Handicapping the Presidential Race

15 Sep

With 50 days to go before the election, the race for President remains hotly contested–and close.  Sure, you could bury yourself in MSNBC, CNN, and Fox for a non-stop slew of reporting on likely scenarios and probabilities of victory.  But there are analysts out there much sharper than the political pundits.  They’re the guys running the sports books.  Yes, ironically, you can actually gamble on the Presidential Election.

For those of you faint-at-heart or honest or sheltered, a sportsbook is a place that establishes odds and takes bets on various sporting contests.  It’s a big business, estimated at over $200 billion dollars annually across the planet, with the Super Bowl accounting for $7 billion in just one day.  The analysis that goes into establishing odds is no less intense (while probably being done more scrupulously) than what takes place on Wall Street.

A survey of three major online sports books reveals that Obama is a clear favorite:

Sportsbook.com:  Obama -150, McCain -110  (To win $100, one must bet $150 on Obama or $110 on McCain.)

BetUs.com:  Obama -130, McCain -110.     (To win $100, one must bet $130 on Obama or $110 on McCain.)

Bodog.com:  Obama -145, McCain +105  (To win $100, one must bet $145 on Obama and a $100 bet on McCain will bring in $105).

Odds are established so that an equal number of dollars are wagered on each side.  The sports book makes their money off of the vigorish–the gap between the two propositions.  The higher wager cost on Obama tells us that more people (their dollars, anyway) are betting on him to win.  By raising those odds, the bookmakers are hoping to slow down the action on that proposition, while encouraging people to go to McCain for a better payout. 

What the bookmakers are analysing here are the betting habits of Americans, not how economic issues may play out in Ohio or Sarah Palin’s cleavage will effect the voters of Florida.   They are revealing that “more people likely to gamble on a Presidential Election” think Obama will win.  Whether these “degenerates” are betting with their hearts or have spent the past three months sifting through historical voting data and current opinion polls cannot be known.  The Hangover just hopes that they are right.  My money–and yours, if you’re in the bottom 95% of income earners in America–is riding on it.

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8 Responses to “Handicapping the Presidential Race”

  1. Chilly Nate September 16, 2008 at 6:00 am #

    FYI…you can wager (deposit) all you want into sportsbook.com but trying to get a payout from them is like trying to get a Democrat to view the glass as half full.

  2. johnny September 16, 2008 at 9:08 am #

    if a post is posted on the internet, and no one is there to see it,did it really get posted? the word is VIGORISH,not vigorous, if you’re watching.what are the chances of a dead heat?

  3. aaron, of course September 16, 2008 at 9:31 am #

    LOL Nate. Trying to get a payout from them is like trying to get a Democrat to:

    1) Cut taxes
    2) Make an argument against destroying a fetus…just once
    3) Actually read our Constitution
    4) Choose a candidate based on merit
    5) Support our military
    6) Take a stand on anything NOT espoused by Lenin or Marx
    7) Hire and promote based on merit, qualifications and ability.
    8) Admit that Europe might me wrong every once in a while
    9) Stop trying to legalize pot..for medicinal purposes only, of course!
    10) Recognize that the USA is still the kindest, most benevolent, most generous most welcoming nation in the world. That we do more than any other nation in the world. That we are not perfect, but we aspire to perfection, and we’re the best mankind has to offer.

    I’m not much of a gambler but methinks that a lot of people are going to lose a lot of money.

  4. Chilly Nate September 17, 2008 at 6:00 am #

    Understanding that pot is the only natural cure for “a” Hangover, could you summarize both parties stance on point #9 above? Thanks.

  5. alguschip September 17, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    As requested: 9) Stop trying to legalize pot..for medicinal purposes only, of course!

    Democrats: Enjoy and admit to smoking pot, except for Bill Clinton– who didn’t inhale.

    Republicans: Still stand behind Reagan’s iconic “Just Say No” policy. In other words, they enjoy it but won’t admit to it. However, marijuana use is mandated (for medicinal purposes) for Republican elected officials hoping to hook up in airport men’s rooms.

  6. aaron, of course September 17, 2008 at 2:05 pm #

    True! Why can’t we all go the Rush route…prescription drugs for everyone!

    Personally, I’m somewhat neutral on the issue. But what I AM against is all the ‘Hemp Rallies’ and ‘Hemp Fests’ with all those loser burnouts humping trees and singing Cat Stevens’ songs. They do more to ensure pot is never legalized than any rational arguments.

  7. alguschip September 17, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    Right on, Aaron. Cat Stevens songs are what should be illegal.

  8. Chilly Nate September 18, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Finally we all agree.

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