On Thursday night, President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will go head-to-head in the second and final presidential debate. The meeting will take place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

(It was initially scheduled to be the third presidential debate. However, the second one was canceled due to concerns that Donald Trump was still contagious after testing positive for covid-19 just-under two weeks prior.)

The debate comes 12 days before Election Day, after many Americans have already cast their ballots.

It will be 90 minutes long without commercial breaks and moderated by NBC News’ Kristen Welker. She’ll be charged with trying to keep Biden and Trump on topic through six 15-minute-long segments, each dedicated to one of the following topics:

  • Fighting COVID-19
  • American families
  • Race in America
  • Climate change
  • National security
  • Leadership

To be perfectly honest; I never thought I’d be writing this article.

I thought for sure the Biden campaign would have their candidate bunkered down by now to metaphorically “run out the clock” and minimize the potential for unflattering public moments.

The former Vice President is nursing a +7.5-point lead according to the RCP national average, which includes a +4.2-point advantage (on average) across the top battleground states.

Considering the damning info that’s been coming out about Hunter Biden, some of which implicates the Democratic challenger in shady business arrangements, you’d expect Joe to keep laying low and avoiding the subject. He could skip the debate and never mention his son’s name again and never be pressed on either issue.

That seems like a much safer bet this late in the game.

Pundits and social media platforms have done a tremendous job suppressing negative stories about the Biden son’s laptop scandal while redirecting the narrative towards the biased sources who discovered the hard drive and asinine unfounded Russian conspiracies.

Between the polling leads, large swathes of the electorate already voting, and potentially devastating controversies underway, Joe Biden has substantially more to lose than he could ever hope to gain from this debate.

Trump: Finding the Right Balance of Attack

Trump’s goal will be to aggressively paint Joe Biden as another tool of “the swamp,” like Hillary Clinton four years ago. The Hunter Biden hard drive leaks are reminiscent of Clinton’s email hack and server scandal – even down to the timing.

However, Trump will have to be more measured in how he takes his shots this time around. Unlike the first debate, the candidates will lead off each of the six segments with a two-minute introduction while their opponent’s microphone is muted.

When the mics are hot, Trump has to get under the Democratic candidate’s skin without crossing the line to the point of hostility.

He wasn’t able to find that balance last time the two candidates shared a debate stage.

“They said if you let him talk, he’ll lose his chain of thought,” Trump said of his advisors, who hope for fewer interruptions from their candidate. “But I also understand that as he’s going down the line and issuing lies, you know, generally it’s OK to, you know, really attack that.”

When focusing on the material from Hunter Biden’s computer, the President needs to amplify the evidence of corruption it possessed while shying away from topics that risk making the former VP’s son a sympathetic figure – for example, the pictures in which he’s clearly in the throes of drug addiction.

Many Americans have experienced addiction issues – whether their own or a family member’s –mocking the images of Hunter smocking crack will backfire.

“The president, in order to have a successful debate, has to go on offense without being offensive,” said Brett O’Donnell, a GOP strategist with experience coaching candidates for debates. “The American people care more about their own family than they do about the family of Hunter Biden. Especially during the pandemic.”

Biden: Play It Safe, Don’t Take the Bait, Run Out the Clock

As for Joe Biden, he needs to keep lying and denying; he’s been doing it all election cycle. Since the primaries, the 77-year-old has brushed off any inconvenient facts thrown in his direction during debates by merely saying they’re not true.

The only media outlets that report on the falsehoods are watched by conservatives who would never vote for a Democrat anyway. Nobody whose allegiance could be changed by learning Biden was outright lying on live television will ever be confronted with that information.

And since most of the country is conditioned to assume Donald Trump is lying anyway – especially if his opponent says so to his face — it’s a brilliantly useful system.

All Biden needs to do is refuse to engage on the contents of Hunter’s emails. Whenever they come up, call it “Russian disinformation” or a “hoax” perpetrated by Rudy Giuliani.

Gee, What Fortunate Timing!

The latter will be particularly effective after the former NY Mayor’s record was conveniently tarnished one day before the debate, thanks to Sasha Baron Cohen.

