Oscars betting report: Oddsmaker predicts upset in Best Picture category

Director Bong Joon-ho Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020
Director Bong Joon-ho (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
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While the four actor categories have what appear to be runaway favorites ahead of the 2020 Academy Awards (Sunday night on ABC), there could be an upset in store for Best Picture, according to oddsmaker and Oscars aficionado Johnny Avello.

“1917”, a World War 1 film by director Sam Mendes, has been bet from 2/1 opening odds to the -200 favorite (bet $200 to win $100) in the Best Picture category, but Avello, director of race and sports operations at DraftKings, sees value elsewhere.

Avello, who posted mock odds on the Oscars for years when he worked in Las Vegas before being allowed to take bets on the awards in New Jersey and now Indiana, said a film’s success across other categories is often predictive of whether it will win Best Picture.

“When you look at why a movie wins Best Picture, most of the time you have to look at all the other awards it’s getting over the course of the night,” Avello told BetIndiana News on Friday. “(‘1917’) has no acting (nominations) at all, but certainly Sam Mendes has a big shot (at Best Director), it’s gonna win Best Cinematography, and it’s gonna win a couple of (other) awards. Is that enough to get it there? Maybe. But I would pick “Parasite” in the Best Picture category.”

Some bettors are on board with the bookmaker, as “Parasite” has been adjusted from a 9/2 opener to 11/4.

Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – renowned film critic Richard Roeper’s pick in his contribution to BetIndiana News this week – moved in the other direction at DraftKings, from the 8/5 opening favorite to 9/1.

The wildest adjustment on the Oscars betting board, though, belongs to the Animated Feature category, where “Klaus” was bet from a 25/1 longshot to -112, still behind “Toy Story 4”, the -125 favorite.

The four actor categories have all seen action on the already-massive favorites — Renee Zellweger (“Judy”) is now -2500 for Best Actress, Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) is -5000 for Best Actor, Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”) is -2500 for Best Supporting Actress, and Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) is -3335 for Best Supporting Actor. Phoenix opened -1600, while the three others opened -1000.

“The actors categories are way chalkier than they’ve been in the past,” Avello said. “There’s usually not that big of favorites, and that’s where you’ve seen some upsets in the past. But I don’t know how anybody’s getting upset in the acting categories this year.”

There are prices at which, however, Roeper suggests taking shots in some of these categories. Read Roeper’s handicap of Sunday’s event here.

Here’s a chart showing how the odds have moved in the six major Oscars categories during three weeks of betting at DraftKings:

MovieOpening OddsCurrent
19172 to 11 to 2
Parasite9 to 211 to 4
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood8 to 59 to 1
Joker8 to 110 to 1
The Irishman16 to 150 to 1
Jojo Rabbit50 to 150 to 1
Marriage Story33 to 1100 to 1
Little Women50 to 1100 to 1
Ford V Ferrari100 to 1250 to 1
ActressOpening OddsCurrent
Renee Zellweger (“Judy”)1 to 101 to 25
Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)7 to 110 to 1
Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)25 to 120 to 1
Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”)28 to 125 to 1
Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)33 to 133 to 1
ActorOpening OddsCurrent
Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”)1 to 161 to 50
Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”)7 to 110 to 1
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)25 to 133 to 1
Antonio Banderas (“Pain & Glory”)33 to 150 to 1
Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”)50 to 166 to 1
Supporting ActressOpening OddsCurrent
Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”)1 to 101 to 25
Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”)8 to 112 to 1
Florence Pugh (“Little Women”)9 to 114 to 1
Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”)17 to 120 to 1
Kathy Bates (“Richard Jewell”)33 to 150 to 1
Supporting ActorOpening OddsCurrent
Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)1 to 101 to 33
Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”)8 to 112 to 1
Al Pacino (“The Irishman”)17 to 128 to 1
Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”)20 to 133 to 1
Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”)33 to 150 to 1
DirectorOpening OddsCurrent
Sam Mendes (“1917”)3 to 41 to 5
Bong Joon-Ho (“Parasite”)9 to 43 to 1
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)8 to 117 to 1
Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”)10 to 150 to 1
Todd Phillips (“Joker”)25 to 150 to 1