ARTS & ENTERTAINMENTThe EnvelopeMovies Now

Oscars 2014: Think you can predict the Academy Awards? Wanna bet?

EntertainmentMovies12 Years a SlaveAcademy AwardsLeonardo DiCaprioMatthew McConaugheyJennifer Lawrence

Will Pink make an acrobatic entrance at the Oscars on Sunday night? Is Pharrell Williams going to mothball that Vivienne Westwood Mountain hat before he sings "Happy"? And how many U.S. viewers will be watching it all — more or less than 41 million?

If you feel a great degree of certainty about any of these topics — and want to risk some cash on your answers — you can legally place a bet at a number of online gambling sites that view the Oscars as the Super Bowl of entertainment events.

"It's by far the biggest non-sports occasion for us," says Kevin Bradley, sports book manager for Bovada, a sports betting site licensed in Canada. Bradley puts his site's Oscar wagering in the "healthy" six-figure range, adding that a lot of money comes from Hollywood.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2014

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, where it isn't legal to gamble on entertainment events that have known outcomes, the Oscars are still an attractive sideshow with sportsbooks posting odds and hosting red-carpet parties for the telecast.

"It's a big deal for us," Wynn/Encore sportsbook director Johnny Avello says. "We roll out the red carpet. And, yeah, there are a lot of pools floating around. Nothing sponsored, of course. But there's a definite — how should I put it? — 'motivated' interest in the outcomes."

How do the odds compare among Bovada, Vegas and the 30 Oscar pundits gathered on awards site Gold Derby for the top five categories? Let's have a look:

PICTURE

Bovada: "12 Years a Slave," 1-5; "Gravity," 4-1; "American Hustle," 12-1

Wynn Las Vegas: "12 Years a Slave," 2-5; "American Hustle," 4-1; "Gravity" 5-1

Gold Derby: "12 Years a Slave," 8-15; "Gravity," 14-5; "American Hustle," 50-1

"12 Years a Slave" opened the season as the prohibitive favorite and has never relinquished the lead in the tight best picture race. The biggest category mover, Bovada's Bradley says, has been "Dallas Buyers Club," which has seen its line drop from 100-1 to 20-1 thanks to an influx of bettors enticed by the initial long odds. Gold Derby proprietor Tom O'Neil says the gambling odds more closely reflect the reality of the close, three-way race. "The three movies should be within striking distance," he says.

PHOTOS: Oscars 2014 top nominees | Nominee reactions Snubs and surprises

ACTOR

Bovada: Matthew McConaughey, 1-5; Leonardo DiCaprio, 5-1; Chiwetel Ejiofor, 7-1

Wynn Las Vegas: McConaughey, 1-2; Ejiofor, 4-1; DiCaprio, 5-1

Gold Derby: McConaughey, 1-10; DiCaprio, 20-1; Ejiofor, 33-1

O'Neil, who's picking DiCaprio, again says the Vegas odds are more in line with the contest's tightness. "McConaughey and DiCaprio have never directly competed," he says. "We don't know what might happen." Bradley took a lot of early money on McConaughey, adding the category has been in flux from the beginning, with Robert Redford opening as a 3-1 favorite for "All Is Lost," only to not be nominated.

MORE: Complete list of nominees | Play-at-home ballot | Actors who've never won Oscars

ACTRESS

Bovada: Cate Blanchett, 1-30; Amy Adams, 12-1; Sandra Bullock, 15-1

Wynn Las Vegas: Blanchett, 1-5; Bullock, 10-1; Adams, 18-1

Gold Derby: Blanchett, 1-10; Adams, 33-1; Bullock, 50-1

"There's no debate here," Avello says. "It's always been Blanchett." Bradley says he has taken a fair amount on Bullock, noting that some casual bettors like to go with "popular names," likening it to betting on the Denver Broncos because they recognize Peyton Manning as the quarterback.