The comedic actor organized a sting operation for his new Borat movie, which successfully caught Trump’s personal attorney in a compromising position. The Borat sequel was produced by Amazon, filmed unusually quickly, and scheduled for release just before Election Day.

The movie is a political opposition research project disguised as pop culture – which, like it or not, is a genius way to win an election if you have the right interests behind you and can make it happen.

Beyond deflecting all the Hunter talk, all Biden needs to do is repeat his usual talking points:

  • “Donald Trump is the most dangerous threat to democracy;”
  • “Donald Trump is responsible for all 218,000 covid deaths;”
  • “Donald Trump doesn’t act like a President and isn’t fit to lead;”
  • “Donald Trump is racist, misogynist, sexist…and really all the –ists and –phobes;” etc.

Thursday’s moderator, Kristen Welker, is the same person who was caught giving the Clinton campaign the questions she’d be asking the eventual Democratic nominee during a 2016 primary debate against Bernie Sanders.

Biden won’t be asked anything for which he doesn’t already have a prepared statement he’s been practicing all week and won’t be pressed for answers whenever he avoids questions or veers off onto unrelated topics.

If you’re Biden, just regurgitate prepared Hunter Biden statements, play the “Donald Trump is bad” hits, and get off that stage saying as little as possible!

BetOnline Presidential Debate Props

If you’re willing to subject yourself to another Presidential debate after the ridiculousness of the first, you might as well put some action on the proceedings to make it enjoyable. Witnessing the rapid disintegration of a world superpower is considerably less depressing when you treat it like a spectator sport!

In this section, you’ll find some of the presidential debate props available under BetOnline’s political betting category.

Second Presidential Debate Total Viewers

  • Matchup Odds
  • Under 67.5 Million-150
  • Over 67.5 Million+110

The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden took place on September 29 and was watched by more than 73 million people. While that’s a massive TV audience, it was down 13% from 2016’s opening debate, which drew 84 million viewers.

Last week’s dueling town halls saw a precipitous drop-off, even when accounting for the split audience. Joe Biden’s broadcast on ABC averaged 14.1 million viewers, to Donald Trump’s 13.5 million total viewers across MSNBC and CNBC.

The two candidates together only attracted an audience of 27.6 million, less than 40% of the number that tuned in for the debate.

Even with all of the explosive news coming out this week, I expect this debate to have under 67.5 million total viewers.

The first meeting made people uncomfortable, most Democrats don’t want to see the Hunter stuff discussed, and lots of Americans have already voted and lost interest in the election.

What will be said first by candidates?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Antifa-400
  • QAnon+250

The last time these two met, Antifa was said multiple times, but neither man ever mentioned QAnon. I’m guessing this debate will follow suit.

For some ill-advised reason, Trump keeps trying to pretend Joe Biden is some far-left communist sympathizer and blame him for Antifa. It doesn’t seem to matter to any Republicans that the former Delaware Senator was one of the most conservative members of the Democratic Party throughout his career.

Trump will probably say “Antifa” in his first monologue.

What will Donald Trump say first?

Word/Term Betting Odds
Fake News +125
Socialist +200
Hoax +500
Lost the Left +500
Crooked Hillary +600
Rigged +600

“Fake news” makes sense as the favorite word or term for Trump to utter first. Between the media and Big Tech colluding to suppress a story, the Rudy Giuliani situation, and being assigned an antagonistic moderator, the President has plenty of reasons to lash out.

This is a bet based on what he’ll say first, so we need to think about Trump’s approach to his opening remarks.

I’m leaning towards “socialist” being used to describe the Democratic challenger before any others.

I also really like the idea of putting a little action on “hoax” as a +500 longshot pick.

What will Joe Biden say first?

Word/Term Betting Odds
Scranton +125
Come on Man +200
Unpresidential +250
Clown/td> +700
Shush +800
Shut Up +800

Once again, this is about what Biden will say first, so we must prioritize words or terms that would fit into an opening statement. That eliminates the responses like “come on man,” “shush,” and “shut up.”

