2020 Presidential Election Update (11/4): Currently, it looks like Joe Biden is in the driver’s seat to win the 2020 Presidential election, and he was the betting favorite to do so. You can still bet on Biden vs. Trump at the top political betting sites, and there are also odds available for several contested swing states. However, even after all the votes are in, you’ll still likely find a lot of betting lines for props having to do with election recounts, legal challenges, and more. This promises to be the most contested election in history.
Political betting odds are not solely available just for the major elections. Whenever any US politician for either the Republicans or Democrats (or any third party) runs for office, delivers a speech, participates in a debate, or attempts to pass a bill or mandate, oddsmakers waste no time posting a variety of betting odds surrounding these events. Odds also emerge for political outcomes such as government shutdowns and scandals and the like.
Betting on these kinds of events is growing tremendously in popularity, providing great opportunities for those who follow politics and want to have (even more) skin in the game. And while Presidential election cycles and midterms generally garner the most betting action, more and more online sportsbooks are starting to offer year-round odds, even in political “off-seasons.”
With things reaching a fever pitch as they did in anticipation of the 2020 Presidential election, the contentious primary season and various global issues permeating the mainstream media were perfect fodder for sportsbooks to ramp up their offerings. Below, you’ll find our recommended election betting sites, legal information on the political betting market, and a guide on how to wager on politics in the United States.
**Coronavirus Update: The Coronvirus pandemic most certainly affected the 2020 Presidential election in several different ways, including the political betting landscape. The odds fluctuated in response to how each candidate positionined themselves in regards to the situation, with President Trump’s odds for re-election changing dramatically.
There were also new betting odds surfacing relevant to COVID-19 and its reach into politics, which you can review with our page dedicated to covering the impact that the Coronavirus pandemic on the 2020 Presidential election.
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For online betting markets, 2020 election numbers are shaping up to be record-breaking, as it’s the most anticipated and crucial US election of all time. You can bet on 2020 election action at legal offshore sportsbooks, all of which have odds and lines on every aspect of the race, from election winners and political props to state odds, debate props, and more.
For those interested in learning how to bet on 2020 Presidential election odds and future elections, our brief guide explains the entire process quickly and succinctly – unlike the bloviating politicians you’re used to. Best of all, when you’re done, you’ll understand every betting line on Presidential elections and other aspects of political gambling, and you’ll be able to boost your bankroll before the next candidate takes office and raises your taxes.
Yes, it is, depending on where you place your bets. When it comes to how to bet on election results for the presidency, it’s actually very simple. The only real hurdle is that no US-based betting outlet – whether land-based or online – actually offers political odds of any kind. In fact, in most US states, it is expressly illegal for local sportsbooks to host political betting odds.
Thus, for those looking for election betting odds or lines for any other political race, legal online sportsbooks operating outside of the United States are a necessity.
Legal offshore sportsbooks offer Presidential betting odds and other election actions legally and safely because the federal government does not bar individuals from gambling with overseas operators. Only two US states place restrictions on internet betting, Connecticut, and Washington, though these restrictions remain unenforced as of this writing. The political betting sites we recommend have legitimate licenses, are regulated in their own home countries, and they accept US residents aged 18 and up.
Before you learn how to place a political bet on the 2020 Presidential election or any other political outcome, you will have to make sure you understand a few things.
First and foremost, you must sign up at a legitimate, trusted election betting site like those in the table above. After that, betting odds on election results will be available to you at the sportsbook of your choice. Still, before placing a wager, you need to make sure you know how to read the betting odds.
Finally, you should have a solid strategy in mind before you simply start betting all slick willy-nilly. For further information about the sportsbooks listed above visit our online sportsbook reviews page where we discuss each site in detail outlining the best and worst features of each USA accepted sportsbook.
As with elections, the point of betting is to win, and these are the ground rules for your ground game on the campaign trail. Follow our instructions and advice, and you’ll be polling at the top – and pulling in top dollar – in no time flat!
Before you can place a bet on Presidential election outcomes, you will have to sign up at a sportsbook that offers election odds. This is easy enough, and the process takes just a few minutes:
That’s all there is to it. However, please be aware that only crypto, credit cards, and debit cards will process instantly. If you wish to use any other deposit method, you must be prepared to wait between 2-5 days before your account will be credited with funds.
