This guide to US Election betting was put together by the folks at Bet Refinery.
And the biggest betting market of all time will take place in November, between the Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day.
It’s Trump versus Biden for the White House.
In 2016, Betfair alone traded over $350 million globally on US election betting.
When you include Aussie, Asian and European bookies, that number becomes billions of dollars.
US election betting for 2020 is on track, from a Betfair turnover perspective, to be bigger. Much bigger.
Making Trump arguably the greatest betting drawcard of all time.
So who do we back? That’s what we’re going to discuss today. We’ll show you the arbitrage opportunities that exist and best resources to help you stay in front of the market.
Arbing the election result
US election betting is actually very similar to the Mayweather vs McGregor fight.
McGregor, when he stepped into a foreign fighting environment, faced one of the greatest of all time. And yet Mayweather couldn’t get shorter than $1.25 because so much money kept flooding in for McGregor.
The Irishman opened at $6 – $7, and got into $3.50 with some bookies simply due to the weight of money. Their liabilities were just so big on McGregor that they had to keep winding him in. And they were hedging their positions on Betfair, which kept the Betfair market at $1.25.
The 10th round knockout from Mayweather, and his mid-fight dominance, showed Mayweather should have been $1.10. But the recreational money for the drawcard kept making the favourite over the odds.
Similarly, punters can’t get enough of Trump.
They remember the monumental upset of Hilary in 2016 (~$5 on election night). They see all the allegations he faces and yet, none of them slow him down. Not even a positive COVID-19 test. Anecdotally, we hear that TAB is writing five times as many bets on Trump as they are Biden.
And you can see that in the current odds at the TAB and the corporate bookies – Pointsbet is currently an arb opportunity (as at 21st October):
As you can see, Biden is $1.60 with Betfair and $1.63 with Pointsbet. This is a small example, but we’ve seen much bigger discrepancies over the last few weeks at every operator.
That means that there are constant arbitrage opportunities as bookies try to sell Biden. And you’re helping them balance their book.
You just have to watch the volatile market, particularly overnight in Australia. It can move 10 cents in a day on Betfair.
But who wins?
Well, it depends on your news source.
Trump supporters point to his 2016 win, his ability to scare non-supporters from voting via mail and nd the growing segments of conspiracy theorists who see Trump as the anti-politician fighting the corrupt elitists and radical left activists.
Biden is depicted as an old, forgetful, lifelong politician who is a figurehead for something much worse. It’s similar to how Trump depicted Hilary Clinton.
Biden, on the other hand, has been winning polls against Trump for four years. If you spend any time on FiveThirtyEight, the market leader in political data science, you’ll know that he’s an overwhelming favourite. Right now their model shows Biden as an 87% chance of winning. That converts to $1.14.
The market is incredibly volatile and in Biden’s favour, but he’s not an 87% chance according to the market.
He’s roughly 62.1%, at $1.61, which you can see on this Bet Refinery graph:
Another resource we recommend is Paul Motty. He lives and breathes political betting and follows as many pundits and supporters on the right as he does on the left.
Following the first debate, with Biden already crunched in the odds, he had this to say:
I am even more confident 24 hours on. Landslide coming. https://t.co/eAGWLYQkFp
— Political Gambler (@paulmotty) September 30, 2020
The final piece of information to understand is how candidates win the election.
Firstly, the states vote. Whichever candidate gets the most votes in that state gets the Electoral College votes. And the size of the state determines the number of votes.
In 2016, Trump won every big swing state you can imagine: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan.
For Biden to win, he just needs to grab two of those big states.
Pennsylvania historically votes Democrat, and it’s Biden’s home state. That’s twenty Electoral Votes, and you only need 270 to win.
California and New York, where he’s a moral, are 55 and 29 votes respectively.
US election betting: Final tips
Unless something spectacular happens (and it can!), we think Biden is going to follow the FiveThirtyEight data and shorten significantly. There will always be resistance for Trump, with his brand awareness, but we think Biden will start election night towards $1.35.
For that reason, we’re betting up on Biden at the current odds.
Despite Hilary’s failings in 2016 and Trump’s ravenous supporter base, the polling data is comprehensively in Biden’s favour. And with FiveThirtyEight suggesting Biden should be $1.16, there will continue to be millions of dollars coming for Biden.
The value is with Biden at $1.6. But if Trump gets beyond $3.50 again, he becomes the bet.
If you want to back Trump straight out, we recommend backing him for the state of Florida. He’s roughly even money to win Florida and yet, if he loses Florida, he’ll likely lose the Election. We think he wins the Sunshine State, no matter the overall result.
Back Biden Overall at $1.45 or better (currently $1.60)
Back Trump for Florida at $1.70 or better (currently $2.00)
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