Vegas Odds Say Trump’s Losing In Key States, But Is He Really?

trump standing in front of american flag with his fists up in a boxing pose

We already know that Presidents are elected and rejected largely due to the influence of just a handful of states.

These so-called purple states – or battleground states – have historically been the big prizes in any given Presidential campaign, as most other states tend to favor one party or another by massive double-digit margins.

For example, a Republican isn’t going to win California or New York anytime soon, a Democrat isn’t likely to do well in Oklahoma or Alabama, and so on.

As such, much of the polling leading up to any general election tends to focus on the few states – just 10-12 of them, traditionally – where candidate support hovers around 50-50.

Essentially, if a state typically goes to the winner by a margin of around five points or less, that state is ripe for the flipping, and it’s where campaigns – and polls – will most heavily invest.

Bovada, America’s top Vegas election sportsbook, is focused like a laser on these states. While other books like MyBookie and BetOnline offer electoral odds for all 50 states, Bovada sticks with the most contested batch.

This limits their liability, but it also means that they have greatly increased action on their state odds.

For pundits, pollsters, and bettors, this approach works, because it paints a more accurate picture of how those battleground states are being viewed by the betting (and voting) public.

Of course, bettor opinion is now more than ever based on polling data and the relentless narratives doubled down on by the mainstream media.

2020 Swing State Betting Odds


  • Democratic Candidate -170
  • Republican Candidate +130


  • Democratic Candidate -1500
  • Republican Candidate +675


  • Democratic Candidate -160
  • Republican Candidate +120


  • Republican Candidate -160
  • Democratic Candidate +120


  • Republican Candidate -170
  • Democratic Candidate +130


  • Democratic Candidate -330
  • Republican Candidate +235


  • Democratic Candidate -475
  • Republican Candidate +320


  • Democratic Candidate -650
  • Republican Candidate +400

New Hampshire

  • Democratic Candidate -450
  • Republican Candidate +300

North Carolina

  • Democratic Candidate -150
  • Republican Candidate +115


  • Republican Candidate -145
  • Democratic Candidate +110


  • Democratic Candidate -300
  • Republican Candidate +220


  • Republican Candidate -230
  • Democratic Candidate +170


  • Democratic Candidate -1200
  • Republican Candidate +600


  • Democratic Candidate -275
  • Republican Candidate +200

If you look at the above state betting lines, you’ll see that Trump doesn’t stand a chance in November.

If the status quo is maintained in the non-battleground states, Biden should – per the odds and polling data available – waltz (or hobble) his way into the White House. Bettors have him winning Florida, after all.

But according to a recent poll by the American Principles Project (APP) and SPRY Strategies, Trump is actually leading Biden in seven of the 10 most-contested battleground states. (The poll didn’t sample FL voters due to Trump being in the lead per most mainstream polls, making the above betting action on the state a significant outlier.)

Naturally, polling is a biased affair, but this particular analysis didn’t just compile nationally representative results from a few hundred people like most polls do.

Instead, this one gathered its data from 42,000 “likely voters” (not mere “registered voters”) who cast ballots in at least two of the last four elections, with a representative sampling of probable first-time voters who registered from May 2018 to July 2020.

Additionally, most mainstream media-partnered polls tend to “oversample” Democrats, having the left account for some 15-20% more voters than the right and then giving the “win” to the Democratic candidate by a margin of 10 points or so. Pretty disingenuous stuff, on the whole.

That said, here are the results of the APP poll in terms of Biden vs. Trump in the 2020 general:

  • Georgia: Trump 49-46
  • Kentucky: Trump 60-34
  • Michigan: Trump 50-45
  • Montana: Trump 52-42
  • North Carolina: Trump 49-46
  • Pennsylvania: Trump 48-47
  • Texas: Trump 49-45
  • Arizona: Biden 49-45
  • Iowa: Biden 48-46
  • Wisconsin: Biden 46-45

While this poll doesn’t include all the traditional battleground states, Bovada’s odds have the following lines for the above:

  • Georgia: Trump -160, Biden +120
  • Kentucky: N/A
  • Michigan: Biden -330, Trump +235
  • Montana: N/A
  • North Carolina: Biden -150, Trump +115  
  • Pennsylvania: Biden -300, Trump +220
  • Texas: Trump -230, Biden +170
  • Arizona: Biden -170, Trump +130
  • Iowa: Trump -170, Biden +130
  • Wisconsin: Biden -275, Trump +200

At BetOnline, Trump is leading in Kentucky -1200 to +900, while he’s leading in Montana -700 to +500. These two states – traditional GOP strongholds – were included in the poll due to their alleged import for the 2020 election. They are considered to be on the table for Biden, despite not being historical swing states.

The main takeaway, of course, are the big swing states where Trump is already reportedly well behind Uncle Joe, like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Per the APP, Trump is not only not trailing in PA by the double-digit margins reported by other polls, he’s up a point, in line with the 2016 election results.

In NC, Trump trails Biden by 2-4 points per other polls, but he’s leading by four points according to this new data.

In Wisconsin, Trump’s not down by 8 or more as popularly reported, instead just trailing by a point (which is within the poll’s margin of error).

In Michigan, Trump is up five points compared to the mainstream assertion that he’s losing by 13 and change.

All four of these crucial states are thought to be Biden’s to lose, but Trump is leading in each. Now, consider that these states amount to 61 electoral votes, which would constitute a 122-point swing in the electoral college if Trump takes all of them (compared to the outcome the media – and most bettors – believe will happen).

That’s election-changing, folks.

These are all large swings, and depending on what bettors believe, the information should (or at least could) change the 2020 election betting odds. They haven’t yet, but the poll is just a few days old, and uncertainly continues to abound.

At any rate, the lesson here is simple: Whatever resources you use to gauge Trump reelection odds or Biden’s Vegas odds to win in 2020, you should pay attention to polls conducted by both sides.

Specifically, you should familiarize yourself with concepts like oversampling, undersampling, and the difference between “likely voters” and “registered voters.” If a poll uses the latter and not the former, you might need to take it with more than your standard dose of salt.

Source: American Principles Project