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The Top Sports Betting Movies Ever Released

Sports betting is more common in movies than you think. Here's a look at the top films that have sports gambling incorporated in them.

Movies about sports are everywhere from Field of Dreams to The Program. Besides films where athletes overcome obstacles or build baseball diamonds on their farms so they can have a catch with Ray Liotta, there are many movies about betting on sports that often get overlooked.

These movies may not necessarily have high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, but they are entertaining and show how Hollywood sees the world of betting on sports. It’s not always a good world, as most movies about sports gambling tend to show a seedier, exaggerated side that most bettors will never experience; however, you can learn a few things about handicapping from these films.

In no particular order, here are the best sports betting movies:


Boxing is at the core of this gambling-heavy movie. What happens when con men James Woods (boo!) and Oliver Platt (yasssss!) try to hustle a small town out of their money? Eventually the con artists become good people – sort of – and ties are strengthened – sort of. Plus, Louis Gossett Jr. and Heather Graham are in this movie.

Fun fact: Director Michael Ritchie also helmed The Bad News Bears, which is a movie and an expression my friend uses when she’s trying to explain a situation gone awry.

Eight Men Out

The 1919 World Series is one of the most notorious controversies in professional sports. This movie tells the tale of the players and White Sox brass involved in throwing the game. Based on the Black Sox Scandal, Jon Cusack plays Buck Weaver, D.B. Sweeney is Shoeless Joe and Charlie Sheen is Happy Felsch. These actors look like they can actually play the sport, which isn’t always the case when it comes to movies about baseball.

Fun fact: D.B. Sweeney is in The Cutting Edge, the best movie about figure skating. Don’t @ me. It’s the truth. Toe pick!

The Color of Money

Before Tom Cruise became the poster child for aliens walking among us, he was making movies that didn’t involve him hanging off the side of a plane. In this Martin Scorsese-directed oeuvre, Cruise and Paul Newman play pool hustlers who scam people out of money because why not?

Fun fact: Newman reprises his role of Fast Eddie Felson from The Hustler. He also makes killer salad dressing.

Two for the Money

Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey star in this sports gambling film about a former college football star-turned-handicapping guru. The movie also touches on betting addiction and how it can ruin your life and the life of those around you.

Fun fact: This was the last movie released on VHS by Morgan Creek Productions. Remember videotapes? When I was very young, somebody – nobody in my family will fess up – accidentally taped three minutes of Exposé’s “Point of No Return” video over a pivotal moment in Ghostbusters 2.

Lay the Favorite

Based on the life of bet wiz Beth Raymer, this movie is about a woman who realizes she has a knack for sports betting. The real Raymer has spent the better part of her career dispelling myths about sports gambling and showing the world that most people who bet on sports aren’t the lowlifes they’re always portrayed as in the media.

Fun fact: Bruce Willis plays a big role in this movie. He is also a part owner of Planet Hollywood, an eatery where you can nosh on an overpriced hamburger while a cutout of Sylvester Stallone eyeballs you menacingly.

White Men Can’t Jump

For all the kids out there, Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson and Rosie Perez were once very famous – although, you could say that Harrelson still is. Shout-out to True Detective Season 1! Anyway, this movie is a staple for basketball fans and sports bettors alike because it combines the hustle of streetball and the smarts needed to bet.

Fun fact: Former NBA players Marques Johnson and Freeman Williams are supporting actors in the film. Gary Payton, another former hoopster, makes an uncredited appearance.

The Gambler

James Caan plays a Harvard-educated professor with a penchant for gambling and a love for Dostoevsky. The best part? His name is Axel Freed, which is one of those monikers that you wish was yours. This movie is not for the faint of heart, and shows how someone can fall into a pit of despair and get really comfortable in the dark.

Fun fact: The movie was remade in 2014 with Marky Mark (minus the Funky Bunch). Do not watch that version – unless you’ve already seen it, then, sorry for your loss.


If there’s one thing the world needs more of, it’s movies where Keanu Reeves plays a degenerate sports gambler who sings Biggie Smalls and dances awkwardly. He also must coach a Little League team to repay his betting debts. A young Michael B. Jordan, Diane Lane and John Hawkes round out the cast.

Fun fact: The film’s soundtrack reached No. 55 on the Billboard 200 charts.

Silver Linings Playbook

Robert De Niro plays a diehard Iggles – that’s how they say it in Philly and parts of New Jersey – fan who runs a small bookmaking operation. Bradley Cooper is his son who spends most of the movie running in an Eagles jersey and a garbage bag, and there’s Jennifer Lawrence in her Oscar-winning performance. Underneath all the schmaltz, there’s some humor and gambling on sports. The film also touches on mental health in a realistic way.

Fun fact: The movie focuses heavily on the 2008 NFL season, way before anyone knew that the Philadelphia Eagles could fly themselves past the Patriots in 2018.


Another De Niro movie (and also one directed by Scorsese), this one is about a gambling handicapper who becomes a bigwig at the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. The cast is rounded out by Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci and Don Rickles, aka one of the best comedians of all time.

Fun fact: One time my brother went to see Don Rickles live and Rickles pulled him onstage and talked smack about his beard.


Will Smith and Margot Robbie play grifters who get involved in some shady things at the Associated Football Franchise of America Championship Game. No, really, the NFL didn’t give the filmmakers rights to anything and that’s the name the screenwriter chose as a stand-in for the Super Bowl.

Fun fact: Sleight-of-hand artist Apollo Robbins served as a technical consultant to ensure that the deception scenes appeared authentic.

Snake Eyes

Nicolas Cage and Gary Sinise. Nicolas freaking Cage! Lieutenant freaking Dan! Who cares what this movie’s about or if it’s good, it has Cage and Sinise overacting like it’s their job. It’s not a good movie but it does touch on gambling and high-profile Vegas fights so it made the list.

Fun fact: The film opened in the No. 2 spot behind Saving Private Ryan, beating out Halloween H20. Don’t worry, Jamie Lee Curtis has that Activia money to fall back on.

A Note about Sports Gambling

We at Odds Shark believe that gambling addiction is no joke, no matter how it is portrayed on screen. Remember that the next time you’re looking for top sports betting movies on Netflix and you’re watching a glamorized version of someone hitting rock-bottom and losing their kids’ college tuition on a few bad beats that betting should be entertaining. If you feel like your betting adventures are turning into wagering nightmares, take a step back, because unlike in the movies, you will not be given an inner-city team to coach to pay off your bookie.