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Clinton the Odds-On Favorite


Sin city preps for '08. (Reuters).

As the presidential road show hits Las Vegas this week for a Democratic debate, the bookmakers have already weighed in: New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the odds-on favorite both to win her party's nomination and then to go on to capture the White House next fall over former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Of course, given how the Washington Redskins keep confounding expectations, only so much weight should be placed on the judgment of bookmakers. But nonetheless, the smart money these days is being bet on the two New Yorkers as the odds grow longer for Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), both once deemed by Las Vegas to be more likely to win than they are now.

The odds set by various gambling Web sites vary, but the order generally does not. Clinton is judged the most likely to win the presidency, followed by Giuliani, then Obama. From there, it gets a little messier. Different bookies have different assessments of the chances of McCain, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) and former senators John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), but group them in the same basic tier. Most sites then put New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Joe Biden on the Democratic side and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on the Republican side at about the same level, roughly 50 to 1 shots. The rest of the field, guys like Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Reps. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), generally are brushed off at 100 to 1, or worse.

Somewhere there's probably a Washington Post lawyer who would want us to note that we are not encouraging gambling. No, no, no. This information is being provided strictly for informational purposes. And we know nothing about the reliability of any of these Web sites because of course we don't have enough throw-away cash to bet on sports much less politics. End of disclaimer.

For those willing to game the system, though, different sites offer different payoffs for the front-runners. As of November, Clinton is a 1 to 3 shot to win the presidency according to Sportsbook.com and Linesmaker (meaning you bet $3 and win $1 if she wins plus the original $3 back), a 1 to 2 shot according to the William Hill bookmaker and a 10 to 11 according to Bodog. That means Sportsbook has the greatest confidence in her victory but bettors who agree would get a bigger payoff by going with Bodog. A still bigger payoff is offered by Vegas Sportsbetting, which rates Clinton at +200, which means you would get $200 by betting $100, but Holly Wagers puts her at -250, which means you bet $250 to get $100 if she wins.

The sites all rate Giuliani likely to win the GOP nomination but behind Clinton for the presidency. He is a 9 to 4 shot on Bodog, 9 to 2 on William Hill and 5 to 1 on Sportsbook and Linesmaker. In other words, Bodog would give you $9 for every $4 you bet, plus the original bet back, if Giuliani is elected president. A 5 to 1 payoff, obviously, would be the most profitable for Rudy fans. Sportsbook has Obama at 7 to 2, while Bodog puts his chances at 5 to 1 and William Hill at 7 to 1. Rating the rest of the field, Bodog offers 6 to 1 for Thompson, 8 to 1 for Romney, 14 to 1 for Edwards and 16 to 1 for McCain. Others give McCain, Edwards or Romney a better chance.

Probably no one inside the Beltway thinks Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) will win, but Sportsbook is giving him 6 to 1 odds, the same it gives Edwards and better than Romney. Of course, a number of these sites are offering odds on President Bush, former president Bill Clinton and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, although none of the three is constitutionally eligible to run next year -- the first two being term-limited and the third not being a natural-born U.S. citizen. And even Dick Cheney is a 10,000 to 1 chance on Sportsbook. So it's true, some people will bet on anything.

-- Peter Baker

Posted at 10:26 AM ET on Nov 13, 2007  | Category:  Morning Cheat Sheet
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Previous: For Clinton, the "Question" Won't Go Away | Next: An Impossible Promise From John Edwards


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Comments

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I think that if the guy trys and dosen't make any harsh choices then he will do ok with the people. and whats up with hilary and starting to gambe she knowes that its not a good thing.

Posted by: althea_singer | November 14, 2007 12:43 PM

I dno't care if Ron Paul cr@ps roses. I will NEVER vote for a RepubliCON....EVER! Ron Paul has been reading George's playbook that says "Tell them what they WANT to hear".

Better dead than Red! It applied during the Cold War, it applies now...to the GOP (Gay Old Perverts, Greedy Old Perverts; it's all the same).

Posted by: camera_eye_1 | November 13, 2007 8:39 PM

Dan.Mayland writes
"I tried to place a bet on Obama on Intrade, and was informed that it's illegal to use a US-based credit card to pay for the transaction."

Going off-topic here, but perhaps a vacation to the Caymans is in order. Open a bank account & get a credit card there. Off you go! Not that I'd endorse the practice of circumventing US law.

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 3:33 PM

two thirds of the people in this country don't even know who ron paul is. the guy doesn't have a chance in hell.

Posted by: courtney.howe | November 13, 2007 2:05 PM

Here's a juicy news tip for the Washington Post:

"This year" the beltway insiders will not be picking the winners....the voters will.

Ron Pauls campaign has and will continue to stun the puffery known as "insiders".

Posted by: cthurow | November 13, 2007 1:38 PM

A Not-So-Perfect Picture of Unity

Rarely does any individual ask himself what is good for the country, most often you find yourself asking the question how it will affect me and only me. Does this individual cater to my specific needs, some to end the war, some based on party affiliation, some based on tax, guns, abortion, and the list goes on...

What Party or Presidential Candidate have you so far made up your mind on if any?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=965

.

Posted by: PollM | November 13, 2007 1:37 PM

The problem with these gambling sites is that it's a real pain in the neck for an American to use them. I tried to place a bet on Obama on Intrade, and was informed that it's illegal to use a US-based credit card to pay for the transaction. I'd have to send a certified check to an address in Ireland. What a pain in the rear. Needless to say, I didn't make the bet. And this is the same for all betting sites--given recent legislation, Americans-based credit cards can't be used to wager because it's considered gambling and gambling is illegal. So what we really have here is a bunch of non-Americans who may or may not be clued into the subtleties of the political process here regurgitating what they divine from national polls.

Posted by: Mayland | November 13, 2007 1:15 PM

Do you really think the Ron Paul odds are an anomaly? His stock has risen above Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee on Intrade, even though he trails all three in the "scientific" polls of people who barely know what's going on.

The picture changes when people have to put their actual money on an issue -- they do the research.

In Ron Paul's case, they find out that he's raising money faster than the front-runners in the fourth quarter, that he has more volunteers than all of the other Republicans combined, that he has won more Republican straw polls than any other candidate, that he draws the largest crowds, that he has the most yard signs in New Hampshire, and that his massive Internet support is starting to spill over into real world grassroots activism.

Not such a long shot after all, huh?

Posted by: drd6000 | November 13, 2007 12:46 PM

Perhaps if the media were more forthright in reporting Hillary's planting of questions and now her staff's threat to Wolf Blitzer to go easy on her in the next debate, the odds makers would have a different view. While the Post reported the fixed questions promptly on Nov. 9, it took the NY Times four days before it did so and then buried the article and did no follow-up. If it was Rudy Giuliani who did these things, it would be banner headlines on page one. And now we have to read about Blitzer's threat by a Clinton staffer on the internet. When will it appear in the print media?

Posted by: Kasha1 | November 13, 2007 12:20 PM

I'm sure the oddsmakers thought Michigan would beat Appalachian state by 40 points, too.

Fact is, when Iowa & New Hampshire are over with Obama and Romney will be the two new frontrunners.

Posted by: thegribbler1 | November 13, 2007 11:26 AM

Let me get this straight -- the media thinks Clinton and Giuliani are the favorites (despite Rudy being unlikely to win any of the early states), and gambling sites agree, so all is well. But then Ron Paul has much better odds than one might expect, and there are odds for undeclared candidates, so they're trivial. Which is it?

Posted by: csen | November 13, 2007 11:11 AM

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