So Goes The Nation: A Breakdown Of Pennsylvania’s Swing State Odds

  • Joe Biden has -180 odds to win the Presidential Election on November 3rd.
  • Donald Trump has +145 odds to win Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.
  • Pennsylvania is an important swing state, and could be the tipping point electorally.

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – As Pennsylvania goes, so goes the country – potentially. Pennsylvania is a battleground state in this election, and it might be the single most important state of all.

Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes, and FiveThirtyEight gives it a 40% chance to be the tipping point state – the state that puts a candidate over 270 electoral votes.

In other words, it is easy to see how Joe Biden wins the election if he wins Pennsylvania – he would simply need to win Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and New Hampshire as well.

These are all states that he is polling better than in Pennsylvania. If he wins PA, it’s pretty likely that he wins those states as well – which would put him over 270.

For Donald Trump, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a victory without winning Pennsylvania as well.

A Trump win in Pennsylvania might indicate that the polls were wrong enough (like in 2016) to deliver him victories in states like Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona.

With so much on the line for both candidates and so many electoral college votes, it seems likely that the winner of Pennsylvania will immediately swing the presidential election odds in their favor.

Here’s what the election odds look like right now at Bovada:

Presidential Election Overall Winner – Bovada

  • Joe Biden -180
  • Donald Trump +150
  • Kamala Harris +10000
  • Mike Pence +10000

Meanwhile, here’s what the election odds look like for Pennsylvania specifically:

Pennsylvania (PA) Winner

  • Democratic Candidate -190
  • Republican Candidate +145

There’s not a lot of daylight there, but there is some. It could be reasonable (in terms of value, not predictiveness) to take Biden nationally rather than his PA odds because if he wins PA, he will likely win the presidency as well.

FiveThirtyEight gives Trump an 11% chance to win the election as of right now. However, 11% is not zero, and their analysis is based in part on polling data, which was wrong in 2016. That said, Biden’s polling lead is greater than Hillary Clinton’s was.

Basically, the numbers say that Biden should win the election, but people simply don’t trust the numbers after 2016.

Shopping Election Odds

Meanwhile, there’s further optimization to be done on the betting side of this. Line shopping is a great way to get the best odds on a wager, and that remains true even for political betting.

Let’s take a look at the election odds at MyBookie to illustrate this.

Presidential Election Overall Winner – MyBookie

  • Joe Biden -170
  • Donald Trump +130
  • Kamala Harris +20000
  • Mike Pence +27500
  • Anyone Else +50000

For whatever reason, over the course of this election cycle, the political wagerers at MyBookie have been quite bullish on Trump’s chances.

Ironically, this makes MyBookie a good sportsbook for Biden wagers, and a bad one for Trump wagerers.

A Trump bettor will get +130 odds at MyBookie, while at Bovada, they’ll get +150 odds. Meanwhile, a Biden bettor will have to pay up at -170 odds at MyBookie compared to -180 odds at Bovada.

Pennsylvania (Pa) Winner – MyBookie

  • Democratic Candidate -175
  • Republican Candidate +135

This trend continues when it comes to the state of Pennsylvania. Trump has +135 odds at MyBookie, but +145 odds at Bovada. Similarly, Biden has -175 odds at MyBookie, and -190 odds at Bovada. Once again, MyBookie is better for wagering on Biden.

This could be the best value for betting on either candidate in any state given how tight the election odds are. States such as Alabama are locks for Republicans and present too high of a vig. The same can be said for states such as California which tends to always vote democrat.

This is why bettors among all Americans will be hyper-focused on swing states such as Pennsylvania on Election Day.

Leave a Comment