There’s no better time to be a political betting fan than during the party primaries leading up to an election year. During this process, handicappers are treated to 50 individual contests, one for each state—all available to bet—which culminate in a Democratic presidential candidate being nominated at the national convention.
Depending on the year, the field of competitors can range anywhere from two main candidates (like in 2016) to twenty, as was the case early in the 2020 primaries. Political handicappers watch the various debates, poll numbers, and media happenings, tracking who has the best odds of winning the nomination overall, as well as who has the edge in the next state or handful of states.
Best Sites for Betting on the Democratic Nominee
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The US democratic primary betting sites above have been reviewed for a wide range of crucial factors, including safety, history/reputation, variety of wagers, bonuses, and website quality. Of all the online sportsbooks to pass our vetting process, these were found to be the very best political betting sites available.
If you’re going to be betting on the Democratic Party elections, we advise you open accounts at several of the top sportsbooks. Democratic betting odds can differ significantly from website to website, especially during the busier weeks in the race, like Super Tuesday, for example.
Once you’ve made your predictions, you’ll want to find the political betting site offering the best odds for that candidate, so you’re always maximizing the value of your wagers!
Betting Democratic Contests
What makes the primary season so thrilling for liberal betting handicappers is the high volume of events available. Each of America’s 50 states holds an individual inter-party contest to nominate their specific pick to become the party’s presidential nominee. Each of the states has a unique set of rules and voting processes. They’re divided into two main categories of voting: primaries and caucuses.
State primaries are a standard electoral event in which voters cast ballots for the candidates they’d like to see nominated to represent the Democratic Party. When betting on US Democratic primaries, pay close attention to the types of voting machines a state uses, and whether the state party representatives keep a transparent paper trail. Politics is a dirty game, so you always have to pay attention to potential interference and security issues.
A caucus is different from a primary, as the voters do not cast ballots. Instead, they meet in designated precincts to discuss and show their support for preferred candidates. Each precinct is its own mini competition. Caucuses are much less precise than primaries and more susceptible to controversial results. In 2020, there are far fewer caucuses than before. After 2016, eight states changed from caucuses to primary systems, with only Iowa, Nevada, and Wyoming still caucusing.
DNC Nomination Futures Wagers
You can also bet on the eventual Democrat nominee at any time during the primary process. The overall 50-state competition for the nomination is called a “primary,” same as the “primaries” held by most individual states. So, for example, some caucuses are part of the primary process. (A little confusing, we know!)
Many sites that offer odds for betting politics will post their DNC nomination numbers over a year prior to the election year, setting lines for a large field of possible candidates. Online sportsbooks will often include multiple novelty picks, such as Oprah Winfrey, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, and Mark Cuban.
As the primary progresses, the markets sharpen at US Democratic election betting sites, and the field of top-tier candidates becomes clearer. With each primary/caucus outcome, day of news cycles, and new poll results, the posted lines continually update to reflect the latest data. Thus, timing your DNC primary election futures bets for maximum value is just as crucial as picking the right candidate!
Bet on Democratic Primary Debates
Throughout the process of selecting the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, the candidates will traditionally meet in a series of public debates. Sometimes, these debates will cover a specific topic, while in others, they’re left open to a broad range of issues.
At some events, between one and four moderators will ask the questions and officiate speaking times. In other instances, the DNC will organize “town hall” style debates, in which members of the audience are given a chance to direct questions directly at their candidates of choice.
Watching the Democratic debates is an essential part of handicapping political primaries. How candidates are perceived on stage often dictate how enthusiastically supporters donate money to the campaigns and can have a significant effect on poll numbers. Pay attention to how well each participant answers the questions as well as how they come across on television. Sometimes, it’s not what they say, but how they say it, that matters most.
A fantastic debate performance can’t turn any old candidate into a frontrunner, but a disastrous showing can quickly tank even the most promising campaigns. More than anything, you want to bet on Democrat candidates who are less likely to suffer massive humiliations that will haunt them the rest of the primaries on live TV.
2020 Democratic Primary Debates
For the 2020 presidential election, the Democratic Party scheduled 12 DNC-sanctioned debates, beginning in June 2019. Six debates took place in 2019, with the remaining six reserved for the first four months of 2020.
