DraftKings Sportsbook’s Director Talks 2020 Oscars Betting After Seeing All 9 Films

Sunday is Hollywood’s biggest night. It’s the night America finds out which movie takes home the Oscar for Best Picture.

In New Jersey, there is the added layer with Oscars betting.

DraftKings Sportsbook has odds on the big six categories along with smaller ones such as Sound Mixing and Costume Design.

DraftKings Sportsbook director Johnny Avello has seen all nine nominated films. So, besides talking odds, he weighs on this year’s top movies.

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Breaking down the Best Picture field

The Oscar for Best Picture goes to …

… Well, you’ll have to watch the end of the Academy Awards to find out.

In terms of odds, DraftKings has World War I film 1917 (-250)  as the favorite. But will it prevail?

“I think it’s interesting, from the film side, we made Once Upon a Time in Hollywood our original favorite. It’s no longer our favorite.

“1917 is, which opened up at 2-to-1 is now the favorite at 1-to-2. I personally didn’t like the movie.”

“The directing was very good. The cinematography was excellent, but the movie itself was not. … I didn’t think it was that well-written, number one. And I thought it was dragged on parts where it shouldn’t have.”

1917 is a heavy favorite for Best Cinematography (-5000). DraftKings has it as the frontrunner for Sound Editing (-278) and Sound Mixing (-250).

He noted it’s probably going to win for sound.

Getting back to Best Picture winner, Avello sees it coming down to one of three films.

“Now the one movie I thought was also very good was Parasite. It was a subtitled movie,” said Avello.

“It’s also up for best foreign film, and that’s rare to win both of those.

“But I thought Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Parasite were both better than 1917. And I don’t think that it’s going to go much deeper than those three to be honest with you.”

Parasite is +350 while Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is +800.

Betting on Best Picture at DraftKings

New players to DraftKings are eligible for a limited-time Oscars Best Picture Winner Special. Correctly bet $10 on the Best Picture winner and you’ll win $100.

The fine print:

  • Offer is available to new players only
  • You must place your bets before 7:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 9
  • Valid on a $10 wager only

2020 Oscars betting going smoother

Oscars wagering was a big deal in 2019. It was the first time it was legal in any state, including Nevada.

New Jersey was the only state where it was legal.

In terms of numbers, the Oscars handle came in at $747,696, with the amount paid out totaling $565,179.

Avello noted that last time around, there were some system issues pertaining to how to display the odds on the kiosk. But overall, Avello was pleased with the way things played out.

“Last year’s handle, I thought, was really good for the limited amount of time we had it up,” said Avello. “And, this year, I expect it to be even more so. So, the only thing that may prohibit a little action, and it always does is that there’s strong favorites.

“There’s big favorites and there always is. But then you look on the other side and see if you can find a gem out there. That’s where you’re getting some lucrative odds.”

No joke: Joaquin Phoenix is a heavy favorite

Joaquin Phoenix has earned rave reviews for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck in Joker.

Last month, he took home the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture. He is currently -5000 to take home the Oscar.

Of course, there is a chance one of the other nominees produces a surprise win for bettors.

Here is the rest of the field:

  • Adam Driver +1000
  • Leonardo DiCaprio +3300
  • Antonio Banderas +5000
  • Jonathan Pryce +6600

So, how will the Best Actor race play out?

“[The odds] will steer the small bettor away from the Joaquin Phoenix. Nobody’s putting up $33 to win a dollar,” Avello said last week when the odds were -3335. “There might be somebody that may put up 1,000 bucks or so to bet on him because that is the limit.”

About the Author

Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.