How To Bet The Oscars

Betting Odds And Strategy

For many years, European betting sites have offered betting on the Academy Awards. In 2019, the United States got in on the action for the first time, with almost every New Jersey sportsbook offering Oscars betting.

The 2020 Academy Awards ceremony is around the corner, and the second year of US Oscars betting could be even bigger than the first. Sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings are currently petitioning new sports betting states that have allowed betting on things like the NFL and NBA Draft to take Oscars wagers too.

With that in mind, more states than New Jersey are poised to take Oscars bets. With more books than ever following Hollywood’s biggest nights, let’s run down how Oscar betting works, where you can bet on them, what the odds are, and how to place your best Academy Awards bets.

When is the 2020 Oscars ceremony?

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards will air on ABC and ABC streaming services on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 8:00 p.m. E.T.

Nominations for the awards are announced on Jan. 13. With less than a month between nominations and the ceremony, the “movie awards season” is about two weeks shorter than normal. Here are some other important dates to keep in mind between now and Oscars night:

Jan. 13: Oscar nominations announced
Jan. 18: PGA Awards
Jan. 19: SAG Awards
Jan. 25: DGA Awards
Feb. 2: BAFTA Awards

There aren’t really betting opportunities for these other awards ceremonies. They are worth following though because the winners in these events can often indicate who is set up to succeed at the Oscars.

Take the Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards. In the 30 years the award has existed, the winner of the PGAs won the Oscar for Best Picture 73% of the time. Last year, in an awards season where it seemed like Roma was poised to succeed, the PGAs selected eventual winner, Green Book.

Oscars categories and eligibility

While it is the 2020 Oscars, the films up for the honors are those that were theatrically released during 2019. Some of those films, like 1917, may not have arrived in your town’s theaters. In these instances, those films were released in Los Angeles and New York City theaters before the end of 2019.

Similarly, you might be wondering how movies from streaming service Netflix can qualify if they aren’t theatrical releases. These films also screen in LA and NYC theaters to meet Oscars eligibility requirements.

There are 24 competitive Oscars categories. Several NJ and European books offer betting on every category. Others limit themselves to what is considered the Big Six. These categories are:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Best Supporting Actor

These six categories are the focus of most of the media coverage and public interest around the awards. If you are interested in maximizing what you can win on Oscars night though, it is the smaller markets where inefficiencies and mispricing are more prevalent.

Take the 2019 ceremony as an example. Of the six major categories, heavy favorites won four of them. Here is a glance at the pricing of the winners:

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron for Roma (-2,000)
Best Actor: Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody (-900)
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershela Ali for Green Book (-2,000)
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk (-335)

There were upsets in Best Picture and Best Actress, but in both instances, the winners were the nominees with the shortest odds besides the favorites.

What types of Oscars bets are available?

All Oscars wagers are moneyline bets. These are the most straight-forward, simple types of wagers. There are no point spreads to consider.

It’s important to note: while typically all favorites are priced around the same on most sites, you can often find a wide range of pricing for underdog moneyline wagers. We encourage you to explore your options on all legal sportsbooks.

Oscar nominees and betting odds 2020

Picture
Director
Actor
Actress
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress

Game
02/09/2020
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
1917
Bet now
-278
Bet now
-212
Parasite
Bet now
+350
Bet now
+375
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Bet now
+550
Bet now
+550
Joker
Bet now
+1400
Bet now
+900
The Irishman
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
+4000
Marriage Story
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+6600
Jojo Rabbit
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+10000
Little Women
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+8000
Ford v Ferrari
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+10000

Game
02/09/2020
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Sam Mendes
Bet now
-670
Bet now
-550
Bong Joon Ho
Bet now
+375
Bet now
+400
Quentin Tarantino
Bet now
+1200
Bet now
+1100
Martin Scorcese
Bet now
+2800
Bet now
+2800
Todd Phillips
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
+6600

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Joaquin Phoenix
Bet now
-3335
Bet now
-3000
Adam Driver
Bet now
+1000
Bet now
+1000
Leonardo DiCaprio
Bet now
+3300
Bet now
+3300
Antonio Banderas
Bet now
+3300
Bet now
+3300
Jonathan Pryce
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
+5000

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Renée Zellweger
Bet now
-2500
Bet now
-1400
Scarlett Johansson
Bet now
+1000
Bet now
+800
Cynthia Erivo
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
+3300
Charlize Theron
Bet now
+3300
Bet now
+2000
Saoirse Ronan
Bet now
+3300
Bet now
+3300

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Brad Pitt
Bet now
-2500
Bet now
-2000
Joe Pesci
Bet now
+1000
Bet now
+900
Al Pacino
Bet now
+2000
Bet now
+1600
Tom Hanks
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
+2800
Anthony Hopkins
Bet now
+3300
Bet now
+2500

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Laura Dern
Bet now
-2500
Bet now
-1400
Margot Robbie
Bet now
+1000
Bet now
+1100
Florence Pugh
Bet now
+1200
Bet now
+1200
Scarlett Johansson
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
+1600
Kathy Bates
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
+2800

Where can I bet on the Oscars?

