I wanted to build on stories from two of my colleagues earlier today by taking a long look at something that has been near and dear to my heart for 40+ years — the world of legal (and maybe no-so-legal) gambling.
Many readers may not realize that while betting on the outcome of the US Presidential election is not allowed in the United State, it is an active gambling proposition overseas and at “Off-shore” betting sites who take bets from US players. And, as was touched on by Nick Arama in this story, the betting markets have moved significantly in Pres. Trump’s favor for the past two weeks.
Earlier today my colleague Brandon Morse reported on what appears to be active efforts to suppress new polling which likely shows the same move in Pres. Trump’s favor.
Before we take a look at the betting markets and the movements over the past few weeks, let me first explain to the uninitiated what it is you’re going to be looking at.
“Proposition” bets are “binary” — the outcome will be either “A” or “B”.
The “number” in a proposition bet reflects the “value” put on each side of the bet — on either “A” happening or “B” happening – as determined by the amount of money that has been bet on the two sides. The purpose of the “number” is to attract more action to the side that has “less” money bet on it.
The “number” on each side of the proposition moves up and down according to the amount of “action” being taken on each side.
The “Favorite” is reflected as a “negative” value, and reflects the amount of money you would need to wager in order to win $100. So, “-140” means you would have to bet $140 in order to win $100.
The “Underdog” is reflected as a “positive” number. That number reflects what you will be paid if you bet $100 on the underdog. So if you see “+120”, that means you will win $120 for every $100 you bet on an underdog that wins.
The Presidential race has values for Trump and Biden in the same way as if the NY Jets were playing the NE Patriots. The numbers shift daily depending on the betting that takes place. When more money is bet on one candidate than the other candidate in a given day or week, the number “moves” — the “+” value for the underdog changes and the “-” value for the favorite changes.
By tracking the change in the “+” and “-” numbers over time, you can see the trend line established by the bettors — who they think will win, and whether each candidates’ chances are improving or declining as we move closer to the election.
As noted in Nick’s story, the betting line on the Presidential race has moved significantly in favor of Pres. Trump. But to understand just how significantly, you have to look at how the “number” for both Trump and Biden has moved over increments of time: weeks and days.
Three weeks ago, a bettor would have needed to bet $152 in order to win $100 if you thought Biden was going to win.
But if a bettor wanted to bet on Trump, a $100 bet would return that bettor $130 if Trump wins.
This is a decent move against Biden and in favor of Trump. A bet to win $100 on Biden now only costs 129 — down $13 in one week. And the “profit” margin on a bet on Trump dropped by $10.
What happened? Among other things, Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate on Aug. 11.
The Democrat Telethon was held Aug. 17-20. So these number was as of the Friday after the convention — the day after Biden’s speech.
The events of the convention did nothing to improve Biden’s standing with bettors — in fact bettors thought his chances of winning dropped just a bit after the convention.
Did you hear that from the press?
This is last Friday, the day after Trump’s acceptance speech. That is a cratering of support. While Biden is still nominally the “favorite”, these numbers don’t track just what happened since the previous week — the numbers track where the race stands overall in terms of money bet. Three weeks ago there was a sizeable imbalance on the betting in favor of Biden. The generous +130 on Trump was to attract more betting to his side, and the very unfavorable -152 on Biden was to slow the betting on his side. Well, it worked — the number started coming down, and now it has crashed in a hurry. Trump is now close to “even money” at +106. That is a huge move compared to where he was three weeks ago.
But the site I’m getting these numbers for (UK), has the daily number as well. Here is the number as of today:
That is a dead heat. The bulk of the recent betting — since Harris was named — has been coming in heavily on Trump. He went from +130 to -108, a $38 dollar swing towards being a “favorite”. This is all money that says “Trump will win,” and has come pouring in over the last 3 weeks and 3 days.
This is undoubtedly showing up in polling as well, which supports Brandon’s story that the pollsters are suppressing their most recent results in order to keep up the impression that Biden is ahead — at least until the narrative around the rioting starts to change.
Another market measure is the stock market. The Dow Jones Average was at 26,313 on July 30. Today it closed at 28,430.
There is no question but that the market would collapse with a coming Biden win. The expectation of increased taxation, regulation, etc., that would come with a Democrat Presidency would absolutely tank the market. Yet the market climbed steadily through the month of August, with a very slight decline the week of the DNC Telethon, and a huge rally the week of the RNC Convention.
The press will continue to play up Biden’s chances in hopes that some event will change the trajectory of the race.
But absent that, Trump has gone past Biden riding fireworks over the Potomac, while Joe looks out the window of his basement and an empty driveway.