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Oscars Prop Bets: The Best Longshots to Target

Every year I use a model by Harvard grad and baseball analyst Ben Zauzmer that is posted at The Hollywood Reporter to win, nay, crush a hometown Oscars pool. 

But holding bragging rights over your friends isn’t near as fun as taking a sportsbook to the cleaners, so I thought, why not apply it to Oscars prop bets? This year I set my sites on leveraging his model to find the most inefficient and exploitable odds. 

I was able to identify a handful of longshot, contrarian bets offering significant value due to the favorite, often Roma, being overvalued.

It is unlikely that a majority of these hit, but at these odds we really only need to bink one to have a profitable Sunday evening.

All credit goes to the very sharp Ben Zauzmer, so please follow him on Twitter and check out both of his articles on The Hollywood Reporter (1 & 2), where you can see the model’s full results, plus his commentary.

And for even more best Oscars prop bets, check out my look at the technical categories.

Best Picture

Favorite: Roma (-330)

Best Bet: BlacKkKlansman (+3000)

Zauzmer’s model gives Roma a 32.6% to win best picture. The model gives BlacKkKlansman a 17.5% chance to win. It might be a longshot, but that’s too much value to pass up on.

Via Zauzmer:

“Roma earned major honors from the Directors Guild and BAFTAs — good enough to vault into first place, but not good enough to approach 50 percent. So there’s actually a better chance that Roma loses than wins, but it’s still the most likely winner among the eight contenders.”

Best Director

Favorite: Alfonso Cuaron (-2000)

Best Bet: Yorgos Lanthimos (+3300)

The Favourite, starring Emma Stone, may not be getting its proper due. (Image: Vox)

Zauzmer’s model gives Alfonso Cuaron (Roma) a 65% chance of victory. The value here can be found with The Favourite director, Yorgos Lanthimos.

Via Zauzmer:

“Prior to this year, there have been 30 foreign-language films whose director has been nominated for best director, and all 30 lost.”

Best Cinematography

Favorite: Roma (-2000)

Best Bet: The Favourite (+1500)

Zauzmer’s model has it much closer with Roma around 50% and The Favourite at 23.2%.

Sign me up for 15-to-1 odds on a contender with 23.2% to win.

Other Favorite Longshot Bets

Best Animated Feature: Isle Of Dogs (Model: 30%)

Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz (Model: 23.6%)

Best Adapted Screenplay: If Beale Street Could Talk (Model: 27%)

Best Foreign Film: Cold War (Model: 28.7%)


Pete Overzet is host of the comedic video show The Turnover on 4for4, a contributor at Rotoviz, and producer/manager for DFS/Poker/Crypto superstar Pete Manzinelli. You can follow him on Twitter (@peteroverzet).

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