Each year that I use a version by Harvard graduate and baseball analyst Ben Zauzmer that is submitted 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 an offshore sportsbook to the cleaners, so I thought, why not use it to Oscars prop bets? This year I set my sites on leveraging his model to locate the most inefficient and exploitable chances.
In comparing the proportions from Zauzmer’s model together with the implied odds on Bovada, I managed to identify a handful of longshot, contrarian bets offering significant value on account of the preferred, frequently Roma, being overvalued.
It’s not likely that a vast majority of those hit, but in these odds we really just should bink one to have a rewarding Sunday evening.
All credit goes to the very sharp Ben Zauzmer, so please follow him on Twitter and test out both of his posts on The Hollywood Reporter (2 & 1 ), where you could observe the model’s full effects, and his comment.
And for even more best Oscars prop bets, check out my look at the technical categories.
Best Picture
Favorite: Roma (-330)
Finest Bet: BlacKkKlansman (+3000)
Zauzmer’s version gives Roma a 32.6% to win best picture, and it is a far cry from the implied Bovada likelihood of 76%. The model gives BlacKkKlansman a 17.5percent chance to win — a big discrepancy from Bovada’s 3% implied odds. It may be a longshot, but that is 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.”
Finest Manager Favorite: Alfonso Cuaron (-2000)
Best Bet: Yorgos Lanthimos (+3300)
The Favourite, starring Emma Stone, may not be getting its proper due. (Image: Vox)
Similar to Best Picture, there’s a huge discrepancy between how Bovada and Zauzmer are handicapping the race.
Bovada’s implied odds give Alfonso Cuaron (Roma) that a 95% likelihood of victory, whereas Zauzmer’s model gives him a 65 percent chance. The value here can be found with The Favorite manager, Yorgos Lanthimos, whom the version provides a greater chance to acquire (11.6%) than Bovada’s implied odds (2.8%).

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