2016 Oscars Betting: Wagering on the 88th Academy Awards

The 88th Academy Awards ceremony takes place this Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The nominees were announced last month and it didn’t take the oddsmakers long to put up the lines and starting taking wagers on the winners of every category. Movie buffs take note; this is one of the few times each year that you can put your money where your mouth is and bet on the Oscars.

Where to Bet on the Oscars Online

The greatest challenge you’ll face betting on the 2016 Oscars is in dealing with the inherently subjective nature of determining which movies, actors, songs and so on deserve the title “the best.” Just under 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences cast their votes to determine who wins an Oscar each year. Thus, you can’t just look at the merits of movie on its own (although that does help), you also need to predict how other people view each submission.

However, the secretive nature of the vote makes this job exceedingly difficult. In my experience, the best bet in determining the likelihood of various outcomes is to simply follow Hollywood and entertainment oriented websites, magazines and TV shows. Those who regularly cover the American film industry are more in touch with the latest fads, are more likely to have contacts and are generally better at predicting the winners.

There are no guarantees in betting on the Academy Awards, but every piece of information you can dig up is going to help. At the very least, you’ll have a better general sense of what those in the know are thinking about this year’s Oscars.

Current Odds

Below is a comparison of the odds offered for each category compared across the major entertainment betting sites. All you need to do is select the actor/film/song/etc. that you want to back and then choose the book that offers the best odds for that outcome.

Oscars Betting Trends

So, how good are the oddsmakers at predicting the winners of the Oscars? Well, we can look back at history and see what the odds were for each category and then compare that with the actual winners that year. This article provides an informative overview as to how one oddsmaker comes up with the betting odds each year.

Betting sites also set the odds based on anticipated action for each outcome, and that in turn likely derives from media speculation. For example, if all the Hollywood gossip type of websites are banking on 12 Years a Slave to win Best Picture, that’s going to be the “most likely” outcome according to the odds.

Knowing trends from previous years can give us a clue as to how much of a shot the underdogs really have. If we look back and see that the odds are almost always spot-on, we know that it’s probably not a good idea to bank any significant amount on the high paying underdogs. Likewise, we can take the opposite approach if longshots do occasionally come through.

I can save you the time right now and share this informative little bit from the New York Times:

Big underdogs rarely win. Johnny Avello, executive director of the Race and Sports Book at Wynn, said that only two Oscar long shots have won in a major category in the past decade. Ang Lee took best director in 2013, despite having 9-to-1 odds, which suggests roughly a 10 percent chance of victory. In 2006, “Crash” won best picture with 4-to-1 (or roughly 20 percent) odds.

On the other end of the spectrum, nominees who have more than a 90 percent chance of winning — as Ms. Moore, Ms. Arquette and Mr. Simmons do, according to PredictWise, which aggregates betting market odds — have ended up winning more than 90 percent of the time.

If that trend continues in 2016, the smart punter will back the favourites and come out ahead. If the odds are only paying as if any one outcome has a 90% chance of happening but that outcome actually comes through more than 90% of the time, it’s a wager that will return money over the long run (minus the bookmaker’s commission).

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