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7 Sports Betting Movies and Films

By Randy Ray
Published on May 13, 2017
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Gambling has been a theme for movies for years. Finding good movies that go in depth into the world and underworld of the industry can sometimes be hard to find. The entertainment industry at times takes aim at the gambling industry. It goes in many different directions from comedy to down and dirty true stories.

Most of the movies made about sports betting take the viewer into the dark side of the gambling industry. This lets you see some of the possible outcomes for those who find themselves stuck in this life.
Some of the movies that I’ve included do this. Others take you to the other side where the bookies make the money. Even movies about the other side of the industry show the possibility of trouble coming. This can take those involved and turn their lives upside down.

1 – Even Money

Even Money is a movie that shows the dark world that sports betting can sometimes lead to. This movie has many different characters. They all find themselves in trouble with their gambling addictions. The movie follows these characters. It also shows how their actions affect all the other parts of their lives.

Carolyn is one of the main characters played by Kim Bassinger. She is a writer who is working on her next book but she has a dark secret that no one else in her life knows about.

Her secret is that she spends her nights wasting the family’s money on slot machines. When she continues to lose she tries to change her luck. She does this by playing roulette and blackjack and then tries her luck at high stakes bets with a bookie. She soon meets a struggling magician played by Danny DeVito. They start a relationship.

The movie has to have a law enforcement aspect. That comes in the form of Detective Brunner who is trying to get Victor, the bookie, for murder. One of the other bookies, Augie, talks to Victor while wearing a wire. This secures a conviction for the detective.

The movie also takes you into the life of Clyde Snow played by Forrest Whittaker. He asks his brother to help him get out of debt with his bookie by shaving points off a NCAA game. This is the finale of the movie and the big game holds many of the characters’ lives in its hands. The bookie played by Tim Roth has found himself in some trouble and needs to win here to survive.

Everyone has placed their whole lives on this game. At the last minute, Clyde makes a decision that destroys the lives of everyone involved. Carolyn, Walter, and Victor have placed everything they own on the line for this game thinking it was fixed.

Victor was sure that his threat to Clyde would get this done. Even though Clyde asks his bother to fix the game he decides he can’t have his brother risk his career. He lies and tells him that his debts are paid off and not to shave the point.

Clyde’s brother makes a game winning shot and Clyde is proud. Clyde knows his time is up and when he leaves the game he’s killed by Victor’s men. Carolyn and Walter are also both devastated because they’ve lost everything. Carolyn’s husband wants a divorce and she now has no money. Walter goes to kill Victor and gets caught in the act by the detective. The detective understands and lets him go.

This movie takes the gambling underworld to the extreme. Even though at one time in history this could’ve been a reality, the industry isn’t this dark. It does portray that addiction from gambling is real. It can be devastating to anyone involved in the person’s life.

2 – Two for the Money

Two for the Money is all about sports betting and doesn’t have a plot that stands on its own. It shows how relationships get shattered with gambling addictions and how it can take a person’s view of the world and distort it.

The movie revolves around the relationship between Brandon Land and Walter Abrams. Brandon was the next up and coming football star until a knee injury ended his career. With nothing to do, he starts a career in sports betting and finds he has a talent for it. He works for Walter Abrams who takes notice of the talented new employee and they begin to work together.

Together they’re able to start raking in the money but like most good things it isn’t long before things start to go bad. Brandon starts to become arrogant and overconfident in his abilities. He stops taking the time to predict the next handicap and instead starts using hunches. This starts costing the pair.

Things get worse when Walter’s addiction grows and he suspects Brandon of sleeping with his wife. With their relationship falling apart they both seem to find their way into more trouble.

Matthew McConaughey and Al Pacino star in this movie. With two of the best actors in the business on the marquee you think you’re going to end up watching a fantastic film. But this film isn’t that great. It has an amazing cast but it doesn’t have a plot you can follow all the way through. The movie leaves a lot of questions unanswered. However, it does give a very real view of the sports betting world so that is why it made the list.

3 – Bookies

Bookies is a movie that shows the other side of the gambling world. It’s the world where those who take bets are the ones that come out on top. Or at least that’s what the three college students think when they decide to go into business.

Three college students, Toby, Casey, and Jude, have tried their luck at betting on sports. None of them have had any luck. Losing over a thousand dollars has them in a bind. They realize that the only ones making any money are the ones who are taking the bets. They charge their own fee for placing the bet so they decide to try their hands at being bookies.

