Harris VP Selection Has Surprisingly Little Effect On Vegas Betting Lines

2020 democratic vp nominee kamala harris shrugs at the podium in from of a black background

Well, it’s Friday.

And with it, the reality of the 2020 Presidential tickets are finally setting in.

Yes, Republican incumbent Donald Trump and trusty sidekick Mike Pence will be taking on up-and-comer Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Probably.

(We’d call Harris a sidekick, too, but she’s clearly running the show, inasmuch as there is any one public-facing person in charge of the 2020 Democratic campaign).

At any rate, the Harris pick – and its ramifications – are wide-sweeping, with reactions on social media running the gamut.

We even wrote our own opinion about the Harris VP selection earlier in the week, and we still think the California Senator is a poor choice given the current political climate.

Apparently, bettors at BetOnline Sportsbook do too, as Biden’s Presidential odds dropped off precipitously within hours of the announcement.

But the lines at the other major election sportsbooks haven’t budged an iota in either direction. Take a look:

2020 Presidential Election Odds Before Harris Pick


  • Joe Biden -160
  • Donald Trump +135


  • Joe Biden -155
  • Donald Trump +125


  • Joe Biden -170
  • Donald Trump +100 (EVEN)

2020 Presidential Election Odds After Harris Pick


  • Joe Biden -160
  • Donald Trump +135


  • Joe Biden -135
  • Donald Trump +105


  • Joe Biden -170
  • Donald Trump +100 (EVEN)

As you can see, of the three best Vegas election sportsbooks taking actual cash wagers on the frenzied race, only BetOnline’s customers have shown any frenzy at all.

At BetOnline, the morning after Biden selected Harris as his running mate, his odds to win were effectively cut in half. That is, he was favored by 80 points before his announcement, and following the selection, that gap narrowed to just 40 points, where it has remained in the days since.

We expected the lines at Bovada and MyBookie to follow suit within a few hours, but they haven’t.

In fact, it’s now been almost three days since Biden-Harris 2020 became the official party ticket, and the odds at these sites still haven’t budged – they’re the same as they were before Biden selected his running mate.

By our calculations (or, at the very least, our expectations as bettors with multiple elections under our belts), these other books should have – by all logic – followed BetOnline’s lead.

Of course, that isn’t something they themselves are responsible for, as lines only move when more money comes in on one side of a wager than the other. So while sportsbooks set opening lines, the bettors themselves move those lines from that moment on.

So why aren’t bettors boosting or dumping Biden with the Harris pick?

With the 2020 Vice Presidential odds having been one the hottest and most active markets for the last several months, it seems like the clarity of the pick would have some measurable effect on Joe Biden’s Presidential chances.

They haven’t – at least, not at Bovada or MyBookie.

And, if we reject the premise that the world’s biggest sportsbooks just don’t know what they’re doing (because they clearly do), there is only one way to look at this:

Biden’s VP pick never mattered to begin with.

And, truth be told, that’s also evident in the pick itself.

Black Lives Matter activists and progressive spokespeople from the far left – whom Biden has been trying to appeal to in his support to defund the police and promote “radical change” – are not pleased with the selection, but their votes won’t change, and the Left knows this.

Thus, with Harris, Biden had nothing to lose.

Additionally, even though the national electorate rejected Harris with vigor in the 2020 Democratic primary cycle, that doesn’t matter, either. Biden’s campaign knew that these votes weren’t going anywhere except straight down the ballot in the D column.

When you’re getting the votes anyway, there’s no need to pander.

As such, it’s perfectly conceivable that the money coming in at Bovada and MyBookie before the selection was already predicated on the notion that it really wouldn’t matter which candidate Biden actually picked.

Ironically, while the main Presidential odds at these sites haven’t budged, there have been downmarket ramifications for other Vegas political props involving Biden.

The most significant of these comes from Bovada:

Will Biden Drop Out Before Nov. 1, 2020?

  • Yes +400
  • No -650

Just three weeks ago when this line was originally posted, Biden was trending at +550 to drop out and -1000 to remain the candidate through the November general.

However, with the Harris pick – and Biden’s alleged accelerating cognitive decline – bettors are cozying up to the reality that Uncle Joe is very likely a placeholder for someone else.

Harris – endorsed as “ready to lead” by Biden himself (with similar saccharin statements from Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and other Democratic movers and shakers) – could easily be installed as POTUS a few months into a Biden presidency.

Voters seem to expect this, and bettors do, too.

The only real question here is whether or not Biden can even make it to November with any credibility at all.

Interestingly, the Harris pick has also led many partisan political commentators to double down on doing away with the Presidential debates, which is a nakedly obvious gambit to prevent Trump from abjectly eviscerating Biden on live television.

With Harris, goes the argument, the American public should see the woman debate Pence three times instead of seeing the spectacle that would be Trump vs. Biden.

Per DC mainstay and Never Trump Republican Bill Kristol:

Of course, Kristol isn’t alone in this line of thinking, as blatantly biased and politicized as it is.

Many mainstream news outlets are openly advocating eliminating the Presidential debates in an effort to keep Hidin’ Biden in his basement and out of public view until November.

Curiously, even with the renewed interest in the debates with the Harris selection, sportsbooks are not yet offering odds on whether the three planned Presidential debates will go on as scheduled.

Ultimately, we still think these books could be doing more in the props department, especially with Harris’ baggage and downmarket influence. And hopefully, they will.

Because right now, according to most bettors out there, Harris hasn’t changed a thing.

Where’s the fun in that?

And which politician will be having it all the way to the White House?

Source: Breitbart