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July 6, 2018

The latest SCOTUS nomination betting odds

Predictit1I am always intrigued by betting markets, and I suppose these markets have become more of a Supreme Court story in the wake of the Court's work earlier this Term in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association to allow states to move forward with sports betting.  And since I reported here last week on the early betting lines on Prez Trump's pick to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, I figured I would do this update post featuring this new article from The Action Network with the headline "Updated Odds for Next Supreme Court Justice: Clear Three-Person Race."  Here is some of its content:

Offshore sportsbooks across the market didn’t take long to post odds for Kennedy’s replacement. At Bovada, Brett Kavanaugh opened as the favorite at +175. Kavanaugh is a former White House lawyer for George W. Bush who was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington in 2006....

[E]arly sharp action came down on Amy Coney Barrett, a 46-year-old Notre Dame Law School alum and staunch pro-life advocate. Barrett was nominated by Trump to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and confirmed in 2017. Since opening, her odds moved from +450 to +155. She is now the favorite.

Kavanaugh dipped from +175 to +275, but late sharp money has brought him back to +180, putting him a relative dead-heat with Barrett.

Right on their heels is Kethledge. Over the past week, he’s quietly surged from +1000 to +350, giving him the third-best odds.

Other notable movement: Larsen has improved from +1500 to +800, keeping her in striking distance. Thapar has dipped from +500 to +900. Hardiman has fallen like a rock from +350 to +1200.

At one point it looked like Mike Lee (+1500 to +900) was on the rise, but he’s since fallen back to +2000. Pryor, Grant, Willett, Clement and Sykes have all ballooned to +5000, so you can likely cross them off the list....

Interesting to note: Trump said he wants to nominate someone to serve 40 to 45 years, which means he’s targeting a younger justice. And he’s also considering two women. Current ages of the top five candidates: Barrett 46, Kavanaugh 53, Kethledge 51, Larsen 49, Thapar 49.

At the political betting side PredictIt, Kavanaugh is the clear favorite as of July 5th. Barrett has been falling. Kethledge is an interesting value play. He’s the second most traded candidate and currently sits at +350 at Bovada.

Is Kavanaugh the play? Are you still backing Barrett even though she’s falling at PredictIt? Is Kethledge the dark horse? Is Larsen an under-the-radar value pick? Are there any other candidates being overlooked?

In my prior post, I suggested that Amy Coney Barrett at +450 and Amul Thapar at +500 would be good value plays. But a bet on Judge Barrett is now not such a good payoff, while Judge Thapar seems to me now an even better bet (though I think the "smart" money should still be on Kavanaugh).

Once we find out whom Prez Trump taps, I will turn from guessing about his selection to guessing about how his selection might approach sentencing and other criminal justices issues on the Supreme Court.  But, as always, I welcome early reader input on which of the possibilities might be seen as the most or least likely to follow Justice Kennedy's (unpredictable?) path on criminal justice issues.

Prior posts on Justice Kennedy's retirement and the possible impact of his replacement:

July 6, 2018 at 10:16 AM | Permalink


I don't gamble but if I did here is how I would parse the situation based upon what I know.

I don't think Barrert is a realistic choice unless it is a gambit not only because of her inexperience but because it makes it easy for the two moderate women Republican senators to vote against her. I read Collins remarks about Roe to be an implicit thumbs down on Barrert and maybe Kavanaugh too. As for Kavanaugh there are many strikes against him...he is an insider with a guy who ran on a outsider platform...he seems to have offended Rand Paul...the moderates women may vote against him. The DC crowd loves him but once you get beyond that its difficult to find what is so likable about him. I do concede he projects a wholesome image and that kind of thing is important to Trump so I would not write him off completely. As for Kethledge I don't know anything about him, which in itself speaks volumes; he is in all senses of the word a "sleeper candidate". Hardiman is hard to parse. He hasn't gotten much action but then he is already a known quantity to Trump being a holdover from the last go-around. If I were looking for a value play that would be my choice because that is where Trump is likely to turn if none of the others give him that WOW factor. As for Thapar I'm sorry but to me he is clearly the token minority for this administration. I could see an angle where Trump wants to push back against those who see Republicans as an all white party and make a play for what he has called "the Hindu vote" but would still be surprised if he was the one.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 6, 2018 10:36:23 AM

I fail to see how there is enough information to make a realistic market for this sort of proposition. SCOTUS decisions I can see the appeal based on parsing prior decisions but here you have a choice that is made by one man without even the constraint of stare decisis.

With this market I see it being more the bettor justifies a candidate (even if that justification is not shared) and then places their wager.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jul 6, 2018 12:00:27 PM

Seems like if they don't add up to 100, you can guarantee a profit by buying (if < 100) or selling (if >100) all of them

Posted by: RW | Jul 8, 2018 1:01:16 AM

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