Twice as many bettors are backing Trump, despite projected Biden victory

Kristin Myers
·3-min read

According to British betting firm Smarkets, twice as many bettors are backing President Trump to win on Tuesday, despite odds that say that his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden will clinch the general election.

The Smarkets betting market has ballooned to $14.7 million, with Biden favored to win at nearly 66%. Trump’s odds currently sit just over 33%.

But how could twice as many bettors back Trump, and Biden still be favored to win with nearly two-thirds odds?

“The people who are backing Biden are putting down twice as much money on a Biden victory than those who are supporting Trump,” said Smarkets Head of Political Markets, Sarbjit Bakhshi.

“And that's keeping the prices as they are and keeping them static, which is Biden at 66% to Donald Trump's 33% to win the presidency in 2020.”

The disparity shows that Biden backers are more confident in his victory, Bakhshi explained.

Despite dropping 1% in odds, Bakhshi says with more than 65%, Biden is still clearly favored as winner of Tuesday’s general election.

“In normal times, people wouldn't be twice as confident in the other side on this kind of market,” Bakhshki said.

“But here, there's a real mixture of people who are trading here, maybe people who are putting their first trades down, maybe people who don't really follow politics very much, maybe people who just like Trump who want to put some money, show their support, and hopefully have a successful outcome come November 3, November 4.”

A voter arrives to drop off his ballot during early voting in Allentown, Pennsylvania on October 29, 2020. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
A voter arrives to drop off his ballot during early voting in Allentown, Pennsylvania on October 29, 2020. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Rust Belt states

Biden’s path to victory will rest in a few key swing states. The former vice president, according to the betting market, is set to take Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, while Texas and Florida are projecting a Trump victory.

“But more interestingly, I think, than all of those, is that Rust Belt,” Bakhshi said.

“The Rust Belt [states] are so important for Joe Biden — Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. If Joe Biden can when those three states, Florida becomes irrelevant. It doesn't matter which way Florida goes. Joe Biden will win the presidency.”

Biden is favored to win according to polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight, with polls in many swing states pointing to a Biden victory. But the betting market doesn’t necessarily agree with polls: In Florida, where polls give Biden a 2 point lead, 53% of bettors are backing Trump. Texas however, will likely stay red, according to both bettors and polls.

According to the US Elections Project, more than 85 million voters have already cast their ballots, signaling that this year’s elections will have the highest voter turnout on record.

This enthusiasm is reflecting in the betting market as well. While nearly $15 million has already poured into the Smarkets betting market, Bakhshi projects it will see a large increase in the run-up to Tuesday’s election.

“I'd expect there to be almost double this amount by election night,” Bakhshi said. “I expect people all to be getting out their phones, getting out their website, the Smarkets website, and putting down money on this, and trading this right up to the final pips.”

“We're trying to hold our markets just when polling closes in each state. But with, you know, we talked about 50% early voter registration already going in, you know, come the times that the polls open, this might already be all over for one of the candidates.”

Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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