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Betting on the 2020 Georgia Senate races lean towards Republicans

The fate of the United States Senate for the next two years is on the line. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the polls couldn’t be closer.

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Georgia Republican Senate candidate Kelly Loeffler and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley take questions from the media during a rally on December 20, 2020 in Cumming, Georgia. The Senate Firewall campaign event comes ahead of a crucial runoff election for Sen. David Perdue and Loeffler on January 5th that will determine what party controls the United States Senate. Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

The Georgia Senate runoffs will determine control of the United States Senate for the first two years of Joe Biden’s term in office, and the stakes for the outcome of Biden’s potential agenda could not be higher. The fate of larger stimulus checks, how Covid-19 vaccines are distributed, who is appointed to cabinet positions, future Supreme Court justices, and much more will be decided by less than five million voters in Georgia.

The January 5th elections will be the most expensive non-Presidential race in American history, with both Democrat candidates easily passing $100 million raised. If the Democrats wins both seats, they’ll have control over the upper chamber of Congress and will be able to pass a much greater part of their to-do list into law.

Incumbent Republican David Perdue is being challenged by Jon Ossoff, a Georgia native and journalist that previously worked as a staffer on Capitol Hill. They are competing in a runoff to what was a regular election cycle. Kelly Loeffler was appointed to finish the term of Senator Johnny Isakson in December 2019. She is facing Rev. Raphael Warnock — a pastor at the same church once helmed by Martin Luther King — in a runoff to finish out the final two years of Isakson’s term.

On November 3rd, Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in Georgia with 2,474,601 votes to 2,461,965, a difference of 12,636 votes. It was the first time a Democrat had won Georgia for President since Bill Clinton in 1992. But the question is will all of those voters head to the polls or mail in a ballot again?

A recent Survey USA poll said 55% of Georgia voters that describe themselves as “very conservative” said they will not vote in the runoff elections because “the voting process is rigged.” That’s compared to 0% of self-described “liberals” and “very liberals.”

Of those that said they “will not vote,” 6% were Republicans and 3% were Democrats. And when the margins are this close, the cross-tabs on tiny slivers of the population such as this really matter. Survey USA had Ossoff leading Perdue 51%-46%, and Warnock leading Loeffler 52%-45%.

But an also-well-regarded Emerson College poll showed both Perdue and Loeffler leading 51%-48%. These races are really close, and potentially close enough where there could be a split on Election Night. If that were to happen, it seems Warnock is more likely to beat Loeffler than Ossoff is to defeat Perdue.

On Election Night, you could get odds as high as +500 for Joe Biden to be declared the winner of the election. But as the mail-in votes kept being counted in select states that couldn’t begin counting until Election Day (such as Georgia), they moved more and more towards Biden. Across the country Democrats trusted the mail-in voting system much more than Republicans, likely due to the rhetoric of the President. And that incongruity might happen again in the betting markets on January 5th.

Despite the recent data that has the polls moving slightly towards the two Democratic candidates, the betting community continues to believe Perdue and Loeffler will maintain their seats in the Senate. And as the 2020 Presidential race showed, while the polls leaned more to the left, the betting action tipped more to the right.

Here are some of the latest odds from bookmakers across the globe, as betting on elections is not allowed within the United States at legal wagering outlets. There is an exception domestically for sites such as PredictIt, which are exempted by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, but cap wagers at $850 per person.

We’ve translated all wagers from how they’re listed for their audience to “American odds” or “moneyline odds.” Offered bets with a minus sign cost that much to win $100, and bets with a plus sign will pay that amount if someone wagers $100 on that outcome as well as refund the original $100 stake.

Odds to Win Georgia Senate Runoffs

Betfair (England)

David Perdue: -189
Jon Ossoff: +138

Kelly Loeffler: -149
Raphael Warnock: +110

Ladbrokes (England)

David Perdue: -200
Jon Ossoff: +150

Kelly Loeffler: -189
Raphael Warnock: +138

Unibet (Malta)

David Perdue: -275
Jon Ossoff: +175

Kelly Loeffler: -200
Raphael Warnock: +140

PredictIt (USA)

David Perdue: -203
Jon Ossoff: +194

Kelly Loeffler: -144
Raphael Warnock: +133

These are significant leads for the Republican candidates, but not so far ahead where things can’t change by the election a week from today. It will be really hard for the residents of Georgia to forget there is an election, and the early turnout is once again massive.

Georgia was the state that surprised both bettors and pollsters the most on November 3rd. Whether that happens again, we’ll have to wait until all the votes are counted. But it won’t stop bettors from reading the tea leaves and the polls and putting their money where their opinions lie.

And for all Americans, the stakes of voting in Georgia are just as big as they were eight weeks ago.