Mar 22, 2021
Mar 22, 2021

Oscars odds analysis: What makes Oscars betting unique?

Why is Oscars betting different to sports betting?

How can you find value in Academy Awards odds?

Analysing previous winners' odds movement

Do the other major awards help inform predictions?

Oscars odds analysis: What makes Oscars betting unique?

The Oscars odds have been posted and as ever, there is potential value to be had if you know why Academy Awards betting is different to betting on traditional sports. Read on to find out how analysing previous Oscars odds and the other major awards can help you develop a profitable strategy.

In sports betting, bettors can bet on markets with a broad spectrum of direct and helpful information to hand.

For instance, we know in advance who is playing, a team or player's momentum or form, their injury status, and many other factors that help us estimate the probability of the likely outcomes. However, while there are plenty of indicators on which to base predictions, they just aren’t as good as a pre-formed resolution.

The winners of the Oscars (also known as the Academy Awards) are known before they are announced, but does that mean there is value on offer when it comes to Oscars betting?

Oscars betting: 93rd Academy Awards odds

2021 Oscars odds

Best Picture


Best Director


Best Actor


Best Actress




Chloe Zhao - Nomadland


Chadwick Boseman - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom


Carey Mulligan - Promising Young Woman


The Trial of the Chicago 7


David Fincher - Mank


Riz Ahmed - The Sound of Metal


Andra Day - The United States vs. Billie Holliday


Promising Young Woman


Lee Isaac Chung - Minari


Anthony Hopkins - The Father


Frances McDormand - Nomadland




Emerald Fennell - Promising Young Woman


Steven Yuen - Minari


Viola Davis - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom


Judas and the Black Messiah


Thomas Vinterberg - Another Round


Gary Oldman - Mank


Vanessa Kirby - Pieces of a Woman










Sound of Metal








The Father








Why is Oscars betting different to sports betting?

Academy Awards betting differs from sports markets in that the results are based on predetermined information. Voters submit their votes long before the actual awards are presented (which for this year will be on April 25).

Attempting to find value in Oscars odds is often a race against time.

Along with many other bookmakers, Pinnacle opened markets for this year's Oscars shortly after the nominees were announced on March 15, and while they stay open until shortly before the awards ceremony, the deciding votes are actually tallied almost a week before the event.

That gives bettors a month to look at the contenders, collect as much information as possible, and analyse historical patterns that will help inform any potential bets. It's a race against the market, as bettors around the globe are chasing the same information in the name of getting ahead before prices adjust to information being assimilated.

It all makes for a fascinating game of cat and mouse, with potential profit available to bettors, but only if they strike at the right time. The question is: how do you win this game and get the best information possible?

How do Oscars winners’ odds behave?

It is worth noting that short favourites generally get shorter as the ceremony draws closer. Last year, the favourites for each of the ‘Big Six’ categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress) stayed as favourite between open and close with their odds shortening in the process.

Last year, the acting categories were dominated by overwhelming and unwavering favourites.

In the Best Picture category, 1917 opened and closed as favourite with odds of 1.666 and 1.389 respectively. However, the eventual winner Parasite was notably one of only two other nominees among the 10 whose odds shortened between open and close, moving from 4.330 to 3.770. While plenty of bettors thought 1917 would win, it was still pretty close, and the drop in Parasite’s odds highlighted that was certainly considered a dark horse by many.

However, it was the opposite story in the Best Director category. Sam Mendes opened as favourite for 1917 on 1.500, with Bong Joon-Ho trailing closely behind for Parasite on 2.990. When the market closed, Mendes had asserted his status as favourite by dropping to 1.120 while Joon-Ho had lengthened to 5.770, indicating this result was much more of a shock.

Meanwhile, the acting categories were dominated by favourites to an arguably unprecedented extent. There was very little suggestion that anyone other than Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Renee Zellweger (Judy), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and Laura Dern (Marriage Story) would collect the top gongs, and indeed Dern’s closing odds of 1.119 was the longest of the four.

Which organisation has the highest predicting rate?

Even before the month of build-up to the Oscars, there is plenty of information out there for bettors to utilise in order to narrow their searches for an eventual winner. Award ceremonies from other organisations go a long way towards predicting Oscars success.

The Golden Globes, Critics' Choice and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards have proven particularly adept, with their respective memberships often overlapping with the Academy. 

With 19 correct picks in the last 25 years, the Critics' Choice Awards are largely reliable at predicting the Best Director winner at the Oscars.

Cumulatively, the three organisations combine to accurately foresee winners in the acting categories over 70% of the time, while the Globes and Critics' Choice Awards have a success rate of more than 60% for the Best Picture award.

The Critics' Choice Awards are particularly adept at predicting the Best Director, with 19 of the 25 such recipients (76%) going on to win the Oscar as well. Of the four people to win Best Director at the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice awards beforehand, three also went on to pick up the same award at the Oscars. Clearly, while a bet should not be made based on this information alone, these are strong indicators on which to build a case.

Notably, this year the Critics' Choice Awards and Golden Globes were in agreement for four of the aforementioned categories. Nomadland and its director Chloe Zhao picked up Best Picture and Best Director respectively, while Chadwick Boseman won Best Actor for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Judas and the Black Messiah's Daniel Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor.

Suitably, these are all currently firm favourites to win their respective category at this year's Oscars.

Keeping an eye on the talking heads

One last key to following the progress of Oscar markets is listening to talking heads. It’s human to want opinions to be heard and to earn expert status through their expression, and the Hollywood community is a tightly knit one whose members enjoy access to plenty of information that can prove useful.

The most notable instance of this phenomenon being particularly helpful was Birdman and its director Alejandro G. Inarritu's infamous ascent from long shots to favourites (and eventual winners) for Best Picture and Best Director respectively in 2015.

While the film missed out on gongs from both the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards, there was enough hype surrounding it to project it to victory over presumptive winner Boyhood. Simply, the critics who favoured Birdman talked it up to such an extent that the betting public realised the winds of change.

The overriding question for bettors is whether they can get their predictions in quickly enough to enjoy good value.

Do you think you can predict this year's Oscars winners? If you’re up to the challenge, place your bets with the best Oscars odds at Pinnacle.

Odds subject to change

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