Also, you do not have to make a deposit when signing up (you can skip Step 4 above), but you won’t be able to bet on US elections until you do.
All Presidential election odds for 2020 (and every other race) are predicated on the American moneyline. The moneyline can be viewed as a wager’s “price tag,” and it allows you to see the exact risk-to-reward ratio for any wager on the books.
A negative moneyline indicates the favorite (or, in a list of futures, the lowest positive moneyline indicates the favorite). For pricing purposes, the negative number shows how much money you must wager in order to win $100.
The positive moneyline typically shows the underdog (or underdogs, in a futures bet), and the number indicates how much money you stand to win on a $100 bet.
Note: While the moneyline is based on $100, this does not represent a betting minimum. All the top US election betting sites accept wagers of as little as $0.50 to $1.00. Remember, the moneyline is a ratio to show you how much you stand to win on a given wager, and nothing more.
The above shows that Joe Biden has the best odds to win the White House. At -150, you’d have to wager $150 in order to win $100. Meanwhile, the Trump odds (+150) show that you will win $150 with a $100 wager should the incumbent be reelected.
There may be many more candidates beneath the main-party nominees, like Kanye West. Here, West is a +10000 dog, which means that a $100 wager would pay out a whopping 10 grand if West wins the election.
In this betting line, the Democrats are heavy favorites to win PA, and you’d have to pony up $220 to win $100. On the other hand, the GOP is a big underdog, and the payout is $240 for a $100 wager. Underdogs always payout better than favorites.
Here, you’re betting on the total number of times that all candidates will say the word “Russia” on the debate stage. If the word is uttered 10 times or more, the over bet wins, while if it’s said fewer than 10 times, the under bet wins.
The payouts are the same for both outcomes, showing that you must risk $110 to win $100. The difference is kept by the sportsbook as “juice” or “vig” (aka “vigorish”). This is how sportsbooks make most of their money.
There are many more kinds of wagers you’ll come across when browsing the betting odds on 2020 election results (see below), and the above hypotheticals simply illustrate how the moneyline works.
When you come across any 2020 Presidential election betting odds online (or any odds for upcoming elections in general), you will likely find a number of different wager types available. Most of these should be familiar to you if you’ve ever bet on sports, but for those new to Presidential election betting markets, the following wager types are going to be the most popular and prominent. All of them fall within the larger categories of futures and proposition bets.
Political futures are the most common kinds of odds you’ll see when you bet on Presidential election action, as these concern the outcomes of the races themselves. They’re called futures odds because they are wagers on events that will happen in the future, and you can put money on these lines several weeks, months, or even a year or more out from the elections themselves.
From candidate odds to win primaries and generals to VP selection odds and more, futures are where the big money is in political betting. These are very volatile, as well, as the events of any given day can crater a candidate’s odds or send them sky high like Air Force One.
Political prop bets, or election props, are wagers that deal with ancillary or tangential issues not related to actual election outcomes. Props run the gamut, with popular 2020 election betting odds featuring things like Trump tweets, geopolitical issues (i.e. “Which country will declare war on the US first?”), and so on.
Often, you’ll see fun Presidential props during the Super Bowl and other big sporting events. During the Trump presidency, a popular prop was whether or not a championship-winning team would accept an invitation to the White House.
While these are also political props, they tend to get a special section all their own at the best online election betting sites. Debate props are related to statements, statistics, and other minutiae that occur during primary debates and Presidential debates.
Will a given candidate wear a tie? How many times will the participants say a certain buzzword? Which candidate will get the most talking time? You can bet on these things and many more in most political debates.
State odds in political betting are technically futures, but they are related to state wins for a given candidate in a national election. Usually, you’ll get betting lines on which candidate a state will be award to via the electoral college as well as which candidate will win the popular vote (and by what margin). State odds are often available for primaries, but they’re always available for the November generals.
H2H matchups for candidates are prop bets that pit two candidates against one another among a wider field. They can also be betting lines related to the presumptive nominees when the races are narrowed down to two finalists. In 2020, Biden vs. Trump betting odds were the most popular head-to-head lines on the Internet.
All other political wagers fall under this category, which online sportsbooks often call “specials.” Election specials or political specials are not a hard and fast category, and different sportsbooks will have different kinds of wagers on the specials boards. Usually, this is where you’ll find the wackiest and off-the-wall odds in the election betting market.
