Texas Senate Race Odds: Can Beto O’Rourke Pull Off the Upset vs. Ted Cruz?

Nov 06, 2018 01:00 PM EST

Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News via USA TODAY NETWORK. Pictured: Beto O’Rourke

  • One of the most consequential Midterm Election Senate races takes place in Texas between Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke.
  • Cruz, the Republican incumbent, is listed as a -400 betting favorite to win re-election (80% chance).
  • O'Rourke, the Democratic challenger, is a +300 underdog (25% chance).

In case you haven’t heard, tomorrow is Midterm Election Day in America. All across the country, millions of voters will be flocking to the polls to elect our next group of political leaders.

As it stands now, Democrats are listed as -300 favorites to win the House (75% chance), while Republicans are -450 favorites to retain control of the Senate (81.8% chance).

While several individual state races are garnering headlines, none is receiving more of a national spotlight than the critically important Texas Senate race between Ted Cruz (R) and his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

If Democrats hope to win the Senate, they need O’Rourke to shock the world. But a Democrat winning in Texas? Come on! O’Rourke can’t possible pull off the upset, can he?

O’Rourke is listed as a +300 underdog (25% chance), while Cruz is -400 favorite (80%).


  • O’Rourke +300 (25% chance)
  • Cruz -420 (80.8% chance)
  • O’Rourke +397 (20.1% chance)
  • Cruz -541 (84.4% chance)
  • O’Rourke +280 (26.3% chance)
  • Cruz -400 (80% chance)

While O’Rourke remains a longshot in betting markets, one wild card could end up playing in his favor: More than 4.5 million people have voted early in Texas, a record number that already exceeds the entire turnout during the 2014 election.

At PredictIt, Cruz is trading at 77% to be re-elected, while Smarkets is giving Cruz a 76.34% chance to win.

Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight give Cruz a 77.1% chance of winning.

In the end, it will come down to turnout, just like it always does. For O’Rourke to pull off the upset, he will need the “blue wave” to show up on Tuesday, with young voters and first-time voters casting ballots in record-breaking fashion.

If that happens, Texas could elect its first Democrat to the Senate since Lloyd Bentsen in 1988.

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