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Beto O’Rourke vs. Ted Cruz Odds: What the Betting Market Says About Texas Senate Race

Oct 01, 2018 10:24 PM EDT

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz

  • Ted Cruz remains a big betting favorite to retain his Texas Senate seat (67.7% chance, -210 odds) over upstart Beto O'Rourke.
  • No matter who wins, the result will have a big impact of the balance of power in the U.S. Senate going forward.

Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke has been gaining steam in the media for his grassroots campaign against incumbent Ted Cruz.

He’s close in the polling, but this from the Washington Post speaks to the odds against him: “No Democrat has won a statewide race in Texas in 24 years, which the Associated Press says is the nation’s longest losing streak.”

So what does the betting market say about O’Rourke’s chances? Let’s take a look.

Odds to Win the Texas Senate Race in the 2018 Midterms

Cruz is definitely the favorite, and a variety of predictions markets are all aligned with similar odds.

Offshore sportsbook has him at 67.7% (-210 odds), while politics speculation sites PredictIt and Smarkets have him at 65% and 69%, respectively.

The Senate model from Nate Silver’s pegs Cruz’s chances for reelection at 69.8% currently.

Still, O’Rourke (37.0% chance, +170 odds) seems to be a live dog, and Silver in a recent piece discussed why the race is so close in a historically red state.

According to Silver’s model, O’Rourke gets a nice bump due to the generic ballot, which favors Democrats currently, and based on the fact that he’s out-fundraising Cruz.

The stakes are high for the November midterm elections, and Democrats will need to be nearly perfect to take back control in 2018.

They have 10 seats up for re-election, and they’ll need to win those again (which isn’t a sure thing by any means given the states), plus flip two Republican seats blue.

O’Rourke winning would be a huge step in that direction, although the betting markets are still bullish on the Republicans retaining control when all is said and done.

Odds to Win the Senate in the 2018 Midterms

Although the odds for Republicans have been dipping in recent months — they were at 75.0% implied probability on in late July — they are still favored to retain control.

Gives Republicans a 62.3% chance of staying in power (-165 odds) currently, which is on the lower end compared to the other prediction markets listed above.

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