Oscars Betting Guide: How to Bet on the Academy Awards

Betting on Hollywood’s big night has become a staple for entertainment bettors. The Oscars are to the silver screen what the Super Bowl is to pro football. The movie betting universe is vast and provides ample opportunities to make some major coin. From Best Supporting Actress and Actor to Best Picture odds, you have wagering options that sparkle more than a Dior gown emblazoned with Swarovski crystals.

Besides taking in the red carpet to see who’s wearing what – maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s a Christian Siriano custom frock – betting on the Academy Awards show can be a fun way to enjoy the broadcast.

We’ll explain how to wager on the Oscars and how to read betting odds. Plus, if you choose any of the sportsbooks we recommend from the list below, you’re in good hands.

Where to Bet on the Oscars

How to Read Academy Awards Betting Odds

2020 Oscar Best Picture Odds looked something like this:

  • 1917 -165
  • Parasite +200
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood +500
  • Joker +2500
  • The Irishman +6000
  • Jojo Rabbit +10000
  • Marriage Story +10000
  • Ford v Ferrari +20000
  • Little Women +20000

1917 is the favorite in this category and the other films are the underdogs. Faves have a minus sign (-) beside their odds and dogs have a plus sign (+).

Let’s say you want to bet $100 on 1917. At -165, oddsmakers are giving the movie a 62.26 percent chance of winning. If your $100 bet hits, you’d get a payout of $160.61 – your original money is returned along with your loot of $60.61. Our Odds Calculator can show you how much you’d win based on the odds and amount you bet.

Favorites pay less than underdogs because there is less risk involved. That doesn’t mean you should bet on dogs blindly. Yes, upsets happen – more on that later – but think it through before laying down major cash on a +20000 long shot like Little Women.

We use American odds (-500), but you can use Fractional (1/5) or Decimal (1.20). Bettors in the U.K. are partial to fractions, those in Europe and Australia gravitate toward decimals, and North Americans love the odds that bear their name.

How do Oddsmakers Come up with the Odds?

Betting odds are calculated based on each nominee’s chance of winning their respective category. For example, for Best Supporting Actor, sportsbooks would look at the Oscar nods and determine who among Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Brad Pitt has garnered the most praise from critics, how much they’ve changed for the role (physically or emotionally or both), and how their performance affects the movie’s storyline.

As for the winners, they are chosen by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). This organization has about 6,000 members of Hollywood hotshots and other film professionals like your cousin who moved to Los Angeles to make it as an actor but now works as Adam Driver’s personal hair brusher.

Sports Betting vs Oscars Betting

When you make sports bets, you have more handicapping tools available. You can see if the Saints covered the spread the last time they played the Falcons, but you can’t see how many members of the AMPAS organization cast their votes in favor of Cynthia Erivo. We have a complete rundown of the 2020 Oscar betting odds that you can use as a guide. Our entertainment betting expert analyzes the categories to give you an idea who the winners could be and why you should bet them.

Oscar Props: Awards Season Special Bets

Besides betting on which screenplay writer is going to take home the only trophy they’ll probably ever win, there are Oscar prop bets you can make. A prop is a bet that isn’t directly related to the Academy Awards prizes. For instance, you can bet if Brad Pitt will bring a date to the ceremony or if he’ll hug his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston on camera during the show.

Oscar Betting Tips
  • There isn’t always a clear betting field. If someone has given what Hollywood calls a “tour de force performance,” they’re probably going to win their award like Mo’Nique for Precious.
  • Line shopping is important to see which sportsbooks have the best betting action and which ones are offering reduced juice on their awards show odds. Some sportsbooks have lower betting limits on the Oscars since it’s not as lucrative for them as it would be if you were wagering on an NFL game.
  • Upsets happen. Large underdogs often get top prizes, like when Mark Rylance took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies at the 88th Academy Awards even though Sylvester Stallone was the heavy favorite for Creed. Stallone was robbed.
  • See as many of the movies as you can. This is the best handicapping you can do when it comes to making Oscar picks.
  • The AMPAS voters often reward previous winners. Tom Hanks and Spencer Tracy are the only actors who have won back-to-back awards. But in recent years, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, Christoph Waltz and Mahershala Ali have taken home top prizes in close succession.
  • There are times when directors are shut out of contention but their movies are still nominated for Best Picture. The biggest case was the 2012 film Argo which won Best Picture although the movie’s director, Ben Affleck, didn’t score an Oscar nod. This year Greta Gerwig didn’t get a director nom, yet her film, Little Women, did. Her partner, Noah Baumbach, is in the same boat with Marriage Story nominated in the Best Picture category but he gets no love for directing.
  • The Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Critics Choice awards are clear indicators of who will win Oscars. For instance, the Academy Award for Best Director has been won 38 times by the same person who won the Golden Globe.

Oscars Betting FAQ

How long are the Oscars?

The Oscars, on average, last for about three hours and 15 minutes or so (give or take). Sometimes the Academy will eliminate a number of categories from the regular broadcast though, which can make for shorter broadcasts. But since the Oscars are a live event, anything can happen, so the exact awards show length can fluctuate a bit.

How many Oscars are given out each year?

There is a grand total of 24 Oscars given out each and every year on the night of the Academy Awards. There is also a few Science/Technical Oscars given out at a ceremony a couple of weeks earlier, to the innovators whose inventions have had a major impact on the film industry.

How are Oscar winners chosen?

Members of the Academy are split into 17 voting branches determined by expertise. The actors vote for all the acting award nominees, with all of the directors voting for Best Director, and so on and so forth. The award for Best Picture is the only award determined by all of the active members of the Academy.

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