Bettors stampede back to Biden as results stream in

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Democratic candidate Joe Biden was holding on to his position as a clear favorite to win the U.S. presidential election in online betting markets on Wednesday afternoon, a reversal of fortune for President Donald Trump, who had been favored overnight.

The shift, according to data from three odds aggregators, came after Biden overtook Trump in the battleground state of Wisconsin early on Wednesday. Biden holds a narrow lead after officials completed their vote count.

Biden’s chances of winning stood at 80% late on Wednesday afternoon on British-based Smarkets exchange, while New Zealand-based predictions market PredictIt had Biden at 84%. Trump’s chances on Smarkets were at 21% from nearly 80% overnight.

For a graphic on PredictIt odds:

“Taking the lead in Wisconsin could be the turning point with the Democrat now also projected to win Nevada and Arizona, which would likely give him the 270 electoral college votes he needs for victory,” Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said.

Biden was also a favorite to win the presidency with bettors on Betfair.

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Trump earlier falsely claimed victory over Biden with millions of votes still uncounted.

Biden has pinned his hopes on the so-called “blue wall” states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that sent Trump to the White House in 2016. The Republican incumbent’s campaign has vowed to pursue a recount and a lawsuit to challenge the results in Wisconsin and Michigan.

(For the latest results and news on U.S. election, click: here )

The 2020 election is shaping up to be the biggest betting event of all time, betting companies say, with one player on Monday placing a record-breaking bet of one million British pounds ($1.3 million) on a victory for Biden.

Biden had been favored before Tuesday’s Election Day, but his chances according to oddsmakers plunged to less than one-in-three overnight after Trump pushed ahead in the swing state of Florida.

Betfair Exchange said a record 434 million pounds has been bet on the outcome of the winner - more than double the amount in 2016. It accepts bets right up until the result is announced.

Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan in London and Divya Chowdhury in Mumbai, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed in New York; additional reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Peter Graff and Sonya Hepinstall