From 45-1 to Off the Board: How an Oscars Rumor Sent Best Director Odds Plummeting

Feb 24, 2019 6:34 PM EST
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, the director of The Favourite, was a 45-1 longshot to win the Best Director award at the Oscars, until rumors resulted in bettors placing a flurry of wagers.
  • FanDuel dropped his odds all the way to 5-1 before taking the prop off the board due to the lopsided action.

Sunday is a milestone in the betting world, as it’s the first time that legal sportsbooks took wagers on the Oscars. But Sunday night might also become known as the time the betting world got tipped off early to a surprise winner.

On Sunday, there was serious movement on Best Director odds: Yorgos Lanthimos, the director of The Favourite, rose from as high as 45-1 at FanDuel all the way down to 5-1.

FanDuel, which has an app available in New Jersey and runs the sportsbook at the Meadowlands, tweeted that Best Director was taken off the board “w/a flurry of similar bets coming in amongst many books.”

Lanthimos’ rise seems to be at least partly connected to rumors from college campuses. One person reached out to The Action Network, saying they heard the rumor emanated from “a frat kid” at Penn State, whose father has major Hollywood connections.

Another gambler told The Action Network that they heard the Lanthimos rumor started at the University of Richmond, where a student received word from his aunt, who is on the Academy.

“Roma” director Alfonso Cuaron was a prohibitive favorite (-1350 at FanDuel for most of the week) — and understandably so. He’s won all three big director awards this year, including the Directors Guild Award earlier this month.

Since 2000, there have been only two occurrences where the DGA winner has lost at the Oscars.

“A director who has won the Directors Guild Award is essentially the greatest precursor lock of this night,” said Jeff Lowe, co-host of “Lights, Camera, Barstool,” a top-10 movie podcast.

William Hill had Lanthimos at 30-1 on Friday and said he was only responsible for three percent of the money.

Who knows whether the rumor will turn out to be true, but regardless, it’s caused chaos around the betting world on Sunday.

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