For those of us who bow down before the altar of prop betting, there’s no better thrill than putting money down on entertainment props.
It’s not quite like Super Bowl props in terms of stature, but for sheer entertainment purposes, betting on events like the Oscars is like trying to bet on Wrestlemania. There are clear-cut favorites, and while they almost always win, there are still some notable exceptions when huge underdogs pull off an incredible upset. I see you, Brock Lesnar.
The template for this year’s Academy Awards fits that bill. For Best Picture, you have a clear favorite (Birman at 2/5 odds), a short underdog (Boyhood at 5/4), and a bunch of long shots with odds ranging from 20/1 to 50/1. The fun here isn’t so much about betting on Birdman or Boyhood, but putting small amounts on all of them with the hopes that something inexplicable happens and one of those long shots improbably wins the award. It’s a losing proposition for the most part, but if you bet, say, a dollar, on any of the long shots, you only stand to lose $5 if none of them cash in. Minimal risk, huge pay-off.
Same thing with the award for Best Actor. Right now, Eddie Redmayne remains the overwhelming favorite at 1/3 odds with Michael Keaton a little further down at 5/2. Outside of these two, the odds drop precipitously with Bradley Cooper at 12/1, Benedict Cumberbatch at 20/1, and Steve Carrell at 28/1.
The award for Best Actress is the most extreme example of this line-of-thinking. Everybody already has Julian Moore penciled in to win it, so much so that some sportsbooks are offering odds as low as 3/100. That’s the equivalent of, say, Real Madrid playing Elche in the Spanish La Liga. You have to feel bad for the other nominees, right?
They’ll show up at the awards knowing full well that they’re not winning it. Just look at their odds: Reese Witherspoon (14/1), Rosamund Pike (25/1), Felicity Jones (50/1), and Marion Cotillard (65/1).
The Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Awards follow the same template, too. JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette are the overwhelming favorites with odds as low as 1/50 for the both of them.
Simmons’ closest competitor is Edward Norton at 15/1 odds, followed by Mark Ruffalo at 20/1, Robert Duvall at 40/1, and Ethan Hawke at 50/1. Likewise, Arquette’s competition for the award are all long shots, beginning with Emma Stone at 20/1 odds, followed by Kiera Knightley at 40/1, Meryl Street at 40/1, and Laura Dern at 50/1.
All these odds paint similar one-sided decisions, which makes betting on the Oscars a foolish quest for some people. But then again, stranger things have happened at the Academy Awards. Remember when Roberto Benign won the Best Actor award in 1998 for Life is Beautiful, beating Edward Norton’s iconic role in American History X?
Don’t be at all surprised if something of that sort happens again this year, which is why it’s important to keep a close look at the props being offered to determine where you can put your money.