Nomadland Dominance? Here Are Oscars Odds From DraftKings’ Expert

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For most of us the Academy Awards Show this Sunday will be an annual opportunity to celebrate movies. For longtime oddsmaker Johnny Avello it’s sort of Super Bowl Sunday. 

For a third consecutive year, DraftKings is taking bets on the 93rd Academy Awards, which will air live on ABC at 8 EST on April 25. Bettors in three states: Michigan, Indiana, and New Jersey.

Avello, who is Director of Race and Sports Operations for DraftKings, has been in the gaming business for more than four decades. He’s been placing odds on the Oscars for over 25 years, most of those for entertainment purposes only, until betting on the awards was legalized. 

If anyone knows how to place odds on entertainment events, it’s Avello, who was the first oddsmaker to focus on reality shows when he was asked by TV Guide to create odds for Survivor. That experience has taken him to the Oscars, which is seen typically by more than 40 million viewers on television or streaming over the internet.

How much betting action does DraftKings expect on the Oscars? Because wagers can only be accepted from three states, the action is starting slow and building.

“Take a marquee baseball game of the day,” Avello says, “and [the Oscars] might come in about in that area.”

Avello says DraftKings has seen an increase in participation by women when Oscar odds are posted, as many women feel the awards “are more in their wheelhouse.”

Even though Indiana, Michigan, and New Jersey are the only states accepting wagers on the 93rd Academy Awards, people can take part in the excitement everywhere. DraftKings offers free pools nationwide, where people can make their picks on the Oscars and compare their results.

Though they are not available currently, DraftKings could offer special prop bets on Sunday, such as which movie will win the most awards overall, or an over/under on an Oscar haul for a particular movie. 

Best Picture Race

The favorite for Best Picture is Nomadland, a 1-to-6 favorite, meaning bettors need to wager $6 to make $1. The film has earned six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress for Frances McDormand. Nomadland won Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Director at the 78th Golden Globe Awards in February, and also captured four awards (including Best Film nod) at the 74th British Academy Film Awards earlier this month.

Avello has been encouraged that other films like The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Minari have been attracting action through DraftKings as the awards reveal approaches.

NomineeDraftKings Odds
The Power of the Dog-175
Belfast+250
West Side Story+600
Dune+1600
Licorice Pizza+1600
King Richard+2000
CODA+2000
Drive My Car+2500
Don't Look Up+2800
Nightmare Alley+4000

Best Actor Race

The prohibitive favorite to win Best Actor is Chadwick Boseman, for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. After a battle with cancer, Boseman died last August at the age of 43 in Los Angeles. His performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom also earned Boseman Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations.

Avello admits that the group of actors in the field this year is different, in that there isn’t one blockbuster performance from an established Hollywood star that outshines the rest. Veterans Anthony Hopkins (for his performance in The Father) and Gary Oldman (Mank) are in the Best Actor category, but Boseman remains the prohibitive favorite.

NomineeDraftKings Odds
Will Smith (King Richard)-1300
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)+300
Andrew Garfield (tick, tick... BOOM!)+550
Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)+2500
Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos)+3500

Best Actress Race

“This is more of a wide open category,” says Avello. “Angela Day won the Golden Globe, but she’s actually the third choice [in current DraftKings odds] behind Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman, who is our favorite. I think Davis comes in behind her, and possibly Andra Day. There are many nominees whose performances were outstanding in this category.”

Frances McDormand, who has won two Academy Awards previously (for Fargo and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), is among the five women in the Best Actress Category, this time for her role in Nomadland.

NomineeDraftKings Odds
Will Smith (King Richard)-1300
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)+300
Andrew Garfield (tick, tick... BOOM!)+550
Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)+2500
Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos)+3500

Best Director Race

With Nomadland a huge favorite for Best Picture, director Chloe Zhao is also expected to win the Best Director race.  Zhao won Best Director at the Golden Globe Awards, the Directors Guild of America Awards, and the British Academy Film Awards, making her the second woman (and first Asian woman) to capture that trifecta.

NomineeDraftKings Odds
Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)-750
Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)+900
Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)+900
Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)+1600
Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)+1600

How To Bet on the Academy Awards

Betting on the Oscars is only legal in Indiana, Michigan, and New Jersey. As more markets open up across the country, expect sportsbook brands both big and small to offer odds on the Oscars.

About the Author
Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Writer and Contributor
Dan Holmes is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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