- Florida, Georgia, North Carolina shaping up to be crucial swing states
- Polls give Biden a narrow edge in all three a week before Election Day
- Trump heavily favored to retain most other Bible Belt states
The Bible Belt has historically been relatively safe ground for Republicans. In 2016, Donald Trump swept this entire region of the country, with wins in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and both Carolinas. With the exception of Florida, which seems to be a crucial swing state every four years, these states are traditionally safe havens for Republican presidential candidates.
While much of this turf is likely to swing in Trump’s favor once again in 2020, there is a lot less certainty with this election than there usually is. The heavy reliance on mail-in voting and other voting-related complications mean we have more gray area here than we otherwise might in a more normal election year.
MyBookie, BetNow, and Bovada are a few of the political betting sites currently taking wagers on how the presidential election may pan out. While betting on the eventual winner may be the most popular way to bet on American politics, these sites are also affording bettors the opportunity to wager on electoral college outcomes in all 50 states.
We’re going to roll through the Bible Belt region in an attempt to identify the best bets for each state. Not every politics betting site taking bets on the 2020 election sees these races the same way, which is why you will find different odds depending on which site you choose. Check out the following sites for a variety of different election betting options:
Florida Odds at MyBookie
- Joe Biden (+140)
- Donald Trump (-160)
Georgia Odds at Bovada
- Joe Biden (+120)
- Donald Trump (-160)
North Carolina Odds at BetNow
- Joe Biden (+200)
- Donald Trump (-300)
We’ll be using MyBookie’s electoral college odds in this post.
Is Trump Safe in Alabama?
- Donald Trump (-4000)
- Joe Biden (+1000)
Back in 1976, a number of southern states voted for Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter thanks in large part to his southern heritage. Carter rolled through the south as a native Georgian, and his win included a victory in Alabama. Since then, though, the state has reliably voted Republican. Alabama has gone red in each of the last 10 presidential elections.
As you can see, oddsmakers like Trump’s chances of hanging onto Alabama’s nine electoral college votes in 2020. The incumbent is a massive -4000 favorite here, which makes sense. FiveThirtyEight’s latest polling averages, which we’ll be referencing quite often in this article, have Trump with a huge lead here. The latest SurveyMonkey polls, for example, have Trump ahead 61-38 over his Democratic challenger.
Alabama isn’t a very interesting electoral college betting state given Trump’s -4000 odds. A more interesting way to bet on Alabama politics would be to take a shot on Tommy Tuberville to unseat Democratic Senator Doug Jones, which is almost sure to happen. MyBookie has Tuberville as a -800 favorite to win a seat in the US Senate as things stand now, with Jones down at +400. Tuberville at -800 doesn’t offer tons of profit potential, but the odds are still more attackable than Trump’s -4000 number.
Trump Heavily Favored in Arkansas
- Donald Trump (-4000)
- Joe Biden (+1000)
Trump is just as favored in Arkansas as he is in Alabama. While Arkansas did vote for native son Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996, this is another state that is solid red country. Unless you’re from the south, you’re probably not winning here. Save for the aforementioned exceptions, Arkansans have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1972.
Arkansas is Trump country.
New Arkansas statewide poll👇
(Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College) #arpx
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) October 20, 2020
Trump’s lead over Biden in Arkansas isn’t quite as massive as his advantage in Alabama, but it’s still not a competitive state. SurveyMonkey’s latest poll spanning from September 28-October 25 has Trump up 20 points. Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who is also up for re-election, leads his opponent, Ricky Dale Harrington, by a whopping 35 points in the same polls.
There won’t be much drama on Election Night when it comes to Arkansas. You’re making a safe bet with Trump at -4000, but the value obviously isn’t there.
Biden Looking To Flip Florida
- Donald Trump (-160)
- Joe Biden (+120)
Ah, Florida. The only certainties in life are death, taxes, and Florida serving as the epicenter for some truly wild stuff come election season. Trump pulled the upset over Clinton in the Sunshine State four years ago, which was essentially the beginning of the wild night that ended with Trump seizing control of the White House.
Trump’s win in Florida ended the Democrats’ two-election winning streak in the state. Barack Obama carried Florida in both 2008 and 2012, but George W. Bush turned the state red in both 2000 and 2004. The 2000 election, you may recall, was where the mayhem in the 2000 election ensued.
