On Oscar Night The Chalk Always Rules The Red Carpet

Glenn looks at the betting odds for the Academy Awards, highlighting the fact that it's almost always favorites that win.

Longshot players will have to wait until March Madness, The Masters or the Kentucky Derby. The Academy Awards are proven strictly for favorites

It seems like an eternity since football has been played, football wagering dollars have been counted and yet this Sunday will only be three weeks. And no, the AAF (Alliance of American Football) doesn’t count.  Please don’t respect anyone who tells you they have inside info or advice on where to side your money there. 

To the rescue of your wagering dollar comes the 91st Academy Awards this Sunday evening.  The Oscars this year has a few interesting firsts. It’s been thirty years since they were telecasted without a feature host.  More interesting, a few new U.S. legalized sports wagering states have come on board to offer the event with proposition betting.

Oscar Logic and Betting History

The most important rule to remember if you will be betting the Oscars this Sunday evening is the results are based on a VOTE, not on a random outcome, like a sporting event.  Huge difference.

Fundamentally, that is why for years all major offshore sportsbooks have limited action and will continue to do this year. Top sports books like 5Dimes, BetOnline, Bovada and Diamond Sports have expanded their wagering menus to accommodate expanding interest.  But due to this being a contest decided by voters and audited by an accounting firm rather than a random outcome changes the rules. Like elections, betting on the Oscars stimulates interest, no doubt welcomed by the ABC Network plus the Academy. The growing number of awards create more betting opportunities and proposition wagers. Plus, the timing between the Super Bowl and the NCAA Basketball Tournament is ideal.

Further conclusive proof this is not a sporting event is in the wagering results of past Oscar winners. Year after year in all categories, favorites dominate. This is not the place to bet on your personal fan choices, who you enjoyed at the movies, etc. It is almost pre-conceived who will win beforehand by the lines put up by major preferred sportsbooks.  At best, it is possible a second choice can capture the golden statue, but rare to non-existent any one person or film has an opportunity beyond that.  

In comparison to the television Emmy awards, to be simply nominated for an Academy Award is more notable and career-affirming than winning an Emmy. Sadly, it is almost as if most of the nominated people do not have to bother writing a potential winning acceptance speech for the stage.

Adding to the televised entertainment challenge this year will be the invisible host. It is a shame the wagering odds can’t be posted somewhere on stage or on the background curtain to heighten audience appeal and excitement. No doubt if there was an entertaining host present, they might at least make glib mention that betting windows are currently open. Not sure where the Academy stands on this strict policy vs. say, the NFL or the NBA.

Favorite Examples

betting Oscars favorites
As testament to the predictability of the evening, the following are a few popular wagering category examples courtesy of Bovada:

Odds to win Best Picture

Roma                           -330
Green Book                 +360
Bohemian Rhapsody +1800
The Favourite            +1800
A Star Is Born             +3000
BlacKkKlansman       +3000
Black Panther            +3000
Vice                           +5000

Odds to win Best Actor

Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) -400
Christian Bale (Vice)                       +250
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)    +1400
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)     +3300
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate)  +5000

Not the worst idea to invest $330 to win $100 on Roma winning Best Picture. An excellent opportunity paying for a local Mexican dinner for the family.  It is beyond the sure confidence level of the next Golden State Warriors NBA championship. Same thing for Rami Malek’s electrifying performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. And no, you cannot parlay wagers among categories. Single betting only. Too good an opportunity for your favorite sportsbook to get beaten in this unique event.

Searching through the approximate fifteen award categories, a major favorite of at least -250 dominates each list.  The most competitive choice might be something obscure as Sound Mixing, where Bohemian Rhapsody is listed as a current -135 favorite and popular A Star is Born a close second choice at +105. The rest, no chance at 10-1 or more.

And the Winner Isn’t…

" Most online sportsbooks have increased their menu of props."

Semi-new this year, echoing the popularity of the Super Bowl are the growing list of propositions (prop) wagers for the Oscars. Most online sportsbooks have increased their menu number of options to accommodate demand.

At popular sportsbook BetOnline they have listed “Who will have the Longer Acceptance Speech”?  Get out your stopwatch at the end of the night.  Could be some controversy here as they usually start playing the band music trying to encourage long-winded winning best actors & actresses off the stage. 

Best Actress  -160
Best Actor    +120

And if you thought our U.S. President would be neglected, Bovada offers this interesting proposition wager.  “How Many Times Will Trump Be Mentioned on Stage”?  Not sure how the judging on this prop works.  It would be expected a predicted Robert DeNiro on-stage will mention The Donald at least fourteen times. 

Over 1.5 -150
Under 1.5 +110

One interesting behavior footnote does indeed tie-in the Oscars to any sporting event wagering.  Please comparison shop the list of preferred sportsbooks for best wagering value before making your selections.  There is some odds difference in every award category.  While carefully making some money selecting sure-thing favorites, there is no excuse for cheating yourself out of some extra cash. 

Be patient. Again, the basic strategy here is a very limited amount of cash on the most obvious favorites to win virtually every award in every category of your choosing.  Remember, in less than a month you can then brag about tabbing South Dakota St., Valparaiso or some other unheard-of NCAA college basketball longshot at money-line big odds during March Madness.

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.

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