2022 Midterm Election Odds

Midterm Election betting isn’t legal in the United States despite legal sports betting existing in over 20 states. However, it’s a common desire among sports bettors who want to apply their betting skills to prediction markets. Unfortunately for them (but perhaps not our society), it’s strictly sports betting-only on major online sportsbooks like DraftKings and BetMGM.

Bettors can use PredictIt to bet on the 2022 Midterm Elections. It’s a university-run prediction market, where bettors their wagers capped to maintain PredictIt’s educational purpose. (We cover the legalities in the section below.) But it’s the closest to legal midterm election betting that bettors can get in the United States.

ZOOM: MARKET:

NAME ODDS PROBABILITY
Rep. House & Senate +133 43%
R House, D Senate +138 42%
Dem. House & Senate +456 18%
D House, R Senate +4900 2%

Implied probabilities are calculated using data offered by PredictIt.
Last Updated: 2022-10-04 13:00:02 PDT.

2022 Midterm Election Predictions

PredictIt is offering several prediction markets on the 2022 midterm elections. So, bettors who are interested can view these midterm election markets:

While PredictIt offers races on state gubernatorial races, bettors interested in those markets will have to find them on PredictIt’s website. Governor races are more difficult to predict than congressional control.

As FiveThirtyEight points out, governors can overcome partisanship in a way that congressional candidates can’t. Republican Kansas’ governor is a Democrat. Democratic Vermont has a Republican governor. They enjoyed approval ratings of 54% and 79% respectively in mid-2021. Partisanship is still a strong predictor of a governor’s party. But there’s more nuance in a gubernatorial race than a congressional race.

Current Events in PredictIt’s Markets

In the last week of September 2022, PredictIt’s balance of power market showed high uncertainty with a nine-cent overround. (The overround is the number of cents over the 100 that a perfectly certain prediction market’s prices would add to.)

The FBI warrant that reclaimed stolen classified documents are Mar-a-Lago harmed Trump’s image, which affects Republican House and Senate races. The human trafficking cases opened against Ron DeSantis may rally conservatives, but could hurt him with Independents.

All the while, Roe v. Wade’s overturn, lies about the 2020 presidential election, and economic issues like gas prices, inflation, and cost of living hang over tight midterm races. While the House of Representatives is likely to flip to the Republicans, the Senate is a toss-up.

What Changed 2022 Balance of Power Predictions

Major events like the 2022 State of the Union, Biden’s handling of Ukraine, and Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court haven’t moved prediction markets. Neither did far-right representatives falsely accusing Democrats of pedophilia during Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Instead, the January 6 hearings and Roe v. Wade’s overturning moved prices in spurts over time. Donald Trump’s many lawsuits also seem to be chipping away at Republican chances to control the Senate in 2023.

The Supreme Court Changed PredictIt Market Prices

A week of Supreme Court rulings delivered conservative victories on critical issues, including abortion, gun rights, and issues related to the separation of church and state. During that week, the price of a Republican House and Senate fell 16 cents, and a Republican House with a Democratic Senate rose 18 cents.

The shock of key conservative Supreme Court rulings has galvanized Democrats. Gas prices and inflation have fallen, countering President Biden’s approval rating. While the president’s party tends to lose congressional seats in the midterms, the Senate is close enough that Democrats may hold onto at least one chamber of Congress after the 2022 midterms.

Why Price Changes Didn’t Change for so Long

PredictIt users seem to be relying on the conventional wisdom that congressional power flips during the midterms. There are many midterms where the balance of power has remained the same in the House and Senate. There’s still plenty of time for polling surprises and scandals to derail critical races, too. So, although PredictIt users are locked into the belief of both chambers flipping to the Republicans, there’s more room for error than the PredictIt markets indicate.

However, the Republicans lost the public unity they had under Trump’s presidency. Pro and anti-Russia factions have emerged within the GOP, publicly revealing splits between Republicans. Although Republicans could regain congressional power, fissures between establishment and Trump Republicans could dilute that power.

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Senate Control

Control of the Senate will mean control of the legislative agenda for the following two years. The Senate Majority Leader can bring bills to a vote. However, they can also kill bills by keeping votes from happening on key bills.

A Democratic Senate means President Biden still has a chance to make progress on his agenda. In contrast, a Republican Senate would kill President Biden’s chances of passing his most desired bills. Senators Manchin and Sinema have already proven serious challenges to President Biden. But senate control would mean two years of roadblocks until the Presidency and the Senate are controlled by the same party.

ZOOM: MARKET:

NAME ODDS PROBABILITY
Democratic -145 59%
Republican +138 42%

Implied probabilities are calculated using data offered by PredictIt.
Last Updated: 2022-10-04 13:00:02 PDT.

