In politics, there’s the old saying to “follow the money” and if you’ve been tracking the betting markets for the Democratic nomination race, that phrase rings true for Joe Biden.
The former vice-president has seen his odds shift immensely, from looking like a lame-duck candidate after his second-place finish in the Nevada caucus vote to now being the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination going into Super Tuesday.
What’s incredible about this development is that it all transpired over a 10-day period, with Biden getting a commanding victory in the South Carolina primary that saw him crush Bernie Sanders at the voting stations, leading to a drastic shift in his odds.
A Betting Timeline of Joe Biden
Back in June 2019 when political candidates were announcing their intentions to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, sportsbooks installed Joe Biden as the +200 favorite to emerge victorious, even though he hadn’t announced that he was running.
Moving into January of this year, bookmakers still had Biden comfortably in front as the fave until they made him and Bernie Sanders the co-faves on January 21. It wasn’t until February 21, after an unsettling Democratic debate and a huge win for Sanders in Nevada, that the odds for the former Delaware senator to take the nomination rose up to +1000, with Sanders at EVEN money.
Going into the South Carolina primary on Saturday, February 29, Biden had been projected to win the vote but what wasn’t expected was the better than 2 to 1 voting support he received, earning 38 pledged delegates compared to Sanders’ 15. That result going into Super Tuesday on March 3 restored the momentum on Biden’s odds to win the Democratic nomination and he now sits as a -115 favorite.
One theory on why Biden seems to be picking up steam is that Democrats don’t want to have Sanders in charge because of political views that have been categorized as “radical.” Even former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton condemned him back in December, stating that “Nobody likes him and nobody wants to work with him.”
According to John Lester, an oddsmaker with Bookmaker.eu who has been tracking the political odds year-round, the exit of several candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar may have played a huge part in the ever-changing odds.
“We have written more action on Joe Biden in the last three days than we have in the last three months,” Lester said.
Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar have decided to endorse Biden after suspending their campaigns.
Biden’s trajectory and rebound go to show that savvy bettors can track the odds and capitalize even on what was considered a doomed political campaign. There’s still a lot of political race left for the Democratic nomination and it remains to be seen how Biden would fare battling Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, with the former vice-president’s odds at +300 as of March 3.
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