2020 Oscars Betting Picks – 6 Sleeper Bets to Consider

| January 14, 2020 11:25 pm PDT

Everything dealing with the 2020 Oscars has, to this point, been sheer speculation. We are finally getting concrete expectations, though, as the 2020 Golden Globes set the stage for potential winners.

The official 2020 Academy Awards nominees were also announced on Monday, finally giving us the top film talent that has a shot at taking home the hardware.

Joker is set to dominate the Oscars, with the powerful Joaquin Phoenix vehicle pacing all films with 11 nominations. Phoenix is a heavy favorite to land Best Actor after doing the same at the Golden Globes, while many are pondering if the movie can bring home more big honors.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg as we eagerly await the February 9th event. You can brush up on some old 2020 Oscars betting picks, and before long, I’ll shove out my final Oscars predictions.

For now, let’s flirt with some value as we look at the latest Academy Awards odds and see which value bets could be worth our time (and money). Here are my favorite 2020 Oscars sleepers at every major category.

Best Actor – Adam Driver +500

Joaquin Phoenix has all of the momentum to take this award, and as a massive -1000 favorite at BetOnline, it’s pretty likely he’s the winner. He took home the same honor at the Golden Globes, and it’s not at all rare for the winner there to duplicate their success at the Oscars.

That said, nothing is ever guaranteed with the Oscars, and if Phoenix has one true challenger, it’s the emotionally complex Driver. There is an argument Driver was good enough this past year to get the nod from two different movies, but his work in Marriage Story is impeccable and incredibly nuanced.

I still think this is Phoenix’s award to lose, especially since the Academy is smart about paying established actors their due when they are deserving. But there isn’t any value in paying for a -1000 price tag. Driver is a worthwhile pivot bet at +500.

Best Supporting Actor – Al Pacino +1400

Brad Pitt could also play the repeat game after winning this award at the 2020 Golden Globes. He’s a sizable -800 favorite at most novelty betting websites, but as you may know, the Oscars don’t always follow suit.

This could be a spot where we see a curveball, especially since there are some pretty big names competing behind Pitt. The biggest is without a doubt Al Pacino, who, quite frankly, is not getting the proper credit for his amazing work as the legendary Jimmy Hoffa in The Irishman.

I loved Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and he deserves to win here, but if we’re looking for the best performance in this grouping, it’s undoubtedly Pacino’s work that stands out the most.

Pacino has always been a professional scene-stealer, but he managed to punk Robert De Niro countless times, while his take on Hoffa was borderline flawless. I doubt Pacino stages the upset, but he is way too nice of a price given his iconic status and fantastic effort in one of the best movies of the year.

Best Actress – Saoirse Ronan +2500

This is a total shot in the dark. I’ve gone over this category in the past, as Renee Zellweger’s stellar turn as a late-career Judy Garland in Judy is deserving of the top nod here.

If she has a true threat, it’s undoubtedly Scarlett Johansson, who is the yin to Adam Driver’s yang in the heart-tugging Marriage Story.

I do think Johansson has a real shot at the upset, while her +550 price isn’t anything to sniff at. But Little Women was disrespected in terms of overall nominations and Saoirse Ronan is a rising star that keeps attaching her brilliant craft to excellent projects.

Vouching for Little Women isn’t on my agenda, but Ronan offers insane betting value and is quite the accomplished actress at just 25 years of age.

An upset isn’t that likely (for anyone in this category, really), but Ronan stole the show at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts International Awards. There’s always the chance she does so again.

Best Supporting Actress – Kathy Bates +3300

I’ll swing for the fences again here, as it’s always fun to target legendary acting talents anytime you have a field that is a bit murky after the top favorite.

It’s extremely likely we’re looking at Laura Dern (-800 favorite when you visit MyBookie.ag) as the winner here. She was a big piece of the layered Marriage Story, and she took home this same award at the Golden Globes, after all.

Like I said, though, winners at one big award show don’t always make their way to the next. Margot Robbie (+900) is the next best bet, but Kathy Bates is a walking icon and smashes in the riveting Richard Jewell as a tortured mother.

This would be a massive upset, but it’d only be Bates’ second Oscars win ever.

Best Director – Martin Scorsese +750

Sam Mendes shocked with a big win as Best Director at the Golden Globes, and that puts him as the tentative favorite (+100) to win again at the 2020 Oscars. I can’t really deny that possibility, seeing as 1917 is easily one of the best films of the year, largely due to its incredible shots, realistic action, and insane tension.

Your heart is in your throat for much of that film, and if Mendes wins again, nobody should be upset. In reality, he is actually a pretty good value himself right now at his current price at the top entertainment betting sites.

While true, you can get some crazy value behind him if he doesn’t win. Bong Joon Ho (+180) faces an uphill task to stage the upset, but he’s had a lot of success throughout this year’s film award circuit.

He’s probably the top contender, but that list is actually stacked with viable sleeper options, as Quentin Tarantino (+550) has the “due to win” narrative supporting him. There’s also Todd Phillips (+2500), who offers crazy upside as the “worst” option in this group.

Of everyone, the best value lies with the legendary Martin Scorsese, who isn’t really getting enough credit for his tour de force via The Irishman. Scorsese went back to his roots and told a compelling mob story, but it was even more interesting despite being a story everyone thought they knew the ending to.

Scorsese added new layers to a sinister world and somehow handed in a 3-hour marathon film that went by in a flash. The work here is some of his best, and it’s a little shocking he has the fourth-best odds to win Best Director at the Oscars.

That’s a credit to this completely loaded category, though, and suggests we could get some sleeper win here, even if it’s not Scorsese.

Best Picture – The Irishman +1200

Lastly, we have Best Picture, which is another Oscars betting category that does have a clear favorite but also could feasibly go in a number of directions.

Mendes saw 1917 conjoined with him at the Golden Globes, and it would not be shocking nor disappointing to see both happen again at this year’s Academy Awards.

The top entertainment betting sites do not presently suggest that will happen, however. Instead, Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood leads the way as a +125 favorite. It’s followed relatively closely behind by 1917 (+300), while Parasite and Joker are inside the +1000 range.

Those are all solid bets, and even the favorite is a decent value. However, I’ll go right back to Scorsese’s amazing work and point to an even better value bet in The Irishman at +1200.

As noted, Scorsese guides us through a grim story, builds up both harrowing and revered characters, drops in some twists, and keeps you engaged for over three hours. This is a classic “don’t let it end” Scorsese mobster flick that has you liking a lot of people you probably shouldn’t.

I understand why it probably won’t win at this point, but it’s still deserving, and the value is through the roof.


Keep in mind that these are not actual Oscars predictions. They are, of course, value picks I personally think should have a shot at winning and ultimately could.

Upsets at the Academy Awards aren’t rare. Stringing them together over the course of several major categories, however, is.

You certainly want to sprinkle in an upset play or three across all Oscars betting, but doing so at every category is a mistake. A lot of the favorites or the top contender are going to win, and it’s still entirely possible that’s how all of these situations shake out.

The good news is we have the full list of Oscars nominees, and we can start looking at pricing, the latest news, past award show results, and how we feel this show could go.

For a final breakdown, keep an eye out for my 2020 Oscars picks at our entertainment betting blog.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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