GOP Debate: Sportsbooks Imply Not-attending Trump Benefited The Most

Jim Makos

Friday, January 29, 2016 6:25 PM GMT

Who benefited the most out of Thursday’s GOP debate? Find out as we examine how the lines moved last night at online sportsbooks.

Another GOP debate took place last night, yet it was one of those rare moments when we don’t get to see Donald Trump on stage. Reports are already online estimating the aftermath that the debate had on the chances of candidates, but rarely if ever someone talks of how moneylines moved after a debate. That’s why we are here today to discuss how betting odds moved for both attending and… not-attending candidates.
We start off with the favorite for the GOP candidacy, Trump.

Donald Trump
With Trump gone missing in this debate, you might doubt that his odds even moved. You’d be surprised then to hear that his decision to not attend and host an event in Des Moines actually favored his odds, which shortened quite significantly since he announced his decision and a bit more following Thursday’s debate.
For example, Trump’s odds were trading at 2.20 (+120) on Monday at PaddyPower, SkyBet and WilliamHill, shortened to 2.00 (+100) on Thursday before the debate and William Hill now offers his GOP win at 1.83 (-120)! It seems that keeping silent paid off for Trump, according to betting lines.
Here is his odds chart to win the GOP candidacy since 2013. A pretty remarkable decline, I must say.

 

 

Marco Rubio
Rubio’s odds have remained stable at Bet365 and William Hill but have drifted a bit at other sportsbooks. For instance, SportingBet’s line moved from 3.50 (+250) to 3.75 (+275) on Thursday night. Similar action was taken by Bwin (3.00 to 3.75) and Coral (3.25 to 3.50).

Rubio has been one of the frontrunners in the betting markets for the Republican candidacy and last fall his odds experienced a strong decline. Starting January, they began pulling back and the debate just added to the momentum. Is it just a retracement with the decline resuming quickly, or is it curtains for Rubio? I wouldn’t back him before his odds drop below 2.50 (+150), that is if the support fails.

 

 

Ted Cruz
Cruz’s odds have been drifting as of lately. Again, price action resembles Rubio’s and the debate also pushed the odds a bit higher. There are some mixed results though following the debate, as Betway for example, shortened his odds in fact! Yet, that is the result of offering a very generous line beforehand, as they had priced Cruz’s odds at 8.00 (+700), a lot higher than the street’s average odds of 7.00 (+600). Betfred also shortened Cruz’s odds from 7.50 (+650) to 6.50 (+550), while William Hill along with other sportsbooks increased their line from 7.00 (+600) to 7.50 (+650).

 

Jeb Bush
Bush’s odds to run for Republicans didn’t look that good before the debate and they certainly don’t look good afterwards. Cappers have been pushing the line since September when odds traded at 2.50 (+150), their lowest point ever. Now they are trading around 10.0 (+900). 

There have been a bit of ups and downs at bookmakers’ moneyline on Jeb Bush last night, as they are taking bets on former President’s brother. Some sportsbooks increased their odds while others had them shortened. Under these circumstances, we can’t estimate if cappers liked Bush’s appearance but they certainly haven’t liked his chances for the last five months!

 

Christ Christie
The majority of sportsbooks that updated their lines after the debate feature Christie’s odds higher than Wednesday. Odds are hovering close to 30.0 (+2900), significantly higher than December’s line at 15.0 (+1400). While his odds are trading lower than the highest price, the accelerating uptrend is noticeable after a 4-month pullback.

 

Given the action at sportsbooks, representing the crowd’s psychology, it’s safe to assume that the GOP debate benefited only one candidate. And that’s the one that was missing from the debate.