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What Are the Gambling Odds on the Midterm Elections?

I'm putting all my money on Russia.
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Most of us have seen a flurry of activity in our inboxes about the Midterm Elections, but one caught my eye: What do the gambling odds say? Let’s take a look.

I received an email from the folks at Sports Betting Dime, a site that specializes in calculating odds, as well as “prop bets.” A prop bet is defined as “a bet made regarding the occurrence or non-occurrence during a game of an event not directly affecting the game’s final outcome.”

They write that their team is made up of “betting analysts and sports writers” who “range from former athletes and coaches to quantitative and statistical wonks.” The site has been featured in places like The Washington Post, ESPN, and Bleacher Report, and now they’ve done a deep dive into the odds around the Midterms.

These odds are fascinating, because we’ve had frantic, frenzied days of predictions in the run-up to today, and before that, many, many months-slash-years of speculation about the outcomes of this election. We’ve heard from pundits, pollsters, countless talking heads, and your angry uncle on Facebook, yet gambling odds strike me as somewhat no-nonsense. There doesn’t seem to be an agenda here beyond keeping the gambling public informed, so it feels refreshingly divorced from the rhetoric we’ve been hearing elsewhere.

This is predictive analysis generated with an eye not on partisan politics, but with the motivation of knowing your odds. Gambling is a fine wire to walk, so please gamble responsibly if you do, and Sports Betting Dime would like you to know that “the unique odds we produce in select news articles are also for amusement, and are not available to be wagered on.” With this in mind, let’s see the numbers that they’ve come up with.

My favorite analysis here? The over/under regarding the increase in possible voter turnout compared to the 2016 election. Over/under bets “predict a number for a statistic in a given game, and bettors wager that the actual number in the game will be either higher or lower than that number.” Here, they’re predicting percentages like +35% turnout for women, +30% for black voters, +50% for Democrats, +35% for voters under age 30, and -15% for Republicans. (Please?)

2018 Midterm Prop Bets

Odds for Democrats to win key Senate races (Republican odds to win would just be the reverse)

Nevada (Rosen vs Heller) 1/1
Arizona (Sinema vs McSally) 4/5
Florida (Nelson vs Scott) 3/7
Indiana (Donnelly vs Braun) 3/7
Missouri (McCaskill vs Hawley) 2/3
North Dakota (Heitkamp vs Cramer) 3/1
Texas (O’Rourke vs Cruz) 4/1

116th United States Congress Props

Over/Under total number of Senate seats that flip 3.5
Over/Under Republican controlled seats in the Senate 51.5
Odds a Senate race is forced to go to a recount 5/1

Increase in voter turnout from the 2014 midterm elections (Over/Under)

Overall +30%
Women +35%
Black +30%
Hispanic +30%
College Educated Whites +5%
Republicans -15%
Democrats +50%
Independents +10%
Texans +30%
Georgians +30%
Missourians +50%
Under Age 30 +35%
Silicon Valley Residents +5%

Over/Under Number of Donald Trump Tweets on Nov 6. 5.5

Odds Donald Trump sends a tweet mentioning the following people on Nov 6-7.

Chuck Schumer 1/1
Nancy Pelosi 1/1
Barack Obama 4/1
Hillary Clinton 5/1

The App Election

Over/Under Number of rides to polling stations provided by Uber and Lyft 2.5 million
Over/Under Average wait time for a ride via Uber/Lyft on election day 15 minutes
Over/Under Number of voters registered through Snapchat 550,000

Odds a winning candidate thanks the following in their victory address or tweet

Christine Blasey Ford 15/1
Parkland Student Activists 25/1
Oprah 30/1
Taylor Swift 35/1
Will Ferrell 40/1
Snapchat 50/1
George Soros 250/1
Russia 250/1

Can’t wait for all of those candidates to thank Russia so that I finally reap the rewards of my incredible gambling instincts.

What do you think of these odds? Do you find them a comforting analysis that might help to predict where we’re headed, or are you more of a Han Solo type?

Han Solo in Star Wars

(via Sports Betting Dime, images: Lucasfilm)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.