Presidential Election Betting

The United States Presidential Election is the foundation of American democracy. Since the first presidential election where George Washington became the nation’s leader, the event has grown along with the country. The election and the build-up to the November date are filled with campaigning candidates trying to show Americans why they would be the best fit for the free world’s highest position. 

Americans get to choose their candidate on election day, but this isn’t the only pick that citizens can make during the election. Betting on the presidential election has become very popular, and online sportsbooks have promoted these types of bets. Betting sites have a plethora of betting odds that make the election even more exciting for bettors all around the United States.

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Historical Perspective

The first presidential election took place in 1789, where George Washington won the contest. Unlike present day, the winner of the election became the president, and the runner up became the vice president. John Adams was the first vice president of the United States when he lost the 1789 election to Washington. 

Betting on the presidential election has always been present in American history. Prior to sports, elections were the “only game in town,” so betting was a natural byproduct of the country’s excitement.

Presidential Betting Basics

There are a lot of complex bets within Presidential Elections, but let’s start with the basics. 


The moneyline is choosing a candidate straight up to win. Within elections, there are multiple moneyline bets to choose from. Moneyline options are available for the overall winner, the popular vote, individual state winners, and so much more. 

Let’s look at an example using Candidate A and Candidate B. In a moneyline bet, if Candidate A was -170 and Candidate B was +140, A would be the favorite, and B would be the underdog. If B won, the payout would be higher for a bettor because they chose a riskier candidate. 


The spread for a presidential election would be a number that estimates how much a candidate is projected to win or lose by. A few areas where the spread could be bet would be in the popular vote, an individual state, and the Electoral College results.

Imagine Candidate A was -20 and Candidate B was +20 in the Electoral College ballots. This would mean Candidate A is a 20-ballot favorite. If a bet were placed on A at -20, A would need to win by 20 or more ballots.


The over/under is very simple. A line would take an election area and make a number for bettors to wager more or less than the amount. An example of this would be “Will over or under 55% of eligible voters show up this election?”

Beyond Basics

Conventional bets aren’t the only way to get in on Presidential election betting. Let’s take a look at a few of the other options.

Prop Betting

Prop betting adds an extra element of fun to presidential elections. These can be about anything and vary depending on the sportsbook. Past options have been necktie colors of candidates on election day or over/under voter turnouts in individual states.


Futures allow people to bet events that are in the distant future. Sportsbooks allow bettors to wager on what will happen in future presidential terms even before the election. Futures give bettors the possibility of a big payout because of the slim chance of the outcome occurring.


Parlays can maximize bettors’ payouts during the election. Parlays combine multiple single bets to create a bigger return on the wager. All outcomes must hit for a successful bet, but if this occurs, it will give bettors a much larger return. 

Strategy Considerations

The presidential election only occurs once every four years, so there’s plenty of time to do research. Polls frequently change, which means sportsbook odds do as well, so consider when betting. Props, futures, and parlays are the best way to see higher payouts, especially when combined with single bets.