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Biden holds lead over Trump to win 2020 election: Betting Giant

Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets Head of Political Markets, joins Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman to break down the latest overseas betting odds in the 2020 race to the White House.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: Last night wrapped up the last presidential debate, and with just 11 days to go before the election I want to focus in on the odds for each candidate here to win the presidency in our next segment here as we continue to see Joe Biden maintain his lead. And for more on that, I want to welcome Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarket’s Head of Political markets, who joins us now. And Sarbjit, we’ve been tracking this with you over the last couple weeks here and it sounds like Joe Biden’s been able to maintain his lead. Did the debate last night do anything to change that?

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: So we’ve been tracking this– as you said– on our next president market. It’s now trading at almost $14 million. That’s $3 million up from last week. And what we’ve seen from last night is Joe Biden losing one percentage point to Trump. Trump is now one percentage point up, so Biden’s at 67%. Trump’s at 33% compared to last week.

So not a big change of the market because– let’s face it– that debate didn’t really tell us anything new. It didn’t show us a new side to either of the candidates. And I think, to be fair, both the candidates did as best as they could in that situation.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, at this point I think both sides probably pretty locked in here. But it is interesting to see more and more money coming in. We saw a Betfair Exchange announcing a 500,000 pound bet was placed on Joe Biden to win the election. And over here in the US, FanDuel also launching a similar betting style game called Bet the Ballot, showing similar odds in terms of their bets there, at a 64% chance for Biden to win here.

So it sounds like– whatever market you look at, it sounds like the results seem in line here. How has that maybe changed from where you saw this race going earlier in the year when things were constantly fluctuating?

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: Well, obviously things changed when Joe Biden became the Democratic candidate. Because before that– remember he was trading at 2% in our market. So he went from 2% to 67%. Anyone who put that long– that long bet on would have got a lot of money now, or would have been able to trade out for a lot of money if, you know, if they want to.

What we’ve seen also is that Donald Trump’s price has been eroding pretty much from when we created this market. You know, he started off very, very strong when it wasn’t clear who he’d be facing. And then when Joe Biden was chosen, we saw that his price started to come down. And he’s been really trying to fight against that. We’ve seen peaks and troughs in his price. We’ve seen him go up a bit and down a bit. But he’s really on a downward spiral, it seems. And he doesn’t seem to be able to stop it.

At best he’s holding on to his price, and at worst, you know, he’s coming down. I mean, we talked about him being at 50%, 40%, and now down in the low 30%. And who knows what happens next week, whether he gets down even into the 20s.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and right now polls seem to be indicating a similar outcomes, too. Of course, we’ve seen them be wrong in the past, but I want to focus in one of those key swing states. Because Florida– since ’96– has predicted every president to win there. If you get Florida, your odds are very strong. So talk to me about what you’re seeing play out in that specific market for who bettors are putting their money on to take that state.

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: Right. As you say, Florida is normally that toss up state. It’s so close about who wins that state. It’s normally, you know, almost 50/50 for Democrats and Republicans. On our market at the moment, we’re showing a 56% chance for the Democrats to win that state to the Republicans. It’s 56%. It doesn’t sound like much, but at this state, which is normally trading around 50/50, that’s pretty significant, I think. And it’s a pretty clear indication that Florida might be slipping out of Trump’s hands, no matter how hard he’s trying to grab that one.

ZACK GUZMAN: And there’s another state, too, that’s gotten a lot of attention here in 2020. A lot of people confused, maybe, perhaps, on why Democrats are putting such an emphasis on Texas, a state that is historically quite Republican. But talk to me about what you’re seeing play out there and if it’s as close as what you’re seeing in the Florida market.

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: Well, you know, Texas hasn’t been Democrat since 1976. So we’re talking about a huge, oh– you know, huge surprise if this goes to Democrats. So you’d expect the Republicans to be trading at something like 80% or 70%. Something pretty strong there.

But instead we’re seeing the Republicans trading at just 66% to win that state. So, now our market is still saying it’s 2/3 likely that it’ll happen, perhaps not as strong as you might think given its previous history as a Republican state.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, we can’t forget about all those battles down the ballot as well, perhaps a large focus as to why Democrats continue to focus on a state that– as you said– has been Republican for quite some time. But Sarbjit Bakhshi, appreciate you bringing us the latest there. He’s Smarket’s Head of Political Markets. Thanks again.

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