Election Betting 2020

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Election Betting 2020
Photos by Robyn BECK and SAUL LOEB / AFP

While everyone is thinking about how not to catch COVID19 and what to do while they are in quartine the US election is creeping up on us. Soon the Republican and Democratic conventions will take place and we will know for sure who Trump will face this time around. It looks like he will be facing Biden, why political parties insist on nominating candidates that are over 70 during a global pandemic, one will never know.

The Case for Biden

Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP

Joe Biden is no Bernie Sanders and that is why he has a chance. Biden has a lot of moderate proposals that are much less radical than Sanders. Biden also has a broad appeal and doesn’t make any one segment of the population angry. He also is not afraid to speak off the cuff. As bad as it comes off sometimes, it was a good tactic for Donald Trump and we can expect the debates to be raw and full of some nice back and forth. All of the democratic candidates have endorsed Biden, maybe reluctantly and with the hope of getting the vice-presidential spot. The anti-Trump train is strong with the democrats and they do not want a repeat of the last election so the factor of any third party or independent candidate is not going to be there. There is a trick up Biden’s sleave and that is who he nominates as Vice President. If he chooses a woman, Elizbeth Warren, or a black woman, Kamala Harris then that would be a real threat to Trump.

The Case for Trump

Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP

Before COVID19, everything was going great for Trump. The economy was booming, unemployment at all-time lows, he was able to prevent a nuclear war with North Korea but almost started one with Iran. Corona is a perfect excuse for why the economy is doing bad and during these times people get behind a strong authoritarian leader, Trump has that characteristic. We might have seen the worst of COVID19 or will see the worst soon, and since things are likely going to be better before November, the whole crisis is playing right into Trump’s big hands. The recent “inject bleach” incident might have sealed the deal because it is a real medical treatment and the military might start using a version of it. This could come back to haunt Democrats. Who is giving out the Corona money and stimulus to companies? Trump and he gets to take credit for any and everything that gets better. It is really hard to run against someone that can start giving away free “stimulus” money during the election.

When to Bet? Buy Low, Sell High

Getting the best odds is not only about shopping at the best sportsbooks but has a lot to do with timing. With election betting, there are a few things to keep in mind. The media overreacts, it might seem like one candidate has no chance to win anymore according to the media but that sentiment will go away typically in 24-48 hours and then it could be the other candidate that has no chance anymore. The volatility of the media overreacting will only increase the closer we are to the election. This means the frequency of overdramatic media cycles will increase and their effect on the betting market will also increase the closer we get to the election date.

A simple rule of thumb of “buy low sell high” can be implemented. Just do the exact opposite of what the media is currently pushing. Is the media pushing that Trump will be impeached again? If the political odds have moved against Trump then have a bet on Trump. Is there a new scandal about Biden kissing underage girls? Did the odds move against Biden? Have a bet on Biden. Look for extreme overreactions of the media to fuel the betting markets. You can easily catch bets on both sides of this election by trading it.

Tools

There are a few tools that you can use to see if there is a divergence between polls, prediction markets, and google searches. The Gallup polls are some of the most well known political polls and most news outlets quote them. This is going to give you a general idea of who a lot of people think is going to win or their opinion on some key issues. Before the last election, it was a pretty accurate way to predict what was going to happen but Trump showed that they were not very accurate in the last election. It is still good to have these polls in mind.

Predictit is a prediction market where you buy shares in a candidate that you think is going to win. In general, a different type of person uses that site then takes part in gallop polls or bets at sportsbooks. Most people using predictit are knowledgeable, so have a look if they are pricing something different than what the sportsbooks are offering. Google Trends gives you insight into what people are searching for. You can also type in search phrases and compare them. You can see if there is a new hot topic that is going to explode soon.

Trump Insurance

In general, Trump makes a lot of people butthurt. Most of these people would be very very butthurt if he wins again. One solution to make people feel less pain in their butt is to simply bet on Trump to win. Yes, that is right, bet ON Trump to win if you do not want him to win! This is your “Trump Insurance”. If Trump loses, you are happy because he lost, if Trump wins you cash in your bet, in both cases you win and your politics are hedged.

Conclusion

This is going to be a historic election that is going to take place in the wake of a global pandemic and highly volatile economic conditions. Politics are often emotional. Where there is emotion involved there is money to be made because humans tend to make irrational bets and it is up to you to keep a cool head and not bet according to who you want to win, but to make the best value bet that is offered at any given time. If you had to force me to make a bet today, I would have to say that Trump is going to win again. It is really hard to beat someone that is writing giving away money in the form of stimulus checks and tax breaks.

If you would like to talk more about politics and discuss 2020 Elections odds with other bettors we invite you to check out SBR’s Politics Betting Forum.