Phoenix, Zellweger Massive Favorites In Legal Oscars Betting At NJ Sportsbooks


Some of the brightest stars in Hollywood will walk the red carpet this Sunday and take their seats in anticipation of possibly taking home a coveted Oscar at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

But thanks to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement giving the OK to Academy Awards betting for the second year in a row, and to online sports wagering sites like DraftKings and FOX Bet capitalizing on that opportunity, the nominees aren’t the only ones who will be sitting on the edge of their seats to see whose names are in the envelopes.

New Jersey sportsbooks are providing the “Action!” to cinema’s most celebrated ceremony — albeit with lower betting limits than you can find on most traditional sports.

Oscars betting is also permitted in Indiana, but not in Pennsylvania or any other East Coast states.

Here’s a look at the six major categories and the betting options:

Best Picture

War dramas have had plenty of nominations at the Oscars, with epic movies like Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, and, more recently, Dunkirk being among those that have been up for Best Picture. The last war movie to win was The Hurt Locker a decade ago.

This year, Sam Mendes’ “one-shot” war drama 1917 is the favorite to pick up the golden statue. Nominated for 10 academy awards, and after having won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Drama), both DraftKings and FOX Bet have 1917 at roughly the same odds. DraftKings is offering 1917 at -200, while FOX Bet has it at a slightly worse price of 212.

Both books agree on the general order of which films are most likely to nab a trophy, but if you prefer another movie to shock the industry, there are a couple of notable odds differences to be aware of.

You’ll get about the same odds on Parasite (+285 on FOX Bet) and Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood (+900 on DraftKings), but if you are looking to place a wager on Martin Scorcese’s Netflix drama The Irishman you’ll want to note that FOX Bet is offering it at +6000 compared to DraftKings’ +5000. Furthermore, Marriage Story is going off at +10000 on DraftKings as opposed to FOX Bet, which gives it a better chance at +8000.

Finally, for those who like to wager in the fast lane, the Matt Damon/Christian Bale vehicle Ford v Ferrari looks to be a case of “it’s just nice to be nominated.” But for those hoping for the improbable, make sure to place that wager on DraftKings, which is offering the movie at +25000, as opposed to +12500 on FOX Bet.

Best Director

When your big-budget WWI drama is favored to win the Best Picture award, you’re also likely to be favored as the Best Director. Sam Mendes leads the pack as the odds-on favorite this year. The best bet on Mendes is the -560 odds offered on DraftKings. This is familiar territory for Mendes; he won for American Beauty exactly 20 years ago, and he’s the winner of the 2019 DGA award.

Interestingly, the Best Director/Best Picture parlay is no sure thing. Three of the last four years saw a Best Director winner whose film did not capture Best Picture.

So even if you expect 2017 to hold off the buzzed-about South Korean film Parasite for the top award of the evening, don’t overlook Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, who is being offered at +425 on FOX Bet. Quentin Tarantino could also be a surprise winner for what he says will be his second-to-last film, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood. DraftKings gives you the best odds for Tarantino at +1700.

The longest shot in this category is Todd Phillips, who helmed Joker. Phillips, who also was the mastermind behind the comedy hit The Hangover, can be picked up at +6600 on FOX Bet, as opposed to +5000 on DraftKings.

Best Actor

There are front runners, and then there’s Joaquin Phoenix for his portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in Joker. Even though there’s some exceptional talent in the Best Actor category, including Leonardo DiCaprio (who won the award in 2015 for his role in The Revenant), Antonio Banderas, and Jonathan Pryce, at -10000 on FOX Bet and -5000 on DraftKings, Phoenix is expected to dance down the steps of the stage with an Oscar in his hand (to go along with his Golden Globe and BAFTA).

However, if there’s going to be a shocker in this category, it might come from Adam Driver’s performance in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. Offered at FOX Bet at +1200, he’s the closest competition for Phoenix.

Best Actress

Although not quite as big a lock in her category as Phoenix is in his, Renee Zellweger’s performance in Judy has made her a heavy favorite. DraftKings and FOX Bet are both offering her at a -2500 price. Like Phoenix, she picked up both the 2020 Golden Globe and BAFTA, and should she take home the Oscar, it will be the second in her career, having previously won for Best Supporting Actress in Cold Mountain in 2004.

Both books also have Marriage Story‘s Scarlett Johansson as the next most likely winner, offering odds of +1000. But if you wanted to take a shot on Cynthia Erivo as a surprise winner for her role in Harriet, you’d better pick the right site. DraftKings feels like she’s the next most likely to win, offering bettors a price of +2000. But gamblers can get twice the odds at FOX Bet, where she’s listed as the least likely to win at +4000.

Best Supporting Actress and Actor

In a category filled with icons including Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, it seems like this is Brad Pitt’s year. For his role in Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, Pitt is a -3335 (DraftKings) favorite to win Best Supporting Actor. But if you think legends like Hanks (+ 4000) or Hopkins (+5000) can deny Pitt his trophy, both are receiving some long odds to add to their Oscar collections.

Another decided favorite is Laura Dern as Best Supporting Actress for Marriage Story. Both DK and FOX Bet have her at -2500. If you want to take a shot with Margot Robbie for her role in Bombshell, you can get the best price on FOX Bet at +1400. If you think Scarlett Johansson will be a surprise pick for her role in Jojo Rabbit, head to DraftKings for a better price of +2000.

FOX Bet is also offering a few fun special bets, including a package of Phoenix, Zellweger, Dern, and 1917 for Best Picture at a parlay price of -175. 1917 to win six or more of its 10 nominations is available at -162 odds, the field against director Mendes has a +240 return, and the field against Zellweger pays +750.

Photo by Kathy Hutchins /

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Jeff Walsh

Jeff Walsh has been a member of the poker media for over seven years and currently serves as the Senior Writer for the leading online poker website He is also a contributor to the Sports Handle/US Bets network of sites.

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