Big Swings In Best Director Odds Hours Before Oscars Raise Eyebrows In Betting Community

Posted By PlayNJ Staff on February 24, 2019

A last-minute surge on a longshot has the betting community asking questions about who knows what regarding the Best Director category.

NJ online sports betting sites, along with their illegal counterparts, scrambled to adjust Oscars betting odds today in response to a reported influx of action on Yorgos Lanthimos.

In addition to tightening odds, New Jersey sportsbooks have also reportedly cut limits for the Best Director market or taken Lanthimos, who directed The Favourite, off the board.

The table below shows the dramatic movement on Lanthimos in the hours leading up the broadcast:

Time (EST)Odds at FanDuelOdds at Sugarhouse
2:00 PM+1600+2400
3:00 PM+1600+1900
4:00 PM+500+1900
5:00 PM+500+270

“There are no obvious reasons why Lanthimos is in a better position than he was last week when he was an extreme longshot, so the influx of betting on him raises questions,” said Jessica Welman, who heads up Oscars betting analysis for

Welman noted that odds for Lanthimos had been steadily tightening over the last two weeks, but today’s movement still marks an extreme shift.

Update: Alfonso Cuaron won Best Picture.

Oscars betting is available at most online sportsbooks in New Jersey, including BetStars NJ, Caesars SportsbookDraftKings SportsbookPlayMGM Sportsbook, FanDuel SportsbookPointsBet and William Hill NJ.

Volatility not uncommon for small markets

While Oscars betting has generated a significant amount of press, the total amount of money in play on the event is relatively small, as is often the case for non-sports novelty markets.

Based on conversations with bookmakers in New Jersey, the total amount wagered on the Oscars is likely to land in the low seven figures. Illegal books will see a greater total due to their wider availability.

But the event will generate a small amount of liquidity by any measure.

That modest liquidity means that even shallow betting trends can drive significant moves.

A play for Cuaron?

The movement on Lanthimos has had a resonant impact on the market for current Best Director favorite Alfonso Cuaron.

Time (EST)Odds at FanDuelOdds at Sugarhouse
2:00 PM-1800-2500
3:00 PM-1800-1667
4:00 PM-1800-400
5:00 PM-1800-400

One alternative explanation to the inside information theory: The betting on Lanthimos reflects a coordinated effort by bettors to spook sportsbooks with a rush of money on a longshot in order to motivate books to post better prices for Cuaron.

Doing so would allow books to balance their liability on the markets.


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