What do the numbers say about the 2020 presidential election? You’d have to have a pretty good intuition for politics to know which way the trend lines are going to tip. After all, this is a constantly evolving race, and the numbers can be fickle. What if I were to tell you that there is a way to figure out how the electoral votes are going to shake out before Sunday night even ends? Believe it or not, there is a system for doing precisely that, and it revolves around a simple question: What are the presidential betting odds? Let’s dive in.
What Are The Presidential Betting Odds?
If you’ve ever placed a bet on sports, then you’re probably familiar with the concept of betting odds. When you place a wager on a sports game, you are essentially placing a bet on the outcome of the game. There is typically a line itemized on the betting slip for the payout if your team wins and another for the payout if your opponent wins. To keep things simple, we’ll only consider wagers made on sports books that cater to all sports but ignore the spread. (The spread is the difference in the point spreads of two competing teams in a game. For example, the spread on the New England Patriots vs. the Cincinnati Bengals this year is -3½ points.) To give you an idea of how sports betting odds work, let’s look at an example of an underlay betting slip for a New England Patriots –> Cincinnati Bengals football game.
- The Patriots are a sportsbook’s favorite (they’re represented by the orange checkerboard on this betting slip) at +500 odds to win (win bets are shown on the left side of the betting slip, while lose bets are on the right)
- The Cincinnati Bengals are the opposite, represented by the green checker board on this betting slip, at -550 odds to win (win bets are shown on the right side of the betting slip, while lose bets are on the left)
- The over under is 7½ and the under is 7, so there is plenty of action on both sides of the NFL rivalry
How Do I Calculate The Presidential Betting Odds?
Now that you’re familar with the basics of sports betting, let’s take a look at how to calculate the odds for the big games. The first step is to find a line that suits your needs. If you want to bet on presidential election, then you’ll want to visit a sportsbook that offers odds on the major candidates. Some places only offer odds on the incumbent (Trump), some on the newcomer (Cenk Uygur), and some on both. It really depends on the sportsbook you visit. If you want to know precisely what odds a book makes available on the 2020 presidential election, then you should look into their guidelines for requesting them. Once you’ve found the right line, you’ll want to look into what props (or what have you been offered) are available for the game. Props are essentially supplements to the basic game that allow you to bet on a variety of different outcomes. For example, there might be a bet for the winning touchdown, the winning margin of victory, and whether or not there will be a tie. Some sportsbooks only offer a few props for a game, while others might have dozens. It all depends on how confident they are in the game’s outcome. Once you’ve found the right line, looked into what props are available, and decided what you’ll wager on, it’s time to calculate the odds. (If you want to learn how to bet on sports, then check out this comprehensive guide to sports betting with the pros.)
There are a few different ways to calculate the odds for an NFL game. The first is a basic Pythagorean theorem involving 2 × 2 matrices. The second is to use a combination of Vegas odds and over/under bets (sometimes called a vigorish system). The third and most popular method is to use a computer program like MyBookie. MyBookie is the most popular and trusted name in sports betting, and for good reason. They’ve been around for years and are a part of the Bovada group. Like many other sportsbooks, MyBookie offers a simple calculator that can be accessed from their homepage. (If you want to learn more, then you can read this comprehensive guide to sports betting calculations.)
What Do The Numbers Say About The 2020 Election?
It’s important to keep in mind that these are only early odds and can vary based on a number of factors. However, if we look at the current numbers, then they give a good indication of where things stand right now. A quick glance at the 2020 betting odds shows that the incumbent (Trump) is a slight favorite over his opponent (Sanders), with the spread at about -1.5 points. (In a nutshell, the spread is the point difference between the two teams in the form of both a number and a percentage. For example, the Chicago Bears are favored over the New York Giants at 3.5 points, while the spread for the game is 5 points. If the Bears win by exactly 3 points, then you’ll earn 5 × 3 = 15 dollars. Of course, there are many variations to this system that allow you to adjust your wager based on whether or not you think the underdog will cover the spread, among other things.) If you’re curious, then here is a comprehensive guide to the 2020 election, including the presidential candidates’ biographies, campaign ads, voting history, and more. Some of the more prominent statistics that can be found on these websites include the following:
- Net approval – Approve minus disapprove
- Polls average – An average of all recent polls taken of likely voters in the state
- Pct. of Approve – How many people in the state think that Trump has done a good job as President so far?
- Vegetarian diets – How many people in the state follow a vegetarian diet? (This is an animal rights group, NOT a diet-related group!)
- Gun rights – How many people in the state believe that the 2nd Amendment gives people the right to bear arms? (For those of you who are unaware, the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution basically gives people the right to bear arms. It also establishes the rights of people to hunt, fish, and grow their own crops.)
- Global Warming – How many people in the state believe that global warming is a serious problem? (This is a frequently asked question. A 2016 NOAA survey revealed that only 19% of the American public thinks that global warming is a serious problem, while 28% think it’s a minor problem and 33% think it’s not even a problem at all. These statistics were collected before the rise of COVID-19, so things may have changed since then.)
- Churchgoing – How many people in the state attend church services on a regular basis?
- Black unemployment – How many people in the state are unemployed, but of African American descent?