The Super Bowl stands as the one betting opportunity that outweighs all others in terms of American sports. But it has gained some competition lately. Online political betting has established a firm foundation, both in the United States and elsewhere, so much so that events like the presidential election can compare with and sometimes even outdo the Super Bowl in terms of wagering interest.
There are certain sporting events which tend to draw betting support from casual fans, either at sportsbooks or gambling websites. These are the fans who might not follow that particular sport on a regular basis but come out of the woodwork for big events to place larger bets.
And no event exemplifies that kind of phenomenon quite like the Super Bowl. But the public’s interest in political betting is starting to feel similar to Super Bowl betting. It’s a fascinating subject of comparison, one that bettors should start to heed as they decide how to best spend their gambling money at online sportsbooks and top gambling websites.
Comparing the Super Bowl With Election Betting
If you’re a hardcore gambler, it’s likely that you’re getting action on just about everything that comes down the pike. You’ll be betting regular season games for sporting events besides the big events like the Super Bowl or the World Series. Or to give another example, you’ll be betting on a lot of horse races besides the Kentucky Derby each year.
But what about those folks who like to be a bit more careful about how they spend the money they’ve allotted for gambling? The Super Bowl has long been a staple for casual gamblers, so most of them understand how sports betting works. But those same people might not understand the specifics of political betting.
With that in mind, we’re going to look at political betting in comparison to Super Bowl betting and vice versa. We’ll talk about how they’re alike and how they’re different. We’ll also dive into the advantages and disadvantages of each one compared to the other. Finally, we’ll talk about which betting experience might be better suited for you depending on what you’re all about and what your gambling goals might be.
Why Bettors Love the Super Bowl and the Presidential Election
We can estimate how much is bet on the Super Bowl each year because sportsbooks release the figures. For example, in Super Bowl LIV—which was held in February 2020—over $154 million was bet. That does not account for the money wagered on overseas gambling websites, which tend to keep their figures close to the vest.
While comparing the two in terms of betting handle is tricky, we can say with clarity that these two events bring in much more betting attention than other sporting or cultural events. Below, we’ll go over a few reasons why that’s the case.
- Importance: The Super Bowl stands out because it only consists of one highly-anticipated game. Compare that to the World Series or the NBA Championships, for example, which are a series of games. Meanwhile, the presidential election is held every four years. This tends to dwarf the importance of other elections held more frequently, at least to bettors. There is something about being involved in such big events that appeals to casual bettors.
- Information: Quite simply, it’s a little easier to make an informed wager on the Super Bowl than you could with an average NFL game. There are endless articles and news reports on the game compared to the limited information on common regular-season games. In the same way, the presidential election is reported on for years in advance, which means that you can really get all the information you need to make a decent pick.
- Favoritism: Most people belong to one of two political parties in the United States and tend to have a favorite in terms of the two presidential candidates each year. That makes the presidential election a good opportunity for people to bet on their favorites closely. The same is often the case with the Super Bowl, where people might develop an attachment to one of the two teams who gain attention throughout the postseason.
Playing the Lines
If you’re a casual gambler who only gets involved with the presidential election or the Super Bowl, you might not have a firm grasp on how the odds work for these games. Odds are related to the types of bets you’re placing. But there’s a misconception about how they’re constructed that could cause you to place a bet based on faulty information. If you understand how odds work, you could make more informed decisions about bets that are right for you.
In actuality, the oddsmakers at sports gambling sites are trying to get roughly the same amount of money bet on both sides of the lines. This is how the sportsbooks make money and it prevents them from taking too much of a hit based on one outcome. It really doesn’t have anything to do with “smart money” or the oddsmakers trying to fake you out; they are protecting themselves.
Lines in Political Betting
The same concept goes for political betting on the presidential election online. Oddsmakers set the lines, then they react to the amount of money being bet on each side. While they might adjust lines based on the polls or early results on Election Day, they ultimately still have to make sure to balance out the betting on each side.
An interesting phenomenon played out in the 2020 Presidential Election. Biden had been the favorite going into election night based on solid polling. But early results coming in on Election Day had many gambling websites shifting toward Donald Trump as the favorite.