Their plan is to start taking bets from their fellow students. They come up with a genius way to collect the money without revealing their identity. Jude works at the library and the guys decide to have each of the bettors place their money in books. They later go and collect from the books. Jude chooses the books that are rarely checked out and their plan works out great.

They become successful and as with most stories this is where things start to go wrong. With their new found wealth, they each want different things. Toby wants new computers which would aid in their new business. Casey wants to spend all his money on a girl. Jude takes a darker route into drug addiction.

The three don’t have an easy ride though because the local mob finds out what they’re up to. They want it stopped because it’s affecting their business. The college is getting suspicious of their activities. To end their business on a high note they make a deal with the mob and allow them to choose a game or event to bet on.

The mob chooses a boxing match that the boys know is going to be a fixed bout. They liquidate their assets and win enough to get out of the game. The one- time friends are now all going their separate ways. Toby and Casey stay in school but no longer have a relationship and Jude drops out.

The movie show that even when you’re on the other side of the gambling world you can still find yourself in trouble. If you’re not careful you can still ruin your life and end up in a different place than you ever dreamed you would be.

4 – Lay the Favorite

Based on a memoir of Beth Raymer Lay the Favorite shows the better side of sports betting. Beth starts out as a stripper in Florida who wants a change in her life so she leaves her job and travels to Las Vegas. She hopes that the change of scenery and jobs will bring her luck in different ways.

When she arrives in Vegas she gets a job as a cocktail waitress. This isn’t the job she was looking for but she isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed so she has to take what she can get. With no place to live, Beth lives in a cheap motel where she meets Holly, a girl who lives in the same motel. Holly introduces Beth to Dink Heimowitz.

Dink is a professional gambler and runs his own sports betting business called Dink, Inc. He uses girls to place the high stakes bets for him and hires Beth to be one of his girls. It doesn’t take long for Beth to realize that she is good with the numbers part of the business.

When Dink realizes how good she is he takes her under his wing and makes her his protégé. Beth is completely hooked by the excitement of the gambling world. The income she’s bringing in is more than she could ever hope for. This leads her to miss a chance with a young journalist named Jerry because she isn’t ready to leave this life.

She starts to fall for her mentor, Dink, but that’s all squashed before it even gets started by his wife Tulip. She sees how close the two have become and demands that Dink get her out of his life. Without a job, Beth takes an offer from a rival gambler named Rosie.

Rosie’s operation is nothing like Dinks. He runs an illegal sports betting business. This comes with all the bad things that come with an illegal business. Beth is able to work everything out and succeeds in New York.

The cast of this movie are some of Hollywood’s best with Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The comedy has none other than funny man Vince Vaughn. The lesser known Rebecca Hall gets the lead roll and does a great job playing the ditzy side of the character. Together they made a decent movie. It was able to shine a positive light on sports betting that you don’t see often in film.

5 – Diggstown

Diggstown is set in a fictional Georgia town run by its most wealthy citizen, John Gillon. The town is very into boxing. To keep his control over the town, John had a boxing match fixed. It ended in the local hero Diggs getting injured. The town is furious and in walks their saving grace.

Gabriel Caine is an ex-convict recently released from jail and comes to town ready to run the con of his life. He organizes a way for the town to get out from under the control of John Gillon by betting him $100,000. The deal’s struck that Gabriel’s one fighter, Honey Roy Palmer, can beat 10 of the town’s top pro fighters in a 24 hour period.

Like all con artists, Gabriel starts something he doesn’t know if he can do or not. He finally talks his partner in crime, Roy Palmer, to climb aboard. Roy is a 48 year old grouchy old man who needs a little persuading to get involved. Once he’s on board it’s time to get it all ready to go.

The town is ready to be out from under the controlling hand of John Gillon. They all start jumping on board and start placing their bets. During all this, both sides are trying their best to get everything to turn out in their favor. The bribing and strategies start taking shape.

When the time comes for the matches to begin Palmer is ready but a little nervous. Caine used the information about Diggs’ injury to make these fights worth more than $100,000. He does this by tricking Gillon into risking his entire 1.5 million in assets on these ten fights.

After the first fight with Buck Holland everyone is a little nervous. Plamer only wins by a small margin. The second fight ends up fixed by Gaberial. Slim Busby takes the dive and Palmer wins again. The next three fights are all won by Palmer. They’re all fixed and this completely enrages Palmer.