“Unpresidential” at +250 fits the best in an introductory speech.

If Joe finishes his two uninterrupted minutes without saying any of the words, then it’s a whole different ballgame, and everything is on the table. If Hunter comes under attack early, Biden is liable to lose his cool and get emotional.

That’s why I also like “clown” at +700.

Who’s head will a fly land on first?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Donald Trump-300
  • Joe Biden+200

Nobody’s head. I’m fairly certain the “fly landing on a candidate’s head” thing isn’t going to be a common trope during debates.

Will Biden be shown wearing mask during broadcast?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes-150
  • No+110

Joe Biden will unquestionably be seen wearing a mask.

He’ll have it on all the way to the podium. The Democrats’ main line of attack on Trump is that he’s been irresponsible and mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic. They want viewers to think about covid and observe Biden taking it seriously as often as possible.

Will Trump be asked about “white supremacists”?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes-150
  • No+110

As I said earlier, the moderator, Kristen Welker, has been caught on mic helping an establishment Democrat before.

She will definitely ask President Trump to disavow or condemn white supremacists at some point.

It wouldn’t surprise me if she asked something like, “will you condemn white supremacists publishing documents from Hunter Biden’s laptop,” as a way to attach even more undesirable associations to the story and obscure the content of the emails.

Will Trump be shown wearing mask during broadcast?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes+550
  • No-1000

I’m going with “Yes” at +550 here.

For one, the price is right; and two, the President needs to distance himself from the perception that he doesn’t take covid seriously – especially after he tested positive.

Will Trump denounce white supremacists?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes-120
  • No-120

Yes, he will.

Trump’s team will have him prepared for this question coming. Whether the moderator will ask it that straight forward or try to attach white supremacy to other pro-Trump groups is the question.

I’m guessing she will in order to force the incumbent into a challenging situation, navigating around offending supporters.

Will Trump say Black Lives Matter?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Yes+550
  • No-1000

At +550, I think betting on Trump saying “Black Lives Matter” is worth a shot.

He won’t say it with any positivity, but he might repeat something Biden says or mention the group when describing protests that were taken over by Antifa rioters or Marxist looters or whatever leftist bogeyman the Republicans are obsessing over this week.

MyBookie Presidential Debate Over-Unders

MyBookie is also offering a wide variety of presidential debate props ahead of Thursday’s action. Their political betting section is loaded with dozens of markets, so I collected a sampling of ten over-under lines to preview for this article.

How Many Times Will Donald Trump Say “Ukraine”?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 3.5+120
  • Under 3.5-160

The most damning information on Hunter Biden’s recovered hard drive (unless Giuliani’s allegations about underaged girls are confirmed) are emails between the former Vice President’s son and an executive at Burisma, a Ukrainian national gas company.

The emails appear to show Hunter selling access to his father, who was serving in the Obama administration at the time.

The Biden family’s relationship with Burisma played a key role in Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing. His phone call asking Ukraine’s President to investigate the connections were the basis of the Democrats’ case against him.

Trump will spend a lot of time talking about Hunter, Burisma, and Ukraine on Thursday night, so take the over.

How Many Times Will Donald Trump Say “Corrupt/Corruption”?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 3.5-130
  • Under 3.5-110

The President is trailing in the polls and desperate. He’ll return to what worked in 2016, attacking his opponent as a corrupt tool of the establishment.

The leaked emails will keep Trump on topic and continually focused on the favors Biden is alleged to have done for his family members’ business partners throughout his career.

This total easily covers the over.

How Many Times Will Donald Trump Say “Burisma”?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 1.5+155
  • Under 1.5-220

Please give me the WAY WAY OVER on this totals line!!!

Trump would be insane not to explain the Burisma story in detail during the debate. The energy firm was paying Biden over $50,000 per month to sit on its board, despite Hunter having zero experience in both the energy sector and Ukrainian relations.

The trailing Republican has to make a compelling case for the authenticity of the Burisma findings, or the debate is a failure.

How Many Times Will Joe Biden Say “Covid”?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 8.5-110
  • Under 8.5-130

8.5 is a high total for any single word, but “covid” might come close.

