Rejoice, America. The most polarizing and contentious presidential race in modern history is finally coming to an end.
Tomorrow – November 8, 2016 – tens of millions of Americans will be heading to the polls to elect the next leader of the free world.
At Sports Insights, we’ve been tracking the presidential odds for nearly three years. From the very beginning, our goal has been to cut through the noise, eliminate subjectivity and examine the 2016 election from a purely betting standpoint, tracking the odds movement over time to see which candidate is the smartest bet to win the presidency.
Then, in the summer of 2015, everything changed.
Trump announced his candidacy for president and immediately rose to prominence amid an unprecedented wave of anti-government populism.
In July of 2015, Trump opened at +2500 to win his party’s nomination and stood at +4000 to win the presidency. Six months later, Trump successfully defied the odds, dispatching nearly two-dozen competitors to become the Republican nominee. By May of 2016, Trump had catapulted to +220 to win the White House.
However, during the final stretch, both candidates would experience a series of ups and downs.
In August, thanks to a plethora of unforced errors by Trump, Clinton’s odds moved from -330 to -590.
Then, in early September, Trump struck back. He fired his campaign manager, gave up the back-and-forth feuds that kept dragging him down and smartly shifted his attention to the issues and the voters. His 2016 odds quickly improved from +365 to +270.
Unfortunately for Trump, the honeymoon was short-lived. He did poorly in the October debates and then his campaign nearly imploded when a leaked video showed Trump bragging about assaulting women. As a result, Clinton ballooned to -740, her high-water mark of the campaign. Pundits were writing Trump’s political obituary. He had dropped to +530 and looked down and out.
Then, out of nowhere, FBI Director James Comey dropped an October bombshell. He wrote a letter to Congress saying the investigation into Clinton’s emails had been re-opened. The books immediately dropped Clinton’s odds. Just like that, Trump was back in the game.