New Jersey sportsbooks

New Jersey sportsbooks have been approved to offer Oscars betting on at least a few categories. The sportsbooks that allowed betting in every category were:

Indiana sportsbooks

Operators in Indiana were authorized to offer betting markets on the Oscars in 2020 as well. Expect to see odds posted at DraftKings Sportsbook and possibly others ahead of the event.

European sportsbooks

Most operators in Europe (like bet365 and betway) have been taking bets on the Academy Awards for years. Odds have been posted for the 2020 Oscars well before the nominations were announced in January.

Three 2020 Oscars betting tips

#1: Expect a chalky ceremony

This betting tip pertains specifically to the 2020 Oscars and is something casual bettors probably don’t realize. Normally, there are around six weeks between Oscar nominations and the awards show. In that time, what looks like an overwhelming favorite can start to develop backlash.

Take 2017’s La La Land, for example. The film came out in the fall, rather than December, giving viewers time to think upon it and compare it to other films for a longer period of time. Critics started to point out the movie was overwhelmingly white and that the subject matter of the movie, starving artists in Los Angeles who love their craft, wasn’t exactly heavy fare.

La La Land dominated the Golden Globes, the PGAs, and the DGAs. However, by the time the Oscars rolled around, the backlash became strong enough that Moonlight took the trophy.

Do not expect that in 2020. The shortened window means Academy members will be turning in their final Oscars ballots on Feb. 4, just two days after the BAFTAs. There simply isn’t time for a backlash response to these other awards show winners to develop this year.

With that in mind, take the Golden Globes at face value. The two top contenders are 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. There is room for Parasite to make a run because it was not eligible for some Globe categories since it was a foreign language film, but films like The Irishman and Joker are playing from behind at this point with less chance than usual to catch up.

#2: Look at the minor guild awards to pick up money in smaller categories

The big awards shows listed above are the highest profile, but just about every Oscars category has a guild of people related to that field who give out awards as well. What makes these awards supremely useful come Oscars time is they give you a very good sense of how the category is gonna go.

Unlike critics awards or the Globes, the Oscars only allowed qualified people in a field to vote on a category. Only cinematographers vote for Best Cinematography. The voters for Best Makeup are not going to be production designers or sound artists.

These guild awards are the easiest way to find pricing errors and exploit them with your Oscars betting. Here are two great examples from last year.

First was the Best Editing category. Laypeople and experts alike favored Vice, which won the BAFTA to take the editing honors at the Oscars. The sentiment around eventual winner Bohemian Rhapsody was too much of a hot mess after director Bryan Singer was removed mid-production. However, the American Cinema Editors (ACE) chose Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite for top honors in large part bc the only reason the film was salvaged at all was because of editor John Ottman.

The same thing happened with Best Costume Design winner Ruth Carter of Black Panther. Not only did she get costume guild backing for the Marvel film, but the guild also honored her with a lifetime achievement award that year. Meanwhile, oddsmakers assumed the period costume drama The Favourite was indeed the favorite.

#3:On Oscars day, look for the Academy to spread the wealth

Throughout Oscars history, there are some films that have taken home an insane number of awards. The last time one movie stormed in and won just about everything was 2003 when Lord of the Rings: Return of the King tied the record with 11 wins, mostly in the technical categories. Since then, no single film has won more than eight. Last year, Green Book won just five.

Lately, the Academy seems to be more about spreading the wealth around. All eight of last year’s Best Picture nominees took home an award. In 2018, seven of nine Best Picture nominees won something. Going back five years, most Best Picture nominees have prevailed somewhere.

Look at the list of Best Picture nominees and start asking what trophy each film would be most likely to win. If Once Upon a Time in Hollywood wins Best Original Screenplay, perhaps Academy voters would tap Al Pacino or Joe Pesci in Supporting Actor over Brad Pitt. Or, if Pitt seems like a lock, perhaps Best Original Screenplay is where a film like Parasite or Marriage Story will pick up a trophy.

Increasingly, the Oscars are like your third-grade soccer league. They want to do everything to make sure the most people get a trophy. Bet accordingly.

Where can I find Oscars betting predictions and tips?

If this is your first time betting the Oscars, it helps to read as much information as possible so you can confidently place your wagers.

You may have heard certain awards such as the SAGs or Producer’s Guild are good indicators as to how the Academy will vote. There are sites that track these awards and offer predictions for winners, such as Awards Watch and Golden Derby.

Over the course of the next few weeks, PlayPicks.com will have picks articles as well. And you can check back to this page for updated odds and news on Oscars betting in NJ.