restless”). But we’re not the only prediction group that is divided. Our Top 24 and our All-Stars are all over the map with predictions spread out between seven of the 10 pre-nominees. But Benard still has the most support from all groups, with eight of our Top 24, seven All-Stars, and 200 Users favoring him to win.

Dish the Daytime Emmys with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums

Thompson is second in line with 3/1 odds. Two of our Top 24 and five All-Stars pick him to win, and it’s about time. Thompson has only played Billy Abbott on “Y&R” since 2016, but before that he earned five Emmy nominations for his previous role as Patrick Drake on “GH”: Best Supporting Actor twice (2011-2012) and Best Actor three times (2013-2015). But he has never won. The good news is that the character of Billy Abbott has been good luck for the previous actors who have played him. David Tom won Best Younger Actor in 2000, and Billy Miller won Best Supporting Actor (2010 and 2013) and Best Actor (2014). Perhaps Thompson will be next to capitalize.

In third place with 4/1 odds is Thompson’s “Y&R” co-star Kristoff St. John, who has played Neil Winters on the show since 1991. He previously won two Emmys for this role: Best Younger Actor (1992) and Best Supporting Actor (2008), and if he wins as a leading man he’ll be the first male actor ever to win the triple crown (younger, supporting, and lead). Three of our Top 24 and one All-Star are predicting just that.

Daytime Emmy predictions: Lexi Ainsworth (‘GH’) is Best Younger Actress frontrunner with 9-to-4 odds

Billy Flynn (“Days of Our Lives”) also has 4/1 odds, though he has stronger support from our elite users: five of the Top 24 and five All-Stars expect him to pull off an upset. And it would be quite an upset. He has only played Chad DiMera on “Days” since 2014. At age 31 he would be the second youngest Best Actor winner ever (“All My Children” star Darnell Williams prevailed in 1985 at age 30). On top of that he would be only the second Best Actor winner in “Days” history following Macdonald Carey‘s back-to-back victories way back in 1974 and 1975. And no “Days” actor has even been nominated since James Scott in 2011.

A veteran actor ranks fifth with 5/1 odds: John McCook (“The Bold and the Beautiful”). He has played Eric Forrester on the CBS soap since its series premiere episode in 1987. But in those 30 years he has only received two Emmy nominations (2001 and 2012). Nevertheless three of our Top 24 and three All-Stars think he’ll win this time.

Daytime Emmy predictions: Bryan Craig (‘GH’) will win Best Younger Actor again with 15-to-8 odds

Sitting just out of nomination position in sixth place is Peter Bergman (“Y&R”), who is the all-time nominations leader for Best Actor with 19 previous bids, including three victories (1991-1992, 2002). Bergman has played Jack Abbott on the series since 1989, before which he spent a decade on “AMC” (1979-1989). And two of our Top 24 and one All-Star think he’ll add a fourth victory to that impressive list of accomplishments.

Scott Clifton (“B&B”) follows with 13/2 odds. This is his first time ever pre-nominated as a lead, but the 32-year-old actor already has quite an extensive resume, including eight Emmy nominations across three soap operas. He picked up three Best Younger Actor nominations for “GH” (2004-2006), then one for “One Life to Live” (2010). And he joined the cast of “B&B” in 2010 as Liam Spencer and finally won Younger Actor in 2011. He followed that with a Best Supporting Actor victory in 2013 and two more nominations in that category in 2014 and 2015. Now, like St. John, he’s aiming to become the first male actor to win Emmys at all three categories.

Make your Daytime Emmy predictions now; change them till March 22

Make your Daytime Emmy picks and tell industry insiders which shows and performers you have out front for nominations on March 22. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before the announcement. Be sure to make your predictions right here. You’ll compete for a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s nominees). Read our contest rules.

More News from GoldDerby