PredictIt’s odds remain against a Democratic majority in the Senate. But that’s the result of PredictIt’s bettors’ opinions, not oddsmakers or pollsters.    

Key Midterm Senate Races to Watch

While several Senate races could defy expectations, three are must-watches:

  • Georgia – Warnock (D) v. Walker (R)
  • Nevada – Cortez Masto (D) v. Laxalt (R)
  • Wisconsin – Johnson (R) v. Barnes (D)

Georgia Senator, Raphael Warnock, won a special runoff election in 2020. This is his race for a full six-year term. His opponent, Herschel Walker, is the former college football runningback and Heisman Trophy winner. He’s also proven uninformed on topics from racism (Slavery ended 130 years ago), to climate change (Don’t we have enough trees around here?), to evolution (At one time, science said man came from apes…If that is true, why are there still apes?). While Warnock is viewed more favorable, the Democratic party is viewed more negatively, resulting in a surprisingly tight Senate race in Georgia.

Nevada’s race between Catherine Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt is close, too. This is a standard partisan race. As NBC reports, Laxalt is running on economic issues while benefitting from gains in Republican Hispanics and more Republicans registered in Nevada. Democratic incumbent, Cortez Masto, benefits from decades of Democratic dominance in Nevada, too. (She ascended to Harry Reid’s seat in 2016.) Nevada’s Senate race will be a nailbiter.

Finally, Wisconsin’s incumbent Republican Senator, Ron Johnson, is caught in an ideological no-man’s-land. Early in 2022, he voiced support for Congress’ same-sex marriage bill, then pivoted to call it “unnecessary.” He has also pushed COVID-19 conspiracy theories and phony treatments. In Senate races, where a candidate’s personality and qualification matters more than House races, this makes him vulnerable to a competent Democrat, like Mandela Barnes.

House Control

Control of the House of Representatives has important implications for the remainder of President Biden’s term. The House of Representatives introduces spending bills and it can introduce impeachment proceedings. So, the party that controls the House can introduce spending bills to force representatives to vote in ways that may make them look bad.

This round of House midterms will reveal whether MAGA or establishment Republicans have gained ground since the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The midterms will hint at the type of Republican presidential nominee to most likely win the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential race, too.

ZOOM: MARKET:

NAME ODDS PROBABILITY
Republican -435 81%
Democratic +400 20%

Implied probabilities are calculated using data offered by PredictIt.
Last Updated: 2022-10-04 13:00:02 PDT.

PredictIt’s markets show odds against a Democratic victory in the House during the 2022 midterms. The party out of power tends to gain seats in Congress, especially in the House. All House seats are up every two years, which means House candidates must remain in line with public opinion to remain in power. (This is also why House candidates can be crazier and less qualified than their Senate counterparts.)

Midterm voters also tend to be different from presidential election bettors. The midterms are a good time for opponents of the party in the White House to flip Congress and limit the president’s ability to pass his party’s legislation. Midterms attract the angriest and the most sophisticated voters.

These are the two major reasons that Republicans are likely to flip the House. However, the personal differences that don’t matter as much in the House matter more in the Senate. Bettors must take care to not judge House and Senate races as if they’re equivalent.

Balance Of Power

The balance of power between the parties in the House and Senate can expedite or stall a party’s legislation. If the same party controls both chambers of Congress, then legislators can speed legislation through. But if control of both chambers is split, then one party can stall the other’s legislation.

ZOOM: MARKET:

NAME ODDS PROBABILITY
Rep. House & Senate +133 43%
R House, D Senate +138 42%
Dem. House & Senate +456 18%
D House, R Senate +4900 2%

Implied probabilities are calculated using data offered by PredictIt.
Last Updated: 2022-10-04 13:00:02 PDT.

PredictIt’s bettors believe the most likely outcome is Republican control over the House and Senate. It’s common for the opposing party to retake Congressional chambers — and overlapping state governorships — during the midterms. But relying on conventional wisdom may or may not prove to be a reliable betting strategy during contentious political seasons.   

Speaker Of The House

The Speaker of the House is a related market to the House control betting market. While there are many possible Speakers, Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi are the only two serious contenders for the position.

This market’s outcome will depend on which party gains control of the House in 2022. If the Democrats retain House control, then Nancy Pelosi will likely be the Speaker. If the Republicans gain House control, then Kevin McCarthy will likely be the Speaker. Unless something drastic happens to either figure’s career, these are the two realistic outcomes.