When you wager on anything – whether sports, entertainment, or elections – the strategy you employ is critical. However, to bet on US Presidential election odds, your strategy will need to be far more nuanced, as there are infinitely more variables in play.
The following 2020 election betting tips and tricks can be applied to any election, but in these uncertain and unprecedented times, they are all the more important.
Polling is notoriously untrustworthy, but it’s still valuable when assessing whether or not a candidate is likely to win. However, polls are often oversampled or undersampled, and they can be used in this way to drive a narrative rather than showing you a true reflection of the electorate’s opinions. Make sure you look into each poll’s methodologies and sampling data and always take the results with a big grain of salt.
Obviously, if you’re going to put money on 2020 election betting odds – or any other political lines – you’ll need to follow the news. That’s a bummer, we know, but if you want to maximize your chances to win, you’ll have to bite the bullet.
Isolated events that happen in the US can often reverberate nationwide and cause election upheaval, as was the case with the 2020 George Floyd killing and summary protests and riots that spread like wildfire throughout the country. The coronavirus also had a tremendous impact on the election odds boards.
Many news sites don’t allow comments, but on those that do, you should always read them. Outside of social media, there is perhaps no better way to gauge the opinions of the electorate than reading comment sections online.
In the 2016 Presidential election, one of the biggest signs of strength for Donald Trump was his overwhelming support in the comment sections of many prominent news outlets on both sides of the aisle.
Social media is a mire, but for politicians, it’s heaven. In the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections, Barack Obama won in large part due to his embracing of Facebook to get his platform’s message out. Trump trumped that in 2016 when he singlehandedly turned Twitter into a free platform for his own messaging, using the service to stunning effect. Be sure to analyze the volumes of responses to politicians’ comments and posts to get an idea of the support surrounding any candidate or hot-button issue.
When it comes to betting odds, 2020 election action – as aberrant and unprecedented as it is – should still be measured against similar movements and periods of history that came before. Incumbents are notoriously difficult to defeat, as only five US Presidents in the last 100 years have been voted out of office in their reelection campaigns.
One of the primary indicators for which party wins a Presidential election is actually the balance of power on Congress. Using these metrics, several political scientists correctly predicted the outcome of the 2016 Presidential race.
There is very rarely a Presidential election where the winning executive party completes a government trifecta. That is, whichever party controls the House and/or Senate by the widest margin often has inverse luck in executive races. Political elections are measurably cyclical with a high degree of statistical certainty.
The electoral college might seem like an antiquated construct, but it exists to keep individual big cities – or small cabals thereof – from dictating national elections. With a pure popular vote, the biggest cities would foist their politics on the rest of the country. Thus, the Founders established the electoral college.
In 2016, Trump won the electoral college handily while losing the popular vote by millions of ballots. Every election is largely decided by a dozen or so “swing states” or “purple” states. You should focus your research on these, do the math, and cash in on your US election 2020 betting accordingly.
When betting on the any Presidential election, it is more important than ever to bet with your head and not your political ideals. You are wagering money on whom/what you think will win, not whom/what you want to win.
It might be tempting to go all-in, but there are no sure things in political betting. Bankroll management is crucial for any successful bettor, so never risk more than you can afford to lose. This is the biggest and most important rule in all of betting, period.
It’s 2020, and that doesn’t just mean there’s a huge election outcome on the horizon – It also means that people are firmly entrenched in the mobile revolution. As a result, all the top election oddsmakers offer their lines in mobile-friendly formats through web apps.
While there aren’t traditional iPhone apps or Android apps for these sites on the App Store or in Google Play, outlets like Bovada, BetOnline, and MyBookie all have a smartphone- and tablet-optimized mobile portals, allowing you to quickly wager on politics, no matter where you are. Mobile betting also has the benefit of not being geofenced, so you can bet from anywhere in the US!
Live betting is hugely popular in the sports betting marketplace, but there isn’t much call for it in the election realm. While you may find some “in-game” betting on election night in November as state-by-state results come pouring in over the airwaves, most books are unlikely to offer these. However, as more bettors turn to political wagering, that could change in the future, with sportsbooks developing algorithms to adjust betting odds on the fly.
