Should win: Carrie Underwood. Underwood has never won this award, and has never even been nominated. With a killer voice, and an amazing live show that I've had the pleasure of seeing, Underwood seems like the logical pick.
Will win: Luke Bryan. Bryan continues to be the king of country music when it comes to radio hits (and crappy songs), and he does manage to sell out most of his shows.
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
“Die a Happy Man” — Thomas Rhett
“Humble and Kind” — Tim McGraw
“My Church” — Maren Morris
“Nobody to Blame” — Chris Stapleton
“Record Year” — Eric Church
Should win: "My Church" by Maren Morris. The production of this song was genius, with the more traditional country elements blending beautifully with the soul in Morris's voice.
Will win: I'm going to stick with Maren on this one!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Black by Dierks Bentley
Hero by Maren Morris
Mr. Misunderstood by Eric Church
Ripcord by Keith Urban
Storyteller by Carrie Underwood
Should win: Morris again. Hero is the best record of this bunch. Storyteller was very strong at some moments, but it also had many flaws, which Hero didn't have.
Will win: Church or Bentley.
SONG OF THE YEAR
"Burning House" by Cam
"Die A Happy Man" by Thomas Rhett
"Humble & Kind" by Tim McGraw (Lori McKenna)
"Record Year" by Eric Church
"My Church" by Maren Morris
Should win: This is a tough one. Cam's single was one of the best of the last year, but I would love to see McKenna get the love she deserves with "Humble & Kind." Leaning towards that one, but either would be great!
Will win: If Rhett wins anything, I think this would be the one. Hopefully this won't happen, but there's a good chance this could go to him.
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Should win: Underwood. She completely deserves it, with the year she's had.
Will win: I'm going to be optimistic and say Underwood. She's done more this year than some of the other nominees combined, and it wouldn't make sense if she didn't win.
MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR:
"Different for Girls" by Dierks Bentley and Elle King
"Home Alone Tonight" by Luke Bryan and Karen Fairchild
"The Fighter" by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood
"Think of You" by Chris Young and Cassadee Pope
"You Are My Sunshine" by Morgane and Chris Stapleton
Should win: The Stapletons. If you haven't listened to this recording yet, I urge you to. It's incredible.
Will win: I'd like to think it would go to the Stapletons since this song is by far the best recording in the category, but Bentley is a possibility as well.
NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Should win: Morris. She's had a killer year, and she's the new voice that country music needs right now.
Will win: Morris or Ballerini. Ballerini is Nashville's golden child, and she's also had an incredible amount of success at radio and that could push her over the edge.
Not all of the categories are represented in this post. I decided to just focus on the categories that had a good chunk of female representation in the nominations.