Betting Predictions For Free-Play Contests On Final Presidential Debate

There's $70,000 in free money up for grabs Thursday night between FanDuel and DraftKings in their respective debate contests.
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At one point it looked like President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were done after a single debate. However, the two camps sorted things out to some extent and are ready for the second and final debate Thursday at 9 p.m. EST.

You could argue everyone on planet Earth has skin in the game Thursday night, but for people privileged enough to find some entertainment value in the debate there is a way to win some extra cash. Both DraftKings and FanDuel, two leading regulated sportsbooks in the U.S., are offering free-to-play contests on the debate. DraftKings has a $50,000 prize pool, while FanDuel has a $20,000 freeroll for its players.

More than 80 people got all 10 questions right in FanDuel’s first debate contest, so the money will be spread around. Many more got nine of 10 correctly and also received some prize money. Don’t expect any substantial windfall from these free-play debate contests.

Below is a look at each contest and some insights on who or what you should pick for your answers.

FanDuel $20,000 prize pool

1. Which candidate will have red on his tie? (Trump, Biden, both, neither)

Trump had red in his tie during the first debate, while Biden wore a red tie during the ABC town hall. In 2016, Trump wore a red tie in his final debate against Hillary Clinton. It seems fair to peg Trump and Trump alone as the favorite here, but consult the presidential tie historian in your life if you have one.

2. Who will mention Trump’s COVID-19 case first? (Trump, Biden, moderator, none of the above)

The COVID-19 pandemic is an official debate topic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Trump’s positive test will come up. While his positive test was a huge story in the wake of the first debate, that story seems to have subsided. We’ll assume Trump won’t bring it up first, and it might be an old story at this point for the moderator to mention. Biden may mention it, but he might not, considering it provides some sympathy for his opponent. It’s hard to predict this one, but let’s be slightly contrarian and say no one will mention it.

3. How many times will Biden say the word “man”? (Two or less or three or more)

He said it far more than three times during the first debate, so the second choice here has to be the favorite. US Bets looked at the transcript of the first debate. Biden said the word “man” a whopping five times in a single response.

4. Which of the following will be said first by a candidate or moderator during the debate? (left wing, right wing, radical left, none of the above)

Trump said “radical left” six times during the first debate. He almost surely will say it again on Thursday, and there’s no guarantee the others will be said. So, that has to be the favorite here.

5. Which candidate’s microphone will the moderator mute first?

Seems like a freebie question: Trump.

6. Will Biden and/or the moderator mention Trump’s Twitter activity?

The words “Twitter” and “tweet” were never mentioned during the first debate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less likely to come up in the final debate. Trump’s notorious Twitter account could come up during pretty much any of the topics set to be discussed, so we have to imagine “yes” is a favorite here. There are just too many chances for Biden to criticize it.

7. Which of the candidates will be seen wearing a mask during the debate (from the first question until the final question)?

The mask rule reportedly will be strictly enforced this time for people in attendance. Trump and Biden will be properly tested and it seems likely both again won’t be wearing a mask between the first question and the last question. Biden could show up with a mask and put it back on after everything is over, but that apparently wouldn’t count here. We’ll definitely go with “neither” for this question.

8. Will anybody say “Walter Reed”?

Seems unlikely unless they really dive into Trump’s COVID-19 scare.

9. Which of the following names will Biden call Trump? (fool, clown, both, neither)

He called Trump both during the first debate. Biden used “fool” in reference to Trump’s position on masks, and he called him a “clown” in the context of Trump interrupting him a lot.  Maybe the changes to the debate format make it less likely for Biden to call his opponent a clown. However, with the first debate going so well for Biden, maybe he’ll be sure to double down on both of those words. It’s hard to say here, but let’s go with “both” as the betting favorite.

10. Which of the following people will be mentioned first during the debate? (Melania Trump, Dr. Fauci, Amy Coney Barrett, Hillary Clinton, none of the above)

Trump said Dr. Fauci’s name three times during the first debate. Neither man mentioned Amy Coney Barrett by name (though Chris Wallace did). Trump mentioned Hillary Clinton twice, and he never mentioned his wife’s name. Fauci has to be the favorite here.

DraftKings $50,000 prize pool

1. Which presidential candidate will be the first to speak when walking to their podium? (Trump, Biden, neither)

This is a slightly puzzling question from DraftKings, and it’s a good thing it’s not a traditional betting market. Does Trump giving a thumbs up and mouthing a “thank you” to his supporters count? It looks like Trump would have been the winner here if this question was posed for the first debate, so he’s probably a favorite on Thursday night. It looks like Biden greeted Trump at the first debate after they both arrived at the podium.

2. Which vice presidential candidate will be brought up first? (Harris, Pence, neither)

Neither candidate dropped his veep’s name during the first debate. Only the moderator did so. In terms of Trump or Biden saying their names, it seems like Harris would be more likely to be brought up in either a negative context by Trump or a positive context by Biden. Trump’s ego is notorious, so he may never talk about Pence on stage. The choice “neither” seems very unlikely because the moderator presumably counts.

3. Which presidential candidate will interrupt the other one first?

Despite the muting of the microphones, there will be times when the two men can talk and engage without intervention from the moderator. So, Trump will have plenty of chances to interrupt Biden.

4. Which topic will the first question address? (Supreme Court, Coronavirus pandemic, the economy/jobs/taxes, global warming, two or more of the listed topics, none of the listed topics)

COVID cases are spiking again, so that has to be the favorite. The first subject during the first debate was the Supreme Court, and while that’s a mammoth topic right now, it would seem strange for it to be first again.

5. Which candidate will use the term “pre-existing conditions” first? (Trump, Biden, neither)

It’s almost a lock Biden will hit Trump on this hugely important healthcare topic. He has to be a favorite to mention “pre-existing conditions” first. It is possible Trump could play defense and mention it first.

6. Who will be mentioned first by name by either candidate? (Amy Coney Barrett or Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

It could be either one, but ACB has to be the favorite over RBG with the confirmation vote in the Senate expected soon. RBG’s death, outside the context of ACB’s nomination, is old news.

7. Who will be mentioned first by either candidate? (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, neither)

Former President Obama is more relevant these days, and he’s campaigning hard for Biden. He has to be the favorite here. The choice “neither” is very, very unlikely.

8. Who will mention Dr. Fauci first? (Trump, Biden, neither)

Common wisdom says Biden, because Trump isn’t the biggest fan of Dr. Fauci, but Trump actually mentioned him by name in the first debate and during the NBC town hall. It’s likely someone will mention Fauci, but it seems like a coin flip here, actually. Biden never mentioned Fauci during the first debate.

9. Which state will be mentioned first by either candidate? (Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, none of the above)

The final debate is in Nashville, so there’s no easy pick of Tennessee here. Pennsylvania is probably the favorite considering Biden was born in the state and still likes to mention his Scranton roots, and both campaigns have been hitting that state hard in recent days. It’s a big swing state. It’s also worth noting that during the first debate Trump referenced “Pennsylvania Avenue” — where the White House is located — so that presumably would have counted as a PA reference. Most if not all of these key swing states should be mentioned at some point tonight.

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