Shopping lines is an important strategy for all bettors, whether you’re new to the pastime or an old veteran. Most pros and regular gamblers agree that line shopping – or looking at odds for similar bets across multiple sites – is the best, the easiest edge you can get when betting on politics.
If one book has the incumbent at -145 odds to win while another has him or her at -115 odds, you’d be silly to take the former and leave all that money on the table. By joining multiple trusted betting sites, you can easily and quickly shop lines to maximize your potential winnings.
At all the top election betting outlets, you will find a mix of the following political lines and odds. Of course, many of these won’t be available all the time, as their inclusion depends on the types of elections on hand and the political calendar and news cycle in question.
You can wager on politics pretty much all year long, but the best time to place your bets depends on what type of bet you’re placing. If you’re interested in futures bets on the winner of the Presidential election, for example, you’ll want to get those picks in early, because the odds are going to be better for the candidate of your choice the further out from the election they are. Generally speaking, the earlier you bet, the more you stand to make. Once candidates get narrowed down, odds shrink, and payouts are less robust. For things like debates, of course, you’ll only be able to wager in the last day or two before the event, so that’s the time to pull the lever.
The biggest difference between sports betting and political betting is that the majority of political odds (excluding election futures) are available for only a couple days before a given event or deadline. This means that a flood of action can heavily influence the price of a line at any moment, shifting it enormously. Odds on sports level out after the opening line, but political lines can swing at any moment, and swing big! Otherwise, structurally, these types of markets mirror each other fairly closely.
Political odds can be found all year long, but the kinds of odds you’ll come across change depending on the proximity of debates, elections, news conferences, trials, and the like. Odds for a particular event will usually be posted just a day or two out from that event, with the exception of elections futures. For example, Super Tuesday betting odds are only posted once the field of candidates is more or less finalized and the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries have established a pecking order.
Local domestic books don’t offer political betting, and most of them don’t even offer standard entertainment betting on things like reality shows, awards shows, and similar fare. There isn’t really any law stopping them from posting these lines, but Vegas tradition – and a desire on behalf of domestic books to stay in politicians’ good graces – typically means that you’re only going to find legal election odds at international betting sites.
If you do so at one of our recommended operators, absolutely! All the top betting sites in the international market use cutting-edge encryption standards (SSL, TLS), have strict policies against selling or sharing user data with third parties, accept Bitcoin, and other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, and employ end-to-end encryption. That said, in order to maximize your safety, you’ll want to keep your computer or smartphone/tablet up to date with all security patches and major releases.
This is strictly personal, but we believe it is. Politics themselves are unequivocally unethical, but putting a little bit of extra cash in your pocket betting on circus clowns isn’t hurting anyone. Heck, with taxes being what they are, you might even be doing you and yours a definite service! Of course, if you suffer with gambling addiction or wager more than you can afford to lose, politics or not, you need to reassess your priorities and seek the necessary help. Remember: If you’re not a professional, betting on politics is strictly for entertainment.
Not directly. That said, there is no question that politicians’ campaigns pay attention to betting lines as much as they listen to polls, as odds boards are reflective of Americans putting their money where their mouths are and making picks they believe in. Some might even argue that betting lines are more apt and informational than most polls, but the jury’s still out on that.
Most of the time, yes, because polling affects bettors’ picks (and possibly vice versa). But interestingly, you’ll find that betting lines and political polls sometimes don’t resemble one another to the same degree. For example, in 2016, most polls had Hillary Clinton easily defeating Donald Trump. But at betting sites, odds were much closer to even, indicating that bettors exhibit some degree of independence from the national narrative.
Again, yes and no. It really just depends. As gambling enthusiasts, we tend to believe that odds are at least as effective as polls at predicting election outcomes, but there are simply so many variables that it’s impossible to quantify exactly how valuable they are. As with the above example, in 2016, bettors had the race closer than pollsters did, but they still favored Clinton to win. Of course, she ended up losing bigly.
Because elections and politics are such fickle institutions that hang on the day-to-day shifts in public perception and mainstream trends, sportsbooks do not have the empirical data to draw from that they do for other more traditional sports like football or basketball. As a result – and because election odds can shift on a dime – these books install relatively low betting limits for political wagers. Usually, you’ll find election betting limits of between $500 and $1000, though these may increase in the future as the market grows in maturity.
Additional Political Betting Resources