How Political Betting Odds Moved for Candidates Following GOP Debate

Jim Makos

Thursday, December 17, 2015 9:30 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 9:30 PM GMT

Republican candidates are evaluating their performance after Tuesday’s GOP debate. Yet, betting markets are the best source for crystal-clear conclusions. 

 

Who won and who lost in Tuesday’s GOP debate? Politically speaking, I am sure you will find all kind of answers in popular news media. Betting-wise though, there is no doubt that the debate turned out beneficial for Cruz, and Christie. Their odds are the only ones that shortened the last couple of days. And if handicappers’ money isn’t an unquestionable criterion, I don’t know what is.

 

The Losers
Starting backwards, it’s easy to spot the most important odds movement currently happening at political betting markets for the tea party. It’s easy because it concerns the favorite.
Rubio’s odds are drifting at every sportsbook online. Before the debate, bookmakers offered his win at around 2.30 on average. Today they all pushed that to at least 2.50, Ladbrokes being the most generous ones to be paying 2.75 on your money. The drift can also be seen at Betfair’s chart (left).

Another candidate that his win has a bigger reward for cappers than before the debate is Jeb Bush. Only in Bush’s case, the drift isn’t that impressive, given most sportsbooks had already been pricing his win higher even before Tuesday night. The bookmakers that had failed to spot the trend developing, have now aligned their moneyline to the competition. Current average odds for Bush to win the nomination are found at 10.0. LadbrokesWilliam Hill and PaddyPower to name a few offer the highest betting odds at this time; 11.0.
Still, given the price action at the Betfair chart (left), I wouldn’t rule out a surprising decline in the future. As the support level (green line) has failed, maybe there’s a small chance Bush’s odds to shorten the next few weeks.

 

The Winners
Chris Christie’s betting odds are dropping. BoyleSports reduced them from 15.0 to 13.0. The same happened at ToteSport and BetFred. Betfair Sportsbook was offering Christie’s win at 19.00 and had to bring that down to 13.0 as well. Bwin took that lower to 12.0, while PaddyPower plays it safe at 11.0. 888sport and 32Red’s traders, on the other hand, weren’t keeping up apparently, as their moneyline on Christie was at 34.0 last week, the highest odds by a mile! I am sure sharp bettors taught them a lesson and snatched those odds before they reduced them to 15.0. At this time, the highest odds for Christie’s nomination are found at Coral.

In the meantime, Cruz’s betting odds are also shortening. Yet, his odds were already building downward momentum long before the debate. The debate seems to have helped the decline accelerate. For instance, average odds in December’s beginning were at 7.00, ten days into December they had already fallen to 6.00 and right before the debate they went even lower to 5.00. Nowadays, you’ll have trouble finding any odds over 4.00!

Cruz is seriously challenging Rubio for the top place at this betting market of US Presidential election 2016, although you will still find Trump in-between. His odds didn’t move that much since the debate. You can take Trump as the presidential pick and get 3.75 on your money tops. 
But here’s where it gets more interesting. 
Trump is actually in third place at Betfair’s exchange where his odds trade at 4.80! Cruz is currently the second favorite in the most reliable betting exchange while all other sportsbooks place him third. Who’s wrong, Betfair traders or traditional bookmakers? I vote for the latter.

 

Winning Party
Finally, did the debate harm the Republican party’s chance to win the election? You can bet it did just a bit.

Odds of Republicans winning the Presidential race drifted 0.10 points worldwide since Tuesday. Any bookmaker that had them priced at 2.10, is now offering 2.20 for the Republican win. BetVictor and StanJames offer 0.05 more, yet the price action doesn’t suggest a mind-blowing shift in momentum. Odds are still trading inside that well-defined channel, quietly moving sideways. Until handicappers push odds beyond either band, we will have to wait.

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