The country’s favourite pastime has been turned into an official debate during the 2016 US Election. For those who live in Las Vegas, the question is: does the bookie know what will happen before the match begins?
If you’re looking for odds, there are plenty of online betting sites where you can get them. But if you want to know the REAL odds, check out the numbers behind the numbers. Let’s take a closer look at the odds in the city that is always ahead of the curve…
The 2016 Presidential Election
It’s been an intriguing election season so far, with the odds changing constantly as polls fluctuate and debate topics shift. Some bookmakers even went so far as to change their odds on the final outcome of the election. (Yes, these are the same bookies that gave Bernie Sanders a 14-1 shot at winning the presidency in November. It’s the nature of the game.)
But perhaps the most interesting thing about this year’s election is the fact that it will be the first time in history that the country is choosing its next leader from the opposing political parties. (To be fair, there have been ‘unity tickets’ in the past, but this is the first time that a Democrat and a Republican will be running for the White House on the same ticket.)
The Odds in Vegas
It’s been an eventful year so far for sports bettors in Vegas, with the most prominent bookmaker, William Hill, updating their odds on the presidential election. (As a side note, William Hill is a great example of a UK business that has operated mainly in the U.S. for decades, and now has a large UK customer base as a result of the 2016 Brexit vote.)
On the day of the Democratic Party’s nominating convention in July, Hillary Clinton was a heavy favourite to win the presidency. But by the time the candidates made their closing arguments to the nation a week later, the odds had shifted to favour Donald Trump. (Again, these are the SAME odds that were offered by William Hill three weeks earlier. So much for the ‘chicken little’ effect…)
After the conventions in late July, Mrs. Clinton was the clear favourite to win until the end of the year. But then Bernie Sanders emerged as the unlikely challenger to her political dynasty, changing the course of this presidential election. (Just to be clear, there was no collusion between Sanders and Hill, who had him down as a long shot from the start.)
Since then, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders have been nipping at each other’s heels – and the oddsmakers have had to adjust their odds again and again as a result. One of the latest shifts saw Mrs. Clinton regain the upper hand and increase her odds from 2/1 to 5/4 – almost exactly where they were before Mr. Sanders’ entry into the race.
A Changing Of The Guard
While we’re on the subject of shifting odds and political dynasties, it’s worth noting that another major sporting event is due to take place this year that will see the passing of the torch – the 2017 Masters Tournament. (Yes, that’s right. The torches will be passed during the first round of the famous golf tournament. It’s tradition.)
The Masters is one of golf’s four major championships and it pits golf’s best players against each other in a battle for prestige and prizes. Last year’s tournament saw Tiger Woods beat his own record of nine successive wins by capturing his 11th green jacket. (Yes, that’s right. A record that stood for over 50 years. It was also the first time that Woods played in front of a partisan crowd.)
This year’s edition of the Masters will be held in Augusta, GA, the same state as the 2016 Republican convention. So it will be the last time that Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, and Sam Snead will be seen battling it out on the green in front of a gallery of adoring fans. It will also be the final Masters for longtime broadcaster Jack Whitaker, who has been with the show since its inception in 1934 and called all of Woods’ major victories. (As well as being a noted broadcaster, Mr. Whitaker is also an accomplished artist and has designed the art work that adorns the trophies presented at the end of the tournament.)
What About Brexit?
Another big sporting event to look out for this year is the UEFA Champions League final, which pits Liverpool against either Real Madrid or Juventus. (Yes, the Spanish giants will be playing in their home stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu, for the first time in a decade.)
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s return to that other major sporting event, the United States’ presidential election. As we’ve established, Mrs. Clinton was a 2/1 shot to beat Mr. Trump in the earliest odds that were published. But that was before the real race got under way, with Trump repeatedly outperforming expectations and shoring up support among non-traditional voters. (Let’s not forget that Trump’s political career was largely built on his success in business, and while some may question whether or not he’s the right person to lead the country, there’s no questioning his expertise. He’s the best candidate available to deal with our nation’s current crisis – which, let’s face facts, is a BIG crisis.)
Since then, the odds have shifted several times. But perhaps the most interesting shift came after Comey, the man behind the ‘bimbo e-mail’ scandal that dogged Mrs. Clinton’s campaign during the elections’ final stretch, was finally able to confirm what many suspected all along: that Clinton had, in fact, handled classified information improperly while serving as Secretary of State. (You may have heard that Comey is now under investigation himself, with many speculating that he may be forced to retire because of the controversy over his handling of the Clinton email investigation. We at OddsMatter, however, believe that the American people will come first, and that Comey will prove himself to be a faithful public servant and dedicated champion of truth and justice.)
On Election Day, Mr. Trump will face off against Mrs. Clinton in a couple of weeks. (Although the election technically wasn’t decided by voters, but by the Electoral College, which ultimately gives its votes to the person who wins the popular vote. So, in a way, the election was decided by the people. Just not in the way that you might think.)
With the odds now heavily in Trump’s favour, it’s time for punters in Vegas to take a deep breath and relax. After weeks of anxiety-inducing headlines and non-stop speculation, the country will finally get to take a long look at what Trump might actually bring to the presidency. And while it may not be what they signed up for, Democrats will have to learn to live with disappointment as they make way for the next generation of Trump supporters.