ZOOM: MARKET:

NAME ODDS PROBABILITY
Kevin McCarthy -270 73%
Nancy Pelosi +733 12%
Hakeem Jeffries +1150 8%
Steve Scalise +2400 4%
Donald Trump +3233 3%
Elise Stefanik +3233 3%
Jim Jordan +4900 2%
Adam Schiff +9900 1%
Katherine Clark +9900 1%
Steny Hoyer +9900 1%

Implied probabilities are calculated using data offered by PredictIt.
Last Updated: 2022-10-04 13:00:02 PDT.

PredictIt’s bettors believe that the Republicans will gain control of the House. So, Kevin McCarthy is heavily favored in this market. But this is not an official poll and does not have any role in calling an election.   

Senate Majority Leader

This market’s outcome will depend on who gains control of the Senate after the 2022 midterms. If Democrats retain control, then Chuck Schumer will remain Senate Majority Leader. If Republicans win, then Mitch McConnell will become Senate Major Leader.

While there are many other figures to put money on, Schumer and McConnell are the only serious contenders for this position. It would take a drastic career change for someone besides one of those two men to become Senate Majority Leader.    

ZOOM: MARKET:

NAME ODDS PROBABILITY
Chuck Schumer -145 59%
Mitch McConnell +144 41%
John Thune +3233 3%
Dick Durbin +9900 1%
John Barrasso +9900 1%
John Cornyn +9900 1%
Joni Ernst +9900 1%
Patty Murray +9900 1%

Implied probabilities are calculated using data offered by PredictIt.
Last Updated: 2022-10-04 13:00:02 PDT.

Like the Senate Control market, PredictIt’s bettors favor the Republican to win. Also like the Senate, PredictIt’s bettors are less certain about the Senate outcome than the House outcome. But in the House and Senate races, PredictIt bettors are predicting a Republican sweep of both chambers of Congress.    

GOP Senate Seats

The GOP Senate seats market is the most unique among the ones listed here. The five markets above called for predictions about the likelihood of Democrat or Republican victories. The GOP senate seats market also calls for bettors to make a judgment about whether the Republicans will retake the Senate during the midterm elections. If the Republicans secure 51 seats or more — they don’t have a Vice President to break ties — then Republicans gain control of the Senate.

What makes this market unique is that bettors must make a precise prediction about how many Senate seats the Republicans could capture. For bettors predicting a Republican Senate, in January 2023, wagers on 50 seats or below are no-goes. That leaves those bettors with wagers on 51-55 seats or 56 or more.

ZOOM: MARKET:

NAME ODDS PROBABILITY
51 +456 18%
50 +488 17%
52 +567 15%
49 +614 14%
53 +669 13%
48 +900 10%
54 +1329 7%
47 +1567 6%
46 or fewer +1900 5%
56 or more +3233 3%

Implied probabilities are calculated using data offered by PredictIt.
Last Updated: 2022-10-04 13:00:02 PDT.

In February 2022, PredictIt’s market settled on the GOP Senate having 52-54 seats after the 2022 midterm elections. But that prediction has time to change dramatically as Senators’ campaigns unfold.      

Midterms Odds News

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September 22, 2022 | By: Chris Gerlacher

Election betting critics come from different places. Some opposition comes from the same resistance to online gambling that critics of online sports betting and online casinos espouse. But the cultural taboo surrounding betting on Midterm election odds or Presidential election odds adds uncertainty and unease that contrasts with attitudes toward sports betting.  In August 2022, […]

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How Offering 2022 Midterm Election Odds On PredictIt Is Legal

Click to sign up at PredictIt for a 100% deposit-match bonus up to $80 free

PredictIt is a prediction market run by Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. PredictIt’s goal is to see whether it can use market forces to make better predictions than professional polling. Faculty members don’t get paid extra for playing the market or analyzing the data. It’s set up to teach data analytics and related classes. So, its not-for-profit status is critical to its legality and limited offering in the United States. Visit PredictIt for up to $80 free on deposit.

Additionally, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a no-action letter to PredictIt in 2014. The no-action letter says that the CFTC won’t penalize PredictIt for violating United States security laws. But PredictIt must follow certain conditions including:

  • Capping individual traders’ wagers
  • Capping the number of traders allowed in each market
  • Maintaining PredictIt’s educational purpose

Users will notice that prices almost equal probability. However, there’s a small overround in most markets. Prices may add up to $1.01 or $1.02 instead of the perfect $1.00 users may expect from a prediction market.

That overround is a rough measure of two things: liquidity and uncertainty. There are enough traders to offer and accept prices that deviate from the market value. Traders have also settled on a clear market price. If the market was uncertain, that overround would be closer to five cents than a cent or two. So, traders shouldn’t be put off by those imperfect figures. They’re part of a healthy prediction market.