Trump won Florida 49 percent to 47.8 percent in 2016. He has since made Florida his adopted home state, and he has focused all sorts of efforts on making sure Florida’s 29 electoral votes stay red. Biden, meanwhile, holds a polling advantage. Despite MyBookie’s odds installing Trump as a -160 favorite here, recent polls actually have Biden narrowly in front. A Florida Atlantic University poll from October 24-25 had Biden up 50 percent to 48 percent.
Trump has canceled $5.5 million of ads in Florida during the final week because he’s running out of cash. If Biden wins Florida, it’s game over – and Biden is currently leading in state polls. https://t.co/izbjaCBmsM
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) October 27, 2020
In 2018, Democrats lost a Senate seat, while a Republican narrowly won the Governorship. Democrats won just about everywhere in those midterm elections…except for Florida. We know midterms are generally a referendum on a sitting president, but Florida didn’t show any serious signs of swinging back in the Democrats’ direction. Of course, a lot has changed in the two years since, and Florida is very much in play for both candidates.
Early voter turnout has been up in Florida, as has been the case all over the country. As of October 26, the state had received 86 percent of the total amount of early votes it received in 2016. Registered Democrats have cast over 360,000 more votes than registered Republicans as of this writing, which is potentially good news for Biden’s chances of pulling the upset.
A flier bet on Biden given the +120 odds is logical here. Florida is inherently unpredictable, but you won’t find many swing states giving Biden plus-money odds at this point. With polling favoring the Democratic candidate, placing a wager on Biden to turn Florida blue makes sense. Trump at -160 may be the “safer” bet, but you’re obviously lacking upside at those odds.
Is Georgia In Play?
- Donald Trump (-190)
- Joe Biden (+140)
Georgia is not historically a swing state. As is the case in Texas, though, shifting demographics will likely mean the Peach State becomes less certain for Republicans moving forward. Georgia hasn’t gone blue since voting for Bill Clinton in 1992. While it isn’t quite as red as some of its neighbors to the west, the state has still been reliably Republican since the early 1970s.
Could this be the year things change? It’s possible. Biden and Trump are polling neck-and-neck, and Biden even made a campaign stop in Georgia on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton didn’t set foot in Georgia in 2016 because it was going red no matter what, but that’s not the case in 2020. We also have two sitting Republican Senators facing tough re-election battles of their own.
A recent Civiqs poll cited by FiveThirtyEight has Biden up 51-48 here. Trump beat Clinton by about five percentage points last year, so this is quite the change just four years later. Time is precious for candidates at this stage of the race, so the fact that Biden is willing to take the time to campaign in Georgia is a sign that his campaign thinks the state is legitimately in play.
Scoop: Joe Biden will travel Georgia on Tuesday, marking his first trip to the state as Democrats make a late push to win where they haven’t since 1992. He is slated to travel to Atlanta and Warm Springs.
— Tyler Pager (@tylerpager) October 24, 2020
Trump’s base among rural Georgians will be there, but Biden is trying to chip away at Trump’s advantage by targeting African-Americans and suburbanites. Nearly three million Georgians have voted as of this writing, which is way above the early vote total we saw here four years ago with another week left in the race. While Trump is confident that he will retain the state’s 16 electoral votes, the fact that the president has campaigned here twice in the last month is a sign that he may not be quite as sure as he claims.
The polls fall within the margin of error, but there is still reason to believe Biden can give Trump a run for his money here. As is the case with Florida, a cheap flier on Biden at the +140 odds is pretty interesting. The profit potential isn’t massive, but 2020 could certainly be the year Georgia turns blue again.
Trump Well Ahead in Louisiana
- Donald Trump (-2500)
- Joe Biden (+850)
Louisiana is home to a major city (New Orleans) and a big college town (Baton Rouge), but the state is otherwise a Republican stronghold. Louisiana went for the Democrats when Bill Clinton was on the ticket in ’92 and ’96, but Republicans have rallied to win the state in each of the last five presidential elections.
Trump trounced Hillary here 58.1 percent to 38.5 percent four years ago. Some polls suggest Trump’s lead over Biden isn’t quite as massive, but we’re still not talking about a competitive state here. One poll has Trump up 12 points, while another has Trump up 21. Either way you slice it, this is Trump country.
Senate Drama in Mississippi?
- Donald Trump (-2000)
- Joe Biden (+800)
Trump crushed Clinton in Louisiana’s eastern neighbor, Mississippi, 57.9-40.1 percent in 2016. Mississippi didn’t vote for Bill Clinton back in the 90s, which means no Democrat has won here since Carter in ’76. That means Democrats have won just once here since 1964, and it sure doesn’t seem as though 2020 will be any different.
