The polls and betting odds give Donald Trump the edge in Indiana next week, despite Sunday’s announcement that Kasich would forsake the Hoosier State. According to Real Clear Politics’ reading of recent polls, Trump is ahead of Cruz by 6.3%, but if he can talk Kasich fans to vote against their conscience, Cruz might win.

But that’s not what the odds say.

Election Betting Odds gives Trump almost a 2-1 chance (63.6% to 36.3%), an increase of 4.3% in just one day, perhaps influenced by the fact that the Cruz-Kasich collusion is falling apart—and the PR boost such trickery gave to Trump.

Cruz MUST win Indiana to hope to stop Trump, and it’s not working well.

The alliance between Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, formed to deny Donald Trump the GOP presidential nomination, was already fraying almost to the point of irrelevance Monday, only hours after it was announced to great fanfare. . .

But at his own campaign stop in Philadelphia on Monday, Kasich tamped down Cruz’s triumphalism. Voters in Indiana, Kasich said, “ought to vote for me,” even if he would not be campaigning publicly there. He added, “I don’t see this as any big deal.”. . .

Cruz’s campaign privately advised supporters Sunday not to endorse tactical voting, whereby his supporters might switch their allegiance to Kasich in states where the Ohio governor is running stronger against Trump. . .

Still, aides to Cruz and Kasich seem acutely aware that they risk turning off voters who find the arrangement unseemly. Even before his rivals’ agreement, Trump had complained repeatedly that the nominating process was “rigged” against him.

Gaming the electoral system, sadly, is not illegal. However, it is illegal for candidates to direct the actions of super pacs, and illegal action is likely going on.

Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said he “[hoped] that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead.” Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, echoed that his campaign “will focus our time and resources in New Mexico and Oregon … where Gov. Kasich is performing well.”

“We would expect independent third party groups to do the same and honor the commitments made by the Cruz and Kasich campaigns,” Weaver said.

Friendly super PACs have quickly shifted their resources as a result. [Emphasis added]

Of course, Trump is “trumpeting” what he calls the “collusion.”

No one had more fun with the news of the unusual alliance between Ted Cruz and John Kasich than the Republican front-runner himself, Donald Trump.

During rallies in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania Monday, the businessman used the term “collusion” to describe his rivals’ coordinated effort against him as conspiratorial and scheming. Colluding is illegal in business but allowed in the “rigged system” of politics, he told the crowd. . .

The odd Cruz-Kasich cabal seems to be a major blunder by Kasich. As we reported earlier, Kasich had already pulled a coup, by getting his backers on all the Indiana committees—and thus, had the support of delegates (if not the voters) plus all the officials in the state next door to his home state.

The strategy so far involves Kasich backing out of Indiana’s winner-take-most primary on May 3 to pave the way for Cruz, and the Texas senator reciprocating in Oregon (May 17) and New Mexico (June 7), where delegates are awarded proportionally. . .

Of course the Cruz-Kasich cabal makes more sense for Cruz, since Indiana is much more conservative than Ohio, it should be fertile ground for Cruz—and Cruz is weak in less conservative Oregon and New Mexico, anyway. Also, it gives Cruz the benefit over Kasich in two ways—Indiana is winner-take-most (57 delegates), while Oregon and New Mexico are proportional, so even if he won, Kasich would probably get no more than a third of the 52 delegates available (18?).

And it started out as a one-sided deal, anyway.

Trusted Leadership PAC, a group aligned with Cruz. . .does plan to continue attacking Kasich in Indiana, however.

But the stupidest part for Kasich is that Indiana is next week, and Oregon and New Mexico are not until next month, and the month after. It would depend on Cruz honoring the agreement in the heat of battle—people have short memory spans in politics—and no one exemplifies the old saying, “all’s fair in love and war,” like Ted Cruz.