Bettors won’t get wealthy trading on PredictIt. But sports bettors who want to try their hand at prediction markets can view the PredictIt odds we’ve displayed here and decide whether to try the platform for themselves.

Strictly for educational purposes, of course.

How Election Betting Works   

Election betting odds are not professional polls, and they do not determine election outcomes. Rather, election odds are either set by oddsmakers or come from. But the odds are skewed by three important factors: desired profit, book liability, and bettor behavior.

Election betting odds react to the polls that call elections and to the bettors who themselves react to the results. Election odds do not determine election results.    

Desired Profit

At a for-profit sportsbook — not PredictIt — oddsmakers tweak the odds to make sure that the sportsbook comes out ahead regardless of the outcome. The math that makes that possible is the reason that the odds below add up to more than 100%. Oddsmakers will tweak odds to attract bettors to one side of the line.

This movement also causes variation among sportsbook odds. Sportsbooks balance the tradeoff between competitive odds and profit margins differently. So, oddsmakers take competitions into consideration when they price, too.

At peer-to-peer exchanges where bettors wager against each other, the exchange often takes a commission on winning wagers. So, it doesn’t have to be active in pricing like traditional sportsbooks do.   

Book Liability

A sportsbook’s liability is the amount of money it potentially has to pay out to bettors. If that liability is too high, a sportsbook risks a devastating loss. So, oddsmakers do their best to balance risk on both sides of the line. The goal is to minimize the risk of large upsets and losses.

Statistically, over enough time, unlikely upsets will happen. Sportsbooks don’t want to lose large sums of money on those days. So, they move the lines to avoid potentially crippling liabilities.

A peer-to-peer exchange doesn’t have this same problem. It’ll take a commission from each winning wager, so it doesn’t have to perform this balancing act like sportsbooks.

But peer-to-peer prediction markets end up heavily skewed by bettor behavior instead.     

Bettor Behavior

Many bettors are as emotional as any other citizen come election night. Passionate groups of bettors can distort market prices. In a peer-to-peer exchange, passionate bettors can overvalue losing candidates or wagers. At a for-profit sportsbook, oddsmakers will court the side of the line that will maintain sportsbook profitability.

Either way, irrational behavior can skew election odds far from the realities gleaned from exit polling. By the time election results begin to be called, the 2022 midterm election odds won’t represent reality anymore. Election betting markets are just as susceptible to passion and toxicity as the politics the odds are based on.       

Election Betting FAQs

Election betting is illegal in the United States. But PredictIt offers a small-dollar non-profit option for bettors who want to try putting money on the midterm elections. Here are a few common questions about election betting in the United States.

Election betting is illegal in almost two dozen states and carries consequences for those hoping to hold public office in several others. Historically, the CFTC has also viewed political bets as event contracts, which must be regulated by the CFTC to be considered legal. However, the CFTC has also not found political bets to be valid or reasonable ways for investors to hedge risk. So, the CFTC and states themselves pose obstacles to widespread election betting.   

PredictIt got a no-action letter from the CFTC. The no-action letter says that the CFTC won’t bring regulatory action against PredictIt if it adheres to certain conditions. These include trading limits on individual traders and the number of traders allowed in each market. As long as it behaves like a university project, it gets to remain active in the United States.

Individual states outlaw election betting, which makes the decision clear for sportsbooks. If states don’t outlaw election betting, then the CFTC provides additional reasons not to offer election odds. The CFTC’s historical hostility to political betting discourages sportsbooks from offering controversial wagers. No sportsbook wants to be the first to get sued by a federal regulatory organization.   

Bettors will have to understand how the most important states will vote. Public opinion polls, despite their media prominence, are junk. They don’t account for voters who lie to pollsters, and they don’t account for the slim victories in targeted districts and demographics that ultimately win elections. Bettors who want to predict elections intelligently will have to dig deeper than their favorite news program’s opinion polls.     

The 2022 House election will be on November 8, 2022. If Republicans win six more seats in the House of Representatives, then Kevin McCarthy will — barring extreme developments — become Speaker of the House. If Democrats retain power in the House, Nancy Pelosi will remain Speaker.

The 2022 Senate midterms will be held on November 8, 2022. 34 Senate seats are up for grabs. 32 of them are for seats with Senators whose six-year terms are up. The other two are the special elections in Arizona and Georgia.

About the Author

Chris Gerlacher

Christopher Gerlacher is a Lead Writer and contributor for Bonus. He is a versatile and experienced gambling writer with an impressive portfolio who has range from political and legislative pieces to sports and sports betting. He's a devout Broncos fan, for better or for worse, living in the foothills of Arvada, Colorado.

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