Trump is up 14 points in the latest FiveThirtyEight polling averages, so it makes sense that POTUS is a -2000 favorite here. Biden isn’t even worth a low-dollar wager at the +800 odds. Not this year, at least.
U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy tells @lawrence that Senator Hyde-Smith’s comments about Mississippi and the Confederacy make her the wrong choice for the state. “This is who she is in word and thought and deed.”https://t.co/XzJXGVQs7s
— The Last Word (@TheLastWord) October 24, 2020
We could have an interesting Senate race brewing here, though. Cindy Hyde-Smith is looking to retain her seat against Democratic challenger Mike Espy. Hyde-Smith was up by nearly 30 points back in March, but the race has amazingly tightened considerably over the past half-year. A recent Tyson Group poll had Hyde-Smith edging out Espy 41-40. Hyde-Smith is still the better bet to stave off her ouster at -200, but the fact that we’re even talking about a close Senate race in Mississippi is remarkable given the state’s long right-leaning history.
Toss-Up In North Carolina
- Donald Trump (-135)
- Joe Biden (-105)
According to the odds, North Carolina is the toughest Bible Belt state to predict. Trump is a -135 favorite to hang on, but Biden isn’t far behind at -105. This state voted for Trump in 2016, but that very same year they elected a Democrat (Roy Cooper) into the Governorship.
The Republicans were originally slated to hold their convention in Charlotte, but COVID-19 forced the party to change plans. It’s clearly of huge importance to Trump’s chances of re-election considering 15 electoral votes are on the line here. Save for a win by Obama here in 2008, the Tar Heel State has been red in every presidential cycle since 1980.
As is the case with many swing state polls, though, Biden has a slight edge. An RMG Research poll that just came out this week had Biden up 48-47. A SurveyMonkey poll gave Biden an even bigger lead at 52-46, while YouGov had it at 51-47 in favor of the ex-VP.
North Carolina also has a competitive Senate race to watch, with Republican incumbent Thom Tillis looking to keep Cal Cunningham at bay. Cunningham had a six-point lead in a recent YouGov poll, and MyBookie actually has Cunningham priced at -160 to turn the seat blue.
Given the odds, this is another instance in which taking a stab at Biden’s slightly more profitable odds (-105) makes sense. Trump beat Clinton by just over three points here four years ago, but every recent poll available shows Biden in the lead.
Senate Upset in South Carolina?
- Donald Trump (-2500)
- Joe Biden (+700)
While Trump is in for a fight in North Carolina, South Carolina looks like a lock to stay red. Trump, who won the state by nearly 15 points four years ago, is a -2500 favorite. Polls have shown that his advantage has slipped, but the incumbent is still comfortably ahead. A Starboard poll had Trump up 51-44, with some other polls giving Trump an advantage of as many as 10 points.
As is the case with a few of these states, there seems to be more drama here in the Senate race. Lindsey Graham is in the fight of his life against Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. The race has garnered national attention thanks in large part to Graham’s status as one of the more well-known faces in the Republican Congress. While Graham is still at -350 to win, Harrison has crushed Graham in terms of campaign fundraising over the past couple of months.
In his bid to oust Sen. Lindsey Graham, Harrison has raked in tens of millions of dollars from Democrats across the country who despise the president and, by extension, one of his top allies, Graham https://t.co/w0maLj0zEP
— POLITICO (@politico) October 21, 2020
A recent Morning Consult poll had Harrison up 47-45, as well. South Carolina won’t tip toward Biden in 2020, but we could see voters elect a Democratic Senator here for the first time since Fritz Hollings was elected for the final time back in 1998.
No Betting Value in Tennessee
- Donald Trump (-6000)
- Joe Biden (+1200)
Trump has better odds to win Tennessee than any other Bible Belt state. The former reality TV star garnered over 60 percent of the vote here four years ago, compared to just 34.7 percent for Clinton. Democratic support has been steadily waning here for years. Republicans have steadily increased their lead in each of the last five presidential elections. Tennessee went blue with native son Al Gore on as the vice-presidential candidate to Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, but Gore lost his home state when he headlined the presidential ticket in 2000.
The latest SurveyMonkey poll gave Trump a 56-42 lead in Tennessee. It’s certainly notable that the electorate may not be quite as enthusiastically pro-Trump as they were in ’16, but a lead is a lead. We don’t see those kinds of polling numbers turned upside-down come Election Day, so Trump is a lock to retain Tennessee’s 11 electoral votes next Tuesday.