What were the odds that Trump would be so beloved by bookies?
After Colorado voters approved sports betting to begin last year, airwaves and drive-time billboards have been inundated with advertisements for sportsbooks.
While I have never been a big fan of sports betting — and the twist at the end of Adam Sandler’s terrific film “Uncut Gems” made me even more queasy about participating — I have found myself drawn to the odds in a different arena.
While betting on politics is still illegal in the United States, it has not stopped plenty of offshore books from raking in cash from predictions over our country’s electoral system. And there are any number of pundits and websites that analyze the odds of a multitude of political events.
These analysts review not just the pure polling data, but the actual probability of outcomes. For example, the FiveThirtyEight.com website, a daily read for political junkies, kept a regularly updated “forecast” of the presidential election, running tens of thousands of simulations. Each simulation incorporated a host of variables, from new polls to economic data to the effect of breaking news.
What is more, FiveThirtyEight spit out a myriad of different possibilities, from “Trump wins the popular vote” (3 in 100 just before the election) to “Biden wins in a landslide” (29 in 100) or “The election hinges on a recount” (4 in 100). I am by no means an expert on the art of gambling, but that sure seems a lot like what odds-makers do in Las Vegas.
Read the rest of this column in The Colorado Sun.