Academy Awards Odds Favor ‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’ for Best Picture, New Jersey Permits Oscars Betting

The 92nd Academy Awards are set for Sunday, February 9, from Los Angeles, and for a second straight year, movie buffs inside New Jersey can end the night a big winner.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has approved requests to offer odds on the outcome of the Oscars. DraftKings, which operates the sportsbook at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, as well as online, was first to reveal lines on each of the 24 award categories that will be presented live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

As for Best Picture, Quentin Tarantino’s star-studded Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood comedy-drama headlined by Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie is the favorite at +160.

1917, which took the top honors at the Golden Globes, is next at +200. The rest of the top five is Parasite (+450), Joker (+800), and The Irishman (+1600).

Other nominees: Marriage Story (+3300), Jojo Rabbit, Little Women (+5000), and Ford v. Ferrari (+10000).

For sports betting newbies who came across this article due to the Oscars, +100 represents the amount a $100 bet would net. For instance, a $100 wager on Joker and the movie winning Best Picture would net $800.

No Showstopper

Legal sports betting is now operational in 14 states. But many have followed Nevada’s lead in determining regulations, and what gamblers can and can’t wager on.

Nevada has long prohibited odds on anything non-sports. You can’t bet on who will win television show The Bachelor, nor can you try and predict who will win at the Grammys. The concern among regulators is that betting on such events could lead to insiders leaking winners and compromising the integrity of the book.

Case in point: results of the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time were leaked prior to Ken Jennings outlasting Brad Rutter and Las Vegas’s own James Holzhauer on television. However, unlike the Oscars, the Jeopardy! tournament was not live.

The Academy Awards results are audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. PwC is responsible for making sure the vote results are accurate, and the appropriate recipient is being awarded the Oscar. Only three PwC partners know the final results before showtime.

That’s why New Jersey’s DGE believes allowing its sportsbook operators to take odds on Hollywood is a calculated risk worth taking. Last year, handle on the Academy Awards totaled more than $1 million in the Garden State.

Premiere Categories

In New Jersey, and ready to test your Oscars picks? Here are odds on a few favorites in the A-list categories.

For Best Actor, Joaquin Phoenix is the heavy favorite for Joker. He’s listed at -1667, meaning a $100 bet and the actor winning his first Oscar would net a measly six bucks. Renee Zellweger is nearly as favored for Best Actress. A $100 bet and her winning for Judy wins just $10.

The Best Director category is more competitive. Sam Mendes (1917) is the frontrunner at -134. Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) is next at +225, and Tarantino third at +800. This is Tarantino’s third Best Director Oscar nomination. He lost for both Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Bastards.