How to Bet on U.S. Politics

The political odds market can make you very rich if you bet accordingly. American politics is full of surprises that can make sitting at home watching CNN on a Tuesday night much more fun if you’re betting on the winners and losers.

From smaller House races to the 2020 U.S. presidential election odds, many top sportsbooks offer lines on American politics that range from moneyline wagers to prop bets like what will voter turnout be, or how many states will the Democrats or Republicans win. Below, you’ll find out how to bet on American politics so you can handicap your wagers the right way and hopefully win some Washingtons, Lincolns, Hamiltons or even some Jacksons.

We do not endorse or provide opinions on sports betting operators in your region.

Best Sportsbooks for Betting on Politics

Any of the online sportsbooks we recommend on Odds Shark are safe and reputable. We have pre-vetted each book we champion to ensure that when you place your American political bets, you’re in good hands.

How to Bet on American Politics

Betting on American politics is easier than you think. It’s like betting on sports except the outcome involves health care instead of home runs. There are three political bets you can make: moneyline, spread wagers and prop bets.

Moneyline: Which Candidate Will Win?

A moneyline bet involves you picking a winner. This type of bet can range from who the next U.S. president will be or which political party will gain a majority in the Senate. A line for the next presidential election could look something like this:

Elizabeth Warren DEMOCRAT -130

Donald Trump REPUBLICAN +110

In this fictional scenario, Warren is the favorite which means that if you wager $130, you would win $100. Trump is the underdog and if you wagered $100, you’d win $110. Underdogs are always represented by the plus sign (+). Favorites are represented by the minus sign (-).

Underdog wagers are considered riskier, which is why you bet less to win more. Favorite wagers come with little to no risk, which is why you need to lay down more to win less. This is not to say that you shouldn’t bet on the favorite because you’d have to put up more money. The favorite is considered as such since it’s determined by how much interest the public has on that side of the race.

Spread Betting: How Many Seats for Each Party?

The point spread isn’t only for a football game. You can make spread bets on American politics too. Instead of betting on how many points a team will win by, you can wager on how many seats the Democrats or Republicans will win by in the upcoming election.

Prop Bets

A prop bet is a wager that doesn’t necessarily correlate with the outcome of the electoral race. Political prop bets will look something like this:

  • Who will be X’s running mate?
  • How long will the debate be between X and Y?
  • How many times will candidate X say “um” during the debate?
  • How many times will candidate Y bring up former president Barack Obama or the Clintons?

Handicapping your American Political Bets

Before you place any bet on United States politics, you should handicap them correctly because it could mean the difference between winning and losing your wager.

  • Scandals: This is a tricky one because Donald Trump was plagued with scandal and still managed to get himself elected to the highest office in the United States of America. When handicapping scandals, look at the type of scandal. Is it money laundering? Using a private email server? Being the head of a satanic cult? The weirder the scandal, the less chance the candidate has of being elected.
  • Injuries: In professional sports, even something as slight as a stubbed toe can keep the best athletes out of key games. The same goes for politics. Any candidate who so much as coughs during a debate could appear weak and influence voters to choose their opponent instead.
  • Leadership: Can the candidate lead? This is an important question to ask before placing any political bet. If the candidate looks like they couldn’t lead a horse to water or make it drink, they’re probably not going to win the election.
  • Campaign promises: Let’s pretend that Kanye West is running for president. It’s safe to say that his campaign promises would be absolutely nuts like free Yeezys for everyone or trap doors installed under every desk in Wyoming. Any candidate who promises peculiar things is not going to win. Eccentric candidates also do not have a history of winning their races. Look out for candidates who make promises on the campaign trail that they will definitely not be able to keep.

2020 U.S. Presidential Election Odds

The next U.S. president will be … Oprah Winfrey. Maybe. Or it could be the Rock. You never know. For odds and betting news, check out our Political Betting pages to give you insight into the 2020 U.S. presidential election.