This includes one scheduled in each of the four earliest primary states, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, all within a week of the upcoming contest in that same location. Almost two weeks after Super Tuesday (March 3, when 16 states and territories hold their primaries simultaneously), the remaining candidates will meet on stage again, in Arizona. The twelfth, and final debate has not yet been scheduled at the time of writing this guide on US Democratic election betting sites.
|Democratic Primary Debate||Date||Location|
|First Democratic Primary Debate||June 26-27, 2019||Miami, Florida|
|Second Democratic Primary Debate||July 30-31, 2019||Detroit, Michigan|
|Third Democratic Primary Debate||September 12, 2019||Houston, Texas|
|Fourth Democratic Primary Debate||October 15, 2019||Westerville, Ohio|
|Fifth Democratic Primary Debate||November 20, 2019||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Sixth Democratic Primary Debate||December 19, 2019||Los Angeles, California|
|Seventh Democratic Primary Debate||January 14, 2020||Des Moines, Iowa|
|Eighth Democratic Primary Debate||February 7, 2020||Manchester, New Hampshire|
|Ninth Democratic Primary Debate||February 19, 2020||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Tenth Democratic Primary Debate||February 25, 2020||Charleston, South Carolina|
|Eleventh Democratic Primary Debate||March 15, 2020||Phoenix, Arizona|
Democratic National Convention Betting Opportunities
- When: July 13-16, 2020
- Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Choosing a Nominee
Following the 50 state-level contests, the remaining candidates arrive at the Democratic convention in July to plead their cases for the nomination. Each state awards a set number of pledged delegates, which are proportionately allocated to the candidates that finish with 15% or more of the votes.
For example, in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders came in first place, with roughly 3,500 more votes than Buttigieg in second. Amy Klobuchar received 19% of the vote to come in third. Sanders and Buttigieg both won nine pledged delegates, while Klobuchar earned six. So, as you can see, a candidate can technically “lose” a primary and still gain an equal number of these crucial pledged delegates.
Superdelegates and Pledged Delegates
At the Democratic National Convention, a candidate needs 1,991 or more pledged delegates to secure the party nomination on the first ballot. For 2020, a new rule was enacted barring superdelegates, high-ranking party insiders and donors, from the initial vote. This was changed after 2016, when the superdelegates, who were all pledged to Clinton before the race began, appeared to cancel out the voters’ choices.
However, if nobody secures the 1,991 pledged delegates on the first ballot, the 500 to 700 superdelegates will be allowed to cast votes. Additionally, every previously pledged delegate becomes unpledged for each subsequent round of voting. It doesn’t matter to whom they originally belonged.
If the nomination requires more than one round of voting on the convention floor, that’s called a “contested” or “brokered” convention. Between the extended field of candidates and new rules allocating delegates proportionately (instead of “winner takes all” like before), the 2020 convention has a high likelihood of being contested.
2020 Democratic Debate Participants
- Joe Biden
- Bernie Sanders
- Elizabeth Warren
- Pete Buttigieg
- Amy Klobuchar
- Tulsi Gabbard
- Michael Bloomberg
- Beto O’Rourke
- Tom Steyer
- Andrew Yang
- Kamala Harris
- Cory Booker
- Julian Castro
- Marianne Williamson
- Michael Bennet
- Bill de Blasio
- John Delaney
- Tim Ryan
- Kirsten Gillibrand
- John Hickenlooper
- Eric Swalwell
Finding Value in Democratic Primary Betting Odds
For the most up-to-date news, information, and strategies related to US democratic election betting, check out our latest political wagering blog posts. They’ll break down specific results and upcoming contests, as well as share expert opinions and predictions for both individual primaries or caucuses along the way and DNC nomination futures odds.
In this section, we’ll go over some basic Democrat betting concepts to consider when handicapping the 2020 democratic primary elections. Wagering on politics hasn’t been popular in the United States for very long, but since 2016, we’ve learned quite a bit about how to accurately predict election results.
Example of Political Odds:
- 2020 Democratic CandidateOdds
- Joe Biden -140
- Bernie Sanders +175
- Michael Bloomberg +1600
- Hillary Clinton +3000
- Elizabeth Warren +5000
- Michelle Obama +8000
- Tulsi Gabbard +50000
Always Think About Betting Value
Whether you place a bet on politics or sports, a successful handicapper always has their mind on finding value. To make a profit over the long term, you have to look further than your surface-level predictions.
