Oscars Betting Odds 2024: Oppenheimer, Barbie, Killers of the Flower Moon

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Lights, camera, action. Literally action.

The worlds of cinema and legalized gambling converge on the road to the Oscars award ceremony on March 10. Gamblers enjoy the relatively new realm of having a pick on the flicks.

Bettors in six states — Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Kansas — can place wagers on heralded movie awards like Oscars odds. Even bettors in Ontario can seek “cinema cha-ching.”

It’s a new age on the wagering circuit.

Oscars betting has steadily increased since its 2019 New Jersey debut. Year by year, state by state, the door opens for gamblers to bet on top movies, directors, actors, and actresses.

This is the largest number of states (and a province) ever allowed to bet on it. Winners will be announced at the Oscars show.

Gamblers are betting on award choices made by more than 9,500 Oscars voting members. Bettors face the unique dynamic of handicapping movie judges. This is not an event that unfolds on a field.

“The Oscars continue to grow in popularity, and I am confident that they will eventually be up everywhere we do business,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Gaming Today. “The patrons have a lot of fun with it.”

Finding an Angle on Oscars Betting Odds

Yes, you can handicap it, especially in mid-February. The following odds listed are from DraftKings at the time of publishing.

Christopher Nolan just won a Directors Guild of America Award for Oppenheimer and is the runaway Oscars choice of -10000, or 100-1 for Best Director. There’s no sense in betting $100 to win just $1 on him. Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon) is +1600 and may receive action bets on reputation alone.

The DGA accomplishment did not hurt Oppenheimer in the Best Picture category.

It has gone from -1000 to -900, with The Holdovers and Poor Things next at +1200. Then comes Barbie at +2000 and Anatomy of a Fall at +2800.

Action is tighter in the actor and actress categories. This may become the sweet spot for bettors before the important Screen Actors Guild Awards on Feb. 24.

SAG winners will likely become favorites for the Oscars.

That means this could be the week to back underdogs. Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers) is the +165 second choice behind Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer) at -250 for Best Actor.

Should Giamatti win a surprise SAG award, he would likely become the Oscars chalk.

A battle royale could be unfolding in the Best Actress category. Emma Stone (Poor Things) is -165, with Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon) next at +130.

Oscars betting before the SAG Awards resembles a Super Bowl futures play. Get the wager down while a team has a few obstacles remaining. Each successful playoff round knocks the betting odds down.

Other GT Coverage: Best Sports Betting AppsBest Sports Betting PromosSports Betting States

Oscars and Sports Betting Fun

While Oscars betting is a novelty, it does not have to be isolated.

Gamblers can parlay an Oscars wager with a live sports bet. Most sports betting spread wagers at -115 can be converted into a two-legged parlay yielding small plus numbers when combined with Oppenheimer at -900.

That’s not a bad way to add basis points to a live sports wager and make some real money off an event that’s long been the enclave of the non-sports crowd.

Countless opportunities like this abound at the sportsbook.

“Hey, sophisticated bettors will put their money on anything that gives them an edge,” Avello laughed. “They will do the homework. It certainly does make sense to have some Oscars and sports bet parlays.

“If your sports bet comes in and you have Oppenheimer at -900, you are feeling pretty good.

“We really enjoy this. My job title has the words race and sportsbook in it. You can add ‘entertainment’ because I am an entertainment kind of guy.”

Avello’s Oscars Story

Avello, a lifelong movie buff, launched the Oscars sports betting niche several decades back.

He began creating and posting Oscars odds in brick-and-mortar establishments like Bally’s and Wynn. The betting prices came from conversations he’d had with Hollywood movie executives.

These props were for bragging rights alone.

“You couldn’t make a real bet, and thus, the action was just for the entertainment and conversation of the customers,” Avello recalled. “But man, did they show up for that. We often closed the sportsbook down to have the party that went with the Oscars.”

There were no winning tickets, but the property cashed because high rollers spent lavishly on casino games and shopping.

Legalized gambling and Avello’s role with DraftKings changed the dynamic. New Jersey, the first state to legalize sports wagering, also became the first to allow the Oscars.

The ascension of states has reached the point where Avello considers Oscars betting a money maker.

Finding an Oscars Betting Edge

Avello said gamblers must look at more than whether they simply like the movie.

“You have to consider why the movie is important,” Avello said, an item that makes the Oppenheimer story about the development of the bomb ending World War II particularly poignant.

“There are additional factors like how good one thinks the acting is and if that actor, actress, or movie is getting nominations at other awards ceremonies. If a movie is nominated for an award and/or for top screenplay, there is a chance that actors will have a better shot to win at the Oscars. Sometimes a buzz is created, and that seems to matter.”

There is a new twist in the lineup this year. Box-office blockbusters are prominent betting choices.

Barbie, the world’s top-grossing 2023 film with just under $1.5 billion in revenue, is the fourth choice.

Oppenheimer was third in revenue with more than $950 million and is the heavy Oscars chalk. Killers of the Flower Moon (+3500) exceeds $150 million.

It is rare for three box-office hits to gain Oscars acclaim.

Oscars officials often favor a slow, perhaps deeply moving theme. The voting body loves to project itself as sensitive and introspective.

This is a rare excellent showing by top-grossing movies.

“My understanding of Barbie is that you love it or you don’t,” Avello said. “In past Oscars, what you often found is that the winner is a movie most people won’t like. But Oppenheimer, the Oscars favorite, was very popular.”

Avello watches movies as avidly as he watches games. Here are his top movie classics:

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Forrest Gump
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • The Hustler
  • The Sting

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About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Writer
Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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