As we edge closer to November’s presidential elections, the political atmosphere is heating up ahead of what many consider the most important elections the US has had in a very long time. Both candidates, the incumbent Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden have since taken to their respective campaign trails to rouse supporters ahead of election day.
In an interesting turn of events, multiple news outlets and betting industry watchers are reporting that going into the end of October, the gap in odds of victory between Biden and Trump are narrowing by the day. Bet operators are now updating their odds to reflect an event from last week.
The Biden Controversy
The event in question is the Biden-Ukraine controversy. According to reports, Joe Biden and his son Hunter allegedly had mutually-beneficial dealings with Ukrainian power company Burisma at the expense of American taxpayers. These allegations have since been firmly disproven. The consensus is that although Biden and his son, indeed, had dealings with the Ukrainian company while Biden was vice president, those dealings were above board as part of the US’s foreign policy at the time.
The fact that the allegations are false hasn’t stopped them from resurfacing in the months leading up to the election and, according to multiple news sources, this is the chief reason why Biden is losing some ground to Trump in terms of betting odds. OddsChecker, for example, has it that punters, over the weekend, rushed to bet on Trump (at Biden’s expense) following a new resurfacing of the aforementioned controversy. Trump has been gaining momentum at the sportsbooks ever since.
The Betting Trend
Since the US sportsbooks started posting odds on the 2020 presidential election, the odds have favored Biden to win come November. Although the margins between the two candidates have shifted slightly both ways, this new trend represents the largest yet.
As the week has progressed, Trump’s chances of winning the election have grown from 15/8 (or an implied chance of 34.8%) to 5/4 (or an implied probability of 44%). Biden remains the sportsbooks favorite to win the election, but, his odds have taken a dip 1/2 (or a 64% implied chance) to 7/1 (or 58%).
The US presidential election has a habit of making a U-turn in the dying minutes. In 2016 for example, sportsbooks had Hillary Clinton ahead by a long mile in the months before the election. As the actual voting date drew nearer, Trump’s odds gradually improved, and of course, he eventually won. Astonishingly, Trump is actually in a better position betting-wise than he was at this same time in 2016, leading to the assertion that he shouldn’t be written off. Whatever happens, though, the November election is certainly going to be one for the ages.
Another glaring example outside of the US is Brexit. Ahead of the final UK vote to leave the EU, no one thought the referendum would favor an exit – with sportsbooks giving better odds to the “remain” vote. As we all know, the reverse was the case with most Brits voting to leave the union. In essence, major political events can be tricky to predict – even for sportsbooks.
Always considered a valuable metric with which to measure every candidate’s chances of victory, polls have existed in America as a political tool for hundreds of years. According to the latest polling numbers, Biden is ahead of Trump in terms of voter approval.
As it stands, the national 10-poll average shows that just over half of all Americans intend to back Biden come November. Trump trails Biden in this regard by about six points, depending on the poll you look
For Biden supporters, the fact that he is leading both in the polls and according to sportsbook odds is certainly good news. Short of actually winning the election, this is the prime position for any aspiring candidate ahead of actual votes being cast.
It is going to be a tough call determining a conclusive winner ahead of next month. One thing remains certain though: Trump is either going to extend his stay in the White House by four more years or surrender his seat as the leader of the free world to Joe Biden.