Why Is The Price On Oscars Frontrunner ‘Roma’ Getting Cheaper And Cheaper?

Written By Jessica Welman on February 23, 2019 - Last Updated on April 30, 2021
Roma OScars Betting

When I first learned New Jersey was allowing Oscars wagering, my immediate thought was, “I have to go to there. Now.”

I did, too. I hopped a plane on Feb. 6 and started planning out my bets. I took a day, bet around $800 across various categories, then headed home before the weekend.

Now, I am watching from Nevada as the lines move more and more, and all I can think is, “maybe I should go back?”

Sharp bettors will want early lines

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the Oscar nominees on Jan. 17. Oscars betting did not begin until the first week of February. In that time, several other film awards handed out honors, including:

  • Producers Guild Awards
  • Directors Guild Awards
  • Screen Actors Guild Awards

Had New Jersey released odds a couple days after nominations, we would have seen a lot of line movement in that period. Even more so than usual because each guild picked a different winner.

Green Book won the Producers Guild honor two days after the Oscars announcement. It is fair to suggest the film, which had its critics, would have been a slight favorite given it also won at the Golden Globes. It would be a full two weeks before DGA backed Roma director Alfonso Cuaron, cementing its status as the movie to beat.

By the time I got to New Jersey, the only major awards left were the British Academy of Film and Television Awards and the Writers Guild Awards. While there were a couple of spots to pick up some value, most of the lines were getting pretty close to set.

Now that voting is closed and info is coming out about ballots, the lines are all over the place once again. Additionally, the interest in betting on the event is picking up, which means some public money is dictating some of the movement.

The favorites just keep getting pricier

In three of the four acting categories, the price just keeps getting steeper for the frontrunners in the category. Justifiably so, too. Rami Malek, Glenn Close, and Mahershelah Ali are all very likely to win their respective categories.

At one point, you could get Ali for as low as -430. Now that all the awards are in the books, his cheapest price is at -1200 at FanDuel Sportsbook. Some other books even have him as high as -3335.

Once upon a time, Close was also available at -450, but her price range is now -600 up to -1000 at PointsBet.

Malek may seem cheap by comparison, were it not for the fact he was available at -210 two weeks ago. Now his price ranges from -550 to -700.

Even the already expensive Best Director favorite Cuaron is commanding upwards of -5000.

Regina King and the rest of the Best Supporting Actress contenders haven’t shifted much. Rachel Weisz did lose some value after winning in Britain, but other than that, things remain the same in a difficult to forecast category.

Late odds boosts and special bets are great value

One thing I really hate to be missing out on are the promos. DraftKings Sportsbook’s Best Picture 100-1 odds boost allows new bettors to but $5 down on a Best Picture contender. If you pick the right one, you get a $500 return.

Several other sportsbooks are offering parlays of some of the favorites, such as Close and King to both win. You can also bet things like Roma not to win Best Picture. These are definitely the best-value spots I see in the major categories and wish I could be taking advantage of them right now.

Best Picture getting some public money influence

This is where things get really interesting. Actors kept picking up awards, so their prices kept rising. Meanwhile, Best Picture frontrunner Roma is winning just as much, but getting cheaper and cheaper.

The contender surged from a price of  -182 into the -400s, only to bounce back this week.

DraftKings Sportbook reported that three of its five most popular bets are on Best Picture contenders besides Roma. Unfortunately for bettors, they are much less likely to win.

Casual bettors are backing A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Black Panther. Two of these three are both huge longshots, but you’ll notice that Bohemian Rhapsody is dropping from +3000 to the high teens. A Star is Born prices are staying fairly static in the +4000 range.

The two biggest movers? Roma and Green Book. Roma is now trending towards -200, its lowest price since odds first came out.

Bettors seem to be doing what Oscars prognosticators are. Trying to come up with every reason why the little-seen Roma won’t win. This, even though there are more and more indicators it will.

Meanwhile, Green Book is surging. The old-fashioned film about racial tolerance in the 1960s was in the +400 range but is now about +250 at most books.

Here’s why this is particularly interesting. Many ballots released to the public have love for Green Book. However, it is relatively unprecedented for a movie in the modern era to win Best Picture without winning at least two other Oscars. So, if Green Book’s Best Picture odds are going down, arguably another category should be getting cheaper too. But Viggo Mortensen for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay, their best shots at another win, are not budging.

Bottom line — It is an unprecedented year, but these late movements aren’t signs they are more likely to win. They are moving because casual money is coming in. Place your bets accordingly.

Oscars Best Picture Betting Odds

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ALSO READ: Johnny Avello On The Art Of Handicapping The Oscars

ALSO READ: Oscars Betting: Making A Case For Every Best Picture Nominee (Even ‘Vice’)

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