Betting on the Oscars

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on January 30, 2020 @

A major misconception is that you can bet on the Oscars in Las Vegas. You can't.

Las Vegas doesn't take bets on events that already are decided. [The votes have been counted in secret by two people at PwC - previously PricewaterhouseCoopers]. Someday probably you will be able to bet on the Oscars in Las Vegas before total votes have been counted. But not yet.

These days you can bet on the Oscars "off-shore," at international sites. But you have to hurry.

I learned that lesson well in 2015. Boyhood opened as odds-on favorite, but I didn't agree. I took Birdman at $100 to win $185 (total $285). Birdman went off as favorite and Boyhood faded. Birdman won.

This year the betting favorite has already changed. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood was the early favorite. I chose 1917, because of its incredible technical prowess. 1917 is now the favorite. It opened at 5-2, and is now -250 at one site. That means if you played on it when the line opened and bet $100, you would win $250 (total 350), but now you'd have to bet $250 to win only $100.

A second misconception is that you can win money betting the Oscars.

In 2020, the Best Picture could be a play, but most of the other main categories are unplayable.

Actor and Actress are prime examples of this. Both Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellwegger are at least $1,500 or more to win $100. Or $150 to win $10. Value? No way.

The only time I was able to use my movie knowledge in Las Vegas was in 2015 when the Palms had a movie contest. I included an upset with Christoph Waltz to win Actor in a Supporting Role. He did. But a few days later when I went to find out how I did, the Palms had closed the sketchy contest and had no information. They never repeated the contest.

The only other Oscar info I ever saw in Las Vegas was when one of the sportsbook managers always gave out his Oscar odds. He was a sports Pro but an Oscar Joe. His odds were often way off-target. But he was on call nationally as an expert.

And so it goes in Las Vegas.

But you can bet on more than 400 props on the Super Bowl.

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