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Best Bets for the Academy Awards

 

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The 2014 Academy Awards are upon us. Whether you are holding an Oscars party, watching with a loved one or just waiting until Monday to find out the results, everyone is eager to discover who the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thinks produced the best work from last year.

The favorites right now are clear. A few categories have a race going on, but unless we see an upset or two, there is a script everyone expects the Oscars to follow. However, if the favorites always won, no one would watch. If the academy always awarded the most deserving candidates, people would have nothing to complain about. If Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t so damn lovable, Lupito Nyong’o would feel better about her chances Sunday night.

Unexpected things always happen Oscar night. Thus, let’s attempt to make some money off these variations from the norm. The Oscars, like any big event these days, have gambling odds (and some prop bets!) for all the major categories. Odds in this article come from Sportsbook.com. Odds in some categories are more favorable than others. It takes a good eye, and a careless disposition, to put money on the right bets.

Before getting into the individual awards, there was one proposition bet that caught my eye.

American Hustle will win 2 or more of the 4 acting awards. +2500

Now, American Hustle does indeed have a nominee in each of the four acting categories. At the moment, none of them are favored to win. However, Jennifer Lawrence is just a slight underdog in the Supporting Actress category. If she wins, it will take just one more winner to pull through the 25/1 wager. That seems favorable, considering the individual odds for all of those actors.

Best Actor

The favorite here is Matthew McConaughey at -7000. Christian Bale is the longshot at +7000. However, the best bet in my mind is for Bruce Dern at +5000. Really this is a bet that McConaughey does not win, that voters are tired of the “losing weight for a role” shtick or feel that it isn’t McConaughey’s time yet. That is a common phrase tossed around in regards to Oscar voting. Well, if it’s anyone’s time, it’s Bruce Dern’s. This is his first nomination since 1979, and he’s never won an Oscar. He also, conveniently, falls into the same demographic as most academy voters, for whatever that’s worth.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett is the runaway favorite at -7500. It hardly makes sense to put money on that, especially with Woody Allen backlash a slight possibility. However, none of the nominees with long odds really have a shot here if we’re to believe the buzz. The only person who could unseat Blanchett is Amy Adams, at +2500. These are solid odds and could be a good selection for someone not confident enough in the prop bet for American Hustle.

Best Supporting Actor

Real quick here, Jared Leto is the favorite with odds at -2500. No one else has odds long enough to make a wager interesting since Leto seems likely to win. The problem here is that even if we could talk ourselves into Leto not winning, there is no clear second option. This category is a stay-away.

Best Supporting Actress

The slight favorite, at -180, is Lupita Nyong’o. Jennifer Lawrence comes in as a slight dog, at +130. The other nominees are probably not factoring into this one. If you believe Lawrence is going to win, it seems worth it to forgo this particular bet and lean on the American Hustle prop. This way, rather than getting small odds that Lawrence will win, you are getting long odds that any of her co-stars will. It’s a gamble, but you could also hedge by throwing a separate bet on Nyong’o to win, which would offset the miss of the prop.

Best Director

Nebraska director Alexander Payne is the underdog in this one, at +7500. The favorite is Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity, with odds of -4000. Many folks are deliberating and coming to the conclusion that Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are going to monopolize the Best Director and Best Picture categories in some way, by either splitting them or with one of the two winning both. However, American Hustle seems to be the film that has gained the most steam since the end of 2013. Everyone loves the performances in this movie and the best odds are for David O. Russell at +2500 to win Best Director. (This would not count for the American Hustle prop bet though, as it is not an acting category.)

Best Picture

There is nothing to be gained from betting on 12 Years a Slave at -450 or Gravity at +400. There is also no point in backing a longshot like Captain Phillips or Philomenia at +20,000. The real value seems to be, once again, in American Hustle at +2000. With few exceptions, it appears as though gambling odds are discounting the chances of American Hustle all around.

It is quite possible that American Hustle gets shut out of all six categories. That is possible, perhaps even plausible. The American Hustle nominee is not the favorite in any individual category. However, with favorable odds, all it would take would be one victory to come out ahead. If you put $100 on American Hustle in each of the following: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and even the prop bet, you would only need one to hit in order to bank more than $2,000 profit. Also, the hedge in Best Supporting Actress will be nice because, let’s be honest, if Lawrence doesn’t win, that prop bet isn’t winning either.

Buzzchomp does not personally endorse gambling though. All these wagers and suggestions are strictly hypothetical. They are just a way to make the Oscar proceedings a little more fun and adventurous for the average viewer.

Now here’s hoping Jennifer Lawrence nabs that supporting actress win early in the evening and sets us up for an entertaining finish.

 
 

 

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