Jeb Bush the Republican favorite to win the White House? The last time we checked the odds in September, he led the pack, but a lot has changed since then. We wanted to see the odds after the Iowa caucus, where Jeb! placed sixth! You can’t bet on the next President of the United States in Vegas, but foreign gambling locations are quite happy to take your money and test your Presidential prognostication prowess.
Four months ago, we looked over the odds as provided by prominent foreign oddsmakers such as Canada's Bovada and the UK's Ladbrokes. At the time, Jeb Bush was still a 3.75:1 favorite to win the Presidency while Donald Trump had begun his surge to rise to 7:1 odds; Ted Cruz and Ben Carson were in the next tier at 33:1 odds. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton was near even money while Bernie Sanders had dropped to 14:1.
Over the course of one of the strangest primary campaigns in history, the eve of the Iowa caucuses showed significant changes in the odds according to Bovada. Donald Trump managed to break almost every tenet of political campaigning to surge to 1.9:1 odds at Bovada, the best among the Republicans. Ted Cruz was rivaling Donald Trump in national polls but lagging behind at 20:1 with oddsmakers, while Marco Rubio sat at 10:1. Hillary was still an even money favorite, but Bernie Sanders had become a serious challenger at 3.5:1.
As if there weren't enough confusion entering the primary, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped hints that he is considering a Presidential run. Realistically, it will be difficult even for a multi-billionaire such as Bloomberg to mount a successful bid at this late date just from election mechanics, but he has been on the board at foreign books with odds generally in the 30:1 to 40:1 range. That's better than lower tier announced candidates such as Carly Fiorina and John Kasich who register in the 100:1 to 300:1 range.
Now we finally have results to analyze instead of polls, as the Iowa caucuses of both parties have finished. As of this writing, how have oddsmakers changed their view in light of the "Hawkeye Cauci?" The most significant change in the early post-caucus odds follow the most surprising of the caucus results – the strong third-place finish of Marco Rubio in the Republican caucus. In most books, Rubio is now second behind Hillary Clinton, who has nudged above even money to be a 0.8:1 favorite. That means you have to risk $10 to win $8 on the potential first female and second Clinton President.
Donald Trump's second-place finish dropped his odds to the 5:1 to 7:1 range, third among all contenders with the oddsmakers. Bernie Sanders' razor-thin defeat in Iowa keeps his odds in the 6:1 to 8:1 range. Ted Cruz's victory could not boost his odds above 12:1, and the declining Jeb Bush is still hanging in there near 40:1, in the same range as the undeclared Michael Bloomberg. Chris Christie is hovering around 80:1 odds, and all other declared candidates face greater than 100:1 odds.
If you still want to take a flyer on a longshot candidate, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Jim Gilmore (who?), and other lower-tier candidates are available for odds in the 150:1 to 300:1 range. If you placed money on Martin O'Malley, Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee, you can throw your bet slips away — they called it quits after the caucus. Check the latest results for most overseas books at Oddschecker.com.
If you like long odds, a few books allow you to place bets on a variety of celebrities and other non-candidates. Surely, a rich celebrity cannot be elected president of the U.S. ... can he?
Photo of Hillary Clinton by ©iStock.com/EdStock, Photo of Marco Rubio by Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons