In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the entire world has been thrust into a time of global political and economic uncertainty. With the presidential elections slated to take place later this year, these resultant issues will no doubt play an important role in swaying votes towards whichever candidate eventually wins.
In an unprecedented turn of events leading up to November’s presidential elections, Donald Trump, the incumbent Republican US President, is ahead in terms of wagered amounts compared to Biden. Nobody saw this coming – certainly not the bookmakers who, for the longest time, have put out odds that strongly favor Biden to win the election. More people are betting on Trump and this very fact is surprising industry analysts.
Odds Over the Past Week
For months now, Donald Trump has been playing catch-up to Biden in terms of the bookmaker consensus regarding the election’s outcome. As of last week and up until the weekend of 17th October, the odds on Trump emerging victorious stood at around +188 (15/8). This meant that he had an approximately 34% chance.
Biden, on the other hand, had odds of -200 (1/2) during the same period, meaning that he stood an approximately 66% chance of becoming America’s next president.
Betting Trends on The Election
As referenced by the title of the article, bookmakers have observed an odd phenomenon over the last seven days. More people are placing bets on Donald Trump, the underdog, to emerge victorious.
Ahead of an event that will certainly define the latter half of 2020, the US election has garnered bets from all over the world (just not the US itself. We’ll get to that later). It already stands as one of the largest wagering events in the world. UK-based internet betting platform Betfair already announced that, at more than $130 million, the “next president” wager is on track to become its largest ever in terms of betting volume – surpassing even the highly contentious Brexit vote of yesteryear.
Astonishingly, the lion share of that amount has gone towards betting for Trump. According to many industry watchers, a whopping 75% of the total value of bets on the 2020 US presidential election has been placed on Trump. Conversely, bettors have only placed 24% on Joe Biden. If the math doesn’t add up to 100%, it’s because the remaining 1% went towards smaller bets around VP selections Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, with Kanye West rounding out the mix.
Odds As of Today
Bookmakers based in countries such as the UK have updated the odds for the presidential election. Over the weekend, there was a slight shift in the odds table, with Trump gaining some ground on Biden. At around -160 (5/8) or an implied chance of 61.5%, Biden has lost 5.2% compared to his standing last week. Conversely, at +150 (6/4) or an implied chance of 40%, Trump has gained a similar 5.2% odds advantage.
The Second Presidential Debate Might Swing The Odds
In any modern democracy, voters use debates and other communicative political events as a reference point to gauge the validity and competency of their chosen candidate and, if needed, rethink their vote. Following the first presidential debate on September 29th, there was something of a stalemate. Both candidates failed to make their case and this left much to be desired.
With the second debate slated for October 22nd, however, both candidates have decided to attend in person. Undoubtedly, Trump’s recent spate with the coronavirus will play into both sides’ talking points one way or another.
With different agendas, antecedents, and opinions on key issues and national talking points, how both candidates make their case on Thursday will make or break both their election aspirations and their respective standings with the bookmakers.
Can Americans Place Bets on The Election?
Unfortunately, you can’t legally place a bet on the winner of any US presidential election. All states in the US have, for a long time, upheld a blanket ban on wagering against a major election like this.
The logic behind the ban is based on the fact that the presidential election is an extremely sensitive event. If a candidate has been given low odds of victory by bookmakers, their voters might be less willing to show up and cast their vote – further ensuring a (perhaps preventable) loss for that candidate.