Belfast has surged, Jane Campion has bolted from the pack and Nicole Kidman continues a winter-long tug of war with Kristen Stewart. These are some of the major betting developments for the Super Bowl world of movies, the Academy Awards, or Oscars, culminating March 27.
Jostling recently occurred in several betting categories for New Jersey online gamblers after the official nominations were announced Feb. 8.
More movement may follow the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Feb. 27 and the Directors Guild of America Awards on March 12.
DraftKings and Caesars will substantially bolster their betting categories as the big event draws near. Other NJ online sportsbooks could post odds at a later date.
For gamblers, this is an excellent opportunity to take a shot.
Editor’s Note: Academy Awards odds posted below were last updated on Feb. 28, 2022.
Best Picture odds at NJ Sportsbooks
|The Power of the Dog||-140||-150||-167|
|West Side Story||+3500||+3300||+1600|
|Drive My Car||+8000||+8000||+5000|
|Don't Look Up||+5000||+6600||+4000|
Best Picture betting overview
The Power of the Dog has been the favorite since DraftKings Sportsbook formally posted the first odds last month.
Belfast has supplanted West Side Story as the second choice.
West Side Story slid to third at DraftKings and Caesars. Now you’ve got Steven Spielberg’s movie and a price.
Dune and Drive My Car recently cracked the Top 5.
Best Director odds at NJ sportsbooks
|Jane Campion||Kenneth Branagh||Steven Spielberg||Ryusuke Hamaguchi||Paul Thomas Anderson|
Best Director betting overview
The story here is Campion becoming more prohibitive than ever at Caesars, while Spielberg becomes excellent value and Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) gets some betting attention.
Best Actor odds at NJ sportsbooks
|Will Smith||Benedict Cumberbatch||Andrew Garfield||Denzel Washington||Javier Bardem|
Will Smith remains the early favorite
The top three remain steady in this category. So far, there isn’t much of a shift. Will Smith (King Richard) is in front but isn’t pulling away like Campion is.
Best Actress odds at NJ sportsbooks
|Nicole Kidman||Kristen Stewart||Olivia Colman||Jessica Chastain||Penélope Cruz|
Nicole Kidman and Kristen Stewart are in tight Best Actress race
Yes, Best Actress betting at NJ online sportsbook currently resembles an NBA futures market.
Garden State bettors can buy on the dip for Kidman (Being the Ricardos) and Stewart (Spencer), who juggle favorite roles the way the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets did for the NBA’s Atlantic Division crown before the Sixers landed James Harden and became the big favorite.
Caesars Sportsbook expands Oscars betting menu
Now that Super Bowl LVI is over, Caesars is continuing to expand its Academy Awards betting menu. They are the first operator to add the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories. Plus, odds are now live for Best Documentary Feature and Best Animated Feature Film. And more could be coming soon.
For now, let’s start with Best Supporting Actor.
The big trend here is Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of The Dog) becoming a solid favorite. He was +162 a couple of weeks ago and some bettors may have grabbed that, but he won’t be easy to play now as Caesars Sportsbook has him at -300. Troy Kotsur (CODA) and Ciaran Hinds (Belfast) keep their relative positions. Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog) and J.K. Simmons (Being The Ricardos) are longshots.
Best Supporting Actor odds at NJ sportsbooks
|Kodi Smit-McPhee||Troy Kotsur||Ciaran Hinds||Jesse Plemons||J.K. Simmons|
Handicapping the Best Supporting Actress race
Here’s a handicapping variable: Are dance and choreography a powerful separator for actors and actresses?
Ariana DeBose, sporting prolific dance moves in West Side Story, is a solid chalk at -400.
DeBose and Kristen Dunst (The Power of the Dog) at +500 continue leading the way. Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) moved up to +700 from +1000
Best Supporting Actress odds at NJ sportsbooks
|Ariana DeBose||Kirsten Dunst||Aunjanue Ellis||Jessie Buckley||Judi Dench|
Academy Awards betting overview from a movie aficionado
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, was the first to post Oscar odds last month. He’s a longtime movie aficionado and established betting odds for high-roller parties at the Wynn in Las Vegas before being permitted to do it by New Jersey officials in 2019.
Unlike betting lines in other sports, Oscar line movements aren’t predicated on big bettors. There is no “wiseguy” laying down a ton of money to alter the odds.
The process reacts to events in the industry, along with publicity surrounding the movies.
“There is going to be a push on a couple of things, that we will have our eye on in the coming weeks,” Avello told PlayNJ. “You will see some of the men and women making big moves to the point where they become an overwhelming factor.
“Many people think that once the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards come out, that it translates into an Oscar, but that’ not necessarily the case,” he added.
“One thing we found out from the last couple of years is that people don’t want to bet the big favorites. They would prefer an underdog with a chance.”
There is no absolute gauge to predict how a voting bloc of roughly 9,000 Hollywood professionals will select a winner.
In 2019, Oscar-winning Parasite earned $53 million in the United States according to a list released by Box Office Mojo. That was not in the same zip code as Avengers: Endgame, which led the way with $858 million.
Betting on how Hollywood rewards itself is a tricky call. Even when the winner appears to have been christened, that may not work out.
Academy Awards history lesson: Not every Oscars betting chalk walks the walk
Avello recalls the shock of Chadwick Boseman not winning as a 1-20 favorite last year. He had died in 2020 and had performed well in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,
But Anthony Hopkins was the winner for his role in The Father.
And a scheduled televised coronation didn’t happen.
“Usually, the top movie is the last segment of the telecast, but this time they had it the top actor,” Avello recalled. “You could see they had the program set up around him winning and they were going to do a lot of things with that.
“When Boseman did not win, the show ended abruptly,” he added.
Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP