Are Betting Odds the Best Way to Predict the 2020 Election?

October 21, 2020

The 2020 Presidential election is just a couple of weeks away. That means that your television is a source of constant negative advertising from all ends of the political spectrum. More importantly, it means that it is time to use knowledge of 2020 election betting odds to better understand who might win the election. 

Betting on the election

As of now, legal sportsbooks are not able to offer action on 2020 election betting odds or other political props. That might change in the future, but the legal sports betting markets across the United States have not yet reached that point. However, there is still a way to make money predicting the 2020 election.

DraftKings Presidential Election $100K Prize Pool


DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a free to enter pool with $100,000 in prizes up for grabs. Players can give their predictions on who will win the election and which candidate will win key battleground states. While bettors cannot wager on these items, they can still enjoy the action of waiting to see if their selections will net them some cash in this unique contest.

Betting odds compared to polls

As it turns out, betting odds are a better indicator of election results than the polls that are done prior to elections. While there is no 2020 election betting available in the United States’ regulated markets, international bookmakers (example Unibet and Bet365) do offer odds in other parts of the world. Compared to the projections of polls, these betting odds tend to be more predictive in figuring out who the next president will be.

The reason for this is the fact that most polling is flawed to an extent. Polls are only required to get the opinions of a limited number of participants to form what is determined to be a representative sample size of a community or country. Given the extremely wide range of political views in the United States today, what was once considered a representative sample size might not be enough to capture the opinions in the country anymore.

Also aiding the argument that betting odds are better indicators of election results than polling is the fact that polling data is collected in a flawed way in most cases. Some polls are still using landline telephones to collect data, if you can believe that. With how diverse our ways of consuming information are today, polls that rely on one method of data collection might as well not exist.

What makes betting odds better?

Now that we have talked about what makes polling flawed at times, it is worth asking why betting odds are a good indicator of election results. The reason for this is that they are able to factor in a number of items that simple polling of voters cannot. Or, at least, those items are factored in in a more intelligent way than the average voter who does not work with data for a living the way bookmakers do.

Bookmakers are able to weigh polling results with things like historical voting trends in each state. Combined with the perception of everything going on in the current political climate today, bookmakers are able to provide a more comprehensive picture of everything that goes into winning an election. So, while your relatives might cite a poll when telling you who they think will get elected, you might want to counter with some 2020 election betting odds that point to your candidate of choice coming through at the polls.

This year, betting odds point to Joe Biden as the favorite to win the 2020 election over Donald Trump. But Trump was an underdog in 2016 as well, and there is no telling which direction this election will go in with factors like COVID-19 and the potential for contested election results being hot topics leading into November of 2020.


Who is going to win the 2020 election?

At this point, nobody can say for sure which candidate is going to win the 2020 election. Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump appeal to different groups of voters. As is the norm, the election will come down to the electoral votes in a select group of key states, as states like Florida and Ohio do not always vote for one political party over the other.

Who is the favorite to win the 2020 election?

As of now, 2020 election betting odds point toward Joe Biden as the favorite to win the presidency. Biden is anywhere from -170 to -200 to be elected, depending on which international bookmaker you look at. But, it should be noted that the favorite to win the election does not always come out on top. This is still anyone’s race.

Will election betting be legal in the future?

There has been plenty of advocacy for making politics betting a part of the legal sports betting landscape in the future. With so many states just getting started with legal sports gambling, it is no surprise that this hasn’t been ironed out yet. But the popularity of following American politics makes the future legalization of this type of betting seem like a no-brainer by the 2024 election.

Jay Sanin
Jay Sanin is a sports writer and broadcaster from Albany, NY. He has covered sports betting and the gambling industry since 2013.