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2020 US Presidential Betting Odds: Trump vs. Biden, How Do the Candidates Matchup?

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2020 US Presidential Betting Odds: Trump vs. Biden, How Do the Candidates Matchup?
This combination of file pictures shows Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe and US President Donald. (Photos by Robyn BECK and SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Sportsbooks take stock of Trump and Biden and continue to serve up the incumbent as the noteworthy favorite in 2020 US Elections betting.

Ever since Donald Trump’s presidential odds hit a new nadir at +110 odds (47.62% implied probability), briefly plunging at the height of New York’s coronavirus epidemic in late March, the incumbent hasn’t looked back. Rebounding less than a week later, Trump re-emerged as the betting favorite to win the general elections and is now – as America begins to go about the business of reopening the economy – padding his lead over presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden in 2020 US Elections betting markets.

Depending on your choice sportsbook, Trump is tipped anywhere between -110 to -142 to win the general elections in November, with the latter price tag available at Sportsbook Review. That hefty price tag implies a whopping 58.69% probability.

Where Trump is priced so advantageously, Biden consequently lags behind. Sportsbook Review prices Biden as the staggering +165 underdog (37.74% implied probability). What is the largest outsider price tag currently trading on Biden according to SBR’s odds board, which provides a convenient, at-a-glance look at all the odds from the best betting sites in the market.

Sportsbooks clearly aren’t endorsing Biden’s chances against Trump right now. Of course, that could change in the lead up to the general elections in November but it’s worth reminding that Joe Biden has yet to officially secure the Democratic nomination. Barring anything unforeseen confirmation should happen this summer once he passes the necessary delegate threshold.

US President Donald Trump gestures during a Keep America Great Rally at Kellogg Arena December 18, 2019, in Battle Creek, Michigan. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

Betting Odds and Opinion Polls at odds?

Under normal circumstances traditional electioneering activity would be ramping up at this point in time. The usual pomp and fare: predictable speeches, party platform pledges, catchy slogans bandied about, lots of fist-pumping rallies and balloon and confetti drops. Obviously, this isn’t the case of 2020, a year that will go down in the history of mankind as wholly unprecedented.

The coronavirus pandemic has had an extraordinary impact already, turning life as we knew it upside down and ripping to shreds any semblance of normalcy. The quiet but savage devastation of society, financial markets, and economy over the last few months is likely to have a long-lasting impact that will be revealed gradually and in time.

Although the full extent of the aftermath of the pandemic is yet unknown, some political pundits are lauding the November elections as a potential referendum on the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, hanging their hats on various opinion polls that show Biden is doing better than Trump.

Biden’s campaign suffered a setback by going to ground because of the coronavirus pandemic and it’s fair to say that the former vice president continues to struggle for visibility with voters. One may never know what might have happened otherwise, if Covid-19 didn’t come crashing in like a wrecking ball.

When Biden caught a wave of national momentum and rode it all the way to supplanting Bernie Sanders for the party’s nomination, he was indeed surging in polls and enjoying his highest satisfaction numbers among Democratic voters – from Feb 20 to March 6, Biden’s satisfaction numbers reached an eye-popping 61% with his party’s supporters. (Insider’s recurring national SurveyMonkey audience poll).

Monmouth University poll showed Biden had a negligible 48% to 45% edge over Trump in a national survey conducted in March. (A few other polls displayed bigger leads for Biden.) Separately, however, Monmouth concluded Biden also had a 50% to 41% edge over Trump in 300 counties across the country that proved to be closely contested regions in the last general elections.

A couple of months and few polls later, Biden’s approval amongst voters continues to lead Trump but the edge is evaporating at the same time, down to a couple of points. Ipsos/Reuters’ poll in early May showed Biden edged Trump 43% to 41% with registered voters, essentially making the US Elections more of a tossup for political betting picks. Moreover, it marked a drop in 7% for Biden since April 21, when a similar poll was conducted.        

At face value, Biden’s approval rating is on the decline, not unlike his odds to win the 2020 US Elections are at the time of writing. That this coincides with Trump’s plans to “transition America back to greatness” isn’t accidental. The very same Ipsos/Reuters poll addressed the issue of handling the country’s revival from coronavirus and the results were eyebrow-raising. Trump edged Biden 37% to 35%, earning more confidence among those polled to deal with the health crisis and lead the country on the road to recovery.

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

Debating the stock value of polls and betting odds

News coverage and polling is typically the go-to source of information that political bettors rely on when going about the selection process for their wagers. In 2016, news coverage was highly critical of Donald Trump and numerous polls (including exit polls) all pointed to Hillary Clinton as the popular choice. It’s fair to say, political betting odds fell in line with the mood of the media and polls, to the detriment of bookies.

It’s impossible to say how accurate the polls or the odds are this time around as Donald Trump vies for a second term in office. Moreover, polls and odds on Trump and Biden change daily (even hourly) based on perception, breaking news, and whatnot. It follows that the odds will continue to ebb and flow between the aforementioned candidates as November nears, and, crucially, as the perceived success (or failure) of the response to the coronavirus pandemic becomes clearer.