The 2016 Republican Primary race has claimed another victim. This time it's Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Despite being an early frontrunner among Republicans, Rubio bowed out of the race last week after failing to win the Florida primary against billionaire businessman Donald Trump. Although Trump has been the favourite in the Grand Old Party (GOP) betting for weeks, Rubio was always in contention.
In fact, following the demise of Ben Carson, the man who previously had 12.5% of the support from Republicans, Rubio's odds of success in the Republican race were pegged at 8/1 by betting experts. While that line was well below the 8/15 Coral Sports was offering on Trump becoming the GOP presidential candidate, it wasn't so far away from Ted Cruz's 3/1 rating that it made him a huge underdog.
Unfortunately, betting odds and reality can often be poles apart; after suffering a defeat in his home state to Mr. Trump, Rubio was forced to retire from the running. The fall from grace for a man once hailed as the "saviour" of the Republican Party might have been a shock to his supporters, but it was an announcement Trump and his fans welcomed with open arms.
With a win in Florida, Trump extended his lead in the GOP race to 621 delegates. As his nearest rival Ted Cruz has just 396, it's looking increasingly likely that Trump will face off against the Democratic Primary winner for the US presidency later this year.
According to William Hill Sports, Trump is now the 2/7 favourite in a five-horse race. In fact, for all intents and purposes, Trump could be called the frontrunner in what's essentially a two-horse race as the outsiders are currently drifting in the betting. Aside from Cruz, who William Hill Sports has at 11/2, the rest of the GOP field is struggling to stay in contention.
Rubio's exit also appears to have helped Trump's betting odds in the main US presidential race. In early March, Trump was 3/1 with Ladbrokes Sports for the top job at the White House and while the odds makers there have stood firm, the betting line at Paddy Power Sports has shifted to 5/2.
Although Rubio was never a major contender for the presidency, it does seem as though his exit has made a Trump victory in the Republican race even more likely. With this being the case, the public and the top bookmakers now have to seriously consider how a showdown between Trump and Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party may pan out.
As it stands, the latter is the betting favourite with William Hill Sports offering 2/5 on a Clinton win (assuming she wins the Democratic Party nomination). However, with her recent coughing fit during a debate with Bernie Sanders casting doubt on her ability to handle the pressure, there's a chance Trump could steal the vote if the two are put heads-up against each other in a public forum.
While we still have a long way to go until the next US president is named, the betting markets are suggesting we'll be in for a Trump/Clinton showdown later this year. If their previous exchanges are anything to go by, we'll be in for fireworks when it happens.