Sportsbooks take bets on American election

When the United States Supreme Court ruled that online casinos with no deposit bonus codes and sports betting could be legalized by states, it’s likely that the justices didn’t look ahead to how that would impact on politics. But now, two and a half years later, sportsbooks in states where sports betting has been legalized are offering punters the opportunity to place bets on the upcoming 2020 Election.

News reports about the polls change daily and gambling aficionados, amateur political analysts and just about anyone who’s looking for a way to get in on this roller coaster of an election year is checking out how to make some bucks off of this year’s American voting extravaganza. After all, someone might as well walk away happy. 

Pre-Election Prep

If you want to place a bet on the election, chances are that you’re looking at placing a bet on one of the two front runners. Your bet may be driven by enthusiasm – betting on the candidate that you want to win (in the same way that many people bet on their home teams in order to support their preferred team, regardless of whether or not the stats indicate that that team has the best odds of winning) is favored by many punters. However, if you’re a savvy gambler you are most certainly checking out the odds, experts’ predictions, trends and, of course, the latest news.

Regardless of whether you want to play it safe by relying on trusted sources or you’re interested in trying some out-of-the-box moves by trying to call upsets and follow trends, it’s important to read as much as possible about the candidates, the debates, observers’ and analysts’ views, swing state data and more before you place your vote. 


Whatever your betting strategy, you need to understand how to read the odds for a presidential election. There are two basic betting types: moneyline and futures.

  • Moneyline -- A moneyline bet deals with two possible outcomes. For instance,  “who will win the 2020 presidential election? Trump or Biden?” Moneyline odds set specific payouts for either side. The most likely to happen (favorite) is expressed as a negative number, i.e. –150. You must bet $150 on the -150 candidate in order to win $100. The less likely to happen (underdog) option has positive moneyline odds, i.e. +125. That means that for every $100 you stake, you’ll earn $125.

  • Futures -- Most political bets are in the “futures” category. These involve bets that will be determined on a specific date in the future. You’ll often see such bets before primaries where you have multiple options, and not in the presidential election where there are, basically, only two candidates running.  


Handicapping politics is done though gossip and rumors. Obviously, this isn’t always true – remember Donald Trump and yellow rain? Or the Access Hollywood tapes? Those were pretty bad scandals and he still won. But in general, scandals can impact heavily on a candidate’s chances of winning (Gary Hart and the Monkey Business ring a bell?).

It’s also a good idea to review the candidates’ leadership, direction and management and governance style.  Again, Trump is the exception to the rule….his core group of supporters seem uninterested in any of this, despite ample evidence that his style is quite unconventional.

But in general, when handicapping your bets, you should be reviewing how the candidate has led in the past. Has s/he been respected in past positions of leadership? Does s/he draw the attention of a crowd when speaking? What legislation has the candidate been successful in promoting, passing, preventing?

Many people will not vote for someone who is not in good health.  In the 2016 election, rumors of Hilary Clinton’s bout of pneumonia kept many voters from voting for her, even though she recovered quickly and the illness didn’t seem to affect her long-term in any way. Voters don’t want to choose someone who seems weak so if a candidate shows signs of illnesses, it’s probably a good idea to assume that his/her odds of winning have dropped.

State by State

If you’re going to do your homework before placing your bet, you need to do a state by state analysis of the election. The election isn’t decided by the popular vote in America – the candidate who received the most votes. There’s an electoral college and each state sends a different number of delegates to the electoral college, based on which candidate won in that state. So, for instance, if New York goes Democrat, all of New York’s 34 electoral votes will be cast for Biden. The candidate who wins the electoral college vote wins the presidency.

So, in this coming election, it will be worth knowing that in Virginia’s last local elections, the Republicans received a thrashing, meaning that the Democrats will probably hold the state. And Colorado’s growing Hispanic population will probably give that state to the Democrats as well.

Ohio, which is a swing state, has seen a Republican shift in the mid-term elections including the election of Mike Dewine, a Republican, which may bode well for the Republicans there.  A big shocker could come in Michigan, another swing state.  Trump took  Michigan in 2016 but this time around, things may be quite different. Michigan has seen a large voter registration/turnout initiative which is good news for Democrats.

In addition, Trump’s 2016 victory, which was made possible by a tiny margin (11,000 votes), occurred thanks to third party challenges which aren’t an issue this time around. The mid-terms saw the Democrats take Michigan’s local governorship and legislature.

Prop Bets

There are plenty of proposition bets, especially in the 2020 election. What makes this election so interesting is that there are massive updates, changes, events and surprises that seem  to pop up every single day. In almost no other election in history have there been so many major upheavals in the months, weeks and days leading up to the election.

It’s certain that the prop bets will change as events change. Some of the prop bets that have been coming up on the sportsbooks over the last few weeks include:

  1. Will the Senate confirm SCOTUS Nominee Amy Barrett Coney before the November election?
  2. If Donald Trump loses the election, will he contest the results?
  3. Will a vaccine against COVID-19 appear before the election?
  4. Will Trump start a TV network if he loses the election?
  5. How will the swing states (Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan) vote?
  6. Who will win the remaining presidential debates?
  7. Will any scandals be revealed about one or the other of the candidates? If so, which one? Will it impact on the election?
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