One week to go and oh my god what should I bet on???
There’s a dizzyingly wonderful surfeit of PredictIt markets to trade in this election. While I created The Spreadsheet in part to help people find ones that interest them, it occurs to me that even that can be a bit of information overload. So in this post, I’ll go through and package together a few market gift baskets to fit any trader’s needs.
Ultra-Safe Free* Money
Do you hate risk? Does the idea of a 1-5% return sound just fine and dandy to you? Do you think Bernie Sanders is going to be re-elected? (He is). Well then do I have some markets for you!
House: CO-05, CT-05, FL-17, MD-06, MS-03, NY-09, NY-14, PA-09, PA-15, SC-04, TX-05, TX-06, TX-29. Throw in NH-01, NJ-02, PA-06, and PA-17 if you want to live a little and maybe tack on MN-07 if there’s still a part of you that realizes just a bit of risk is good in life.
Senate: Dianne Feinstein, Angus King, Elizabeth Warren, Deb Fischer, Bernie Sanders, and Tim Kaine. Martin Heinrich as long as you can convince yourself the Gary Johnson boogeyman ain’t gonna get ya (he won’t).
Governor: California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Tennessee, Rhode Island, South Carolina. A case to be made for Arizona, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania but those are one tick up on the spiciness scale so don’t go too crazy now!
Wow there are a lot of these! Go get yourself some pennies!
*Don’t hate me if one of these flips, see the disclaimer at the bottom, etc.
“Conventional Wisdom is Never Wrong”
Want to make a lot of bets that should almost certainly win except for one or two that you can’t predict ahead of time and end up costing you everything when you can’t escape in time? What’s a big election night without a little salt anyway? Here are the markets where the favorites *should* win except some are underpriced and others are correctly priced and there are at least conceivable scenarios where any of them flip.
If you read this list and thought “Wait a minute you idiot, _______ could totally lose” then I did a good job. The favorite wins in most of these, but I’ll stick my neck out and predict at least one of these flips.
The Liberal Dreamcrusher
Want to make libs like me cry like it’s 2016 all over again? Well, you’ll find plenty of your kindred spirits in places like GOPSEN and GOPHOUSE. But we need to go beyond that. My picks for you for the ultimate in election night schadenfreude:
- Obviously, you’re (already) betting on McSally in AZSEN, Cruz in TXSEN, DeSantis in FLGOV, Kemp in GAGOV, and Hawley in MOSEN.
- In the House, you want Andy Barr in KY-06 (if you’re going full dreamcrusher you gotta pick the R in the first big House race of the night). You want Dave Brat in VA-07. You want John Faso in NY-19. And you even want Carol Miller in WV-03 (blue dog democrats must also have their hearts crushed).
- Why not get a little bit aggressive in the House? Jason Lewis, the misogynist in MN-02 deserves your bet. (As do, of course, Duncan Hunter in CA-50 and Chris Collins in NY-27 but these aren’t aggressive bets). And let’s throw in a bet on Julia Salazar in FL-27 – how great would it be if a former Clintonite loses in a District with a huge Dem lean?
- You already knew this, but Dems want Kobach to lose which means you will delight in his KSGOV victory. But why stop there? Maximize your tear-harvesting with bets against Kate Brown in ORGOV and on Scott Walker in WIGOV.
- Hey! I just realized you’re probably the type that wants to bet against women doing well this cycle. Well take the winnings you’ve liberated from the rest of us soyboys and go spend it betting against women making big gains in the House, Senate, and Governor’s mansions.
- Finally, don’t bet on huge R gains in GOPHOUSE and GOPSEN. You may be motivated purely by partisanship but you’re not stupid. Instead, a carefully placed bet on 217-225 in GOPHOUSE is probably worth it to you if you really want to bet on them hanging on (cheaper than the other contracts), while 53-55 seems like the sweet spot in GOPSEN. And what are Dems even thinking in DEMHOUSE? No way do they get more than 251 seats! Obviously you should
fill my single digit orders so I can complete my hedgebet against that bracket for the free dime in profit.
SURF’S UP BLUE WAVE BABY
Okay, listen. You know that Dem enthusiasm is through the roof. You’ve followed the special election results. You’re practically salivating staring at that long, long, beautiful tail of Democratic seat pick-up probabilities that 538 has. This is it – the all-too satisfying prelude to the cosmic comeuppance awaiting Trump in 2020. But what to bet on?
- You’re already like sextuple maxed on Dems winning the House [Ed. note: I actually should do this]. But what to do in DEMHOUSE? Who am I kidding? If we’re not hedging the whole thing (my play) then we’re going long long long on 240+ which PredictIt prices at ~25c while 538 has it at 33c. Muh 8c value!
- Bet the opposite of everything the Liberal Dreamcrusher is betting on.
- Tack on some long-shot D bets in the House. If it’s gonna be a Wave after all, NE-02, MN-08, IL-12, IL-13, GA-07, FL-15, CA-21, TX-21, TX-23, and WI-01 could all fall. By pure probability, at least one of them should go Dem, right??
- You’re also going to go hard in some of the Governor’s markets (not covered by betting against the Lib Dreamcrusher). SDGOV? Gimme gimme. OKGOV? Okay then. MEGOV? Yes, please. IAGOV? If you say so!
- Because you’re also a smart trader, you see some opportunities in House turnover and in How many Senate seats change party hands as well….
The Thinking Trader
Ah yes, you. Too good for the rest of us. You’ll get involved in some elections, particularly those that are very mispriced or for which you have some dumb early vote model or which take so long to count their votes you can create elaborate turnout models for them. But mainly you’re here to outwit us all, and that means full focus on the boutique markets where you can’t lose everything at once. You’re well ahead of the game when it comes to How many women will win in the House, Senate, and Governor’s races. You have already mapped out multiple paths in the Senate so that you can play GOPSEN, narrowest Senate race, and How many seats change party hands. And you know exactly which races to follow for House turnover.
Oh god there are so many markets just tell me where to focus
Okay, okay! If you’re new and overwhelmed, I suggest you focus your energies entirely on GOPSEN and DEMHOUSE. Venture out from here as things catch your eye, but don’t get caught out betting on a race you don’t understand. These two are going to be incredibly high volume, very very swing-y, and are intellectually challenging to boot. You can probably just make money penny and nickel-flipping in here on election night provided the site can handle all the trades. And in these two markets, the winning bracket right now, whatever it might be, is very cheap. So there’s always the chance you get lucky!
Okay there are so many more combinations of markets you can come up with. Early night markets, late night markets, etc. But this should be enough to give you some fresh ideas or get you started. For the rest, just consult The Spreadsheet to see what might interest you.
Disclaimer: I probably have positions or intend to take positions in just about all the markets I discuss herein. You should always do your own research prior to making any investment decision. You should consider my advice and knowledge I share to be fundamentally biased in its presentation and selection by my own financial incentives. While I do not knowingly lie I certainly do knowingly omit information that I think gives me an edge.