Hurricane Isaac won’t affect the New Orleans Saints NFL preseason odds, but it could very well impact presidential election betting odds.
Online sportsbooks stopped setting hurricane odds about six years ago, after a series of devastating storms pummelled the United States Gulf region.
But Isaac may have an impact on odds, regardless of whether sportsbooks even lift a finger this week. The Republican National Convention taking place in Tampa starting Tuesday, just as the storm is expected to make landfall.
Planners are worried that the festive mood around the major political party will look ridiculous if the storm is causing death and destruction in Florida or Louisiana.
So as the Republicans trail in public opinion polls and sportsbooks such as Bovada have President Barack Obama as a -200 favorite to win the next election, the storm could widen this gap.
"The Republicans are already struggling and you can imagine how bad it will look if TV networks break away from coverage of the convention – where people are smiling and waving banners – to cover flooding or death,” said John Falk of Casino.org.
"So while the books stopped booking action a long time ago on storms, how strong they would be, where they would make landfall and all that, a storm could be in the middle of odds again.”
The Presidential odds are currently -200 (2/1) for the democrats while a Republican rally and victory this fall would pay out at +160 ($160 profit on a $100 wager). Indeed, if the storm hits Wednesday, it will mark the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst storms in recent memory.
The storm swamped New Orleans, causing widespread flooding and deaths. The controversy of how the aftermath was handled remains a sore spot. Related, the New Orleans Saints moved their home games that year after the Superdome sustained damage and was in use as an emergency shelter.
They played four of their home games at LSU's Tiger Stadium, three at the Alamodome in San Antonio and one at Giants Stadium.
They were 3-13 that year, a record they expect to reverse this year as they hope for a 13-3 mark and an NFC South title. (See the latest NFL preseason odds here at SB Nation.)