Positive betting value exists when the implied probability of the odds is exceeded by the real-life likelihood of an outcome taking place. For example, a -200 favorite has an implied probability of 66.67%. Another way to think of that is at those odds; you’d need to win the payout 66.67% of the time to break even.
So, if a Democratic candidate is listed at -200 to win the South Carolina primary, for example, but you’ve determined there’s a 70% chance they’ll emerge victoriously, that bet has value! If you like a candidate’s odds in a given race, but their line makes the payout not worth the risk, stay away. It doesn’t matter how sure you are that the favorite will win.
Follow Poll Numbers, but Don’t Overvalue Them
Poll numbers can be an extremely helpful tool throughout the primaries process. Assuming you primarily follow the more prominent, trustworthy pollsters, these updates can grant insight into which topics and issues are resonating most with voters. You can also track which candidates are surging and which are on the decline.
Many polls even break down each candidate’s support with individual demographics of people, including by age, race, economic class, and more. This data will also be useful in helping to predict how Democratic primary contenders will perform in upcoming contests.
However, you don’t want to lean on the poll numbers too heavily. That’s the mistake so many pundits and political bettors made in 2016. Sometimes, polls possess inherent biases. Many of these surveys are conducted over the phone, for example. Older voters are much more likely to answer a call from an unknown number and participate in a poll than younger citizens.
There have also been instances of pollsters going out of their way to collect data that supports their personal desires. In 2016, many of the top Democratic-leaning media outlets continuously oversold Hillary Clinton’s likelihood of winning. They routinely posted misleading poll numbers, while the crowd sizes at both candidates’ campaign rallies told a different story.
So, follow the polls to get a feel for the general “rhythms” of the Democratic primaries over time, but don’t let them exclusively dictate your Democrat betting decisions.
Read Competing News Sources
These days, it’s too easy to get stuck in a bubble where one only sees the news that agrees with their worldview. Liberal media constantly attacks and blames conservatives for everything wrong in this country, while simultaneously ignoring the criticisms of Democrats, while Fox News and right-wing outlets do the exact opposite.
As a result, there are precious few news sources attempting to report objective facts. This is unfortunate because, when placing a bet on politics, the objective truth of what’s going to happen is all that matters.
Until you find a handful of objective journalists, like our political betting experts at The Sports Geek, at least make sure you’re collecting information from a variety of sources. If you’ve read three CNN/MSNBC articles, mix in a few Fox News or Breitbart pieces to see what the other side is saying.
Remember, your personal political leanings do not matter, nor does your opinion regarding which party is correct. All that matters is predicting how the competing messages will be met by the American electorate and who will win their races.
Be a Student of History
“History repeats itself,” as the old phrase goes. When betting Democratic elections, you’d be shocked by how much valuable knowledge can be gleaned from prior election cycles. The 2020 primary, for example, closely resembles the 1972 race. Bernie Sanders fits the description of a modern-day George McGovern and Joe Biden’s troubled campaign is reminiscent of Ed Muskie. Donald Trump would be Richard Nixon, the first of only three presidents ever to have been impeached, with Trump being the third after Bill Clinton.
The similarities won’t always be so obvious, but there’s still plenty to learn. When there’s a small field, what kind of candidate benefits? What effect does a larger field of options have on strong grassroots movements? In this case, a larger, more divided field, gives more progressive “outsider” campaigns an advantage since the moderates are split amongst several similar politicians.
2020 Democratic Primary Candidates
At the time of writing, Democrat Socialist Bernie Sanders—a senator from Vermont—is the favorite to win the 2020 nomination. Sanders went head-to-head with Hillary Clinton in 2016, where he built the powerful progressive movement that powers his candidacy today. Many in the leadership and donor ranks of the DNC do not like Bernie, nor do they see him as a “true” Democrat. Because of this, he’s often met with resistance from liberal media outlets and party officials alike.
Joe Biden spent several decades in Congress and served as Barack Obama’s Vice President from 2008 to 2016. For months, before the first Iowa caucus, the former VP polled as the national favorite to win the Democratic nomination. However, his status amongst the field proved overblown once the real contests began. He’s relying on a first-place finish in South Carolina to remain viable.