Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Even though the last 3 polls have edged a touch to an IndyRef YES the betting is still strongly on NO

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Apart from a little pre-debate burst the markets remain stable

Given the spate of polls over the weekend all showing that YES was edging up I was half-expecting a rally in the YES price on Betfair. It did move a touch but it is now back in the 6.8-7 range which in percentage terms converts to a 14-15% implied probability.

The next event that could move things is the BBC TV debate next Monday. Salmond, surely will have learned from his first experience and have developed a better strategy. No doubt Darling and his team will be giving serious thought to their approach.

Betting remains buoyant. As I write a total of £1.716m has been matched on Betfair which is very high for any political market four and a half weeks out.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The IndyRef YES price touches rock bottom as punters give their verdict on Salmond’s failure to win Tuesday’s debate

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

The time for recovery is getting shorter

The betting on the Scottish IndyRef has moved further to NO during the day even though, as yet, we have yet to see the first full post debate referendum poll.

The latest price traded on Betfair as I write, (1420) was at the 7.4 level which converts to a 13.5% chance. In hour before Tuesday night’s event it was in the 20-24% – so the latest betting reflects a significant fall.

YES has been lower than this on Betfair but only £36 has been matched a prices that reflect longer odds. That’s absolute chickenfeed in a market that’s already seen a total of £1.316m matched.

The problem was, of course, was that Tuesday night had been billed beforehand by many in the YES camp as the moment when the tide would turn. Salmond was going to come out of this triumphant and his accusations that NO’s case was based on “scaremongering” would hit home.

Yet that didn’t happen and Salmond’s personal attacks on Darling went down badly.

But this can change. In the next debate Salmond, surely, will have learned some lessons and a victory for the SNP leader could be on the cards.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Boris playing a full part in the CON GE2015 campaign could help win back some of the kipper defectors

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

The big Tory news today has been the announcement by Boris that he’s to seek a constituency to fight at GE2015 so he can return to the commons.

Back in February YouGov carried out some polling on a Boris and found that 20% of the UKIP voters in that survey said they’d vote CON if Boris was leader.

Of course Boris would not be leader at the time of the general election but he would be much more associated with the blue campaign and, no doubt, would be deployed in seats where a heavy CON to UKIP switch could put the Tories in danger.

But YouGov also found a whole series of negatives in relation to the Mayor. 58% said he’s not be serious enough to be trusted with big national decisions while 44% thought that his prime motivation would be his own image and not the party.

Whatever Boris is now back as strong favourite for the leadership.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Now the betting money moves to an IndyRef YES – up in a week from 14.2% chance to a 20% one

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

But can Salmond versus Darling change the fundamentals?

Make no mistake – this is a massive day in the Scottish IndyRef Campaign. For tonight the First Minister of Scotland takes on the leader of “Better Together” the former UK chancellor, Alistair Darling, in a two hour long live TV debate.

So far this is the only such debate that had been agreed and those wanting independence are hoping that Salmond can use it to turn the campaign round to YES.

The polling has all been that NO is leading albeit with quite a variation between the pollsters. Survation at the weekend had the NO lead at just 6% which suggests that with a 3% swing YES could make it on September 18th.

Salmond is charismatic, articulate and engaging and all the betting has been that the post debate polls will have him as the winner. But Salmond knows that this is about much more than being deemed winner of a TV event. He has to deal with the concerns of those Scottish voters who are nervous about making such a jump apparently into the unknown.

Darling is a much quieter figure but no less formidable.

In all these big TV political occasions it is not necessarily the detailed arguments that are central but the manner in which the protagonists are seen by TV viewers. Some are suggesting that Darling should play it “boring” and let Salmond overdo with hubris.

The event is being organised and broadcast in Scotland by STV and will be available to viewers round the world via YouTube. No doubt links will be available during the day.

I’ll be watching with Betfair app open on my tablet ready to move if opportunities arise.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The Scottish IndyRef is set to be the biggest non-general election UK political betting event ever

Friday, August 1st, 2014

The chart above from Betfair fits in with messages coming from the traditional bookies about the huge betting interest in the September 18th Scottish referendum. I track this daily and have been amazed that this far out there has been so much activity.

Generally in election markets 90%+ of all bets are cast within the final week. If that holds here then a huge amount will be gambled overall.

A fair bit depends on the polling and while YES remains within striking the betting interest will rise.

A fortnight tomorrow I’m part of a panel at the Festival of Politics in Edinburgh talking about this and other issues. Apart from the event itself I’m really looking forward to being back in Scotland a month before its makes its momentous decision.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The chances of a LAB majority have dropped by 10% since the budget according to Betfair punters

Friday, August 1st, 2014

But Labour’s inherent electoral advantages could be being ignored

Exactly 8 months today on April 1st 2015 the formal general election campaign will begin and my intention at the start of every month is to monitor betting prices on the Betfair exchange to see how the mood is changing.

The chart above shows current latest trades on the firm’s GE2015 outcome market and has comparisons with what it was just before the March 2014 budget. As can be seen the big “loser” in the period has been LAB. Then the chances of a major were rated at just under 40% – now that is down to below 30%.

The gainers in that period have been a CON majority and no overall majority.

    But be warned. In 2010 the betting markets overall overstated the Tories and LDs and seriously understated Labour. That might be happening again.

Just before the polling opened in May 2010 the Commons seats buy level on LAB seats was 222. They got 258 producing a nice profit for those who got on.

On the face of it the historical LAB ability to achieve a substantially better votes:seats ratio than other parties doesn’t seem to be reflected in the betting.

I’m really looking forward to the next round of Lord Ashcroft polling which, apparently, embraces slightly less marginal CON held seats than we’ve seen in earlier rounds. Hopefully this will give us better pointers.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


There’s been no Glasgow games boost yet for IndyRef YES on Betfair – now rated by punters as a 14.2% chance

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

But betting interest remains strong with nearly £1.1m traded

The pre-Commonwealth games expectations that the Glasgow events would provide a boost for independence campaigners has yet to be materialised if Betfair punters are anything to go by. Even though Scottish athletes are having their best games ever punters appear unmoved.

The last trade on Yes as I write was at 7 which equates to a 14.2% chance – not far off it’s bottom. In fact just £108 of the £1,070,000 matched on Betfair has been at prices longer than that,

What we haven’t seen is any polling that’s been carried out since the start of the games a week ago. If that provides some positive news for YES then we could see prices turn.

A feature of the YES campaign that resonates badly is that every development is presented by them as good news. Their messaging would have a lot more credibility if they acknowledged set backs when they happen.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Henry G Manson says get on Andy Burnham as EdM’s successor – it might be a good bet

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Longstanding PBers will know that Henry G Manson’s has a great record with his tips on anything to do with LAB. He was dead right on EdM in 2010 and his guidance has proved pretty good over the years.

This morning he emailed me to suggest that Andy Burnham was a great bet for next LAB leader. He cited as evidence the above survey by Labourlist on the net shadow cabinet favourability ratings a recent survey on the site had thrown up.

The results are striking and suggest that Burnham has good grass roots support.

Henry didn’t indicate whether an early contest was on the cards.

I should add that although I’ve been dealings with Henry over many years I do not know his identify.

But experience tells me that when he says something in the Labour Party is a good bet then he’s likely to be right.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble