Making a mint at the movies

5 minutes



We’re getting close to the end of 2019, and while some people are letting out sighs of relief upon hearing that, most us movie enthusiasts still have a lot to hold on for. The new Joker movie was recently released and by the time we process everything that happened there, we’ll also have movies like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker waiting for us on 19 December.

So, the year can’t end – not yet anyway. While we sit and wait for new movie releases, it’s always fun to predict what we think we might or might not see happen in the film. Well, did you know you could make money off those predictions? Welcome to the world of entertainment prop betting.

Types of bets you can make
When people think of “betting,” they normally think of sports betting. While entertainment betting did stem from this, this form of wagering is more flexible in what you can bet on. Referred to as “prop betting,” below are examples of real prop bets that have been made in the past:

“Will Captain America die in Avengers: Endgame?”
Yes +145
No -190

“Is Luke Skywalker Rey’s father?
Yes +1200
No -2600

“Will Michael Myers kill Laurie Strode in the new Halloween movie?”
Yes -160
No +130

These are just a few examples of prop bets that you’ll see as you browse through online betting sites. But before you take your wallet out and begin making bets, you need to understand how these odds work.

Reading prop betting odds
When you look through bets, you’ll notice a number next to each choice you have for that specific bet. For instance, if you’re betting on who you think will win Best Actor at the upcoming 2020 Oscars, you’ll see something similar to the following:

Best Actor
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (-225)
Adam Driver – Marriage Story (+250)
Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (+2500)

Keep in mind, these are what the current odds are set at, but not all the nominees have rolled out yet. The odds will continue to fluctuate as we get closer to the next Oscars come 9 February 2020.

Now, the numbers next to your choices are called the “money line” and you probably noticed the positive (+) and negative (-) symbols next to each choice right away. Be sure you read those carefully because there is a difference. If a number has a positive (+) symbol in front of it, you’ll receive that amount IF you were to place a bet of $100 and win the bet.

Now, if the number has a negative (-) in front of it (as you’ll see for Joaquin Phoenix), you’ll read those bets differently. The money line on those represents what you need to wager in to get a profit of $100. So, if you were betting on Joaquin Phoenix winning Best Actor, you’d need to pay in $225 to receive $100. And if you were betting $100 on Leonardo DiCaprio, you’d receive $2500 if he went home with an Oscar.

Success in movie betting
Although Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out in 2017, we should warn you that this could be a spoiler to some that have waited this long to watch it (how could you?). For this movie, one of the highest-paid out bets we came across was for predicting on who would die first during the film.

Here, you had a ton of options from General Hux set at +400 on most sites, to C-3PO at +5000, Kylo Ren at +2000, and even Luke Skywalker at +150. But the money came in for those who bet on the real winner of a premature death being Supreme Leader Snoke

If you were lucky enough to bet on this choice, you had the potential of receiving up to $3,000 with the money line set at +3000 for a $100 bet. Just a few years ago, there was a very successful prop bet that happened during the 2017 Oscars for Best Costume Design. With five different movie options, below were how the odds were set:

Best Costume Design
La La Land (-170)
Jackie (+120)
Florence Foster Jenkins (+1800)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (+2500)
Allied (+5000)

Remember what we said about reading those money lines carefully? Usually, the lower numbers are what the oddsmakers believe will actually be the outcome, as this lower price serves as the favourite in the bet. Of course, no one truly knows until the event happens, so you could choose to trust the experts or trust your gut. This is where being able to understand value helps, as gauging what you see in a listed number often goes back to first-hand knowledge of the event or scenario that is being wagered.

Since the odds for La La Land were set at -170, the oddsmakers believed that film would win. Surprisingly, the bookies missed the mark on this one as Fantastic Beasts won Best Costume Design that year at the Oscars, cashing at +2500. If you took part in that bet and wagered in on that hefty payout, then a very late congratulations to you

At the end of the day, movies were made to entertain us, and thanks to this innovative form of betting, you can now add more excitement to some already highly-anticipated films. This is a great way to turn your extra cash into something more if you firmly believe in your movie predictions.

Think about it, who does not want to get paid to be a fan with an accurate opinion? So, before you watch your next favourite film, consider looking into entertainment prop betting and give it your best shot.

Founded in 2010, CineVue’s team of passionate cinéastes are working to bring you reviews of the latest cinema releases, as well as features, interviews and international film festival coverage.


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