GOP Iowa Caucus Odds: Nikki Haley Poised To Overtake DeSantis For 2nd Place

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Written By Evan Scrimshaw | Last Updated

The GOP presidential race kicks off in less than two weeks, with the January 15 Iowa Caucus being the first opportunity for Republican voters to choose their nominee. With Donald Trump leading the 2024 presidential election odds for Republicans, Ron DeSantis fading fast, and Nikki Haley trying to surge, this race is very important. That race to second place is even more interesting. All in, GOP Iowa Caucus odds provide both excitement and value on the betting boards.

BetMGM has odds in Ontario for both these markets, making it a great place to bet the GOP Iowa Caucus odds.

GOP Iowa Caucus Odds

CandidateBetMGM PriceImplied Probability
Donald Trump -3000 97%
Nikki Haley +2000 5%
Ron DeSantis +1600 5.88%
Odds as of 4:10 PM, January 4 at BetMGM

Trump is going to win Iowa. As much as I’d love to say otherwise, Trump will win this. He has a 30% lead on his opponents, which won’t be overcome. There’s a case for this tightening significantly, but not for him to lose.

That said, I’d wait to bet this. Nikki Haley has dominated the airwaves in Iowa in recent weeks, trying to surge into 2nd place. She’s been the candidate spending the most money, but her goal isn’t to seriously contend to win Iowa. She’s trying to use Iowa as a springboard to New Hampshire, where she’s polling more credibly, and where Democrats can vote in the primary.

In theory, Ron DeSantis should be a strong candidate for Iowa – remember, Iowa voted for Ted Cruz in 2016! His failure to convert his early financial advantage into sustained support in Iowa has killed his overall campaign. At this point, fighting to even stay in second, DeSantis is likelier to drop out the night of Iowa than he is to win it.

Other Candidates?

There’s also Vivek Ramaswamy running his nominal Presidential campaign. It’s hard to argue that it’s a real campaign, given they suspended all TV advertising weeks before the caucus because they’re out of money. Chris Christie is taking time away from his day job as a bridge inspector to come in fifth, but he’s only really campaigned in New Hampshire.

The reason to wait on betting on Trump odds is that if Haley surges in pre-caucus polling, his price will decrease significantly. People want the broader GOP primary to be competitive, meaning if Haley’s TV surge shows up in polls soon, expectations for Haley will surge.

Waiting to see if Trump’s price comes back a bit and betting on him makes a lot of sense if you’re looking for a safe but profitable way of betting on the GOP Iowa Caucuses. If you want a more … aggressive strategy, there’s another market.

GOP Iowa Caucus Second Place

CandidateBetMGM PriceImplied Probability
Donald Trump+14006%
Nikki Haley+12040%
Ron DeSantis-13554%
Odds as of 4:10 PM, January 4 at BetMGM

Straight up, I think Nikki Haley comes second in Iowa, and I don’t think it’ll be particularly close.

Haley has all the momentum at this point, and the only reason DeSantis is still favored in the market right now is a bunch of polls that don’t reflect current reality. This isn’t a poll denial point, but a statement of the bleeding obvious. There are no polls with data available since December 19. That means it’s likelier than not that the current averages have missed a lot of movement.

In the interim, DeSantis has had to fight internal battles about staffing and strategy with his Super PAC. He hasn’t been able to match Haley on TV because of bad spending decisions in the months leading up to now. Haley quickly declared that she raised $24.5M in Q4 2023, while DeSantis has refused to proactively disclose his total.

Even more notably, Trump is now attacking Haley after focusing almost exclusively on DeSantis. Trump’s campaign sensing that Haley is more of a threat than the Florida Governor is a bad sign for DeSantis. They correctly view him increasingly as irrelevant in this primary.

Conclusions

The other advantage for Haley is media bias. Most people who work for news organizations want her to win the nomination, or at least don’t want Trump. Given that she is the vessel to try and defeat Trump, her coverage will be softer than it should be. Her refusal to name slavery as the cause of the Civil War has gotten almost no play this week, at a time when people are paying more attention and, in theory, would do damage.

That press edge and the general sense of momentum behind her should spiral. Her fundraising is up, she’s got a TV advantage, and DeSantis’ vaunted operation is more focused on telling Politico that this disaster was everyone else’s fault but definitely not theirs. Campaigns in the sort of terminal decline that RDS’ is in now usually don’t return from it.

Haley’s likely coming second in the GOP Iowa Caucus. Best of luck betting it.

Check out the top Republican candidate’s odds below:

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