Political Odds Fluctuate Wildly In Response To George Floyd Riots

donald trump pointing at the camera while sitting next to phones at his desk

It has been, to say the least, a rocky weekend.

As the protesting, rioting, and looting in response to the Minneapolis PD’s murder of George Floyd spreads nationwide, there is growing instability not only across America, but also when it comes to the Vegas election betting lines.

While it may seem callous to discuss something so comparatively trivial in the context of festering national wounds, that’s largely the nature of politics – and that means it’s largely the nature of political betting.

Whatever side of the aisle you’re on, and whichever policies and politicians you support, as a bettor, it’s imperative to disconnect emotion from logic and look at the lines in a sort of informed moral vacuum. Otherwise, you stand to lose your entire bankroll – and possibly your entire mind.

The following election odds have changed considerably since the events of this weekend, and they’re likely to keep trending on their trajectories in the near term. Below, we’ve got the lines hit the hardest by the George Floyd incident, and we’ll offer some thoughts on how – and when – to wager on these particular political betting odds (via Bovada Sportsbook):  

US Presidential Election 2020 – Odds To Win

  • Donald Trump -120
  • Joe Biden +110
  • Hillary Clinton +4000
  • Michelle Obama +6000
  • Andrew Cuomo +8000
  • Mike Pence +8000
  • Nikki Haley +15000

The election of most import – and the line with the most action over the last few years – has been main Presidential race, now likely between incumbent Donald Trump (R) and Joe Biden (D).

While Trump’s response to the Floyd killing has been to order a federal DOJ and FBI investigation into the issue, that hasn’t been enough to shield him from mainstream blame for the actions of law enforcement in an exclusively Democratic city. In two days, Biden betting odds have closed a 40-point gap to 30 points.

Voter illogic is one of the chief things that political bettor logic must take into account. And there’s no other gambling market with such a volatile variable.

2020 Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee

  • Kamala Harris +150
  • Val Demings +400
  • Elizabeth Warren +650
  • Stacey Abrams +1100
  • Amy Klobuchar +1200
  • Keisha Lance Bottoms +1200
  • Michelle Obama +1400
  • Susan Rice +1800
  • Gretchen Whitmer +2000
  • Catherine Cortez Masto +2500
  • Tammy Duckworth +2500
  • Hillary Clinton +3000
  • Michelle Lujan Grisham +5000
  • Tammy Baldwin +6000
  • Andrew Cuomo +10000
  • Tulsi Gabbard +10000

This was the betting line most immediately affected by the events of the past week in Minneapolis and nationwide.

We wrote about Amy Klobuchar’s all-but-elimination from contention due to her status as a MN Senator, and we predicted that Biden’s Vice President odds would favor Florida congresswoman Val Demings.

Demings was in the middle of the pack at +900 two days ago, but she’s now jumped to second place at +400.

Demings is our pick, as she gives Biden the best chance to win FL and it’s 29 electoral votes, given that Trump took the state by under two percentage points in 2016. Demings makes the most sense as the female Vice President of choice for Uncle Joe, and even at +400 odds, she’s still showing a good value for bettors.

US Senate Control 2020

  • Republicans -160
  • Democrats +120

This line, for most of the election cycle, has held firm at about -145 to -150 for Republicans to maintain control of the US Senate after the November general. However, with #AmyKlobucharResign and #AmyKlobucharIsOverParty trending on Twitter, the balance of power in the US Senate could more heavily favor the GOP.

While Klobuchar won’t be up for reelection until 2024, there is a distinct possibility of her presence in the Senate informing the vote in neighboring states with Democratic Senators up for office this year.

House And Senate Balance Of Power 2020

  • Democratic House, Democratic Senate +135
  • Democratic House, Republican Senate +135
  • Republican House, Republican Senate +330
  • Republican House, Democratic Senate +4800

Piggybacking off the Senate Control lines, the Congressional balance of power lines – which have long favored Democratic control in both chambers – now has a Democratic House and Republican Senate in a dead heat with the former.

This Vegas political prop has long been the “easiest money” for bettors, as the latter scenario had +140 to +150 odds, and though the payout is still pretty good, that line will probably shrink further in the days to come. This may be your best chance to get a positive payout on the option.

Minnesota Electoral Odds For 2020 Presidential Election

  • Democratic Candidate -320
  • Republican Candidate +230

This is the most interesting line.

It’s been repeatedly pointed out that the George Floyd killing took place at the hands of a Democratic hire working exclusively for Democratic bosses at the local level, but bettors don’t seem to think this will have much of an effect on the party’s control of the state.

Trump lost MN in 2016 by 1.52 percent of the vote. The state is solidly purple, and depending on where blame is laid for the actions of the Minneapolis PD, that could change things tremendously.

Trump won most MN counties in 2016, losing largely because of the Democratic voters in Hennepin County (Minneapolis). Will voters switch parties over this event? Honestly, we don’t know.

This is a tough wager to come to terms with, but the lines could shrink significantly, and if you have a feeling that the state could go for the GOP in November, you may not get a better payout. Bovada already has the best odds on this, though the line is closing at sites like BetOnline, where the Dems are sitting at -300.

At MyBookie, there are two curious wagers to be aware of that are tangentially related to these current events, and they demonstrate the importance of shopping lines between sites. Consider this pair of bets:

2020 US Presidential Election Winner

  • Donald Trump -160
  • Joe Biden +125
  • Hillary Clinton +2500
  • Michelle Obama +5000
  • Andrew Cuomo +6000
  • Mike Pence +9500
  • Nikki Haley +15000

Donald Trump Election Special

  • To lose electoral college and popular vote +120
  • To win electoral college, lose popular vote +170
  • To win electoral college and popular vote +185
  • To lose electoral college, win popular vote +1400

It seems a near certainty that if Trump wins reelection – as the Trump reelection odds indicate he will (by an 85-point margin, the largest at any election sportsbook), he will do so similarly to how he won in 2016: by losing the popular vote but taking enough electoral votes to win.

In other words, if Trump wins, he wins exclusively electorally.

If you’re going to bet on Trump to emerge the victor in November at -160 odds, that’s a meager payout compared to what you’d get wagering on him to win in November in the same manner that he won last time around (+170).

A $100 wager on the former would pay out $62.50, while the exact same wager – for basically the exact same outcome – would pay out $170 on the latter. That’s nearly three times as much!

Political betting isn’t easy. But if you want to get the best returns on your Vegas election odds, you’ve got to go shopping lines.

Or looting them, if you prefer.