Sparks ‘Fly’ at VP Debate, Joe Biden Extends 2020 Betting Lead

Posted on: October 8, 2020, 06:56h. 

Last updated on: October 8, 2020, 09:36h.

California Senator Kamala Harris squared off against Vice President Mike Pence last night in the first and only debate between the two, and oddsmakers and bettors alike feel the first African American and Asian American vice presidential running mate held her own.

VP debate 2020 odds Harris Biden Trump Pence
The vice presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris and VP Mike Pence had plenty of memorable moments, plus a buzzworthy fly. (Image: Getty)

While last night was a much more civil exchange compared with last week’s debate between President Donald Trump and former VP Joe Biden, there were many confrontational moments. Republicans claimed the seasoned, calm politician prevailed against a smirky VP candidate rookie. Democrats argued Harris was the victor for highlighting the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response failures.

Political bettors on PredictIt and Smarkets didn’t move the 2020 outcome markets much, as Biden’s lead held steady on both. The Democratic challenger has a 66 percent on Smarkets of winning on November 3, and 67 percent on PredictIt.

But perhaps the biggest star of the night that created the most buzz was a fly, which landed on the Vice President’s head and apparently liked the view, as the insect sat perched on Pence for two full minutes.

Odds Return

UK bookmakers suspended betting action on the 2020 presidency after Trump last week tested positive for the coronavirus. The lines returned today, and Biden is now even a strong front-runner.

William Hill has Biden at 1/2 (implied odds 66.67 percent). Following the Trump-Biden showdown, the bookmaker had Biden at 8/13 (61.9 percent). Trump is now a long shot, William Hill listing him at 13/8 (38.1 percent). Last week, his line was at 11/8 (42.1 percent).

While VP debates have historically meant little to presidential election outcomes, 2020 is possibly different. Biden, 77, has said he will be a “transitional” president, while Trump, 74, remains infected with COVID-19.

Both Harris and Pence had moments that their respective campaigns are using today to hype their claimed victory.

Pence’s best exchange, according to Republicans, was when he asked Harris whether a Biden administration would seek to pack the US Supreme Court should Judge Amy Coney Barrett be confirmed. She refused to answer if the Democratic ticket would support adding justices to the highest court in the country.

Harris did well, her party believes, by going on the offensive with Pence on health care. Looking directly into the camera, she told the American, “If you have a pre-existing condition, the Trump administration is coming for you.”

Virtual Debate

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced today that the second debate between Trump and Pence will be conducted virtually because of the president’s recent positive coronavirus test. The debate was set to be held in Miami on Thursday, Oct. 15.

The commission says the decision is “to protect the health and safety of all involved.” Trump says he won’t participate.

I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” the President told Fox Business this morning. “The commission changed the debate style and that’s not acceptable.”

The Smarkets market asking how many presidential debates will be held has “1” as the front-runner, shares trading at 59 cents. “3 or more” is next at 31 cents, and “2” at 25 cents.