Palmer continues with one easy fight and a forfeit by Robby Gillon. He wins one by disqualification but the final match is where everything gets dicey. Hammerhead Hagan is the last fighter Palmer must fight. He’s also the only one who ever beat him in his professional career.

The match doesn’t look good and Gabriel decides that Palmer has had enough. He goes to throw in the towel but a renewed Palmer throws it back. He struggles but defeats Hammerhead to win the ten matches. At least that was what they thought. Gillon hasn’t remained at the top for so long without a few tricks.

He tells the town that since his son never entered the ring there were only nine fights. So there’s still one more to go and brings out Torres who he believes is completely under his control.

Palmer is no match for him because he’s to tired and worn out to put up much of a fight. When it looks like everything is lost Gabriel whistles and motions to Torres. This is the same as Gillon had. Torres drops his gloves and lets Palmer take a shot which sends him to the mat and wins the tenth and final match.

The movie ends with Hambone laying out Gillon. Gillon is trying to kill Gabriel and everything is over and the town is free and Gabriel and Palmer are rich.

This is one of the best sports betting movies of all time. It’s packed with action from beginning to end. Even though both sides did things a little underhanded the good guys still won in the end. James Woods and Louis Gossett Jr are amazing together. Bruce Dern sure puts on a great performance as the evil John Gillon. You aren’t going to find a better movie than this when it comes to sports betting.

6 – Let it Ride

Let it Ride is a comedy based around the world of horse racing. The film puts together amazing actors; Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, and Jennifer Tilly. The story centers on Dreyfuss’s character, Jay Trotter.

Jay is a cab driver from Florida. He gets a tip from his friend and fellow cab driver Looney and goes on an amazing winning streak. Looney has a recorder set up in his car that records the conversations of his riders. On the recording, he hears about a horse guaranteed to win and tells Jay about it.

Jay goes and places a $50 bet and to his surprise wins $781 when the horse wins on a photo finish. With his new found luck, Jay keeps betting his winnings and to his surprise keeps winning. His wife finds out and is in a rage because he isn’t trying to work on their marriage. She comes to the track and lets him have it. On his way home he stops and buys her a diamond necklace but she’s passed out when he arrives so he returns to gambling.

He puts all his winnings on the line to prove to his wife that he knows what he’s doing. He places a $68,000 bet on the last race of the day and chooses a horse he’s told not to bet on. When the race comes down to a photo finish he’s nervous until he hears his horses named called as the winner.

Though the movie is a little on the mediocre side the humor is great quality. It keeps you in stitches the whole time.

7 – Eight Men Out

This movie’s based on the real life scandal of the 1919 Chicago White Sox team. It shows the way that gamblers can have easy access to dictate the outcome of sporting events.

The movie tells the story of the eight members of the 1919 White Sox team. They took bribes from gamblers to lose against the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. The players on the team chose to accept the money because of the owner Charles Comiskey. He refused to pay his players what they were worth.

The players voice their issues with the owner. In those days there wasn’t anyone who would fight for them and it was Comiskey’s way or no way. So with their unhappiness known they take the bets and don’t play well during the games.

The players bad playing gets the attention of some journalist. The journalists begin to write about their suspicions in the papers. This makes the league look into the issue. By the end of the movie we see the complete fall out where all the players are completely banned from the game.

Though the film’s based on such a horrible event in baseball history, it’s an amazing movie to see. It’s easy to see why the players would take the action they did. But it goes to show that because there is a reason, it doesn’t always make it right.

Conclusion

Gambling is a great theme for a movie and brings in big bucks for most at the box office. Most of these movies weren’t popular. But they also weren’t made to be blockbusters. Instead they’re made to tell a story.

Most of them had amazing casts that did a great job of telling the story. These films make you see the good and the bad of the sports betting world. Some of the movies add a little comedy to lighten the mood. But others are all about showing the underworld and how bad things can get if you’re not careful.

These movies give us a different angle on the sports betting world. You get a chance to see the dark side in Even Money, the good up and up side in Lay the Favorite, and the bookie side in Bookies. By watching all these movies you can get a pretty good idea of how the whole sports betting arena works. Remember that other than a couple, they aren’t real life stories.

The next time you’re looking for a movie check one of these films out. You might learn something. At the very least you’ll enjoy some entertainment.

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