US Election Betting Odds Disagree With Polls Before Debate

Jim Makos

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 3:13 PM GMT

As Trump, Cruz, Rubio and other Republican nominees prepare themselves for tonight’s GOP debate, political betting markets are getting hot. How have the nominees’ odds moved so far?

 

As the Republican presidential debate will take place on Tuesday night, we take a closer look at the betting markets and Republican candidates’ odds. What’s interesting is that handicappers disagree with the poll results that were released recently. Don’t forget that political betting is quite popular among gamblers who are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

 

The Top Three Nominees
Everywhere you look, every website you visit, you will run into one name; Trump. The media attention that the real estate mogul and businessman enjoys is so huge, that someone might think he is the only Republican candidate. Not only is he competing head to head with other nominees, but he is actually one of the underdogs in online betting markets – admittedly not far off the top spots.
So, let’s start with the market’s favorite, Marco Rubio, posing as ‘the alternative to Trump’ according to the news reports!

 

Marco Rubio Betting Odds
The odds action presented on the left chart clearly shows the momentum that gradually built up since the odds were trading at 12.50, that eventually pushed odds down to 2.50! Granted, the odds chart may look a bit confusing to the novice handicapper. So, derived straight from the actual betting odds, the implied chance percentage is drawn in the chart on the right by the betting exchange itself (Betfair).

The betting markets, ‘aka’ the gamblers worldwide, implied a 10% win probability for Rubio at one point. Since then, they began betting heavily on Rubio, rocketing his odds to the whopping 40%, making him the undisputed favorite for the Republican race right before the debate.
Next up, no, it’s not Trump. Surprise surprise, Ted Cruz!

 

Ted Cruz Betting Odds
Cruz’s odds are following a similar pattern, plunging from 30-ish odds to 4.50! Most online sportsbooks currently show him in the second position of the Republican Nominee winner markets.

While that may not sound too impressive, just look at the chart on the right. After hitting a low at almost 1%, the implied chance of Cruz beating other Republican candidates comes down to 23% on Tuesday morning! Simply put, cappers believe he stands 1 in 4 chance to run for the Republican party.

 

Donald Trump Betting Odds
Apparently, the odds chart (left) is pretty much, useless; pointless to make any sort of analysis. As some risk-seeking cappers placed their presidential pick at odds as high as 300 (!), that made any subsequent odds’ decline look tiny. Thus, again we’ll be checking the chart of implied chance (right).

Trump’s chance is climbing, similar to previous charts. Market’s estimate for Trump to win is about 20% before the GOP debate, way below the poll results that place him on top. While the trend is also upwards, Trump is nowhere near the favorite the polls suggest, according to the betting markets. And let me repeat, that the odds charts are drawn as a consequence of thousands of people risking their hard-earned money on sportsbooks. Compared to the free-cost of a poll’s interview, I consider political betting markets much more efficient than polls.

Given the free nature of the gambling markets, news and important events tend to affect them big time. Tonight’s debate is such an event that can easily shift cappers’ tendencies and bring new players into the game. With the increased flux of cash expected into the markets during and after the debate, we anticipate odds to move over the next hours. Depending on how Trump, Cruz, Rubio and other nominees manage the debate, we might actually witness an even bigger unrest to the US Presidential election betting markets.
Just for reference, here’s Jeb Bush betting odds chart.

We’ll be discussing the aftermath that the debate will have on the betting markets on Wednesday.