We all love movies. And sports betting movies not only tell an exciting story but often leave us with some sort of teaching about life and gambling.
As gambling evolves, new narratives will appear on the big screen. Yet, the best sports gambling movies still take us back to an underground world quickly fading.
Here we rank the best sports betting films based on storytelling, true stories, and prominent characters. Let’s do this.
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5. Lay The Favorite (2012)
Beth Raymer is the author of a tragicomic biography called Lay The Favorite, published in 2010.
Random House Films bought the movie rights for the book and surrounded the story with a solid cast, including Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Joshua Jackson.
Lay The Favorite tells the story of Raymer while she spent years studying the ins and outs of the offshore gambling industry in Costa Rica and Panama.
The movie is a comedy but has wonderful insight into how sports gambling works. It also dishes out the notion that gamblers are low-life people.
Instead, it gives bettors a little appreciation by conceding most of them take the process seriously.
4. The Color Of Money (1986)
Paul Newman is the main character in The Color Of Money, and he uses Tom Cruise’s billiard ability to sponsor him and gamble.
While sports betting nowadays is mainly done online, movies about sports betting back in the day put the characters on the scene.
The Color Of Money explains the psychology of gamblers’ decisions, but in this case, it also touches on the morality of friendship.
Things have changed since The Color Of Money got into theaters. Nowadays, gambling decisions are less attached to underground bookies and more to value and numbers.
Even as times have changed, the movie is a great sports betting tale worth your time.
3. Two For The Money (2005)
Two For The Money put Matthew McConaughey and Al Pacino together for an all-time sports betting movie classic.
Brandon Lang (McConaughey) is a sports junkie who knows plenty about picking games. He gets hired by Walter Abrams (Pacino) to sell winning predictions on TV.
This movie takes its inspiration from a true story. It describes the tale of a former college basketball player who became involved in high-stakes betting handicapping sports.
It’s entertaining and has that “Hollywood” feeling all over. But it also teaches us not to trust people who sell picks either on TV or the internet.
It’s always better to research and come up with your own conclusions. Good or bad.
2. The Gambler (1974)
The Gambler is one of the most underrated movies by James Caan. It portrays the story of Axel Freed (Cann), an English professor with a severe gambling addiction who borrows money from the wrong people.
Axel lures his students to shave points in college basketball games to help pay his debt.
The story explains how things can spiral out of control when you don’t handle your gambling addictions. To be fair, that’s true of any addiction. It just happens that this story is about betting.
The movie doesn’t reflect the current landscape of the sports betting world, but we can learn the danger of not knowing when to stop.
It’s essential to understand the value of not chasing bets. Always live for another day and have a sports betting strategy.
1. Rounders (1998)
While Rounders technically is not a sports betting movie, ESPN has featured the World Series of Poker for decades, and that alone should be a qualifier.
Rounders is the movie responsible for the boom of Texas Hold ’em Poker in the early 2000s, and it’s a cultural token for those who love to gamble.
The story of Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) is fascinating because it involves bad beats and debt with thrilling moments from start to finish.
Many have criticized the movie because some poker hands may not be all that believable, but the film gets it right. It gets narrated by the mind and inner thoughts of a savvy but still vulnerable gambler.
Rounders is our favorite betting movie. It combines incredible storytelling, brilliant acting, and underground gambling.
Honorable Mention: Eight Men Out (1988)
I felt bad leaving the Black Sox Scandal out of the list. That’s why I had to include it in the honorable mention, at least.
We have advanced plenty in the gambling world. It’s no longer seen as a shady business like before. But the story of the Black Sox Scandal didn’t help that narrative in the early days of the 20th century.
It’s a great film with a solid cast, including Charlie Sheen and John Cusack, but sports betting has moved past those scandals. That is why it missed the cut.
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Those are the best sports betting movies made until this point. They tell us how much the sports gambling scene has changed over the last few years.
What used to be an underground world with many negative connotations is no longer that. Sports betting is increasingly becoming mainstream, and that’s good for all.
We all want to sit, place a bet, root for a side, and win money. While I enjoyed the stories these sports betting films shared, we are now on better ground.
Ready to experience the thrill of sports betting yourself?
Do it safely from the comfort of your home. Don’t be like the guys in the movies.