Did you know that it’s also possible to place bets on what is going to happen next in your favorite television program or on which movie will take home Best Picture at the next Academy Awards? While almost everyone in North America realizes that you can bet on sports, most people still have no idea that it’s possible to do the same for big events in the world of entertainment and pop culture.
Entertainment betting encompasses a lot. You can bet on award shows such as the Academy Awards, the Grammys, and the Emmys, as well as reality TV shows and blockbuster movie releases. Plus, “entertainment betting” doesn’t limit itself to just Hollywood either, it’s really an umbrella term used to describe everything non-sports related including political and world events and even royal baby names!
Want to learn just how to bet on entertainment? Read on!
How to Read Entertainment Betting Odds
Before we get more into the different types of entertainment betting, we should first have a brief discussion on odds and how to read them.
The numbers and symbols you see next to the outcomes are called the odds. At first glance, they can seem overwhelming, but don’t worry! They are much less intimidating than they appear, and exist to serve two purposes:
- they signal the implied probability of the outcome
- they tell you how much money you will win if you bet on that specific event
When you see a three-digit number preceded by a +/-, you know you’re looking at American odds.
If the number is positive, this is less favored (underdog) outcome, and the number indicates the amount of money you would win if you bet $100.
If the number is negative, this is the favored outcome; the number indicates how much you would have to bet in order to win $100. These will be the most common form of odds you will come across in entertainment betting. Here’s an example of what this looks like in practice:
Since “Democratic Party” has a -150 next to it, you know that they are the favorite to win the 2020 Presidential election and that you would have to bet $150 to win $100. The underdog “Republican Party” has a +120 next to it, meaning you will win $120 if you bet $100.
Still confused? We have a pretty extensive guide explaining more of the ins and outs of the different kinds of odds and how to read them as a part of our betting 101 section.
What, Exactly, Can You Bet on with Entertainment Bets?
As we mentioned earlier, almost everything under the sun that isn’t related to sports will be classified as an “entertainment” bet. This runs the gamut from who’s going to die next in AMC’s The Walking Dead to who the likely candidate to win the Democratic Primary in 2020 is.
That being said, the entertainment bets that usually garner the most action are bets on the Oscars, followed by bets on Politics (both domestic US politics, and headline-grabbing international events, such as Brexit). Over the last couple of years, there’s also been a tremendous surge in the number of wagers one can make about the future.
The Types of Wagers You Can Make on Entertainment
Essentially, there is little difference in the kind of bets you can make with sports and non-sports events. Depending on the sportsbook and the event, the type of bet you place may vary. However, there are types of bets you will see more frequently than others.
However, if you’re new to online betting in general, it might be helpful to separate the types of entertainment betting into three different categories: moneyline bets, over/under bets, and prop bets. We’ll explain each one below, but be aware that they are all closely related and it’s not entirely accurate to say they are separate “categories,” yet separating them into categories will help you understand the types of bets commonly available.
A moneyline bet is the simplest type of bet you can make. When making a moneyline bet, you are wagering on the winning outcome of an event.
In sports, this would be simply wagering on the winning team; in entertainment betting, just replace “team” with “outcome/person.” In entertainment betting, wagers like “Which Movie Will Win Best Picture” and “Which Party Will Win the 2020 Presidential Election” as categorized as moneyline bets.
Totals or Over/Under Bets
An over/under is a wager on whether a score will be higher or lower than what the sportsbooks places. Going back to our election example, a sportsbook may offer a bet on how many electoral votes the Democrats will win in the 2020 election.
An example from the world of cinema would look as follows:
You’ll notice that both the over and under have a negative three-digit number next to them, denoting American odds. If you bet on the over, you have to wager $105 to win $100. If you bet on the under, you have to wager $115 to win $100.
Proposition or Prop Bets
Prop bets, or propositional bets, are perhaps the most common type of wager you will see in the entertainment betting world. They’re not really any different from moneyline bets in their nature. Unlike moneyline bets, they don’t focus on the final outcome of an event, instead, they are restricted to a specific part of the event.
The Super Bowl halftime show is a good example. In the months leading up to the Super Bowl, you might be able to wager on who the main performer will be. Once announced, some sportsbooks will offer prop bets on who will make guest appearances, what songs will be performed, and whether there will be another “wardrobe malfunction.”
When it comes to entertainment betting, a prop bet would be something like “Will an Oscar Statue Be Dropped During the Telecast?” Bettors could select yes or no, and the bet would be graded based on what happens during the telecast.
What counts as a moneyline bet and what counts as a prop bet is obviously debatable. Categories serve to illustrate is that entertainment betting isn’t confined to only the final outcome of big events. You can often wager on smaller parts of those constituent events, as well.
Things to Keep in Mind
As with all gambling, there is risk involved with entertainment betting. Take time to understand the odds so you can place your bets intelligently.
Remember to make informed decisions. Unlike sports betting, not all areas of entertainment betting are easy to find stats on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your research. Look up fan blogs, dig around on Reddit, take a look at historical figures and outcomes, check out prediction markets, and do your best to be an informed gambler. Chances are high that if you’re considering betting on something, someone else out there has considered it, and written about it, as well.
Remember to keep timelines in mind. Consider when the event you’re planning to make a bet on takes place. It might not be possible, or wise, to place a bet right when you first think of it. Think critically about what could transpire in the meantime that would change the landscape and shift the paradigm.
Also, make sure you find out when lines open and close, so you don’t miss your window! If the lines are closed when you check, that’s okay. Stay informed, watch the trends, and just be ready to place your bet when the time comes!