And the envelope please…
New Jersey bettors figuratively want to put some cash in theirs from wagers on the 94th Academy Awards, or the Oscars, on Sunday.
Odds went up at DraftKings in early January and while some categories have become runaways, others keep Garden State gamblers on the edge of their seats.
The movie CODA has been a popular story, surging from +1400 in recent weeks to become the second favorite at DraftKings entering the final weekend.
CODA, recently honored at SAG and Director’s Guild Award ceremonies, bounced long-time contenders Belfast and West Side Story out of the box.
It entered Thursday at +100, second only to -125 small chalk, Power of the Dog, on the DraftKings board.
Academy Awards Odds At NJ Sportsbooks
This is the tightest race at NJ sportsbooks after a two-month betting process fashioned several twists and turns in different categories.
Power of the Dog has been in the lead most of the way for the top movie, always with a comfortable, if not insurmountable margin. If this was another sport, it would have resembled a two-run lead.
Now it’s down to one, with an exciting finish looming.
“If you look at all the movies that are nominated, CODA is the one I think most people would agree on being a good movie,” Johnny Avello, the inventor of Oscar odds betting at DraftKings, told NJGS.
“Not everybody is going to like Power of the Dog. Not everybody is going to like Licorice Pizza or The Lost Daughter.”
Avello, also the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, emphasized the unique selection criteria after odds were first posted in January.
Winners are selected via the Hollywood community honoring itself. Several thousand professionals vote on approximately 1,000 movies. There are no stats, head-to-head matchups, or recent hot streaks to handicap. But word-of-mouth assessments, whispers, gossip, and media attention count.
Only in legalized Oscar betting can the big moment be something other than a ninth-inning home run or a buzzer-beating hoop. It will be an announcement.
New Jersey gamblers have weighed in on the belief they have a pulse on where Hollywood insiders are leaning. And veteran gamblers know where to place their faith.
In a move to appear sophisticated, Hollywood often rewards slow-moving movies that may be considered poignant, or reveal a personal struggle. To the public, the movies are obscure.
Released late in 2021, neither CODA nor Power of the Dog crack the top 200 grossing films last year, according to boxofficemojo.com.
No contenders for Oscar awards approach the financial clout of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the top domestic moneymaker at more than $572 million.
Dune, 13th in top-grossing movies with $93 million, is a +4000 long shot at DraftKings for top movie.
Betting On The 2022 Oscars
None of the other Oscar nominees were above $30 million. They were nowhere near the likes of popular releases like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Black Widow, and Jungle Cruise.
Before West Side Story shows up 38th on the list, one will find Boss Baby 2, The Addams Family 2, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Space Jam.
After West Side Story hit the board, here’s how other films ranked according to boxofficemojo.com:
- King Richard 57th
- Spencer 73rd
- Belfast 74th
- Licorice Pizza 79th
The re-release of Top Gun and Ghostbusters appear later on the list.
Where are the movies that will win the Academy Awards? A bettor must think the opposite of what’s popular.
There are a couple of ways to play into this.
Some players took a flier on a long shot after seeing the results of early-2022 awards ceremonies. Some hooked their instincts into what they perceived as the criteria for the judges.
“We’ve been happy with how the betting has gone” Avello said. “There is going to be wagering right up until the end and we will get quite a bit on the final day.”
Categories have been added in the final weeks of the campaign.
For screenplay aficionados, there’s an excellent battle between Licorice Pizza at -120 and Belfast at +130.
Other new categories include best film editing, best animated short, and best live-action short.
DraftKings also linked the Academy Awards to other sporting events, including NBA individual games and the Super Bowl. A number of New Jersey bettors have the Cincinnati Bengals +4.5 coupled with Power of the Dog at odds of nearly 4-1.
When the Bengals covered in a 23-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, this bet looked like it was home.
Now it will go down to the wire.
2022 Best Picture Odds
New Jersey was the first state to offer Oscar betting in 2019. That brought a different emphasis on posting odds for Avello, who had established them for entertainment purposes to spark high-roller parties at Wynn in Las Vegas for many years.
Now they go up and stay up for a couple of months and must be adjusted for whatever risk the company has on the bets, which have a $1,000 maximum. That’s why it had to react for momentum that snowballed in Hollywood.
Few saw the rise of CODA as a movie and Chastain as an actress back in January. But that, as Robert DeNiro said in the movie Casino, is why the bets pay so well.
Caesars has a little more value for CODA bettors at +110, while it has Power of the Dog at +150. In an interesting flip, the book changes their order for Best Adapted Screenplay.
CODA is -150 in that department, while Power of the Dog is +120.
Here’s another close one for bettors who believe they understand film editing. The Best Film Editing Award has a good race with Dune the leader at -120 and King Richard next at +200.
PointsBet also has the best movie category down to two participants. Power of the Dog leads the way at -167. CODA is +100.
The book acknowledges the surge of CODA, while believing Power of the Dog is still a potent chalk.
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)