PHOTOS: Oscars 2014 presenters and performers, by The Times

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Bovada: Jared Leto, 1-10; Barkhad Abdi, 10-1; Michael Fassbender, 10-1

Wynn Las Vegas: Leto, 1-4; Fassbender, 5-1; Abdi, 15-1

Gold Derby: Leto, 1-10; Fassbender, 33-1; Abdi, 50-1

Bradley says this category has "seen the least action," while O'Neil touts Abdi of "Captain Phillips," noting the supporting races are "where upsets occur."

PHOTOS: 10 years behind the scenes at the Oscars | Past performances | Awkward moments

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Bovada: Lupita Nyong'o, 4-7; Jennifer Lawrence, 5-4

Wynn Las Vegas: Nyong'o, 4-5; Lawrence, 8-5

Gold Derby: Nyong'o, 1-5; Lawrence, 15-2

At Gold Derby, 26 of the 30 pundits pick "12 Years a Slave" actress Nyong'o. Avello originally had Lawrence as the favorite but went with Nyong'o once she began winning many of the precursor awards. "These races are all about momentum," he says.

glenn.whipp@latimes.com

MORE OSCAR COVERAGE

PHOTOS: Show highlights

Oscars 2014: Behind the scenes

PHOTOS:Red carpet arrivals


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
EntertainmentMovies12 Years a SlaveAcademy AwardsLeonardo DiCaprioMatthew McConaugheyJennifer Lawrence
  • Oscars 2014: Show highlights
    Oscars 2014: Show highlights

    See the 86th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood unfold with memorable moments from the show. Red carpet arrivals | Best & worst | Winners' room | Behind the scenes | Quotes from the stars | Complete list of nominees | Envelope Screening Series | 10 years behind the scenes...

  • The Oscars in a time-lapse minute
    The Oscars in a time-lapse minute

    Watch the 86th Academy Awards in time lapse from the red carpet through the show and backstage.

  • Oscars 2014: Top winners and nominees
    Oscars 2014: Top winners and nominees

    Red carpet arrivals | Show highlights | Best & worst | Winners' room | Behind the scenes | Quotes from the stars | Complete list of nominees | Envelope Screening Series | 10 years behind the scenes at the Oscars | Awkward moments

  • Oscars 2014: Best and worst moments
    Oscars 2014: Best and worst moments

    Highs and lows at the Academy Awards: Lupita Nyong'o and Matthew McConaughey demonstrate their speech-giving skills, Ellen DeGeneres does a selfie, and John Travolta mangles a name. By Patrick Kevin Day MORE: Full coverage | Red carpet arrivals | Show highlights | Winners' room |...

  • Oscars 2014: Behind the scenes at the Academy Awards
    Oscars 2014: Behind the scenes at the Academy Awards

    What you may not have seen on TV. Red carpet arrivals | Show highlights | Best & worst | Winners' room | Behind the scenes | Quotes from the stars | Complete list of nominees | Envelope Screening Series | 10 years behind the scenes at the Oscars | Awkward moments | Actors who've never...

  • Oscars 2014: Red carpet arrivals
    Oscars 2014: Red carpet arrivals

    Best and worst dressed | Show highlights | Best & worst | Winners' room | Behind the scenes | Quotes from the stars | Complete list of winners and nominees | Envelope Screening Series | 10 years behind the scenes at the Oscars | Awkward moments | Actors who've never won an Oscar

  • Oscars 2014: The Academy Awards winners' room
    Oscars 2014: The Academy Awards winners' room

    A look into the winners' room at the 86th Academy Awards. Red carpet arrivals | Show highlights | Best & worst | Winners' room | Behind the scenes | Quotes from the stars | Complete list of nominees | Envelope Screening Series | 10 years behind the scenes at the Oscars | Awkward...

  • Oscars 2014: Who said that? Take our Academy Awards quote quiz
    Oscars 2014: Who said that? Take our Academy Awards quote quiz
Comments
Loading