Detroit’s professional sports teams might not be inspiring too many bettors to hit the sportsbooks or open their Michigan sports betting apps, but the state does offer one legal wagering opportunity it shares only with a handful of others: You can bet on the Oscars. You can’t even do that in Las Vegas.
Although based on the odds, it will be a tough way to make money.
While legally betting on the Academy Awards is common in Europe, just a handful of states offer it in the U.S., including New Jersey, Indiana and Louisiana. Michigan added Oscars betting in April 2021, while Colorado removed it from its betting catalog the same month.
The 94th Academy Awards are scheduled to take place in Los Angeles on March 27. They will be broadcast on ABC and hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes. Check out the latest Oscars odds in each category and the likely winners.
BetMGM Michigan, Caesars Sportsbook Michigan and DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan are among sportsbooks offering Michigan sports betting odds on the Oscars.
Michigan sports betting set a record in January with a total handle (retail and online) of $532.7 million.
Best Picture Favorites
There are 10 movies nominated for Best Picture and although “Nightmare Alley” is generously priced at +6600 (according to Caesars Sportsbook Michigan), it might as well be +1 million. It’s not winning. A 16-seed has a better chance of knocking off Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament than “Nightmare Alley” has of winning Best Picture.
If you want to have a chance at making a buck off Best Picture, the favorites are Jane Campion’s “Power of the Dog” (-225) and Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” (+260). Even critical favorites like “CODA” (+900), “West Side Story” (+1000) and “Licorice Pizza” (+2000) are longshots.
The biggest box office hit of the Best Picture group is “Dune” (+2000), by a lot, but box office has not mattered at all to most recent Best Picture winners. If popularity mattered, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” would win all the statues. It made more money than all 10 nominees combined – by a lot. Favorite “Power of the Dog” made so little money in theaters, its studio doesn’t even count it.
But Sam Elliott aside, “Power of the Dog” is the type of auteur-driven, angst-filled, ensemble piece Academy voters love, even if few filmgoers outside of L.A. and New York have seen it. And one of the reasons “Power of the Dog” is such a heavy favorite for Best Picture is because director Campion is an even heavier favorite for Best Director at -1000 ($10 will win you $1).
Campion has been an art-house favorite for three decades and “Power of the Dog” may be her crowning achievement. She’ll be rewarded as a director — a bookend to her 1994 screenwriting Oscar for “The Piano.”
Best Actor Hopefuls
The Best Actor category is more competitive. Will Smith is the favorite (-500) for his portrayal of Richard Williams – father to Venus and Serena – in “King Richard.” But if voters check off a straight “Power of the Dog” ticket, Benedict Cumberbatch at +300 could surprise. Andrew Garfield at +800 for “tick, tick . . . BOOM” seems a longer longshot than Denzel Washington (+2500) for “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and Javier Bardem (+4000) for “Being the Ricardos.”
As there’s no Best Actress nominee from “The Dog,” that category is wide open. Jessica Chastain is the co-favorite (+130) for her mascara-laden portrayal of Tammy Faye Baker in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” Nicole Kidman is at the same odds for her channeling of Lucille Ball in “Being the Ricardos.” Next comes Kristen Stewart (+400) as a gloomy Princess Diana in “Spencer,” Olivia Colman (+450) in “The Lost Daughter” and Penelope Cruz (+2000) in “Parallel Mothers.” And if you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably never heard of many of these films, let alone seen them.
You’ve certainly never seen the Best Documentary nominees, but you may be familiar with Questlove, drummer for the Roots and “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” His music-filled look back at the turbulent 1960s, “Summer of Soul – Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised,” is the favorite to take home that prize at -200.