FILE: Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The surprise non-alignment pact between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) looks at first like an acknowledgment of weakness by Cruz.

On March 1, Cruz asked fellow Republicans to “prayerfully consider” dropping out of the race to back a campaign “that beats Donald Trump resoundingly.” When Mitt Romney called for Republicans to cast strategic votes against Trump — Cruz in some states, but not in others — Cruz said that he could defeat Trump outright. Only last week, after Trump’s landslide win in New York, did Cruz start saying┬áthat the party was “heading to a contested convention.” When Cruz’s campaign manager Jeff Roe finally signed off on the idea of splitting three of the remaining states, Kasich’s camp read it as a desperation move.

Yet the three states — Indiana, Oregon, and New Mexico — assign delegates in very different ways. By ceding Indiana, it appears that Kasich did Cruz more of a favor than Cruz did him, in a state where Kasich’s team actually succeeded in getting friendly delegates elected to the slate.

Start with how Indiana assigns those delegates. There will be 57 delegates at stake on May 3. Thirty will go to the winner of the popular vote statewide, and 27 will go to the winner in each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts. As long as Kasich competed in the state, Cruz would struggle to win both the popular vote and the five districts that contain parts of Indianapolis or its suburbs. The difference between a narrow Trump win in a three-way race and a narrow Cruz win in a modified two-way race could be 36 to 42 delegates — at least many as Cruz got by winning the Wisconsin primary.

The stakes are far lower in Oregon and New Mexico. The first state, where voting begins this week and ends on May 17, assigns its 28 available delegates proportionately. The difference between a narrow Trump win and a narrow Trump loss to Kasich could be as little as two delegates. If Cruz were to win just 4 percent of the vote, he’d still take a delegate out of Oregon.

New Mexico’s system is only marginally less proportional. Any candidate who takes more than 15 percent of the vote is entitled to a proportional share of the state’s 24 delegates. If Cruz’s support were to collapse in the state, he could earn nothing, which would be a first for him in states that border Texas. If he cracks 15 percent, he “cedes” the state yet earns delegates anyway.

Kasich, who lacks Cruz’s bank roll and Trump’s ability to self-fund, was facing a dilemma over the last six weeks of primaries. The pact took Cruz’s boot off his neck in a crucial state, where one pro-Cruz super PAC was already buying up airtime to attack him. But in delegate terms, Cruz, by far, got the most from the deal.