How to Bet on the 2020 Presidential Election

The betting market around Joe Biden and Donald Trump is as hot as any election market has ever been as the 2020 U.S. presidential election nears. Use this guide to learn all you need to know to get started with betting on American politics. 

Election betting

Sports betting has never been more popular and more and more fans are jumping in. But, there’s more than just sports to wager on — election betting has become very popular and interest in the 2020 U.S. presidential election is through the roof. 

Predicting political outcomes is big business all over the world and has been for centuries. Long before the age of scientific polling, people were wagering on political results, even papal elections. 

Many online betting sites offer political betting odds nowadays and betting on elections is reaching new heights. One sportsbook is reporting that this year’s election totals will blow clear past their 2016 high of approximately $250 million.

Trump vs Biden betting

With the U.S. presidential election set for Nov. 3, 2020, the Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden betting markets are heating up. The Trump vs. Biden odds on who will be the next president change daily and even more so after debates. Biden has been the betting favorite since being named the Democratic nominee, but Trump won as a huge underdog in 2016 and hopes to do so again this year. 

Understanding election betting odds

Betting on election odds is very similar to making a futures bet on a sports market: There will be multiple options listed and you’re trying to pick the winner of the election. 

Early on in the election process, there will be multiple candidates listed and the betting options will become fewer and fewer as candidates are eliminated from the race. As election day nears, the market will likely be down to two options:

  • Joe Biden -190
  • Donald Trump +165

The odds listed above are in American format. Biden is the favorite, as indicated by the minus sign (-) next to his odds. Here, you’ll need to wager $190 to profit $100 if you think Biden will win the election. Trump is the betting underdog, with the plus sign (+) next to his odds. Here, a $100 wager would profit $165 should Trump win the election. 

Some sportsbook might offer decimal odds instead:

  • Joe Biden 1.52
  • Donald Trump 2.65

Betting sites in the UK would likely default to fractional odds:

  • Joe Biden 10/19
  • Donald Trump 33/20

Most online sportsbooks give you the option to change the odds format in the settings section. You can also convert these odds using our odds converter

How to bet on the US presidential election

While the most popular bet is who will become the next U.S. President, plenty of other odds are offered as well. Before the Democrat and Republican candidates are announced, you can bet on who will win the nomination for each party, you can wager on which party will win the election, which presidential candidate will win the popular vote, and even who will win in different states. 

Keep up with current events

Follow current events and political news, but. don't put too much stock in small events. An embarrassing mistake or salacious scandal might look bad at first, but in the grand scheme of things might not amount to much.

You can take advantage of such overreactions if your timing is right, however. If your preferred candidate takes a hit in public perception, their odds to win will likely go down as well. If you don't think the incident will have a long-term impact then you can grab your candidate at a better number than before. 

Also keep in mind that articles about politics, especially opinion pieces, tend to be partisan so try to read about events from as many different perspectives as possible to get the big picture.

Debates and changes in political alliances can occasionally turn the tide as well, and sportsbooks can take a bit of time to adjust political odds after those events. 

Follow the latest polls

Polls are far from foolproof as anyone who thought Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in during the 2016 election can attest. National polls are a flawed tool but they can serve as a solid indication of which way certain demographics are leaning or gauge changes in popularity for a particular candidate. 

The Gallup polls on presidential job approval are one factor to consider, while Real Clear Politics provides information from dozens of polls including the general election. Another useful website is 270 to Win, which has a consensus electoral map based on current ratings from Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Cook Political Report, and Inside Elections.

Be Realistic

Trump himself was one heck of a long shot before he took the Oval Office, but in general, when betting on politics, stay away from those that are clearly on the outside looking in. After all, this is still a democracy and there are procedures. 

So no, betting on Kanye West when he “announced” his candidacy was not a smart bet.


Other ways to bet on the 2020 election

Betting on the winner isn’t the only way to bet on the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Different sportsbooks will offer different markets, but here are some of the options available:

  • Winning party
  • Winning party by state
  • Winner of the popular vote
  • Most seats in the house
  • Senate winner by state
  • Electoral college vote winner by state

Where can I bet on the presidential election?

Unfortunately for Americans, regulated sportsbooks in the U.S. do not offer political betting markets. But if you’re wagering from Canada, the U.K., or almost anywhere else in the world, nearly all online sportsbooks will offer political betting markets. If you’re ready to make an election wager, check out our recommended Canadian betting sites and our top bookmakers in the U.K.  

Election Betting FAQs

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