As hard as it may be to believe, it is possible to wager on the outcome of the Academy Awards.
Only available for new users, DraftKings will allow a wager of up to $5 to select the most venerated movie of last year’s slate. That $5 wager comes with 100:1 odds.
In other words, the Academy’s selection could be worth up to $500 to certain bettors in New Jersey.
Top this with the usual $500 free bet bonus on first deposit, and you have the makings of a pretty sweet NJ sports betting deal.
Just on its face, the bet seems like a no-brainer. All you have to do is correctly pick the winner to claim the odds boost. All things equal, you have a 1 in 8 chance of multiplying your bet by 100.
The catch is that the boost is only active for the first wager on the Oscars. So, betting the field, as they say, is not a viable strategy.
How can you tell who will win Best Picture anyway?
Of course, things aren’t all equal. Some films have a better chance of winning than others.
In fact, here’s the list of Best Picture nominees. The given odds are the latest (Feb. 19) from DraftKings:
- A Star Is Born (+4000)
- Black Panther (+2500)
- BlacKkKlansman (+2500)
- Bohemian Rhapsody (+3000)
- Green Book (+450)
- Roma (-335)
- The Favourite (+1200)
- Vice (+8000)
Obviously, the odds tell something about how DraftKings’ experts think it will go. In fact, Roma has pulled away from the field.
However, since money is definitely on the line, it’s worth digging a bit deeper into the question. Here’s what we know, besides the irony that a movie called The Favourite is an underdog:
- The Best Picture voting uses what’s known as a preferential ballot. The counters use a process of elimination to arrive, more or less, at the movie that was least disliked.
- Major awards shows before the Oscars tend to be predictors of Academy Award success.
- The vast majority (96 percent) of Best Picture winners also saw their director nominated for or winning Best Director.
Expert movie historian Jessica Welman breaks down the choices in even more detail in the video below:
Suggestions for the DraftKings’ Oscars odds boost
So, according to Welman, the three best bets to win Best Picture are prohibitive favorite Roma, problematic runner-up Green Book or dark horse candidate Black Panther. Wagers on all three would make sense if this situation were simply for straight betting.
However, you are only going to get one shot at 100x glory with the DraftKings’ Oscars odds boost. So, now is not the time to try and be a hero.
It will probably win. If it doesn’t, then bet the other films at their normal odds and make your money back.
The last thing to do is to take a flyer on an upset victory, then watch the overwhelming favorite cruise to gold. The only reason to stay away from a favorite is the unfavorable odds associated with it.
That’s not the case here. So, make the smart decision.
The 91st Academy Awards occurs at 8pm EST on Sunday, Feb. 24.