Did You Know Entertainment Prop Betting is a Thing?

Chances are high that if you’re reading this, you are already aware of the world of sports betting. But you don’t have to be a major fan of sports in order to profit from online gambling. 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 the outcomes of sporting events, many people still have no idea that it’s possible to do the same for big events in the world of entertainment and pop culture.

Is there a television program you follow religiously? Are you a massive movie buff? Do you go ga-ga for Top-40 radio? If you fit into any of those categories, entertainment betting could definitely be for you as award shows such as the Academy Awards, the Grammys, and the Emmys are among the most popular betting events. Online betting sites also regularly offer wagers on reality TV shows and blockbuster movie releases.

Don’t be mistaken, though. You don’t necessarily have to watch Access Hollywood in order to take advantage of “entertainment” betting. It’s more of an umbrella term we use for everything non-sports, and also includes political and world events, and even royal baby names!

Prince George of Cambridge with his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince George of Cambridge with his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Wikimedia [CC License)

How to Get Started

So, you know that you can place a bet on who you believe will win Best Actor in a Drama at the next Golden Globes. You’ve done your research, read up on the nominees, and seen all the films. You feel ready to wager! All that’s left now is to actually place your bet. But how?

First things first, you need to find someone to take the bet! Not all sports betting websites offer entertainment betting, so we have put together a list of our favorite sportsbooks that offer entertainment bets. Once you have chosen the sportsbook you would like to use, the next steps are fairly straightforward. All you have to do is set up an account, deposit the money you would like to wager, find the event you are interested in, and select it with a click of the mouse.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Once selected, your bet will be added to your “bet slip” or “bet card.” After you have finished making your selections, all that’s left to do is head to your bet slip and fill in your stake/risk/wager – i.e. fill in how much money you want to bet on this specific event.

Once you’ve done that, just click “place bet” and your done!

What Kind of Entertainment Bets Can I Make?

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.

Before we get more into the different types of entertainment betting, we should first have a brief discussion on odds and to how 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, and
  • 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 the 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, and 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 from Bovada 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 over here.

Now, back to the betting. If you’re new to online betting, it might be helpful to separate 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.

Moneyline bets: 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.” We categorize wagers like “Which movie will win Best Picture” and “Which party will win the 2020 Presidential election” as moneyline bets.

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.

HOW MANY ELECTORAL VOTES WILL THE DEMOCRATS WIN IN THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

                Over:  277.5 (-110)

                Under:  277.5 (-110)


An example from the world of cinema could be:

HOW MUCH WILL ‘STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’ GROSS ON ITS OPENING WEEKEND?

                Over: $150 million (-105)

                Under: $150 million (-115)

You’ll notice that both the over and under have a negative three-digit number next to them. That’s because over/under bets also incorporate a moneyline. 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.

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. But, 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.”

What counts as a moneyline bet and what counts as a prop bet is obviously debatable. In reality, we have created an artificial dichotomy between the two. However, our categories simply illustrate that entertainment betting isn’t confined to final outcome of big events. You can often wager on smaller parts of those 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, 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.

Also, 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. But 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!