Many bettors wagered on the incumbent, Donald trump, even more aggressively when they saw that. Some bettors even believed that the betting sites “knew” who the winner would be. In reality, the betting sites were simply reacting to the heavy betting on one side more than anything else. When the results started to favor Biden, those odds immediately started to shift in the other direction.
The Gambling Lesson
If you’re a casual bettor interested in betting on the presidential election or the Super Bowl, the lesson to be learned is that you should be focused on gathering information outside of gambling sites when you bet.
One exception to this is if you’re waiting for some sort of value on your bets. For example, if you didn’t want to bet on Trump until his moneyline odds reached a certain level because you were looking for value, that would be another story. But for the most part, you should avoid looking too much at how the lines change and concentrate on other more significant factors in political betting or Super Bowl betting.
Types of Bets at Super Bowl and Political Betting Sites
There are many similarities between Super Bowl and political betting, and chief among those is the bets available to you. Take a look at some of the major ones you’ll be encountering.
This is the easiest bet to place; you just choose which of the two combatants will win. The moneyline is based on the concept of 100 units:
- The favorite has a minus sign before the number. This indicates how much you have to bet in order to win $100 in return.
- The underdog has a plus sign before the number. This indicates how much you win for a $100 bet.
At what point is it wise to take a chance on an underdog given what you might get in return? And at what point does a favorite become so overpriced that it isn’t worth it to bet, even if you’re pretty sure they’re going to win?
Moneyline bets won’t make you rich unless you make a large bet to start. They can be a bit risky for casual bettors looking to make a lot on a little. You might want to try one of the other bets listed below in that case.
A prop bet is a shortened term for “proposition” bet. These bets are often related to aspects of a contest that are separate from the actual outcome of who wins or loses. They usually offer decent payback on a small wager, especially compared to moneyline bets.
A lot of these bets are chancier than moneylines, simply because there are many variables that come into play.
Prop bets have snuck into the world of political betting as well. For example, in the 2020 Presidential Election, a popular prop bet was what day the loser would concede. With prop bets in place, you can profit in more ways than just picking the winner or loser, but there is still some risk involved.
Futures wagers for both the Super Bowl and political contests work the same way. You’re betting in advance of the actual event taking place. The further out you are from the contest, the more lucrative the payback tends to be if you get it right.
For example, you could have made a futures wager on Joe Biden at a time when his campaign seemed to be struggling in early 2020 or even before that and received odds of 20 to 1 on him winning the election. Of course, any one of a number of things could have happened to derail that. He could have dropped out, failed to win the Democratic nomination, or lost the election.
In sports such as football, the same concept applies. For example, in 2020, you could have received really favorable odds on a team like the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl before the season began. Those odds are lower now.
Where to Bet on Both the Super Bowl and Political Contests
Unlike the Super Bowl, you cannot bet on United States elections within the US at sportsbooks or casinos. There are laws in place to prevent that. But you can bet at online gambling sites that are based overseas and outside of United States jurisdictions where online gambling is legal.
There are many of these sites available. But you should focus on the best of them, since you’ll be putting real money at stake. Here are a few of the top US gambling sites that we recommend:
Advantages of Super Bowl Betting Over Political Betting
- There is no real correlation to a point spread in political betting on elections. The point spread gives you another way to think about a Super Bowl game and possibly make money.
- The outcome of the Super Bowl is generally decided by which team plays better. With presidential elections or any other political contest, you have to learn more about voters to predict the outcome, which can be tricky.
- The Super Bowl takes place every year. While you can bet on elections for Congress more often than presidential elections, they don’t hold quite the same lure.
Advantages of Political Betting Over Super Bowl Betting
- There is less luck involved in political betting. The outcome of a Super Bowl bet can turn on one lucky (or unlucky) bounce of the football.
- Polling provides a relatively accurate estimate of how an election will go. Although polls aren’t always accurate (see: the 2016 Presidential Election), they can give you a good idea of what to expect. There is nothing similar for Super Bowl bets.
- Political betting need not come down to one single contest. If you don’t feel strongly about betting on presidential elections, for example, you could bet on Senate elections instead.
We hope that this article brings you a better understanding of political betting versus sports betting, and how they are more closely related than you think. It’s all about taking advantage of odds and finding low-risk, high-value bets. In that way, these two forms of betting have far more in common than meets the eye.