clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The 2020 Election betting markets: Polls favor Biden, bettors favor Trump

As Election Day voters are hitting the polls, the betting numbers are staying the same for the 2020 Presidential Election.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden arrives to speak at a campaign stop at Community College of Beaver County on November 02, 2020 in Monaca, Pennsylvania. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As the polls open across America, not much has changed in the markets betting on who will be the next President of the United States. While the pollsters have Joe Biden as a clear favorite to succeed Donald Trump, bettors remain much more skeptical.

For bettors, the math remains pretty simple: If you think the polls are correct (or even if they’re leaning a bit too much towards the Democratic party), you should put your money on Joe Biden to win the Presidency.

If you think the polls are just wrong for whatever reason, there’s no better value anywhere than betting on Donald Trump to receive a second term.

Of course if you want to win money on the election without putting up any yourself, enter DraftKings Sportsbook’s $100,000 Presidential Election Pool. Just pick the winner of the election overall and in 11 states, and you’ll have a chance at some of the cash!

As we’ve said here before, the margin between what the polls say and what the markets say isn’t a a gap — it’s a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon in the swing state of Arizona. There’s no other way to interpret the data than this:

People in the betting markets don’t believe in the science of polling. Despite basically every input of tangible data being in Biden’s favor to win, the markets are giving the President about a one-in-three chance to repeat. Which was the same odds he had before the election last time, but the same calculations in 2020 have him as a 10-1 underdog.

Below we’ve compared the betting data in three different markets:

  • PredictIt, which allows Americans to bet on the outcome of the election legally simply with any credit or debit card.
  • Polymarket, a site still in Beta that trades markets based on politics and more with far less commissions because it’s based on “smart contracts” via Ethereum cryptocurrency.
  • Betfair, a European market-based site where citizens abroad can wager on the outcome of the election. In fact today a $1.3 million bet was placed on Biden to be the 46th President of the United States, the largest political wager in the history of the market. It’ll pay $700,000 if it wins.
  • Pinnacle, another European-based market that serves over 200 countries and is based in the Netherlands Antilles, but is also not open to US customers.
  • Here are the current odds for the election and across 10 swing states on PredictIt, Betfair, Pinnacle. and Polymarket, along with the odds from on each outcome. This data is as of 8:00 a.m. on Election Day, November 3rd:

2020 Election Odds

State Predictit Biden PredictIt Trump PolyMarket Biden PolyMarket Trump Betfair Biden Betfair Trump Pinnacle Biden Pinnacle Trump FiveThirtyEight projection
State Predictit Biden PredictIt Trump PolyMarket Biden PolyMarket Trump Betfair Biden Betfair Trump Pinnacle Biden Pinnacle Trump FiveThirtyEight projection
Winner $0.63 $0.42 $0.63 $0.37 1.4 3 1.42 3.08 Biden 89%
Arizona $0.50 $0.55 $0.54 $0.56 1.73 2 1.952 1.869 Biden 68%
Florida $0.41 $0.64 $0.27 $0.73 2.1 1.67 2.42 1.574 Biden 69%
Georgia $0.42 $0.59 $0.38 $0.62 2.1 1.67 2.52 1.534 Biden 58%
Iowa $0.25 $0.78 N/A N/A 3.2 1.3 N/A N/A Trump 60%
Michigan $0.71 $0.32 N/A N/A 1.2 4 1.295 3.62 Biden 95%
North Carolina $0.51 $0.54 $0.45 $0.55 1.67 2.1 2.01 1.819 Biden 64%
Ohio $0.28 $0.75 N/A N/A 2.88 1.36 2.94 1.413 Trump 55%
Pennsylvania $0.62 $0.43 $0.60 $0.40 1.5 2.5 1.546 2.49 Biden 84%
Texas $0.28 $0.72 $0.19 $0.81 3.25 1.29 N/A N/A Trump 62%
Wisconsin $0.74 $0.34 N/A N/A 1.17 4.5 N/A N/A Biden 94%

This is simply an irrational market, and there’s no other explanation. gave Donald Trump a 29% chance to win the last election. If you spread 10 cards out on the table, seven red and three black, it’s not unreasonable you’re going to pick a black card pretty often.

But because a black card was chosen in 2016, the markets seem to believe it will happen again. But this time, there’s only one black card that could be chosen.

DK Nation is part of Draft Kings and Vox Media. Find more coverage of the 2020 election across its other 13 networks: how to vote, in-depth analysis, and how policies will affect you, your state and the country over the next four years and beyond.

It’s quite possible that the personal politics of bettors are bleeding into the markets. Members of the Republican Party have been accused of being anti-science during this election, and the use of polling to determine what will happen is indeed a science. It’s political science (shoutout my fellow pre-law majors that graduated without taking the LSAT!), but it ascribes to the same methodologies and testing as the “hard sciences” do.

Whatever you think of as pro-science or anti-science: The backers of Donald Trump for a second term are certainly putting their money where their mouth is. And those red voters were correct last time, but can it happen again with what appears to be a much longer shot this time?

We’ll find out tomorrow night. Or maybe this week. Hopefully before Thanksgiving?

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA) or TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789.

21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/NH/IN/NH/IA/CO/IL/TN only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for full terms and conditions.