The virus is crucial to the Democrats’ strategic messaging, and the topic polls say voters prioritize above everything else when choosing their candidate.

Factor in Biden’s need to fall back on safe talking points while avoiding engaging on the topic of Hunter and the over has a decent chance of winning.

How Many Times Will Donald Trump Say “Covid”?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 4.5+110
  • Under 4.5-150

I’m picking Donald Trump to say “covid” more than 4.5 times as well.

Since these two last shared a debate stage, the President and the First Lady contracted the virus.

Trump will talk about his personal experience with the coronavirus, boast about his recovery and the treatments he received, and promise viewers a vaccine very soon. That’s three individual issues about the virus, plus all of his rebuttals to Biden’s pandemic criticisms.

I like my chances with the over at +110.

How Many Times Will Joe Biden Say “Coronavirus”?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 1.5+120
  • Under 1.5-160

People will say I’m making fun of Joe Biden’s stutter, but I’m not. I’ve listened to hours of video clips of the man speaking recorded throughout the last ten years; whatever is going on with his ability to communicate today was nonexistent as recently as two years ago. It’s not his childhood stutter that’s to blame.

I bring that up to say; I think “coronavirus” is too challenging phonetically for Biden to say. It’s also easy to slur and bumble the syllables. “Covid” is shorter and more comfortable to enunciate.

I’m picking the under at –160.

How Many Times Will Donald Trump Say “China”?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 7.5-120
  • Under 7.5-120

The biggest threat to Donald Trump’s “covid” total going over is him saying, “China Virus.”

A second set of emails leaked this week show Hunter Biden setting up a secret off-the-books meeting between a delegation of Chinese investors and government officials and then-Vice President Biden.

Two years later, Hunter and Joe traveled to Beijing together on Air Force Two. When they returned, Hunter had secured $1.5 billion in investments for a new partnership between his fund and Chinese investors, including a state-owned bank.

So, the President is going to be dedicating lots of time to China.

Between blaming the emerging competitor for the pandemic, pointing out Biden’s financial ties to the country, and promising the public that his Democratic opponent will prioritize China’s interest of American workers, Trump should clear the 7.5 total with ease.

How Many Times Will Joe Biden Say “China”?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 3.5-120
  • Under 3.5-120

This over-under is much trickier. Biden will repeat some of Trump’s attacks in his responses but will want to avoid the topic of China.

If Trump keeps to the strategy that’s undoubtedly been laid out for him, our foreign rival will come up too often for the Democratic nominee to avoid.

I see this bet going over too.

Times “Economy” Will Be Said By Either Candidate?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 10.5-120
  • Under 10.5-120

The economy is not included in the six debate topics chosen by our moderator. However, it should still be addressed as part of the pandemic, American families, and leadership discussions. When Joe Biden criticizes the President’s handling of the covid-19 outbreak, he will include the devastating impact lockdowns have had on the economy.

Trump will also frequently mention his record-setting GDP before the virus since it’s one of the few issues Americans still tell pollsters they trust the President more than Biden to handle.

Throw in multiple back-and-forths consisting of the President telling Biden that if he wins, “the economy will never recover,” and you can clear 10.5 with ease.

Times “Russia” Will Be Said By Either Candidate?

  • Matchup Odds
  • Over 3.5-250
  • Under 3.5+170

This week, news broke that must have devastated liberal pundits everywhere:

In the headlines written about the story, that’s all the media tells you – they keep it nice and vague.

That’s because those two countries were caught trying to help Joe Biden defeat Trump. After almost four years of whipping up bogus Russia conspiracies, Wednesday’s announcement contradicts Democrats’ favorite catch-all accusation.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe Quotes

“We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran, and separately by Russia,” Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told reporters on Wednesday.

“This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”

“We have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump,” he continued.

Now, when Joe Biden attempts to discredit the authenticity of the emails recovered from his son’s laptop by calling them “Russian disinformation,” the President will be armed with this story as a retort.

Between the two of them, Russia is destined to be mentioned more than 3.5 times.