Jan 24, 2020
Jan 24, 2020

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.

With sports betting, bettors are accustomed to betting on markets with a massive amount of incomplete information in the form of the actual playing out of a game or match.

We know in advance who is playing, a team’s momentum, injury status on assorted players, and many other factors that help us estimate the probability of the likely outcomes. While there are plenty of indicators on which to base predictions, predictions just aren’t as good as a pre-formed resolution. The winners of the Oscars (also known as Acadamy Awards) are known before they are announced, but does that mean there is value on offer when it comes to Oscars betting?

Oscars betting: 92nd Academy Awards odds

2020 Oscars odds

Best Picture


Best Director


Best Actor


Best Actress




Sam Mendes - 1917


Joaquin Phoenix - Joker


Renee Zellweger - Judy




Bong Joon-ho - Parasite


Adam Driver - Marriage Story


Scarlett Johannson - Marriage Story


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Quentin Tarantino - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Leonardo DiCaprio - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


Cynthia Erivo - Harriet




Martin Scorsese - The Irishman


Antonio Banderas - Pain and Glory


Saoirse Ronan - Little Women


The Irishman


Todd Phillips - Joker


Jonathan Pryce - The Two Popes


Charlize Theron - Bombshell


Jojo Rabbit








Marriage Story








Little Women








Ford v Ferrari








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 takes place on February 9 this year). The markets were open as soon as nominations were announced on January 13 and while they stay open until 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 winners’ odds behave?

It is worth noting that short favourites generally get shorter as the ceremony draws closer. In fact, in 2015 all ten markets offered saw the supportive information on eventual winners influence the market to make their prices shorten. At last year’s awards, the movement across the four major categories varied.

On occasion, betters will figure out who will win relatively early on.

The favourite throughout, Roma opened at 2.010 for Best Picture and closed at 1.433, whereas eventual winner Green Book opened at 4.830 and closed at 3.420. While plenty of bettors thought Roma would win, it was still pretty close between the two films and the drop in Green Book’s odds highlights that was certainly considered a dark horse by many.

Rami Malek and Christian Bale opened at virtually identical odds to win Best Actor when the nominations were announced, starting at 2.350 and 2.390 respectively. However, the Bohemian Rhapsody star and winner Malek closed at 1.115 whereas Vice’s Bale drifted to 5.530, suggesting that bettors figured out rather quickly that Malek would win.

The most notable surprise was in the Best Actress category, won by Olivia Colman for The Favourite. She opened at 4.720 and closed at 6.890, whereas consistent and overwhelming favourite Glenn Close started at 1.556 and finished at 1.112. Bettors were clearly convinced that the latter would take the gong, but she was pipped by Colman in the biggest shock of the night.

Meanwhile, Best Director winner Alfonso Cuaron opened at 1.101 and closed at 1.067, indicating that it was pretty clear to everyone that the man behind Roma would take the prize.

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 Oscar 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 have a success rate of more than 60% for the Best Picture award.

The Critics' Choice are particularly adept at predicting the Best Director, with 19 of the 25 such recipients (76%) going on to win the Oscar as well. Clearly, while a bet should not be made based on this information alone, these are strong indicators on which to build a case.

Notably, all three of the aforementioned other major awards have selected the same winners this year for the four primary acting categories. Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor for Joker, Judy's Renee Zellweger collected Best Actress, Brad Pitt was Best Supporting Actor for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Laura Dern picked up Best Supporting Actress for Marriage Story.

Suitably, these four stars of the silver screen are the overwhelming favourites for their respective category at this year's Oscars.

The previous three Best Director winners also took the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice awards beforehand, something favourite Sam Mendes also achieved this year.

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 where this phenomenon was 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 the film 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 get good value.

Do you think you can see the winners coming? If you’re up to the challenge, place your bets as early on as possible with the best Oscars odds at Pinnacle.

Odds subject to change

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